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The most ridiculous one-star reviews for Florida’s top attractions

We waded through Google, Yelp and TripAdvisor for one-star reviews of some of the state’s most iconic tourism destinations. The results did not disappoint.
Epcot, Weeki Wachee Springs State Park and the Southernmost Point of the Continental US are popular Florida tourist attractions.
Epcot, Weeki Wachee Springs State Park and the Southernmost Point of the Continental US are popular Florida tourist attractions. [ Tampa Bay Times ]
Published Aug. 27, 2019|Updated Aug. 27, 2019

Last week, the Washington Post published a list highlighting brutal one-star reviews for the New Seven Wonders of the World. One TripAdvisor user put the Colosseum on blast for being “creepy.” Another thought the Great Wall of China was “boring” and expressed disappointment in seeing a “pile of sloppily laid bricks.”

We were curious to see the one-star reviews for some of Florida’s most iconic local destinations. After all, what’s not to like here? The state is filled with gorgeous, beloved attractions.

Turns out Florida’s award-winning beaches, theme parks and natural beauties were no match for the most critical travelers.

The following one-star reviews have been edited for length but not spelling or punctuation to preserve their authenticity.

Space Mountain

Space Mountain at the Magic Kingdom.
Space Mountain at the Magic Kingdom. [ CLARK, ROB, JR. | Tampa Bay Times ]

Are there more extreme rides in Orlando? Sure. But the original Space Mountain has been a fixture at Walt Disney World ever since it debuted in 1975. Theme park enthusiasts can even find versions of it at four other Disney locations.

Yelper Cara T. was not feeling the magic during her visit.

“This is the WORST!!! Most MISERABLE PLACE ON EARTH!” she wrote.

In her review, Cara claimed a park employee named John was rude to her. She also expressed frustration after waiting over two hours instead of the estimated 50 minutes for the Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin ride.

Wrote Cara, “Welcome to HELL!!!”

Everglades National Park

A great blue heron spears its dinner while hunting in Everglades National Park, Fla., in this Jan. 25, 2004, file photo.
A great blue heron spears its dinner while hunting in Everglades National Park, Fla., in this Jan. 25, 2004, file photo. [ WILFREDO LEE | AP ]

The Everglades are the United States’ largest subtropical wilderness, according to the National Park Service. Visitors can explore by boat, camp out, or catch a glimpse of rare wildlife.

Reviewer Dee S. felt the national park was a “waste of time.”

“There wasn’t anything to miss except mosquitoes and malaria," Dee wrote. "Don’t bother!”

If only Dee had tagged along with fellow TripAdvisor reviewer Pradyoth Velagapudi.

“The alligators are very poorly trained," he wrote. "They would not not respond to verbal commands, and when I offered them food they would not let go of my arm. They wouldn’t even let my 2-year old son ride them without tearing his arms out of their sockets. Terrible park, would not recommend.”

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Weeki Wachee state park

Mermaid Whitney blows a bubble-filled kiss to the audience as she performs during the morning show of Hans Christian Andersen's "The Little Mermaid"   at Weeki Wachee Springs State Park.
Mermaid Whitney blows a bubble-filled kiss to the audience as she performs during the morning show of Hans Christian Andersen's "The Little Mermaid" at Weeki Wachee Springs State Park. [ FITTERER, BRENDAN | Tampa Bay Times ]

Surprise manatee sightings. A sprawling lazy river. Even dancing mermaids.

Weeki Wachee has the elements of a quintessential Old Florida attraction. But while the majority of reviews praise the natural spring, some travelers were not dazzled.

“The mermaid show is just a bunch of teenagers swimming around with a fin, and the water hole is packed full like sardines,” wrote Google reviewer Tim Scott.

Yelper P.C. had just one lament: “This place is run by the government. What else is there to say.”

Clearwater Beach

Chase Duke, 4, of Orlando, runs through a tidal pool while visiting Clearwater Beach with family.
Chase Duke, 4, of Orlando, runs through a tidal pool while visiting Clearwater Beach with family. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Tampa Bay Times ]

Yes, it gets crowded here during Spring Break. But year after year, Clearwater Beach is lauded as one of the state’s top beaches.

Caleb D. came all the way from Wilmington, N.C., to experience the splendors of Clearwater Beach. But his swim in the Gulf of Mexico was pretty crappy.

“To my surprise, there was what appeared to be a floating rock of some sort nearby to my left," he wrote. "As I swept my hand under to lift it up, my life flashed before my eyes as I realized that this foreign object was indeed a piece of POOP! Seriously Clearwater Beach?”

Amy T. also also reported unwelcome interruptions:

“I got hit by a cooler lid, a Cheetos bag, and was tormented by seagulls that would not leave because an annoying tourist was feeding them."

Epcot

Woody from "Toy Story" stands as a bigger-than-life topiary at the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. His outfit included ficus belt loops.
Woody from "Toy Story" stands as a bigger-than-life topiary at the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. His outfit included ficus belt loops. [ GENE DUNCAN | Tampa Bay Times ]

Epcot visitors can sample dishes and drinks from 11 countries around the world, meet Disney characters, and learn about science and technology. But Paola C. wasn’t able to enjoy these aspects of the park.

“We went on a Tuesday and the lines were horrific," she wrote on Yelp. “3/4 hrs in line to do a generic ride because the rides are pretty outdated. How is that fun to anyone? I saw people’s faces and it was so bad. Everyone frustrated, hot, in a bad mood, and hungry.” (Honestly, this could be applied to just about any Florida theme park.)

Stephanie Z. from Altamonte Springs kept her review succinct:

“Dude this place sucks. Mickey Mouse is a a--hole.”

Southernmost Point of the Continental U.S.

In this photo released by the Florida Keys News Bureau, Father Matthew Ruhl touches his bicycle's front tire to the Southernmost Point in the Continental U.S.A. marker after completing a 99-day, 5,052-mile bicycle ride from Cape Flattery, Wash.
In this photo released by the Florida Keys News Bureau, Father Matthew Ruhl touches his bicycle's front tire to the Southernmost Point in the Continental U.S.A. marker after completing a 99-day, 5,052-mile bicycle ride from Cape Flattery, Wash. [ ROB O'NEAL | AP ]

This landmark only has 3.5 stars on Yelp but is perhaps the most Instagrammed landmark in the Keys. The striped hunk of metal can also be found on every souvenir imaginable, from stickers and postcards to T-shirts and shot glasses. Sure, it’s tacky, but that’s tourism, baby!

Visitor Peter E. took to Yelp to do some myth-busting:

“NOT the Southernmost point in the Continental U.S. (you would need to visit the privately owned Ballast Key to the southwest of Key West to experience that). And it’s not even a buoy — it’s an old piece of sewer pipe that the city found lying around and tarted up with some lipstick-red paint."

Sunken Gardens

Parrots inside of their cage at Sunken Gardens in St.Petersburg.
Parrots inside of their cage at Sunken Gardens in St.Petersburg. [ LUKE JOHNSON | Tampa Bay Times ]

Called St. Pete’s “oldest living museum," this lush botanical garden has been around for over a century. The local gem is known for its vast collection of greenery.

Several visitors hit Sunken Gardens with a single-star review to protest putting birds in cages. Others were confused by the purpose of this attraction.

“Lots of tropical plants,” said visitor Jaimie M. “It isn’t spectacular at all....especially at TEN dollars for entry.”

Wrote Sand Man: “Disappointing if you are expecting a lot from the place. It is just a garden."

Jon R. from Indian Shores also had some pretty high expectations:

“My bride and I journeyed far from our palace of pleasure at Indian Shores to a jungle adventure close to downtown St. Pete,” wrote the longtime Pinellas County resident. “We decided to Tarzan and Jane ourselves up and swing through the trees whilst enjoying the flora and the fauna. There was a lot of flora and precious little fauna, and there were no vines for swinging.”

At least Mike B. was candid in his Google review.

“Was actually never there," he wrote. "I work next door. I have never stepped foot on the property.”

Skunk Ape Research Headquarters

The statue of a Skunk Ape is seen just outside the Skunk Ape Research Headquarters Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019 in Ochopee, Florida.
The statue of a Skunk Ape is seen just outside the Skunk Ape Research Headquarters Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019 in Ochopee, Florida. [ "CHRIS URSO | TIMES" | Tampa Bay Times ]

This goofy roadside attraction in Ochopee has drawn visitors for decades. It was named after a mysterious legendary creature that Dave Shealy has pursued for over 30 years.

You can buy some skunk ape merch, stay at the Trail Lakes Campground and see a 350-pound python named Goldie (one of the largest snakes in captivity worldwide). Also, there’s a petting zoo.

Google reviewer Earl Brannon was not impressed by such fanfare:

“Tourist trap and gift shop that does nothing but embarrass the true bigfoot community.”

Ybor City

7th Avenue in Ybor City.
7th Avenue in Ybor City. [ JONES, OCTAVIO | Tampa Bay Times ]

Ybor may not be the cleanest (or the most family-friendly) option that the Tampa Bay area has to offer. But the old buildings, cigar shops and wacky nightlife make it a local staple.

Jaimie called historic Ybor a “New Orleans wanna be.”

She also asked the age-old question: "Why are there roosters in the park????”

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

Jacob Lewis, 8, left, sister Hope, 3, brother Caleb, 1, all of Stafford, Va., walk past the Rocket Garden while leaving a launch viewing area, after the space shuttle Endeavour launch on April 29, 2011.
Jacob Lewis, 8, left, sister Hope, 3, brother Caleb, 1, all of Stafford, Va., walk past the Rocket Garden while leaving a launch viewing area, after the space shuttle Endeavour launch on April 29, 2011. [ PHELAN M. EBENHACK | AP ]

Visitors can learn about NASA history, peep at some rockets and even participate in a four-hour astronaut training experience. A fun experience for the whole family? Not according to Erman Mercimekoglu.

His review simply states, “Only take your sworn enemies to the space center.”

Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park

Marta Kelleher, 16, and her father Robert Kelleher, both of Orlando, take a drink from St. Augustine's Fountain of Youth spring, just north of the city's historic down town. It was their first visit to the popular tourist attraction. "Sure I feel younger," said Robert Kelleher. "I don't know how much though?"
Marta Kelleher, 16, and her father Robert Kelleher, both of Orlando, take a drink from St. Augustine's Fountain of Youth spring, just north of the city's historic down town. It was their first visit to the popular tourist attraction. "Sure I feel younger," said Robert Kelleher. "I don't know how much though?" [ SCOTT KEELER | Tampa Bay Times ]

A visit to St. Augustine isn’t complete without stopping by the Fountain of Youth. The site is allegedly where Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon first landed in Florida back in 1513. Is there historic evidence to support this story? Not quite. Is the waterfront park popular nonetheless? You bet.

“I heard screaming coming from behind the wall," wrote Google reviewer Jared Campbell. "Maybe someone distraught over the ticket price?”

Fellow visitor Tony Garcia may offer an explanation:

“At the gift shop they sell nuts for 25 cents,” he wrote. “Many of the visitors were feeding the squirrel right out of their hands. My wife did the same thing and the squirrel bit her. The squirrels Front teeth penetrates the skin of her finger and she had to fling the squirrel off so it would release her finger. Although the establishment is financially gaining from the sale of the nuts they were quick to tell you that they are not responsible for the wildlife.”

Castillo de San Marcos

Period actors fire a canon atop the Castillo de San Marcos during St. Augustine's 450th Commemoration on Sept. 18, 2015.
Period actors fire a canon atop the Castillo de San Marcos during St. Augustine's 450th Commemoration on Sept. 18, 2015. [ GARY MCCULLOUGH | AP ]

While we’re in St. Augustine, let’s visit the oldest and largest fort in the continental U.S, according to the city’s tourism website. Just like other travel destinations, people here complained about ticket prices. Some other notable observations...

From Charles Kross: “The Fort was closed due to the fact that the Federal Government can’t agree on a budget."

From Danny Horton: “Worse fort I have been in no artifacts to speak of!!!”

From Bob Bergseng: “I’m elderly don’t remember it."

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