Photos by Chris Green, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.43
Camping World Stadium 1 Citrus Bowl Pl Orlando, FL 32805
Year Opened: 1936 Capacity: 65,000
The Cheez-iest Bowl of Them All
Note: Beginning the 2023 season, the bowl name changed from Cheez-It Bowl to Pop-Tarts Bowl
Previously known as the Camping World Bowl, the Cheez-It Bowl features matchups between teams from the ACC and Big 12. This usually provides for some solid games between fan bases that are loyal and passionate. Add this to the weather in Florida in December, and you have a great recipe for a perfect evening watching college football.
Food & Beverage 4
Finding food at Camping World Stadium is easy. For those in the suite levels, the food options are incredibly plentiful – the main suite on the recently renovated west side of the stadium features a full-service bar and buffet, and outside of that are several bars with comfortable tables, chairs, and couches. In the main concourse the north end zone features a taco stand as well as some other food options. For the majority of food vendors a quality hot dog will cost you $4.50, while a chef’s choice game day hot dog costs $7. Nachos are $5, popcorn is $4.50, peanuts run $4.75, and a large pretzel costs $4. In addition, arepas are available all over the stadium for fans to get a taste of Florida. But the best food option remains anything from the 4 Rivers BBQ booths, a local barbecue chain that has gained popularity in recent years thanks to its quality meats and sauces.
If you’re a nacho fan looking for something bigger, the Rio Grande Pork Nachos cost $10, and include shredded lettuce, cheese, and tomatoes, and can also have chicken added for no charge. A rice bowl runs just $10 with pork or chicken, black beans, and diced tomatoes. A cheeseburger with fries costs $12, as do chicken fingers with fries. A spicy buffalo chicken sandwich with pepper jack cheese and fries also runs $12, while a side of fries by itself costs $4.50.
For beverages, a regular beer (Bud Light or Budweiser) costs $8, a large beer runs $11, and an import beer (Stella Artois) costs $11. Bottled water runs $5, while a bottled soda will cost you $5.50.
Being in Florida in December means the weather is almost always perfect, rarely getting cooler than the 50s. On big plays the fans make the ground shake, and it felt like there was no difference in the air. The pre-game entrance of the event’s mascot, Prince Cheddward, on a Cheez-It throne is pretty impressive to see, and the pyrotechnics of the player intros always makes for an exciting scene.
The stadium has seen continued improvements over the years, with the north end zone being filled in on the second level for stadium seating. While the beautiful view of the lake just beyond the stadium’s gates has now been blocked, the filled in bowl looks and feels more like a traditional stadium, with new additional seats available.
What can you say about downtown Orlando? With Camping World Stadium in walking distance of downtown, fans can park in any of the various lots and garages downtown, then walk to and from the stadium along Church Street, the hub of Orlando’s rebirth as a foodie and entertainment destination. The City of Orlando has become a sports-thirsty destination over the last few years – with the explosion in popularity of Orlando City SC and a renewed interest in the Orlando Magic, the City Beautiful loves sports.
There are suburbs to the west of Camping World Stadium, with the downtown city center to the east. There are also tons of hotels nearby, and since the venue sits next to I-4, getting to other resorts and hotels in the greater Orlando area is not hard to do either.
If you want to stay somewhere nearby, Aloft Downtown Orlando and the Grand Bohemian Hotel Orlando are right in the middle of downtown. For food, the Orlando sports faithful flock to Lion’s Pride as well as Schumann’s Jager Haus. For attractions, Walt Disney World and Universal Studios Orlando are both mere minutes south of the downtown area.
The atmosphere at the Cheez-It Bowl is what one would expect from a bowl that features solid upper-tier conferences. Fans can get a taste of the pageantry of bowl games with the premier matchup this game promises, thanks to its tie-ins. The lower bowl also fills up for this game, meaning the sound level will get pretty high when the crowd gets into the game. For bigger matchups, upper level seating also opens up to accommodate fans and, with bigger teams, means sellout crowds – the 2022 edition of the Cheez-It Bowl saw over 61,000 fans pack Camping World Stadium to watch a thrilling game between FSU and Oklahoma.
Camping World Stadium sits just a stone’s throw from I-4 and is literally just off the 408 highway. Getting there is not difficult from the local roads either, as most are multi-lane, and signage is well placed for the parking areas.
Parking on site is plentiful and easy to find. For those without a parking pass, you can find parking in various nearby parking lots and from those selling parking in their front yards. Public transport is also available in the area, making getting to Camping World Stadium an easy process.
Return on Investment 4
Tickets for the Cheez-It Bowl are affordable compared to most games, starting in the $80 range for the end zone and going up from there. Getting the experience of a college bowl game is always enjoyable for sports fans in general, and getting to watch one in Florida in the winter makes it even better – Orlando is blessed with great weather, never too cold nor too hot in December, meaning you will be comfortable no matter where you are from.
The Cheez-It Bowl features plenty of traditional college football experiences; the pre-game and halftime performances traditionally feature both of the schools’ bands. There is also traditionally a pre-game fan fest that includes a pre-game concert, photo opportunities with mascots, band performances, VIP tents, and interactive displays. Finally, the Cheez-It Bowl also features the post-game trophy presentation that championship events are known for, completing the championship feel of the event for fans in the stands.
If you are looking to attend a college bowl game in a place where the weather is great, the location is even better, and the cost is low, you can’t argue against the merits of the Cheez-It Bowl. It features a solid top-tier matchup between college football programs with great fan bases, is played in beautiful December weather in Florida, and won’t break the bank; how could you argue with that?