A west indies traveler @ Orlando, FL

Orlando Travel Blog

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Well, here we go … Destination: The sunny and always magic city of Orlando, Florida

This year our annual convention is in Orlando again. Orlando is a city that you can love or deeply hate based on your mood and travel reason. If you go to Orlando on vacations mode or mood, Orlando is a lovely city offering all kind of entertainment regardless your age; from thematic parks that may easily take 24 hrs of your time all the way down until nice nightlife at Disney Downtown or Universal City Walk  where a nice beer or a glass of wine can outline your night. As you can expect Orlando is very crowded at summer time but without a schedule/clock pressure is enjoyable, also is warm and wet so the proper outfit (Shorts & T-Shirt) is require to properly deal with the weather.

A completely different story is when you go there in a business trip, like me this time. The nightmare begins trying to find a decent (because convenient is unthinkable) flight schedule; doesn’t matter how far in advance you book it, it for sure will suck at the end. There is a logical reason for this, you compete with hundred of thousand of tourist from almost all over the world and another 10,000 employees trying to get there to attend the same summit J

Coming from the west coast adds some complexity because you need a connection somewhere (Chicago, Dallas, LA, etc) which is a risk factor because flight delays and/or weather conditions. The flight itself is also challenging because the planes are full of kids and traditional questions such as: Are we there dad/mom? How much time left? Etc are recurrent among the kids. For me this is a very entertained flight because I use to observe the dynamics of the flight, e.g.: kids running, kids crying, Moms/Dads trying to read a book/magazine and often interrupted, people trying to sleep or trying to complete some work in summary a non standard or bored flight.

Then after you land at the intl airport, the rally starts. From get out of the plane (people is on vacation and by nature they are not in a hurry so takes time to get out of the plane) to pray that your luggage first make it and second is not the last one in the belt. Then the 2md rally starts, the rental… Everybody rents a car so you can expect long lines regardless if you are “preferred” customer or not.

Because the convention, I stayed at the Disney Coronado Springs Resort sharing a room with a friend from Spain. If you are planning to go to Orlando on vacations I will not recommend you to pick this hotel unless it is the last hotel in Orlando with vacancies. The Hotel is really bad in my opinion, poorly managed as a hotel (Housekeeping, bell services, front desk, etc), ugly (a Mexican/southwest decoration style) and expensive. I got there like a 11:30 AM hungry and tired, after almost 20 min of check in because the front desk agent was trying to charge me a full fare instead of convention fare I finally got my key; the room assigned was very far (1/4 mile) from the front desk and I had to walk with my backpack and carry one because the internal transportation service was closed.

After the initial settle in my assigned room, I realized that all the restaurants were closed, that the room service operates until 11 PM and my unique option was to order a Pizza at Domino’s but due to security polices I had to go back to the front desk because the management doesn’t allows delivery inside the room complex. I went to bed at 2:30 AM thinking on my meeting next morning.

The whole week was very good but very intensive (from 7:00 AM ��" 10:00 PM), I had the chance to reconnect with people from Ft. Lauderdale, from my countries and from other latam/Europe countries which is very valuable. I attended several sessions during the convention that allowed me to understand the company strategy for this upcoming year as well as do some networking and meet new people.

I visit some places that I want to recommend if you visit Orlando. If you are connecting through Dallas, you can stop by Dickeys BBQ and have a nice hot links & Brisket sandwich. In Orlando you can go to Texas de Brazil and have the traditional Picanha. Another nice BBQ place is Smokey Bones with a delicious Brisket or a true Ramen in a Japanese Restaurant called Hanamizuke close to the convention center. A colleague organized a group dinner at Fulton’s Crab House but coming from Seattle we have better seafood in this side of the country.

In summary this was an excellent trip, I got deep understanding of my company strategy, I reconnected with old colleagues, I meet new ones and I won a new cellular phone thanks to my colleague Karen who encouraged me to participate in a “pick the winner key” contest at the convention expo.
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photo by: Reephboy