Lori & I travelled to Orlando, Florida November 2-6. I attended a work conference, and Lori got a little much-needed R&R. The conference was held in a large resort near Disney World called the Omni Resort, but we weren't able to stay there as all the rooms were sold out before we made our travel arrangements. Instead, we stayed at the Celebration Hotel, shown here on the right, with a lovely model posing in the foreground.
Celebration (the name of the town the hotel is in) is an interesting little place. Apparently, the land was all owned originally by Walt Disney, and was slated to be part of his grand resort complex there. The land wasn't needed, though, and was sold. I'm not sure if some of the buildings were already built, but it seems like they could have been; the downtown area has sort of a theme park feel.
The trip wasn't all business, though. One night we went out to eat at a place called Sleuth's Mystery Dinner Shows; during dinner these actors portray a comedic mystery, while diners try to figure out whodunnit, and how. It was fun, kind of like the board game Clue, only with real characters instead of little plastic pieces, and with prime rib instead of potato chips. Lori, of course, had the whole thing figured out. I was way off, so that's another way it is like the board game. She always wins at that dumb game!
Here is a picture of a nice couple from Indiana we met at the show. We sat at a table with them during dinner, and chatted with them afterward for an hour or so. His name is Nathaniel, but I can't remember hers (if you're out there, remind me!) She is a nurse at Riley Children's Hospital in Indianapolis, and he is a data analyzer for my great and abominable enemy, Medicare.
We also ate at a nice Thai restaurant (Thai food is our favorite, lately), and at a good but overpriced restaurant in our hotel called The Plantation Room. Call me weird, but it made me feel strange to be served exclusively by black people in a place with that name. Only in the South, I guess!
On Wednesday, the conferences were over at noon, so Lori and I drove over to the Epcot Center, mainly so that Lori could fulfill a lifelong dream of having her picture taken next to the great big ball. With that accomplished, we turned our attention to the many attractions at the only major family theme park where, apparently it is not only acceptable but expected for parents to get drunk in front of their children. We happened to be there during some sort of international beer and wine-tasting extravaganza, and I'm guessing that is why the place had more of a night club feel than usual. I hope so, anyway.
I would imagine that, in its day, Epcot was quite a spectacle. To me, though, it was certainly not worth the $80 each we had to drop for admission. I to think what our "bar tab" would have been had we been sampling the various beverages available. We did try out one Austrian treat from a vendor who promised that "funnel cakes are more addictive than heroin." It was good; not that good.
We were able to extract some thrills from a few of the rides; for me the biggest was riding in the dark next to a beautiful girl on the "future of space" ride, or whatever it's called. She even let me steal a kiss or two, just like we were both teenagers! Here we are on the giant screen TV at the end that puts your faces into a little animated movie.
Needless to say, I am not the biggest fan of theme parks, particularly the Disney variety, but on the bright side the weather was great, I got to spend a whole day with my sweetheart, and I didn't have to hear "It's a Small World" even one time.
All in all, the trip was very fun and a nice break from the daily grind. I learned all kinds of new things about our electronic medical record software that I will be able to take back to my colleagues and staff, so I am excited about that too.