Last week, my company held our annual convention and sales meeting in Orlando, Florida. For months our staff worked to get ready for the meeting, and it was very gratifying to see it all come together. My main job at these conventions is to produce the main ballroom portions of the show, including two general sessions and three awards ceremonies. I worked extremely hard to make all the various videos, create the PowerPoint presentations, write the scripts, coach the emcees, provide voice overs and direct the rehearsals and call the actual shows, working with the lighting, sound and video guys, along with the stage manager to make sure everything goes smoothly. Thankfully, everything did. The meeting was a resounding success and I was quite pleased with the way it turned out. Needless to say, I was extremely exhausted when it was over.
However, that didn’t keep me from taking advantage of my being in Orlando. I called my brother Nate and he agreed to make the four hour drive from Tallahassee, where he is earning his PhD. He arrived just as the final show was wrapping up on Friday night. He slept in my hotel room and the next morning we got up early and hung out in the hot tub and talked politics. (The Florida presidential primary was just a few days away, and we were very interested to see whether Romney could prevail over McCain.)
Anyway, by 9:00 we were parked at Universal Studios and were literally running to get to the entrance to the park. Nate had used his Florida-resident discount to purchase a 2-park ticket to both Universal Studios and Universal’s Islands of Adventure. I was determined to get the most out of the day! However, my flight was scheduled to leave at 5:25, so we only had six hours or so (from 9:15 to 3:15).
The day was perfect for riding the rides. The lines weren’t long at all and we were able to run from one ride/show to another one.
Islands of Adventure
This theme park is adjacent to Universal Studios and is the future home of Harry Potter’s Wizarding World. It was first on our list on Saturday and we stayed there for about three hours. Here’s the rundown:
Incredible Hulk – a sweet roller-coaster that propels you up to the top of the hill with surprising speed; and you guessed it, the ride was appropriately green.
Dr. Doom’s Tower of Terror – a blast off ride similar to the rocket at Lagoon; we saw the entire park from atop the ride and could even see the Orlando LDS Temple in the distance; very cool.
Spider-man – this amazing combination of 3-D technology, water, fire and heat made this the most memorable ride in that theme park. All of Spider-man’s villians came after us, but our friendly neighborhood Spider-man was there to keep us safe.
Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls – despite assurances from the ride host that we wouldn’t get wet, we both got pretty soaked. Nate was NOT happy about that, especially since he strongly suggested we skip the ride, but I wouldn’t hear of it. Sorry Nate.
Jurassic Park – this was a sweet ride, very similar to the one in California where a T-Rex almost eats you before you fall three or four stories into the water.
Dueling Dragons – suspended in the air, legs dangling, I found this ride to be quite cool; lots of twists and turns in this thrilling coaster.
Poseidon’s Fury – at first I thought this walk-through attraction / show was going to be lame, although the exterior of the building was awesome. But the special effects of the finale made it all worth it; very cool. Funniest part? When the big flames were shooting around us and Nate reached out his hands to welcome the warmth (we were still wet from the Ripsaw Falls).
I think I’ll end here and recap Universal Studios and my harrowing trip to the airport in another post. I’ll also see about posting some more pictures too.