April 8, 2013

Adventures In Orlando

A couple of weeks ago I packed my bags and headed to Orlando, FL for a week long work trip.  Approximately four times a year my office holds a SOAR TTT (train-the-trainer) in various cities around the country.  In November we went to Denver and later this year we will travel to Austin, TX - but first up, Orlando!  I was psyched for this trip because even though we were going to be spending 90% of our time in a hotel conference room, that meant 10% would be spent in the sun, enjoying the warm weather or at Disney World!  So here is my Orlando trip - in pictures!
First night in Orlando we headed to downtown Disney for dinner!   Ate at  Ragland Road Irish Pub & Restaurant - it was delicious!
At the restaurant there were a bunch of Irish dancers - it was a lot of fun to watch them dance while we ate!
More of Downtown Disney!  This place had the most insane candied apples I have ever seen!
The room set up for the Train-The-Trainer!
Mickey welcomed us every time we went into our hotel!
Another night in Downtown Disney - me with a dude from Pirates of the Caribbean.

Mr. Potato Head!

On our second to last night in town we headed to Universal Studios.  We arrived at 6:15 PM, not knowing that the park closed at 7 PM - this fact did not deter us since were determined to ride Harry Potter, but first we had to get there and of course the most popular ride is located at the back of the park!
On our way to HP we had to pass through Dr. Seuss land!
Getting closer!

Hogwart's Express
Swording hat anyone?  We made it to the ride and there was no line - but it still took us a good 5 minutes to navigate the maze to the actual ride.  We were told that when the line is full it can be up to a six hour wait!
The rooms leading up to the ride was one of the best parts - everything was extremely interactive and (I am told) was pretty much straight out of the book.  I should probably mention now that I am not really into Harry Potter - never have been despite my sister's obsession, I haven't read the books and I have only seen bits and pieces of all the movies; so overall I was a little skeptical about whether or not the ride was actually worth it.  Boy was I proven wrong!  The ride was awesome!  I would probably go back to Universal Studios and Orlando, FL just to ride that again (and vacation of course).  On the ride you are seated and strapped into a harness - after that it is a simulated ride where you are essentially flying and following Harry.  Things pop out at you, the ride moves you this way and that and the entire time it really feels like you are flying.  Overall - it was awesome!  A must do when at Universal Studios!

Seen on our way to Spider-Man!  So after riding HP we had about 15 minutes until the park closed and we were told that if we were in a line before 7 PM we would be able to ride the ride.  Originally we wanted to do Jurassic Park but that ride gets you soaking wet so we opted for the Amazing Spider-Man!  I remember riding this years ago when I went with my mom and sisters but it was still a blast!

The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man!
And here is our awesome team in Downtown Disney!  Me (bottom) then Jen, Daz and Pam from left or right.

Our TTT in Orlando was a lot of work but also a lot of fun!  I really hope we can make it down there again at some point.  I hear there is an awesome food and wine festival every year - that coupled with a little park hoping would be so much fun!  Next up in September will be our TTT in Austin!

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