Who comes to THE SUNSHINE STATE and doesn’t pack SUNGLASSES?
In asking, I don’t think I really need to answer, right?
So, we spent our first Orlando daylight hour hunting down a new pair. Fortunately, it wasn’t so challenging and we’d slept so late that at the same time I was also able to get registered for the conference that brought us here in the first place: KronosWorks. In short: it’s an annual conference and learning opportunity for people who use and maintain the scheduling and payroll software that I implemented in my workplace.
So, we took a walk to where part of the conference is taking place: the Hyatt Regency Orlando. The walkway took us through the Orange County Convention Centre which is seriously HUGE. But everything here is. Huge buildings separated by huge open spaces.
We checked out where I will be spending the next few days, grabbed some lunch and wandered around over there.
So far, here’s how we assessed Orlando amid all the palm trees, outrageously loud carpets, dim lighting and random roller coasters: Spacious Vegas.
After our stroll around the neighbourhood, we came back for a mid-afternoon swim. We’d hung out in the family pool last night and today we went to the adults only pool. We swam, we sat in the sun, I read. It was great.
We towelled off and headed out to the first of our KronosWorks engagements: the Canadian Customer Reception where I got to see some old friends and meet some new people over drinks and a nice spread of cheese, veggies and dip and a couple of hot hors d’oeuvres. We hung out at that reception for a couple of hours before the next event began.
As we made our way through the hotel to the big welcome dinner reception, we wound through wide hallways and down escalators (to say the hotel is sprawling would be an understatement.) We turned the final corner and it opened up to a wall of windows behind which we could see lights, flames, bright colours and lots of action. It was such a delightful surprise, I wanted to go running out onto the promenade to see it all. (Unfortunately, photos don’t do it justice.)
Once we were outside, we could see that the event was spread over a very large space and tiers of grass and concrete. Tables of all sizes were spread throughout and small stations of food were everywhere.
I love this kind of party! Small plates with lots of different options. In this case, they included:
- A flatbread station: like pizzas minus the cheese
- A pasta station: freshly cooked ingredients that went into the pasta right in front of you, one cream sauce, one in vodka sauce
- A Mediterranean station: hummus, feta, pita chips, chickpea salad, roasted eggplant and other veggies
- Standard prime rib and mashed potatoes
- A station with risotto, vegetables, chicken and mahi mahi
- Chocolate fondue and handmade truffles
- Dessert! Key lime tarts, chocolate mousse, red velvet cake pops, grapefruit upside down cake and macarons
- Coffee and tea
- Plenty of bars serving domestic beers and wine
- A craft beer station completed with a Kronos ice sculpture and CO2 glass cooling contraption
After a little over an hour trying as many different foods as we could, we headed back to our room to relax, digest and change back into our (wet) bathing suits for one last swim for the day.
Our first full day in Orlando was full indeed! And, funny, we don’t seem to miss the Vancouver rain at all! ????