Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Next Stop....Orlando, FL!

Duty called and I had to travel to Orlando, FL for a few days (I know, wow is me). Unfortunately my allergies decided to join me on the trip which made the trip a lot less pleasant. Fortunately after a day of staying in bed, I feel like I am finally back on track to feeling better.

While in Orlando, I had the pleasure of staying at one of the hotels at Universal Studios, Loews Royal Pacific Resort. Since it's the off season for the Disney properties, Universal Studios closed at 6 pm daily, so I didn't get the opportunity to go check out any of the attractions after my work responsibilities were over. Fortunately, Universal City Walk was open late and I did have the chance to try The Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. and Emeril's Restuarant Orlando. About the resort...

Until I arrived I didn't realize that the resort has a Pacific Islander theme to it. When I arrived, the valet person said "Aloha!" and I felt like I was back in Maui again! All of the staff were very nice and accommodating during my stay. The resort is a mid-size resort, and it was very easy to get from my room to the conference area. (I've stayed at properties in Las Vegas where it was a solid 15 minute walk from the room to the conference area)

The nice thing about the resort is that the hotel stay included admission to Universal Studios, which was a short walk or water taxi ride away (an $87 a day value!). If I had been able to go to Universal Studios, my room key also would have given me access to special lines to access the attractions quicker. So if you are ever traveling to one of the Disney properties, you might want to consider staying on site and inquiring if the resort offers this amenity.

About the food...

While I was there, I was pleasantly surprised by a tasty and colorful grilled shrimp salad that I had at Bubba Gumps. And if you plan on dinign there, you might want to be up to speed on your Forrest Gump trivia!

I've been fortunate to dine at a few different Emeril restaurants before (Las Vegas, New Orleans, and this was my second visit to the one at City Walk). The service is always outstanding - my glass was never half full, crumbs were quickly brushed away from the table, and finished dishes were quickly removed. I had a wonderful Cioppino (seafood stew) which certainly helped the sore throat that I was nursing.

If you ever plan a trip to Orlando, always consider the time of year when making flight arrangements. Since the Orlando airport is extremely busy, you'll want to make certain that you have a solid two hours to return a rental car, check in your bags, and get through the long security lines. I also don't recommend flying standby either since the flights are typically full. I thought I would try for my return flight home since I was able to leave earlier than I thought. In the end, I was able to get home about two hours earlier that I was scheduled to, and I don't know if it was worth all of the hassle.

All in all the business to trip to Orlando was good. Hopefully next time I'll find more time for pleasure!


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