Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Orlando Here I Come!

Just like Memphis a few months back, Orlando beckons me for another business trip. This weekend, I'll be flying out for 3 days of networking in sunny Florida.

I'm attending the national conference for ASIS International - an organization for security professionals.  As I write our magazine's security column, it makes sense to send me to gather new ideas and meet with product vendors.

The Orange County Convention Center where the trade show is (source)
I'm pretty jazzed about this one. Unlike some of our other tradeshows, which are more geared toward meeting vendors, this one is chalk full of great sessions.  I'm definitely hitting up these presentions:
  • The Quantum Leap In Security Lighting: LED & Induction Lighting
  • Crisis Management and Social Media – the New Opportunity
  • Preises Liability: A Trial Lawyer's Hints for the Security Professional
  • Lessons Learned - Trends In Extreme Violence In the Workplace
I'm also looking forward to this trip as I've never been to Florida before, even though I only have two evenings to explore Orange County. Though excited about a new area to visit, this one comes with a big price tag. 

There are several major theme parks in the immediate vicinity that had looked promising, but they are too expensive - Orlando Universal is around $120, Disney is $85, and SeaWorld is $81.

I certainly can't justify the price, particularly since I could only pop in for a matter of hours. Plus, they're all things that I would want to go with the hubby or in a group, so it makes it easier to bypass.

In hunting around online, I've discovered two inexpensive possibilities that are more in my price range.

First is the I RIDE Trolley.  At $1.25 a ride, I will be shuttled around International Drive, which is home to Universal, SeaWorld, and a slew of restaurants, shopping outlets, and hotels.   

I think it would be fun to just cruise around and see the sights.  Such a simple way to get a feel for an area.  Huzzah for super cheap ways of exploring!

On this boulevard of entertainment, I've found something inexpensive and fantastically geeky: Titanic - The Experience 

Oh yes, I would go to this and relish every moment.  I've had a fascination with sunken ships since 3rd grade and I was a fan of the Titanic long before the movie came out.

I've been to a traveling Titanic exhibit before, but this experience includes full-scale reproductions of ship rooms. The tour guides are even dressed in period costume and play the part of a real passenger.  How cool is that?!  This interactive / living history museum is $20, a deal I find pretty reasonable.

Ok, enough salivating here ... Given that this is a business trip and my time is largely taken up with meetings and seminars during the day, I think one tourist stop is an expected indulgence.  Plus, it keeps my non-refundable costs in check.  

Speaking of expenses, while it would be inappropriate to reveal how much this trip will cost, I can tell you that my expenses are handled two ways.
  • My hotel arrangements and meals are reimbursed after I get back from the trip.  Now that we have a credit card cleared off just for business trips, it makes it easy to pay for stuff out of pocket. 
  • My airfare, quite thankfully, was arranged through a local travel agency and billed directly to the company.
I'm estimating that I'll spend about $40 of my own money of this trip - half going to the Titanic museum and the other half reserved for whatever baubles I decide must come home with me.

Full recap when I get back next week - I promise I won't get eaten by any gators!!!

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