Vacation planning can be hard for me. I figure Angelica will do a better job since I won't spend too much time on it - and she is actually a much better spend thrift. I will spend more money and rush the process generally. So I really can't complain if we end up doing something that is not as high on my list of things I would do...such as ever go back to Orlando. Too many required trips for Enterprise Connect and now Cisco Live will be here next year as well...oh boy! The Hard Rock Hotel has been fun in the past - came a few years back and had great memories of walking to Universal (or riding the rascal as i did when my feet were killing me...not this year!)
We had really enjoyed the pools last time, listening to some pretty good DJ's and watching them work the crowd with contests for the kids and other fun stuff. When we arrived last Saturday, it sounded even cooler as there was a band playing at the pool. This is where I stared to feel old. We don't drink anymore and coupled with the fact that I wanted to relax and chat with Angelica..but we could not hear each other anywhere in the pool area. I could not imagine trying to tell the staff of the Hard Rock Hotel that the music was too loud...so we toughed it out.
On one of my last Orlando trips for VoiceCon (Enterprise Connect), Stefan on our crew had insisted we all go to see Blue Man Group...so glad we did...but had always wished the family could see it. So this was our chance and we were not dissapointed. The show was fantastic and we all laughed our heads off.
Three days at the parks were just about too much for me. My feet did a lot better and I did not ever seriously consider renting a 'rascal' again. There are really just two parks - as Zack and I nailed down our last night, the Universal Studios park really only has two 'action' rides - one roller coaster that does not take a fast pass (Red Rocket) and the Mummy...which is fun, but short and is getting dated. It would have been fun to have a few more late night outdoor options. Islands of Adventure has the best rides, but they closed at 9 PM. The new Harry Potter area was way cool but way crowded. I finally got to do the signature ride that has the latest technology. The castle was incredible and the ride experience was the best I had ever been on.
Turns out they have four riders per 'bench' which is perched on a fully articulating Kuka arm - an incrdible rolling robot arm that can do ANY motion...it was like riding a Super Techno Crane. The Dragon Challenge, which was first opened in 1999 and is now re-cast as part of the Harry Potter area...is still my favorite. Very very smooth yet still incredible fun.
The last few days have been spent largely lounging on the beach burning up some of my Hilton VIP points at the Hilton Double Tree Cocoa Beach. Seems like an older hotel..but the service is good, the location is great and the town feels a bit like a forgotten tourist trap...some people for sure...but lots of empty buildings. The beach has been very nice however and using Yelp reviews, we found Jazzy's Mainly Lobster...a little shack of a place wiith the most incredible seafood. We ate twice and would still go back for more....The owners are former resort Chefs, super friendly make quite simply the very best food. The first night we were there, it was POURING rain (a frequent occurrence on this trip) and it was still packed, (there are only 3 indoor tables). I even ran into a Cisco employee from RTP who works in Advanced Services (I had run into another guy, sales I think, from a Florida office while in the Hard Rock...he reeked...of party...). But hey..he knew the show!