It doesn’t seem that long ago when Orlando was all about Mickey, Minnie, and Shamu for me. My daughters were youngsters and our Orlando vacations are memories I will forever cherish. Today, my oldest daughter Megan is preparing for her freshman year of college and my younger daughter, Ashley is going to be a high school freshman.
I got to experience a different side of Orlando for a few days during Successful Meeting University and came away with a whole new perspective. This is a destination that does meetings and does them well.
The statistics are staggering. There are 116,000 guest rooms in the city and 2.1 million square feet of space at the Orange County Convention Center alone. Our group stayed at the impressive Rosen Centre Hotel that has 1,334 guestrooms and more than 100,000 square feet of meeting space and is connected to the convention by a skywalk.
Our opening reception was sponsored by the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin and it wowed the group. There wasn’t a steam dish filled with the traditional banquet grub to be found but instead unique creations that featured molecular gastronomy. Think spheres of chicken noodle soup and compressed watermelon.
Laurent Branlard, executive pastry chef at the Swan and Dolphin for the past ten years, was on hand putting the finishing touches on a sugar sculpture that he spent 12 hours creating. (See picture below.) I’ve learned first hand that Orlando is sweet for children and adults alike and is also a serious meeting destination!