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Old 01-13-2013, 05:38 PM   #1
celestialred
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Monty Python's Flying Business Conference! - a micro SW TR

**Mods, if this isn't the correct place for this please feel free to relocate it accordingly.**

(cue the intro music and foot squish!)

Hello everyone and welcome to my very first trip report. I spent a whirlwind 48 hours in Orlando for work last week. We were at the Renaissance SeaWorld, and also had a private function across the street at SW for one evening. This will be mostly about "the Rennie" and how it fares with conferences, but I will do my best to elaborate about other things that may be more useful to leisure travelers as well.

Well, it's hard to argue when your company decides to have its annual sales kickoff in the Sunshine state and you get to escape from 5 inches of snow on the ground, even if it's mostly spent indoors. So with that serving as my motivation, I round up my bags at MCO (had to connect through ATL) and locate the shuttle bus check-in rep, who leads me and my luggage to the bus. The driver takes one look at me and asks me if I'm with the right shuttle. Oh yes, I am, and I'm a bit befuddled by this until I hop on. Apparently, I take "comfort when flying" a bit too literally. While I was in workout clothes and sneakers, my colleagues were in nice jeans or khakis, cardigans or blazers and loafers. And we had at least three hours before the actual meetings begin, so I guess I'm just gonna be more comfy than you so there!

So, we pull in to the porte-cochere (I just call them canopies) and things are unloaded. A hotel valet helps me to get in and oriented to the long but quickly moving check-in line. The navigator (aka front desk clerk) that checks me in is Stephen, and he is super friendly and helpful. My room wasn't ready just yet but I wanted to get freshened up. He offered to move me to a 2 queen room but I decline, preferring to wait for the king room. He directs me to a restroom that was nearby but didn't get as much foot traffic as others. By the time I'm done changing and freshening up, my room is ready. I didn't even have to get back in line as Stephen waved me right over and handed me my room keys. I can't even think of a time that this was done for me, and wow did I ever appreciate it.

Next up: dining, room, and conference facilities! Hmmm, maybe this won't be so micro after all...
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Nicole DH
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CSR May 1998-Honeymoon
RPR @ Universal Jan 2007-Work Conference
Renaissance @ SeaWorld Jan 2013-Work Conference Micro-Trip Report Here!
Sep 2013-Back to CSR and First Trip For The Kids - Come check out my PTR here!
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Old 01-13-2013, 06:39 PM   #2
celestialred
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My accomodations were a 3rd floor king room with a sofa (I'm assuming it's a pullout but I didn't try) with an interior view. The Rennie is an "atrium" style hotel, so what passed for my window was a set of french doors out to a small balcony with just enough room to stand on, facing the interior of the hotel. The cupholder running just below the bannister was a nice touch. I'm betting this place sees a good chunk of multi-level balcony parties if you KWIM. Anyhoo, the room was clean and came with a minifridge but no microwave. I unpacked and headed downstairs for some lunch.

As I'm walking along I note that, yes, this building is a bit, uh, shall we say vintage 1987 architecturally speaking. It had that galleria-mall feel to it with the exposed steel support beams and dual atrium windows on the roof. There wasn't a Gap store, Chess King or Sbarros, but there was a Starbucks, which makes a lot of not-morning-people happy. Now that doesn't mean the decor is as dated as the building. It was very pleasant overall with blues, greens, and sandy-type colors throughout.

Down the elevator to the restaurant, Tradewinds. It's the only restaurant open all day at the hotel and I'm told by a fellow conventioneer that it's a twenty minute wait for a table. I contemplate getting carry-out but the manager is able to seat me right away since I'm solo. I had a shrimp chopped salad and a Pepsi. Salad was good, service was okay.

As it turned out, there was a second large business conference running concurrently with ours. Despite the fact that they were dealing with several hundred people in attendance, the hotel staff handled things well. Convention facilities are spread between the first and second floors. Everything as far as tables, seating, projection media hardware, etc. was in place and to my knowledge we had no technical issues. Break areas were kept up and refreshed promptly with whatever snack or beverage was needed. We were even able to watch the BCS title game in the ballroom used for our opening ceremonies so no one had to worry about crowding into the bar. But I was pretty tired after rubbing elbows with everyone so I went back to my room and zonked out.

Next up: My hovercraft is full of manta rays, or How I Spent My Evening at SeaWorld
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Nicole DH
DD'05 DD'08 Ginger

CSR May 1998-Honeymoon
RPR @ Universal Jan 2007-Work Conference
Renaissance @ SeaWorld Jan 2013-Work Conference Micro-Trip Report Here!
Sep 2013-Back to CSR and First Trip For The Kids - Come check out my PTR here!
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Old 01-13-2013, 09:16 PM   #3
kandb
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We are going to seaworld/acquatica/discovery cove in April, enjoying your report. We actually stayed at the Renaissance around 4 years ago, nice hotel, super convient to seaworld.
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Old 01-14-2013, 04:58 AM   #4
Eddie McCarthy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kandb
We are going to seaworld/acquatica/discovery cove in April, enjoying your report. We actually stayed at the Renaissance around 4 years ago, nice hotel, super convient to seaworld.
Cool
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Old 01-16-2013, 04:59 PM   #5
celestialred
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I'm sorry for the delay here, it seems the flu decided to tag along on the trip home and blow through the whole family. Thankfully we're all on the mend now, so getting back to business here...

Tuesday: I accidentally slept in to the point of almost missing the morning keynote speaker. Insomnia from the previous two nights threw me off and I paid for it. Once I realized the time, I hopped out of bed and got ready as quickly as I could and still make it look easy, you know, in case I bumped into my boss. After the morning sessions, lunch was held for us outside near the pool area. We were lucky that the weather was so wonderful during this time, sunny and 80s. I wish I could have taken advantage of the pool itself, but I settled for loafing on a lounger with dessert for a few scant minutes before the afternoon sessions. The kids water play area looked like something my girls would have enjoyed immensely.

I also was able to pamper myself a bit at the hotel spa. It runs a mid-week happy hour special where you get 35% off one 50 minute or 80 minute service. There was a two hour gap between the end of the day's sessions and the SeaWorld event, and my spur-of-the-moment decision paid off, as I was able to get an express facial/mini-massage 50-minute appointment. I wish I could have gotten a full massage but my schedule and the spa's previous bookings just didn't mesh quite right. No biggie. It's quite nice and tranquil and the staff very professional and courteous. I loafed around post-massage in the lounge area and enjoyed some light snacks and watching tropical fish on the TV.

I met my colleagues out in front of the hotel under the canopy and we walked over to SeaWorld for dinner, dancing, and teambuilding by way of the park. Bear in mind, this was a private after-hours event, and my company had not rented the entire park out. The front portion of the park had been opened to us, including the manta ray touch pool, some shops, the 360 aquarium, and my preferred spot of the night, the Manta coaster. After dinner, me and a couple colleagues hit the open shops. I found goodies for me, my BFF, and my girls but the selection was on the skimpy side for my DH. I picked him up a hat, but would have liked to have seen more shirts with a yin-yang motif. After shopping, I indulged my inner thrill seeker and rode the Manta. Four times. In a row. Twice up front and twice in the back. IT WAS AWESOOOOOOOME. Nobody else in my family rides coasters so it's a rare treat when I get the chance. I ended up running out of time to see the aquarium, unfortunately, before things shut down and we moved the party back to the hotel bar. I had every intention of hitting the sack no later than 11pm so I could be properly rested for the next day. It ended up being more like 1am. Time flies when you're having fun.
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CSR May 1998-Honeymoon
RPR @ Universal Jan 2007-Work Conference
Renaissance @ SeaWorld Jan 2013-Work Conference Micro-Trip Report Here!
Sep 2013-Back to CSR and First Trip For The Kids - Come check out my PTR here!
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Old 01-16-2013, 06:31 PM   #6
FLOIR
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Quote:
Originally Posted by celestialred View Post
I indulged my inner thrill seeker and rode the Manta. Four times. In a row. Twice up front and twice in the back.

I have my personal favorite but which did you think was a better ride, in the front or in the back?
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Old 01-20-2013, 06:38 PM   #7
celestialred
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FLOIR View Post
I have my personal favorite but which did you think was a better ride, in the front or in the back?
The back, easily!!

Wrapping up, check out was Wednesday. Very painless since I had no incidentals to my room. One of the ballrooms was set aside for everyone's luggage while we wrapped things up in another area. I had to leave early to catch my flights back home. The bell services crew was good and very helpful to me; there had even been an early transport arranged for the few of us departing early. So, I hopped out of my dress wedges and into my sneakers for the odyssey back home.
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CSR May 1998-Honeymoon
RPR @ Universal Jan 2007-Work Conference
Renaissance @ SeaWorld Jan 2013-Work Conference Micro-Trip Report Here!
Sep 2013-Back to CSR and First Trip For The Kids - Come check out my PTR here!
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