06 November, 2012

It's all over and I'm sitting in the airport, waiting to go home.  Yesterday was presentation day.  Over all things went pretty well.  We had a few glitches, but no one got fired, so that's good. We were finished with our part by about 11:45 and the whole International Day ended around 1PM. 

You would think that I had time to relax after that, but no such luck.  After a nice lunch with a client it was back to work.  Los Angeles was just getting into the office as we had finished up the presentations so there was more to do.

We ended the night with about six clients and a seafood dinner that was great.  After dinner was the first bar back at the hotel and after that was the other bar.  By about 1AM I was done.  Lack of sleep and too much champagne did not make it easy to get up this morning.  But I managed.  :-)

I wish I could say that I enjoyed Ft. Lauderdale, but I don't think I saw enough of it to make a judgement.  The temperature was nice, the beaches were lovely, the shopping mall.... well it was huge and made me think of Hong Kong, but it was still just a mall.  Perhaps next year I'll have a little more time on the beach.   Now the countdown to Asia begins.  We leave for Hong Kong in just five weeks.  We'll have a couple of new people with us so I'm sure we'll do all the tourist things again, giving me lots to write about. Until then... safe travels!

04 November, 2012

Today began with with a very early call to work.  We left for the theater at 7:45 for our first rehearsal at 8:30.  I know I'll never convince most of you that I really am working, but I am.  We have three major studio presentations this time.  First up this morning was Warner Bros.  Love my tech crew, but they never have enough time to get set up, so we're always running behind. 

We thought we were going to have a nice break from about 10 until 4PM.  No such luck.  After a quick meeting to start planning the next two conferences, we stopped by the pool for a quiet lunch.

You really can't beat a lunch with a view like this.  Perfect weather, not too hot at all.

So after lunch the boys, (my boss JZ and my Jr. Producer P) both want to go back to their rooms.  Forget that!  I'm headed for a walk on the beach.  I know I can't stay too long as I've forgotten the sunscreen, but it's right there, calling me.  Off I go.  It's a really shallow beach compared to the Cali beaches, but it's nice.  And the water feels great on my feet. 

And this is my hotel from the beach.  I can't believe how close we are!  Why do I not have the time (or a suit) to just hang out and enjoy it?

Oh that would be because within ten minutes my boss is calling me back to work.  Oh I have to rebuild the entire keynote presentation?  No sweat.  Regretfully, I take one last photo and head upstairs.

See, I couldn't even muster a full smile.  After several hours of working, we head back to the theater for the Paramount rehearsal.  We spend an hour in a sushi restaurant as I finish up the Sony presentation.  Everything went well.  That is to say, Sony only had minor changes and I managed to finish those over drinks.  (1&2)  Then we crash a Paramount dinner where we become that obnoxious table that can't stop laughing and drinking.  You know the one.  You want to be as far from it as possible, even while you wish you were part of such an awesome group.  Two drinks (3&4) and two hours later, I'm ready to head to bed.  We're up early again for all three presentations.  Plus side... I'll be done by 11:30 and then hopefully some more free time before I fly home on Tuesday morning. 

Last of all, here is a look at my hotel room and the view towards the land.  Sadly no ocean view for me on this trip, but hey, there's always Hong Kong or Barcelona!

If anything exciting happens tomorrow, I'll be sure to write about it.  Otherwise, the plan is another amazing dinner and more drinks than our group can count!  Goodnight everyone!

03 November, 2012

I wasn't sure this day was going to go as well as it did.  I managed to set my alarm wrong.  So when I woke up at 8:30AM it was already too late to make the early morning hours at the park.  Furious with myself, I was sure I was going to spend the rest of the day waiting in the longest lines known to man.  I had already heard horror stories of people waiting just to get into Hodgmeade, not to mention the rides themselves.

Upon arrival at the park I decided to delay the waiting for just a bit and headed for the biggest roller coaster in the park: THE INCREDIBLE HULK.  Single ride line, yes please!  No wait at all, walked onto the platform and right onto the ride.  It's definitely a good coaster. Twists, turns, loops, this one has it all.  It does knock your head around a bit, but it's got an amazing launch. 

Then I steeled myself for what I knew would be an agonizing wait at the Wizarding World.   Wait... what?  No lines for Hogsmeade?  Surely I just got lucky walking in, the lines for the rides must be insane.  I stow my bag in a free locker and head into the DRAGON CHALLENGE.  This part of the park clearly has been designed to handle some extremely intense crows.  The path to the entrance of the ride winds through trees and flags preparing you for the Triwizard Tournament.  Right next to the entrance you pass Mr. Weasley's old Ford Angelina. 

Once inside, it's dark.  Very dark.  As someone who wears glasses, sometimes I just keep my sunglasses on inside so I'm not switching.  NOT a good idea.  :-)  I walked through half blind, terrified I was going to trip.  Even inside is prepared for a crowd and it takes some time to walk through the empty queue.  Yes I said empty.  The only point I had to wait was when I decided to wait for the front row.  And there were only about two groups of people in front of me. 

Unequivocally this was my favorite ride.  It's a great coaster where you hang from the track and your feet dangle.  There are actually two different tracks that are pretty similar.  I have to say I felt the drop on the teal track was more breathtaking than the burgundy.  Yes, you know it, I rode this one twice.  I actually tried to ride it again before I left, but they had closed for something.

A few other things not to miss when you visit.  Butterbeer.  Not that I need to tell any other nerds to try this, but did you know there were two types?  Just a regular cold beverage and a frozen one.  And the "foam" at the top.  I think it's made of marshmallow fluff.  The frozen was by far my favorite, but I'd love to hear what anyone else likes. 

Frozen Butterbeer
Liquid Butterbeer

I also had lunch at the Three Broomsticks.  Talk about amazing decor.  You're right there expecting any moment for the characters to walk through the door.  And the food was good too!  One last beverage that I found delicious... Pumpkin Juice!  Now I didn't buy it at the carts outside, but with my meal.  I thought it was spectacular, but looking at the ingredients, I can't imagine how it all comes together to taste so good. 

After that I decided to walk around the rest of the park a bit.  I walked through Jurassic Park and the Comic Book land.  Ending up at Marvel Island I decided to check out the Spiderman ride.  Now I'm not a huge Spiderman fan, but this ride was great!  It's like the Simpsons ride at Universal combined with Indiana Jones at Disney.  Moving carts and amazing 3D.  I highly recommend this one.

Back once more to the Wizarding World where I waited in line to go into Olivander's.  It's a highly detailed tiny room, where they only let 30 people in at a time.  An old man picks one young person to test wands with some lovely effects.  I could only imagine how excited that child must be to suddenly find herself part of the experience. 

 Here are a couple of bonus images just for fun. 

One last ride on THE HULK and I was done.  I'm sitting right now in the airport ready to head down to Ft. Lauderdale and work.  I have rehearsals early tomorrow but all my presentations will be finished by noon on Monday.  I hope there will be something interesting to post for you there, but it may just end up being my hotel room and the ocean.  Until then!

02 November, 2012

Harry Potter

So the Wizarding World of Harry Potter was everything I hoped it would be and more.  Between phone calls and emails from work, I was able to duck into the park for about an hour before they closed.  It was well worth it.  There were almost no lines and I was able to jump on a couple of rides right away.

First thing you see is the Hogwarts Express.  All aboard!

Then Hogsmeade... Did you picture it any differently in your mind?  Walking the streets and looking into the shops, I was already on nerd overload.

And then there are the shops.  The amount of detail in the shop windows is just amazing.

You keep walking down the street and suddenly, there it is.  Hogwarts castle.  If you allow for perspective, it's amazing.  Identical to the movies, looming above you.

So the first ride I jump on is the Flight of the Hippogriff.   It's a fast but somewhat tame roller coaster in the vein of Big Thunder Mountain at Disneyland.  And don't let tame make you think it isn't fun.  It's fast and curvy and definitely worth a ride.  As you walk the line, you run across Hagrid's hut.

Next I went into the castle itself for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.  This ride is a little, Soaring over California and a dash of Indiana Jones.  It's fast and moves you around quite a bit. But it also uses projection to make you feel like you're flying with Harry.  Honestly this was one of the most fantastic rides I've ever been on.  Between the details of actually walking through Hogwarts, where the paintings move and Harry, Ron and Hermione talk to you, it's nerd heaven.  I'll be honest, it was near to tears of amazement through the whole thing.

Tomorrow I'll ride the Dragon's Challenge and the other two all over again.  So hopefully I'll have more photos to post tomorrow.

In the meantime, I'm staying in the Loews Royal Pacific Resort.  It's the least expensive of the Universal hotels.  It's nice and has plenty to do.  It's about a 5-7 minute walk to Islands of Adventure and the City Walk.  Not too bad at all. 

They also have a lovely bar, Jake's American where I ended the night with a few drinks and new friends.

So tomorrow I'm headed back to the park for the early hours.  I'll jump on a plane around 7 and head to Ft. Lauderdale.  I'll try to post more photos after dinner tomorrow night.  Now it's off to bed and dreams of Harry Potter.

Hello Friends!  It's that time again.  Well on a small scale anyway.  Right now I'm sitting on a plane on my way to sunny Florida.  Yes I know, more American travel.  Never fear!  Hong Kong will follow in just five short weeks.  In the meantime... Florida!  I'm headed to Orlando first for one night at Universal Studios.  Those of you who know me, know where I'm headed.  That's right, it's time for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  Tonight I will be in the park for the first time, I'm staying on the property and will take advantage of the early entry tomorrow morning.  I will have until about 4PM or so all on my own, just for fun.  After that, I hop a plane at 7 to go to Hollywood, Florida and more work as usual. 

This time the conference is ShowEast and the focus is Latin America.  I'm coordinating the presentation for Warner Bros. Pictures and assisting on a couple of others.  I'll be making my way back home on Tuesday, so this isn't one of those crazy long trips.  So prepare yourselves my friends, more photos of my nerdiness coming today, then just Florida sun!