Orlando, Florida: Downtown Disney, Universal CityWalk, palm trees and that lizard.

As I mentioned on Tuesday, last week I spent four days in Orlando, Florida for a work conference. The trip itself was a whirlwind. Business-wise, the trip was a success. When it came to sightseeing, I think we did a fantastic job of cramming as much as possible into the two free nights that we had available.

I do have to mention that we had more-than-perfect flights. Of course, as soon as we touched down in Florida a thunderstorm decided to erupt which meant we had to wait until it was safe for our bags to be retrieved before we could leave. This also meant that my ravenous co-workers and I were about to dine on Applebees Too for our first dinner in Orlando…not exactly what we had intended.

Orlando Florida Cloud View from Airplane Window

View from my plane window prior to the aforementioned torrential downpour. 

Needless to say, as soon as we were able to gather our bags, we were more than anxious to make our way to the resort. Now, it should be noted that I have never been to Florida. My jaw may have hit the floor as soon as I set my eyes on a palm tree. Yes, it was that exciting.

Orlando Florida Resort Palm Trees

Insert dramatic jaw dropping here.

Florida Resort Palm Trees

Let me tell you, palm trees are 1000 times more attractive than the maple and pine trees that we get to stare at in the Midwest. Florida’s residents are lucky people.

Our resort location was wonderful. Before we headed to the convention, I was forewarned that there were lizards randomly jetting across the sidewalks of the resort. This sounds absolutely bizarre when you live somewhere where lizards are placed on display only in small aquariums and treated as exotic creatures. (Forgive me if that is not what the little critter I am about to introduce you to should have been called. That was all we could come up with.)

Orlando Florida Resort Lizard

I present to you the lizard.

Our days flew at the convention and our nights were completely unplanned. We spent the first night at Downtown Disney. After a failed attempt to eat at the much overhyped Planet Hollywood, we ate at the only place with a 25-minute wait, Wolfgang Puck. I ordered the Margherita Wood Fired Pizza and was shocked at how delicious it was (and not just because it was 9:30 P.M. and I was famished). I should also mention that someone in our group ordered the Smoked Salmon Pizza and everyone who sampled it just about lost their minds. Apparently, if you ever eat here, you should try that, too. We had a great time at Wolfgang Puck. Our server was a blast and the service was wonderful.

Planet Hollywood Orlando Florida Downtown Disney

Planet Hollywood: Overhyped. I saw a lot of miserable-looking people in there.

Wolfgang Puck Orlando Florida Downtown Disney

Wolfgang Puck: Winner. Fabulous server and insanely delicious pizza.

We spent the second night at Universal CityWalk. We were only able to find one restaurant that was accepting reservations for a group of our size and that was Pastamoré Ristorante & Market. Upon arrival, Pastamoré seems like very casual dining, but I really did enjoy my dinner. I ordered the Blue Claw Crab Ravioli (as did at least one half of our table) and it was absolutely delicious. When I was finished I literally said “I did not want that to end.” Dinner was a success. We spent the rest of the night roaming CityWalk. I finally hit the sack in time to sneak in a bit of sleep before our 5:45 A.M. taxi ride back to the airport and then I was on my way home.

The last two weeks have been wildly busy. It feels great to be home and I am settling back into routine again. I wouldn’t mind seeing a few of those palm trees again though. I’d take the lizard, too…just for entertainment’s sake.

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