As I previously alluded to, I traveled to Orlando last weekend to attend Avitaween. And while that was certainly the main event, it was far from the whole story. It was, in fact, one of nine meet-ups for me during the trip.
First up was lunch at the Orlando airport with several others that were arriving at around the same time. These were all people I hadn’t meet before and we coordinated via Twitter. Kim was already there when we got there and later, Sheila, Employee3699 and her fraughter joined us. Chick-Fil-A was the fare of choice, apparently being unavailable in the far-off land of Chicago. Or something like that. Then it was time to wait over an hour in the Budget car rental line. Joy. That was probably the only negative of my whole weekend, at least the only one that directly affected me.
Friday evening was the occasion of a wonderful dinner hosted by Faiqa and Tariq. In attendance were several bloggers I’d already met and was thrilled to see again: Poppy & Dawg, Rachel, Robin and Dave2. I also got to meet many more: Britt & Jared, Heather & Tyler, Finn & Mister, Hilly, Lisa, Karen and Becky. There were some others present, including some kids, but I’m sticking to bloggers (and their spouses) here. Great food and great times!
Saturday morning’s arrival meant breakfast. I love breakfast. Kim joined several of the dinner attendees (Finn & Mister, Poppy & Dawg, Rachel, Robin and me) at TooJay’s. After breakfast, we discovered that Robin’s rental had some issues and she and Rachel had to go exchange it (after dropping me back at the Hilton, where I wasn’t staying, but had met up beforehand). Bummer that their plans got messed up by having to drive back to the airport, but watching Robin work it on the phone was pretty impressive.
Back at the Hilton, I sat around chatting with various attendees until it was time for a late lunch. Sheila, Employee3699, Fraughter, Nicole and… grumble… I’ve gone and forgotten their names. One other couple. 😦 I even tried looking through photos, to no avail. Anyway, we went to Bahama Breeze. I was still full from breakfast, so I didn’t order any lunch and then had a dessert. It was some sort of banana bread-bananas-caramel-ice cream-whip cream concoction that ended up not being as good as I had hoped. Oh, well.
Back to the hotel to get ready for the main event, Avitaween 2009: INVADED!!!! Words fail me, so have a look at the Flickr stream. Okay, I’ll come up with some words. Or one word. Absomazingtastibulous! [Edit: I forgot to mention that there are also a couple of karaoke videos.]
As the festivities were starting to wind down (though plenty of people looked like they’d be there for a while), a group of us decided to head over to Denny’s for post-party, late night food. My steak & egg burrito really hit the spot. Let’s see how well I can recall who was at Denny’s. Poppy & Dawg, Robin, Rachel, Shiela, Kim, Employee3699, Fraughter, Finn & Mister, Karen and Adam‘s friend Chris. I think that’s everyone, but I could be forgetting someone at the other end of the table.
Sunday morning pretty much went by while I slept, which was fine since I had breakfast the night before. Marci and I were able to have lunch with Mike & Susie at Five Guys, and then sit and chat with them for a couple of hours back at the Hilton. Getting to know other people is one of my favorite parts of these trips, so I really appreciated this opportunity.
At that point, we needed to check into our new hotel. We were switching to the hotel where Marci would be spending the rest of the week as she was staying in town for a conference. We were planning to meet up with Marty & Reba, but the way things ended up working out I had dinner with Adam. Just the two of us at Chili’s, where we had a good opportunity to actually have some interesting conversations — no time for that for Adam at his own party, of course!
I still needed to meet up with Marty — I had a package for him, plus, he’s state of inebriation at the party pretty much precluded conversations — but I wanted to stop by the Orlando Hard Rock Cafe first. This was a bit of an adventure as it required parking in the Universal Studios parking garage ($3 from 8pm to 10pm) and a bit of a walk. I walked around the restaurant for a bit looking at the various memorabilia, but I didn’t want to spend too long as I wasn’t sure how late Marty wanted to be out. I bought my requisite Hard Rock shirt and headed back to the car.
I finally met Marty at TGI Friday’s where we caught up and I had a much better dessert, a Chips Ahoy! Ice Cream Sundae. And half-price Long Island Iced Teas for Marty!
As I said earlier, my favorite part of these trips is hanging out with other people, so I was thrilled that I had so many different opportunities to do so. Looking forward to the next one. Did someone say something about Vegas in December?!