Convention Center Top Tips

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Convention Center Top Tips
Las Vegas Trade Show Models

Convention Center Top Tips

 

Your’e bringing your business to Orlando, the “City Beautiful” for an upcoming convention. How exciting! The Orange County Convention Center is just one of many venues that may be holding your event. Orlando has a multitude of exciting opportunities that will thrill your sights and senses. You are sure to have a remarkable time. We would like to share some tips with you from start to finish of your attending a convention in our city. It’s our hope these tips come in very handy.

Arriving At MCO (Orlando International Airport)

 

Orlando’s beautiful airport has arguably as many people traveling through it daily than any much larger metropolitan city in the world. The mouse and Harry Potter bring tourists here in droves. Orlando would have a lovely and efficient airport It would stand to reason, There are nicely air conditioned trams that shuttle you from the gates to the main terminal in short order. There are two floors you need to know about at the airport. The main terminal on ground level, and baggage claim and transportation downstairs.

There are plenty of rental cars available from all the companies you would expect. It’s pretty easy to pick up your bags, secure a car or a shuttle to your hotel and start your adventure. Parking is anywhere from 10-$20 per day, depending on whether you park in the main garage or in an outlying lot.

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Be Prepared For The Weather

 

You may be in for a shock as you step out of the comfort of the climate controlled terminal. The wall of humidity smacks you in the face like a prize fighter. The normal expectation you should have is it will be hot with high humidity . The humidity makes it worse. You will be sweating 10 minutes after you have showered. There is a small window, somedays in December through early February where we can get cold fronts down to the 30’s. However, you can also get 90 degrees in February. Therefore, do your homework before hand and pack accordingly.

Convention Center Top Tips

Inside The Convention Center

 

Orlando’s convention centers are state of the art. They are bigger then life, and I mean that literally. The centers are gigantic. Bring comfortable shoes. Ladies, if you are wearing heels, bring them in with you and put them on when you get to your booth. You can easily put 10-20 miles of walking in if you are having to make lots of trips from here to there. I’ve done it myself.

The areas to pick up badges for exhibitors and visitors are often very crowded. It is like standing in a cue line at a theme park. My suggestion is to always be earlier than you wanted to. It will pay off in the long run.

Convention Center Snack Bars

 

Eating at the snack bars is not the best, with all due respect to the folks at the center. You are perceived as a captive audience. You will be willing to pay $10 for an easy bake over slab of pizza and another 5 for a bottle of water. The lines are usually long. If you have an hour lunch break you may spend half of that waiting in line.

In other words, my suggestion is bring lunch. Stop at the Publix supermarket and get a foot long sub, some chips and some bottles of water. Your wallet and your stomach will both thank you later. If you are part of a company that can afford it, walk across the street to one of the nicer resorts and eat there. I’m not sure how lucky you’ll be getting seated though. Very worst case scenario… There is a McDonalds next door to the West Concourse.

Convention Center Top Tips
Convention Center Top Tips

 

Where Are You Staying?

 

The airport is off the same major toll highway as the convention center. It’s called the 528 or Bee Line. It’s a 20 minute drive from the airport to the convention center. It is a toll road so bring petty cash with you. The 528 dead ends at I-4, and I-4 is one exit from the convention center.

Your choices for lodgings are endless. There are literally a hundred hotels and resorts within 15 minutes of the convention center. For instance, the closest resorts to the center are the Hyatt Regency Orlando, The Rosen Plaza, The Rosen Center, Avanti International Resort. Tru By Hilton,, and Rosen Shingle Creek Resort to name a few. They are all world class places to stay and within walking distance from the convention center. Save the parking money.

Plan early as availability at any of the surrounding hotels book up quickly, especially during conventions. The Disney and Universal resorts are lovely but more like 20-30 minutes of driving. We also have a breathtaking Gaylord Palms Resort which is a must see, even if you don’t stay there.

 

Fun Things To For You To Do When You Are Not Working..

Orlando is a playground for adults and children. Aside from the theme parks, Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Studios and Seaworld Orlando, there is International Drive. There are more restaurants, tourist spots, and bars then I could mention. Some favorites of mine include The Wheel in Icon Park, Pointe Orlando, where you will find great dining and shopping including The Capital Grille, Maggiano’s Little Italy, and The Pub. There is also a beautiful movie theater with reclining seats. One of my favorite dining experiences is at a place called Cafe Tu Tu Tango. It’s a tapas styled restaurant featuring local artists and musicians. It’s a great hang, and it’s just a couple miles down the road from the convention center.. There are several water parks, close by as well. You’d be very hard pressed to not be able to find something to do by the convention center.

The Wheel at Icon Park

Convention Center Top Tips

Pointe Orlando

Walt Disney Resort

Cafe Tu Tu Tango

Parking And Traffic…

 

One thing Orlando has no shortage of is land. There are generally parking garages at every resort and places like Pointe Orlando. You can get your parking ticket validated if you can prove you visited a restaurant, club or attraction more times then not. The parking costs at the theme parks are steep. You’ll be looking at paying up to $25.00 for a day’s parking at Disney or Universal. Parking at the airport is up to $20 a day. If you leave to have lunch off property, you’ll have to pay again.

The convention centers have large lots but those lots fill up quickly, so be early. You might find that you have to park your car a distance away and be shuttle to the center.

Traffic in Orlando is a nightmare.. Expect too many cars on the road. Many of them are tourists who have no idea where they are going. The interstate, I-4, has been being worked on for 10 years, and it is still nowhere close to being done. Be careful on the roads. If it’s raining, be triple careful.

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