Hoping to have some downtime before or after the conference? Lucky for you this year’s IAITAM Annual Conference and Exhibit is at the Caribe Royale hotel in Orlando, Florida. There are dozens of attractions within driving distance of the hotel, but we’ve managed to narrow the list down to 10 highlights.
Listen hard, network with your peers and learn everything you can at the conference, and then go have some fun!
- Lake Bryan (6 minute drive / 10 minute walk)
Get some exercise and take in scenic central Florida by taking a walk to and around the nearby Lake Bryan! Put a towel under a palm tree and read a book. Dip your toes in the water. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, head to Buena Vista Watersports and rent Jet Skis, paddle boards or a boat!
- Hawk’s Landing Golf Club (6 minute drive)
Challenge your colleagues at the driving range or to a round of golf (and see if you can convince your boss to pay for it: $59-$105). This unique, award-winning course with wooden bridges and tropical palm trees in the sand traps boasts 18 holes across 220 acres. Treat yourself to some dessert afterwards in the resort (losers buy!).
- Orlando Vineland Premium Outlets (7 minute drive)
Open until 11pm every night, this chic outdoor shopping center inspired by Mediterranean architecture has 160+ stores guaranteed to use up your spending money! Premium retailers include Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH, Armani and Bottega Veneta.
- Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park (8 minute drive)
Never fear if the pool at the Caribe Royale hotel is overcrowded! The closest Disney attraction is only 8 minutes away, and it’s a water park! For those who just want to relax, there’s a lazy river and a faux sandy beach. Whitewater slides and the cleverly named “Miss Adventure Falls” await the thrill seekers. It will be sunny and 88+ degrees Fahrenheit in Florida in May, so don’t forget your sunscreen!
- Disney Springs (9 minute drive)
If premium outlets are too “premium” for your wallet, then head to the family-friendly Disney Springs. Stock up on Disney merchandise and more: purses, clothes, jewelry, shoes, toys from the Lego store and other fun shops. Eat pizza and fries, ice cream and gourmet chocolates, sushi and burgers and don’t forget the mixed drinks. For extra fun, check out the brand new virtual reality hyper-reality experience, Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire.
- Epcot (11 minute drive)
Travel a few minutes further to Epcot, one of the four main theme parks, for the real Disney experience! The home website summarizes the park nicely: “Travel around the globe, under the sea, into outer space… and beyond.” Adults enjoy the acrobats in the China Pavilion, the greenhouses, the many festivals and galleries, designing concept cars at the Test Track, the virtual hang-glide that travels to every country and the classic ride, Spaceship Earth.
- Disney’s Hollywood Studios (12 minute drive)
Fireworks, live sing-alongs on stage and Star Wars characters are just some of the fun. (If you want to go there just to get an autograph and/or a hug from Mickey Mouse, Snow White, Chewbacca, Olaf or Buzz Lightyear, we won’t tell!)
- Animal Kingdom Theme Park (13 minute drive)
“Behold the magic of nature with rare animals and world-class entertainment.” The park is the ultimate zoo with elephants, lions, birds, butterflies, zebras, gorillas, tigers, giraffes and the dinosaurs. Enjoy safaris and Broadway-worthy musicals, and then go beyond Earth to Pandora for a hike beside floating mountains, a boat ride through a bioluminescent rainforest and a flight on a mountain banshee. Join other adults for nightly drinks, light shows and dancing in the streets!
- Magic Kingdom (13 minute drive)
There are plenty of attractions for you at the most magical place on Earth: Stitch’s Great Escape, Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor and classics like Space Mountain and Splash Mountain, the Haunted Mansion, Cinderella Castle, the Hall of Presidents, “It’s a Small World,” Pirates of the Caribbean and the Dumbo the Flying Elephant ride. Make your kids jealous by meeting Peter Pan and Tinker Bell and then stay for the fireworks show.
- SeaWorld (13 minute drive)
Seeing sea creatures is almost mandatory for a trip to Florida! Feed sea lions. See Shamu, seals and dolphins perform (they “dance”). Visit pilot whales, walruses, beluga whales, penguins. Also go on roller coasters and explore the northernmost continent via flight simulator on the Wild Arctic ride.
We’ll see you May 8-10 at the IAITAM conference (and maybe the 7th or the 11th if you travel to one of these places!). Check out the ACE website for additional details and leave a comment below telling us which attraction you’re planning to visit!