by Dan Hicks
From the Editor: Dan Hicks is the president of the National Federation of the Blind of Florida, the fellow who cavorts with people from the Magic Kingdom and their sometimes-visitors from the Hogwarts School of Magic. Here is Dan’s article, giving us a glimpse of what we will experience when we travel to Orlando in July of 2014:
Let’s face it; this summer is going to be hot. The first week in July will probably be one of the hottest weeks of the season. So, rather than complain about the temperature, let your inner thermophile embrace the heat. Come to the hottest spot of all, which is, of course, the convention of the National Federation of the Blind.
Once again the upcoming convention will be held in the very hot and trendy city of Orlando, Florida. Those who attended last year’s convention can spend hours telling you what a perfect venue the Rosen Centre Hotel is for hosting one of our boisterous conventions. This hotel is one of the city’s top tourist destinations, and for good reason. Impressive restaurants offer sumptuous dining for any and every taste. Pools, spas, golf courses, and workout facilities help you keep in shape and relax after visiting those wonderful restaurants. But so far we’re just talking about the hotel.
The Rosen Centre is located on Orlando’s International Drive, right in the middle of all the excitement that Central Florida has to offer. I-Drive—as it is called—and its connecting thoroughfares are home to hundreds of dining options, from fast food to casual to family-style to gourmet.
For those who enjoy shopping—and you know who you are—Orlando Premium Outlets and Festival Bay Mall provide opportunities to buy designer and brand name items at bargain prices. Just down the street from the Rosen Centre, Pointe Orlando, an outdoor shopping and entertainment complex, has shops from high end to casual and everything in between.
But save some money, because you will be close to many places to wear those colorful new casual threads you just picked up. International Drive is also where some of Orlando’s most popular attractions can be found. SeaWorld Orlando and its exciting waterpark, Aquatica, are just five minutes away from the hotel. Universal Studios Orlando and Islands of Adventure are also a short drive away. Visit Hogwarts, fly with Spiderman, and enjoy the nightlife of Universal’s one-of-a-kind CityWalk.
A short drive will take you to the world famous Walt Disney World, home to the Magic Kingdom, EPCOT Center, and other thrilling attractions. Here’s a trivia question for you: which is bigger, California’s Disneyland or Florida’s Disney World? Well, let me put it this way: all of Disneyland would fit in EPCOT’s parking lot.
A little longer drive will get you to one of Central Florida’s newest and most popular attractions—LEGOLAND®. I know, it sounds like it’s just for kids, but adults who have been there tell me it’s fun for the entire family. Come to think of it, so are those little blocks the park is named for, aren’t they? Remember to stay well-hydrated and use sunscreen. We mean it.
Now the reason for coming to Orlando this summer isn’t just for the food and the parks and the shopping, is it? Of course not! You are also looking forward to the convention of the largest organization of blind people in the world, the National Federation of the Blind. The NFB, including the Florida affiliate, is planning lots of fun and exciting things to take part in. You won’t want to miss a minute of it. So plan to come a day or two early or stay a day or two after the convention. It’s the only way to get all of this excitement in. Those of you who attended last year know what I mean. If you have already made your reservations, thank you. We look forward to meeting you in Orlando. And for those of you who haven’t made reservations—well why not? What are you waiting for? Get those reservations in today. You don’t want to miss out on your chance to make the scene in 2014.