I just returned from a few days in Orlando. While many people would probably consider a trip to Florida a perk, I’m no fan of the place – it’s too hot and sticky. As a desert dweller for 12 years now, I’ve come to favor a dry heat. But it was pretty nice in Orlando this time, not too hot. In fact, the evenings were even a bit cool. And the trip involved a combination of work and play, so that was kind of nice too.
I spent my first couple days in Orlando at TM Forum’s Management World of the Americas sitting in the press room meeting with more than a dozen solutions providers. Policy was a hot topic. I also asked many of the interviewees how all the recent service provider merger and acquisition action would likely impact their businesses, and whether it could lead to more M&A in the OSS/BSS space. Check out the January issue of INTERNET TELEPHONY to hear more about all of that.
After the show, I met up with my hubby and daughter to experience The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando. It was pretty cool, but I must say that computer technology has greatly changed the amusement park experience from what it was when I was kid.
I remember going to Disney World years ago, and my family going nuts over the incredible moving birds and totem poles in the Tiki Room. But in recent years when we’ve been at Disney, my husband and daughter just laugh and shake their heads when I try to get them to go into the Tiki Room so I can revisit these childhood memories. Moving birds and wall hangings are hokey; most people visiting amusement parks today go to see fast action images while they’re being flung around like a coin in a piggybank.
So I took my kid to the Harry Potter theme park. We all loved it, but the rides were a bit much for two out of the three of us.
I let my husband take her on Dragon Challenge, the big scary rollercoaster. And I volunteered to take her on the “family-friendly” coaster while my husband tried to recover. That worked out great, actually. It was The Forbidden Journey that did us in.
I thought it might be like the fun but tame Haunted House at Disney. But after riding it, my husband and I were so upside down that all we could do for the next hour was drink butter beer (cream soda with a butterscotch whipped topping) at The Hogs Head. The Forbidden Journey, you see, places you in a chair that flings you every which way for about three minutes while you watch fast-action clips from Harry Potter movies. Not good.
Not good for the two of us anyway. Our 10 year old loved it. So our MO from there on out was for one of us to wait in line with her and make sure she got on the ride, while the other one hung out at the ride’s exit.
For some of us who can’t deal with a lot of motion and disorienting imagery, these rides don’t make a lot of sense. But most amusement park goers probably are there for a thrill ride, and given most of these folks already have access to great technology via computer, TV, game consoles and, increasingly, 3D games, TV and movies, in their day to day lives, the parks need to kick it up a notch. And have they ever.
But for my husband and me, it’s good to be back on terra firma.