Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Why I have been MIA for two weeks - Universal Studios and St Augustine

I started this blog a little over 3 years ago and have never gone more than 5 days without posting, let alone 2 weeks (unless you count a quick sponsored post within that time frame). Since the beginning of 2015, I knew June was going to be the busiest week of my professional and personal life. I don't talk much about my real life job on here but one of the many things I am responsible for is project management of large events. Think corporate event planning with far more attention to detail.

I absolutely love what I do - everyday is a new challenge and adventure. Since 2015 started, I have gone from event to event without a break in between. Months full of planning and execution, weekly conference calls going over every little detail, ending in successful events. The week of June 15th marked my biggest event of the year. It was also the week of my birthday. We hosted a summit for CEO's and VP's from consulting firms across the world. People came in from Japan, China, The Netherlands, Spain, France, Italy and more.
We started the summit off at Universal Studios, staying at Hard Rock Hotel. I was VERY impressed with both Universal Orlando and Hard Rock Orlando's event departments. Both of my coordinators, Tom (Universal) and Austin (Hard Rock) were above and beyond the entire duration of our planning. I really hope I am able to work with them again. The rooms at Hard Rock were a ton of fun. Music quotes and memorabilia everywhere you looked.
I think Dexter may have found his way into my room.
The main reason we selected staying at Hard Rock Hotel was the proximity to Universal Studios entrance. The majority of my group flew in, mostly from overseas. Also, we did a day at the park and you are able to enter Harry Potter an hour before the rest of the park opens. Your room key is an unlimited express pass. We were there on a Tuesday and the only time we spent in line was when we were waiting for an attraction to be reopened. I loved spending time at Universal Studios and seeing both Diagon Alley and Simpsons World come to life. I also received a Harry Potter wand as a birthday gift from Universal :) I cannot wait to go back!!
Following their experience at the park, we did a team building for a few hours then hopped on a bus for St. Augustine. I drove separate and received a phone call that our groups bus broke down on I4 during 5:00 traffic. Talk about event planner nightmare 101. I always have backups for emergencies and always expect the craziest stuff to happen - but never in a million years did I plan on this. Luckily, they sent out a replacement bus and the group made it to the historic Casa Monica Hotel only an hour behind schedule.
We spent the next 2 nights at Casa Monica for the summit. It was non-stop. My birthday also fell during this and I got a proper celebratory minion slide during the mornings presentation, along with being sang to at dinner.
We had dinner at Michael's Tasting Room in St. Augustine. If you ever find yourself in St. Aug, run, don't walk, to Michaels. It was the best meal I have had on the east coast of Florida. When I got back to my room, I found an amazing birthday present from Casa Monica - a St. Augustine themed Moscow Mule kit. How did they know?! I was also very impressed with Casa Monica's event group - both Tessa and Chris made our events perfect and stress free.
We also hosted a ghost pub crawl in St. Augustine following our dinner. I drank too much wine, mixed with exhaustion. Let's just say I didn't feel 100% on Thursday morning. The drive back to Tampa from St. Augustine was a difficult one. I found myself falling asleep multiple times. I guess that is what happens when you work 64 hours in one week.

This Saturday is my last corporate event until September and I am looking forward to getting my life back to normal for a few months. Famous last words.....

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