Archive for "Travel"
I got to experience the Hyatt Regency Orlando (the hotel we stay at every year during ZINCON) outside of ZINCON and it was like an alternate dimension.
The first photo is what the lobby looks like during ZINCON and the second photo is the lobby outside of ZINCON. It’s like a whole other world!
I had to take a picture of B-Line because it was completely dead. Usually when we’re here for ZINCON it’s buzzing with colorfully-clad people.
I also had to take a pic of Faith’s massive suite.
She had a dining table, living room, and balcony!
I had forgotten how amazing the hotel fitness center is.
I had to take some pics of it.
Their beautiful workout studio would put most dance studios to shame.
They even have a spin studio with spin classes every morning on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. No need to miss group classes while you’re traveling!
The hotel not only has a great fitness center but the pool area is amazing. It’s even more amazing when it’s not super crowded like it is at ZINCON. I enjoyed a very nice afternoon reading and taking a nap by the pool with Kelsey on one of the days.
As hotels go, the rooms are well furnished with everything you need. It even includes a bathroom scale.
The reason why there’s two in this photo is because Kelsey, who recently started a weight-loss program at the time of our trip, had to weight herself everyday so she decided to bring her own scale. I could have sworn that I told her ahead of time that the hotel supplied bathroom scales in all of the rooms. I guess she forgot.
They think of everything. The only thing missing from the rooms is a microwave, which they don’t have because — as the concierge explains — it’s a fire hazard. However, they’ll provide one by request if it’s needed for medical reasons.
All the staff members were on their A-game while we were there. Kelsey and I asked for a microwave for her room (for her special diet), walked over to Walgreens to get her flavored waters, and her microwave was already in her room by the time we got back (less than 30 minutes later). At the hotel I stay at in Kansas City, it would have taken half a dozen phone calls just to get the simplest of things done. Seriously.
Customer service at the Hyatt Regency Orlando has always been pretty good during all the times we’ve stayed there but they were operating at another level that week. I wondered if everyone received a pep talk right before the EMACS Customer Experience Conference came to town. I joked about this to one of the bellhops that I ran into in the elevator one day and he said they did have a big huddle a few days before. You definitely don’t want to mess up with a bunch of Customer Experience experts because thousands of people will find out about it. LOL.
But, one of the funniest parts was when Kelsey and I went to get coffee at the onsite Starbucks. I happened to be wearing my “WE MOVE THE WOLRD” shirt from this year’s ZINCON. When I got up to the counter the barista read the writing on my shirt and was like, “WE move the world… You’re a Zumba person?!!”
“Yes, I am.”
“But that was months ago.”
“I never left,” I told her. “I’ve been here the entire time.”
You should have seen the shocked look on her face. You could tell she was trying to process it and it took a moment for her to realize I was kidding. And then she told me how much they love the Zumba convention and all of the Zumba people because they are always so happy and loud and they bring life to the place. She said everything seems so lonely and dead after the Zumba convention. She also told me that it’s the only time that they’re open until 8 PM. The rest of the time they close at 4 PM because it’s just so dead.
Having experienced the hotel outside of ZINCON, I understand what she means. It’s really not the same. It made me so nostalgic for ZINCON and I can’t wait until we are back again next year.
I was at the EMACS conference in Orlando a couple of weeks ago and with several people from work. Kelsey and Tammie were among the attendees. Kelsey and arrived in Orlando around the same time and shared a car to the hotel together.
Since we didn’t have a car and rain was in the forecast, Kelsey and I figured that we would just ride the trolley to the outlet mall. As luck would have it, Tammie was visiting her mom and step dad in Winter Haven over the weekend and arrived in Orlando on Monday with a car. She was more than happy to drive us to the outlet mall but the three of us agreed to go to the beach instead.
Tammie, who has considerably more experience with Florida weather than both Kelsey and I, told us that usually rains in Florida all of the time but then it just stops so she wasn’t daunted by the weather forecast. And so off we went to Cocoa Beach, about an hour away from Orlando.
It did rain pretty hard on our way out there and it was super gloomy and cloudy but the rain started to slow down as we got closer and closer to the beach. As soon as we found a place to park, the rain stopped completely and the sky seemingly opened up and the sun came out. The weather could not have been better.
Here are some pictures we took at Cocoa Beach…
We had quite a bit of rain, as evidenced by the wet pavement in this photo.
But the sun was starting to peek out. Mother Nature welcomed us with open arms.
The because would normally be crowded but there was hardly anyone there that day. I suspect the rainy forecast deterred many people from venturing out.
The Cocoa Beach Pier wasn’t crowded at all.
The three of us had a really nice time walking along the beach. There were only a handful of people at the beach at first but, as the sun came out and stayed out, more people began to show up as well.
There might have been more birds than people that day. LOL.
Here’s a selfie of me and Kelsey.
Here’s a picture of Kelsey and Tammie.
And then here’s a selfie of the three of us together.
I think we walked about three miles. It was wonderful. I never would have predicted it but I’m totally a walk along the beach kind of person.
The fact that I caught a bunch of Psyducks and Magikarps and hatched a few eggs while we were walking was just icing on the cake. LOL.
I’m so grateful that we had the opportunity to visit Cocoa Beach before Hurricane Matthew showed up. This is definitely one of several highlights of the trip.
Here’s Brian sporting his new Zumba sweatpants on our final full day in Orlando…
My final session of ZINCON 2016 was Sabor Cubano with ZES Betsy Dopico and Team CUBA. Here are a couple of videos from the demo they did at the beginning of the workshop.
The demo was meant to give us a preview of the rhythms prevalent in Cuban music: Rumba, Son, Cha-Cha-Cha, Mambo, Timba, Conga, and Cubaton.
I know Betsy said it wasn’t meant to be a show but it was a great visual presentation of the history and development of Cuban rhythms.
Here’s one of my favorite photos from the session.
This is a great one of Betsy up close.
I went straight to the closing session after Sabor Cubano because I knew the line would be long already. I was right. This is as close as I could get. The picture above is of Zumba CEO Alberto Perlman, also known as AP. I actually got a picture with him in 2013, when I attended my very first ZINCON.
After the closing session, I went back to the room to help Brian pack because we have an early departure the next day. While we were packing, I showed him my impressive ZINCON hotel room keycard collection.
All the way up on the 26th floor, we could hear the loud music coming from the Hyatt Regency pool below. It was so tempting to go down there. However, we were responsible and did our packing and then got ready to meet our old neighbors Jim and Karen for dinner.
Brian and I walked over to Pointe Orlando, where we were meeting Jim and Karen, a few minutes early so we could do some Pokémon GO hunting. LOL. This seemed like a nice place to stop and catch some mons while we waited for them.
We initially talked about going to Cuba Libre because I had a hankering for Cuban food (specially after my Sabor Cubano session that morning) but they weren’t open yet and we were hungry.
We ended up eating at the Pub Orlando instead. Brian ate there without me three years ago. He walked over there while I was in one of my sessions.
I was originally bummed about not getting Cuban food while in Florida but the fabulous dinner company more than made up for it. Also, the Pub has an extensive beer list which was great for these two.
Jim ordered the fish and chips.
Brian had the ham sandwich on a pretzel roll, which is his favorite thing to get there. How you have a favorite sandwich at a place you’ve only been to twice in your life is beyond me. He says it is his favorite, though.
Karen and I ordered the exact same thing: the chicken tenders with the side of mac and cheese. The mac and cheese was amazing. I would order it all again.
It was so wonderful to see Jim and Karen again. We’ve missed them so much.
Of all of the trainings I’ve ever taken at ZINCON, I looked forward to Zumba Basic 2 with ZES Loretta Bates the most. Why? Because she is AMAZING!
The best part about the training is that she was assisted by two very talented people: ZES George Iu and ZES Michael Marmitte.
ZES Priscilla Mirabal from Oklahoma was there to help as well. Interestingly, Priscilla was the ZES who trained Loretta when she was licensed years ago.
In Basic 1, we learned the four basic rhythms: Salsa, Merengue, Cumbia, and Reggaeton. In Basic 2, we learned six additional rhythms: Flamenco, Samba, Belly Dance, Soca, Tango, and Quebradita. We also learned about stylistic separation which is important for staying true to the unique flavor of each distinct rhythm.
Anyway, after a fabulous Basic 2 training, it was time for the prom night theme party. We ran into some of friends from Wichita: Abby, Crystal, and Gina.
I also ran into the fabulous Chuany who we met on the cruise back in January. She’s an instructor at Betsy and Beto’s studio.
For my prom outfit, I found an $8 dress from Goodwill which fit me perfectly. It’s a short dress so I didn’t have to worry about having to get it hemmed. I got a pair of silver Street Boss sneakers from Zumba.com to go with my dress. I also wore my ZINCON 2013 wristbands because the colors actually worked with my dress.
Here’s a look at the whole outfit. See, I wasn’t the only one wearing sneakers!
The craziest part about this next photo is not everyone attended the theme party.
This is just a fraction of the people at ZINCON. Andrea and I didn’t end up getting official prom photos because the lines at all of the photo stations were long. Even though there was more than one photo area, they all had long lines. Andrea and I did manage to find the lash and lip bar. That was fun. They gave us fake eyelashes and glitter lipstick. It reminded me of the face-painting booth at the ZIN Soiree in 2013. The theme that year was A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Here’s how we looked with our fake eyelashes, glitter lipstick, and jewels…
I had such a blast hanging out with Andrea at ZINCON. I’m so glad she could attend this year!
Day 2 consisted of Zumba Sentao training. Because he’s awesome, Brian walked me to my training which is clear past the convention center at the Hilton. It’s the furthest class from everything.
Anyway, not only did he walk me to class, he made a friend too.
ZES Abraham Hernandez presented the training with a lot of help from these two lovely ladies: Karla (left) and Nathalia (right).
Training got a little out of hand a few times leading up to this. Yes, the class managed to talk Abraham into taking his shirt off. Then Nathalia had to spoil the fun by being protective. LOL.
As with any training, there were fun parts, there were boring parts, and there were painful parts. The group work at the end of the session was particularly painful because the class was way too big… But we managed to make it through without any fights breaking out. So I guess that’s a victory.
I actually didn’t plan to take Zumba Sentao originally. I really wanted to get into to STRONG by Zumba, the newest format in the Zumba portfolio. However, all of the STRONG sessions at ZINCON were already full by the time Brian was able to get into the online registration system. I’m already licensed to teach all of the other formats so that’s how I ended up enrolled in Sentao training.
After my training class, Andrea, Brian and I hung out for a while before the fitness concert. I was going to skip the fitness concert this year but I ended up going for a couple of reasons. First, none of Andrea’s roommates wanted to go so she didn’t have anyone to go with and she didn’t want to go alone. I wanted her to experience the fitness concert since it’s her very first ZINCON so I told her I would go with her. Second, I wanted to be there just in case something really cool happened.
We kind of coordinated. 😉
We ran into two of her roomies, Andra and Pat, on our way to the fitness concert.
Here’s are a few obligatory goofy photos. Just ’cause.
Ran into some Pinoys.
At the fitness concert, I was good and followed the rules. I only took a couple of pictures. Beto hates it when people just stand and take photos/videos instead of dancing. I figured, I’d already gotten it out of my system the first couple of years. Plus, we were toward the front so he could actually see us and I didn’t want the man to think badly of me. He is, after all, the God of Zumba.
When Andrea and I got to the convention center, the line was already almost out the door. We didn’t wait very long before the doors opened to let everyone in. Since we got there later than I wanted, I was amazed that we were able to get so close to the stage. The reason became apparent as soon as the music started. We were right underneath a set of speakers!
We lasted about a song and a half before we decided to move several rows back. I made a mental note to bring earplugs to the fitness concert just in case I end up right under the speakers again.
I was also amazed by the number of selfie sticks I saw considering selfie sticks were banned from the fitness concert. Not sure how everyone got their selfie sticks past security. Then again, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. Security is usually pretty lacking at ZINCON. They didn’t even check my ID at registration.
After the fitness concert, Andrea, Brian, and I hung out in our hotel room for a bit while Brian made us lunches for the next day. We introduced Andrea to Nutella and completely rocked her world. LOL.
Come back next time to hear about my Zumba Basic 2 training with ZES (and uber Z-lebrity) Loretta Bates which, in a word, was AMAZING!