Last week I attended my second Cisco Live! conference in Orlando (last year was my first in Vegas; next year will be San Diego). It blows my mind how much it must cost to host 25,000 people in a facility like the Orange County Convention Center – setup, food twice a day, video production for keynotes and sessions, utilities, staffing, etc. And then there was the customer appreciation event Wednesday night at Universal Studios, which not only included exclusive access to the original park for four hours, but also had free food and drinks everywhere and big name concerts from Leon Bridges, Cake and Sam Hunt. No wonder my annual maintenance bill never goes down…
Speaking of bills, I needed to do this trip on the cheap, so I stayed with my brother and his wife and leaned on them for ground transportation (along with some 25% off Lyft rides). He took me to Animal Kingdom on Sunday night after I arrived so I could check out the new(ish) Avatar stuff. Na’vi River Journey has the cool Audio-Animatronics Shaman of Songs, while Flight of Passage lived up to the nearly two hour wait. We had dinner at the excellent Satu’li Canteen, which really elevates the whole theme park food quality experience, in my opinion.
My conference pass this time was a new intermediate “Imagine” badge, so I didn’t get access to all of the sessions (or a T-shirt or backpack). It did get me into all of the keynotes and Innovation Showcase presentations, though, along with the “World of Solutions” trade show, the party at Universal and free food for breakfast and lunch each day. I found most of the sessions to be useful and not just a week-long sales pitch to buy new stuff (like you get at some conferences). I learned about a lot of new technology trends, including improved security techniques, software-defined networking and container-based development, along with the evolution of the Cisco platforms and products we’ve deployed at the stadium (which thankfully I don’t need to replace right away).
After the conference wrapped up, I had a little extra time to kill before flying home (I wish the standby rules for Delta were more customer friendly). I spent some more time checking out all the changes at Disney Springs, where I had had dinner earlier in the week with my brother at Art Smith’s wonderful Homecomin’ restaurant. World of Disney was half-closed for remodeling, but I still managed to find some things for people. It was interesting to see retail additions like UNIQLO and the dining scene continues to impress with the likes of Morimoto Asia, Jock Lindsey’s Hanger Bar and The Boathouse (in addition to all of the old favorites). Also caught Deadpool 2 at the AMC and made a quick trip to Tampa to check out the very impressive Seminole Hard Rock Tampa complex.
See you in San Diego?
Originally published by DK on June 20, 2018 at 3:08 pm