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By Sharon Pichon

Sharon Pichon-finalI would like to invite you to the 2015 AAPS Annual Meeting and Exposition in Orlando, Florida, October 25–29. Orlando is not only home to Mickey and Minnie Mouse and Harry Potter, it is also my home. In case you did not know, for the past 13 years I have been working for AAPS remotely from Orlando.

There is more to Orlando than just Disney, Universal, Sea World, and various water parks. Winter Park is a lovely community where you can take a boat ride through a canal and view some beautiful homes from the lakes. There are tons of great restaurants and lots of shops along with the famous Morse Museum, home of the world’s most comprehensive Tiffany collection. You can easily spend a full day in Winter Park, and it is only 20 minutes from the convention center.

Elsewhere in Orlando, take a leisurely walk down International Drive and try some great restaurants or visit WonderWorks Upside Down House. Need a Florida gift to take home to your children? International Drive is the place to find it.

Wonderworks Upside Down House.

Wonderworks Upside Down House

If you want higher end shopping, take a 15-minute cab ride to the Mall at Millenia. You will find all you need there with shops ranging from Macy’s to Prada, Versace, and Burberry. It’s a shopping experience you don’t want to miss.

If you like the outdoors, Leu Gardens is 50 acres of a botanical oasis. It is a 15–20 minute cab ride from the convention center. Then head over to Lake Eola in downtown Orlando and take a leisurely stroll around the lake or rent a paddle boat and enjoy the lake itself.

Lake Eola

Don’t miss Restaurant Row. It’s a five-minute cab ride from the convention center. Some of my favorite and reasonably priced places are Bosphorous Turkish Cuisine and Fresco Cucina Italiana. If you are looking to treat yourself to a truly outstanding meal with great service Christini’s Ristorante Italiano is the place. Other great restaurants are Chathams, Moonfish, DragonFly Robata, and Seasons 52.

If you love Halloween, head to Universal and experience Halloween Horror Nights, now in its 25th year. You can explore nine terrifying haunted houses, five scare zones, two outrageous live shows, plus many of the park’s most exciting rides and attractions. Once you go, you will be returning every year. Purchase your tickets early though, they sell out quickly.

Don’t forget to visit our Annual Meeting Hotel/Travel webpage to get discounted tickets to Universal and Disney. Both parks are fun for all ages but a special treat for your families. This is one meeting where you don’t want to leave them at home.

If you are able to come early or stay an extra day, Orlando is centrally located between the coasts: only one and a half hours to either coast. On the east coast you can visit the famous Cocoa Beach or Cape Canaveral, home of the Kennedy Space Center. Head to the west coast and spend some time in Tampa or Clearwater and see some beautiful sites on the Gulf.

Kennedy Space Center

Kennedy Space Center

This will be my 26th AAPS Annual Meeting. Come join me in Orlando and share your memories of past AAPS meetings with me. Or if this is your first meeting, share your Orlando experience!

See you in Orlando in October!

Sharon Pichon is the AAPS director of Meetings.