Author: Mercedes Rayshelle Jones
Recently, I was given the opportunity to attend an all expense paid trip to Orlando, FL for the Future Business Leaders of America National Leadership Conference with 12 of my classmates and my advisor. (http://www.nlc2011.com/nlc2011/) This was a great opportunity because not only was I allowed to vacation in a beautiful city, I was also able to meet with other teenagers from all over the world who were interested in some of the same things I was. After an eighteen hour drive, we arrived in Orlando Sunday afternoon. We all became excited when we reached the toll booth and began to see palm trees.
We stayed at the Rosen Centre hotel on International Drive. (http://www.rosencentre.com/) The hotel was beautiful both inside and out. The staff was courteous our entire stay and made sure we had everything we needed. During the trip we were required to attend various workshops as well as compete in our competitions. Since my competition wasn't until Wednesday, I spent Monday at Wet-N-Wild water park. (http://www.wetnwildorlando.com/) It was AMAZING! My friends helped me overcome my fears and ride every water slide in the park. Although I was nervous, I must admit I had a lot of fun! After the water park, we went to Downtown Disney (http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/destinations/downtown-disney/) where I got to ride on a boat over to the Marketplace which was filled with many shops. Here my friends and I all purchased Mickey ears and enjoyed a great dinner at the Rainforest Cafe! (http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining/rainforest-cafe-downtown-disney/) Tuesday was spent studying and continuing to explore downtown Orlando. I visited the Premium Outlet Mall (http://www.premiumoutlets.com/outlets/outlet.asp?id=17) a total of 3 times and bought many nice items at very reasonable prices. On Wednesday, I competed in my event at the Orange County Convention Center (http://www.hilton.com/en/hi/hotels/hotelpromo.jhtml?ctyhocn=ORLOCHH&prom...) which was a huge building filled with many ballrooms.
However, Thursday had to be the most chaotic yet funniest day ever. My roommates and I all woke up with intentions of enjoying a beautiful sunny day in Orlando. We all dressed alike in Black and White stripes and looked very nice. Once dressed, we walked across the street to catch the trolley (which happened to be running behind.) While waiting on the trolley the sun suddenly went away and it began to storm. The wind was blowing extremely hard and the rain was pouring forcing us to run across the street and back to the hotel. Once we got to the lobby, everyone was staring as we stood there soaked all with white pants on. (This all happened within 30 minutes) Although we were quite upset, it definitely was the highlight of the trip. What can I say, Florida weather simply cannot be trusted! We ended the day with a Chinese delivery as we sat in the hotel and watched the rain.
Friday, our last day, was spent buying souvenirs for our families and friends and dinner at Pizzeria Uno (http://www.unos.com/) which was delicious! After a short nap, we got dressed for the awards ceremony where we found out if we placed or not. I didn't place but two of my classmates did so I was very excited. Overall, I'd rate my trip to Orlando a perfect 10! I was surrounded by my favorite people for an entire week and I experienced a lot of new things. I rode a water slide, rode in a cab and played Apples to Apples all for the very first time! Although I didn't win in my event, I'd still consider myself a winner because I succeeded in making it to Nationals for the first time! Orlando was a great experience and I'm looking forward to next year in San Antonio, Texas!!!!!