Today, I went over to Orlando -- first to the Tupperware Headquarters, then to the parks for a quick visit to the parks, then over to the teahouse to say hi and get a muffin, then over to poms to say hi and see the pugs, and then finally to Avalon Park for the first time to check out their special "jubilee"... yeah, it was an all-over-Orlando drive day.
TUPPERWARE INTERNATIONAL HEADQUARTERS
A couple weeks ago, I won a Tupperware set in a raffle at the TM Fall Conference, and someone from the Tip Top Tupperware TM club told me that the company HQ was in Orlando. I knew immediately that I had to visit it. And since it's open to visitors only on weekdays from 10am-4pm, I scheduled my very next off-Friday to go.
The campus wasn't difficult to find -- I just got off of the 417 at the S. Orange Blossom Trail exit and drove south, just past Gatorland. The area had a surprisingly posh/planned look and felt, especially when compared to the northern end of OBT.
When I pulled into Tupperware HQ, the fountain sculpture in front totally reminded me of the Dandelion episode of Pushing Daisies, and I figured the inside had to be happy, friendly, and colorful. And it was.
The receptionist was very warm and welcoming. She gave me a visitor's sticker then instructed me of the visitors area and Tupperware shop a little ways down. She then asked if I had a camera (I was just about to mention) and then made a call to have the fountain outside turned on so I could take pictures -- she was awesome.
Tupperware isn't inexpensive, but just like their service, it's the quality that I like about them; and I don't mind paying a little more to support their cause. I was looking at some of their new products, then Hong pointed me to the clearance racks where there were items that were still new but just not in their latest catalog (thank you).
I ended up getting a tall drinking container (same style as one my parents have back in SC), a compartmentalize box (not sure how I'll actually use it but I'll figure something), and a banana holder... it's a carrying case for a banana (and yeah, you bet that I bought that for the sheer novelty of it).
After that, I was done. It was my first visit but definitely not my last. The people there were all very friendly, and I got the warm fuzzies from being surrounded by their positive energy. It was the start that I needed on this half-planned, half-spontaneous day.
DISNEY'S HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS/DISNEY'S ANIMAL KINGDOM
After Tupperware HQ, I got back on 417 and continued south/west for a quick visit to the parks. I posted a separate trip report for this but will mention here that it was a mixed bag -- it was nice that there were little-to-no wait for anything (asides TSMM, which I skipped) but not knowing how to plan efforts around a late lunch really threw me off. The magic/redemption moment happened on the tram to the DAK parking lot when the lady beside me asked if I had a good time -- it was an innocent and inviting question and the brief connection and care that I needed.
POM POM'S TEAHOUSE
From the parks, I debated whether to head home early or to head into town for a visit, and before I knew it, the car was getting onto I-4. Traffic got bad after Universal, so I detoured North onto JYP then back onto 408. Traffic was also getting tight on 408 but luckily the Bumby exit was just before the still.
I stopped by the teahouse and received positive reinforcement for some photos I left them the week before; I really needed those compliments. I grabbed a copy of the latest Watermark and Orlando Weekly, and took another look at one of the art pieces on the wall -- a framed photography by Jake Stevens titled "Someday I Will".
AVALON PARK JUBILEE
I could've just headed home, but I decided to be venture on to Avalon Park, a planned community (a la Celebration) that I've heard a few things about. I had the first couple roads-to-get-near-there memorized but somehow got jumbled and proceeded to follow cars that "looked like they were heading to Avalon Park".
After numerous miles and turns through neighborhoods, I saw a Walgreens, went in, and asked for directions -- to which I was told "You're in Avalon Park." (Score 1 for my intuition and sense of direction.) I was directed to take a right out of the parking lot and to follow Avalon Park Blvd all the way down -- "You can't miss the Town Center." Sure enough, a few minutes later and I see carnival lights.
There were the typical midway games, a variety of food vendors (funnel cakes, hot dogs, pizza, popcorn, cotton candy), and some large "county fair" rides, such as the Fire Ball, Cliff Hanger, and Starship 2000. It was surreal to have such an event out here in the middle of a town.
Overall, the day was successful as an adventure -- a couple looks at new places as well as returns to some familiar ones. It was a lot of driving, but with gas under $1.80, I'm not feeling too bad. Plus, it's good practice for the big drives this Wednesday and Sunday.