travel: video shoot, orlando day one

It's hard to believe it's already been about a month since I left for a video shoot that took me across central and south Florida with 10 Chinese visitors in tow. VISIT FLORIDA has ratcheted up its efforts to target Chinese consumers, and as part of a year-long initiative, produced a series of videos that will live on Tudou, a Chinese equivalent of Youtube. We worked with a Chinese production company who brought its crew, plus our two celebrity hosts, over to Florida to film. Our 10-day journey began in central Florida, where we spent five days exploring the many activities and adventures that Orlando and Kissimmee have to offer visitors. 

Day One began at Discovery Cove, where our hosts interacted with many species of birds in the Explorers Aviary and then swam with dolphins in the Dolphin Lagoon. Don't let the pictures fool you--it was freezing outside! The first cold front of the year came through the night before, though it was still technically warmer here than the rest of the country. Our hosts, Lily and Mino, were brave enough to get into wet suits and into the water to play with the dolphins. I think they enjoyed the experience despite the chilly temps.

Afterwards, we headed over to SeaWorld to talk with a kookaburra and ride roller coasters. I was able to join in on the fun on Manta, which happened to be the first time I've ridden a roller coaster in ages. I've been missing out!

Our third location of the day was the Mall at Millenia. I was a freshman at UCF when the mall opened in 2002, and remember frequenting it when I lived here. It was and still is a novelty shopping destination in Orlando. 

Our first day ended with a dinner catered by a local Chinese business owner back at the vacation rental home where the crew was staying in Reunion Resort. We weren't quite done with filming, as we had one more scene to shoot with the Chinese chef who prepared the dinner. After devouring our delicious traditional Chinese meal, it was early to bed for a 4 a.m. wake up call the next morning. We're going to Disney World! Stay tuned for our two days at the most magical place on earth.