Meet The Mouse

1005 IpseLast year, Sin City, this year family-friendly Orlando, as the International Pool & Spa Expo takes over the Orange County Convention Center from Oct. 31-Nov. 3. Exhibits will be open Tuesday through Thursday, and the conference will take place Monday through Thursday.

In addition to the exhibits on the show floor, the APSP Builders Council will offer live workshops daily from Nov. 1-3, demonstrating current field techniques in a job-site setting. New for 2005 is the Backyard Living Expo, a new trade show running simultaneously with IPSE, and offering a dedicated exhibit area within the general trade show floor. The show will feature products ranging from landscaping, to casual furniture, to outdoor appliances, as well as offering 14 seminars. This year's keynote speech will be given by Jim Morris, the "comeback kid" of professional baseball, and the subject of the film The Rookie, starring Dennis Quaid. With so much to take in, both on the show floor and off, we've put together a mini-guide on both Orlando and all the details you'll need to plan a successful trade show. On the following pages you'll find a roster of exhibitors, schedules, maps and a sampling of the merchandise on offer this year.

The Beaten Track

It's the mouse that made Orlando, and time spent in the area without the requisite visit would be like skipping the Mona Lisa at the Louvre. Disney World has grown over the years since the Magic Kingdom opened in 1971 to a mega-entertainment complex, encompassing 43 square miles and comprising four theme parks and two water parks. Newest among these is Disney's Animal Kingdom, an animal-conservation park that belies the label "zoo."

Universal Studios is giving Disney a run for its money with two theme parks, Universal Orlando and the Islands of Adventure. The former is full of familiar childhood characters like E.T., as well as plenty of thrill rides, while the latter is home to Orlando's wildest roller coasters.

SeaWorld Orlando provides another, waterier, option for theme park goers. Shamu the orca is the star here, with both a daytime and nighttime show offered. The park also offers some thrills, with a roller coaster that tops out at 65 mph.

As an exclusive for Expo guests and their immediate families, all three park complexes are offering advance-purchase discount tickets for full or half days, starting at 2 p.m. Click on for more information from the Orlando Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Off The Beaten Track

For those of you with theme-park fatigue, the Orlando area offers respite in the form of some lovely state parks and interesting small towns. Check out Mount Dora, a short drive northwest of Orlando, for an authentic Victorian-era Florida village set on a lake. Blue Spring State Park offers year-round 72-degree waters and possibly a glimpse of gentle manatees, who winter in the springs. The park is 25 miles north of downtown Orlando.

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