(For my friends who requested a review of the Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel, feel free to scroll to the end of this post.)
There is one word that I will use to describe my ODTUG Kscope18 experience: WOW! I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in this year’s conference.
When I was 11 years old, I took a family trip from Texas to Taiwan. (I was born in Taiwan, but have lived in the U.S. since the age of 3.) I remember getting off the airplane, walking around the airport, and being in awe as I looked out on a crowd full of individuals who looked like me! I immediately felt a sense of belonging amongst these strangers. This is EXACTLY how I felt at the ODTUG Kscope18 Conference! It was awesome to be surrounded by individuals who were so knowledgeable and passionate about the technology that is such a large part of my daily world. It was surreal to meet the people behind the blogs / tweets and shake the hands of these “celebrities”!
I survived 5 FULL conference days (Sat. 6/9 – Wed. 6/13) and my fingers are crossed that I am able to attend Kscope19 in Seattle, Washington!
DAY 1 – Saturday 06/09/2018
Community Service Day
I debated whether or not I should arrive a day earlier to participate in this event, and I do not regret being able to give a few hours of my time to help a worthy organization (UP Orlando). Community Service Day was a perfect introduction to Kscope18 and it served as a nice ice breaker to meet fellow ODTUG-ers. After we returned to the hotel, I helped with “bag stuffing” (conference attendees received a bag of swag). It was neat to be a little part of the magic behind the curtain of Kscope18.
This served as a preview of the AWESOME week ahead of me. I was blown away by the magnitude of this conference. Several people had come from all around the world! There were so many interesting sessions, hands on labs, panels, & exciting social events.
In the evening, I enjoyed an impromptu dinner with a group of individuals who were intelligent, friendly, and full of interesting stories. It was a great way to end my Day 1.
DAY 2 – Sunday 06/10/2018
After enjoying breakfast catching up with a friend, I attended two of the numerous Symposiums scheduled. I highly recommend attending these to stay informed, especially if you are interested in what is on the horizon for your respective technologies.
Exhibit Booth Setup
I wonder how many conference attendees also get to experience the conference as an Exhibitor; I was happy to take advantage of this opportunity as a first-timer. Helping my team setup the US-Analytics booth was a small price to pay to be allowed into the Exhibit Hall before the crowd during Breaks and Happy Hour!
ODTUG Kscope Ambassadors are in charge of handing out session evaluations, collecting them, and turning them into the registration desk.
- Chance to win a free conference pass for next year’s Kscope.
- Chance to personally meet the presenter(s)
- Collect Ambassador pins – I earned 3!
- Be directly involved in the conference experience
ODTUG Board of Directors introduced themselves and provided a quick overview of Kscope18 and what participants could expect. There were lots of friendly people, willing to answer questions. Numerous people had attended 7 or more prior Kscope Conferences!
Welcome Reception – Be Our Guest!
Attendees were encouraged to dress up as their favorite character. This was a fun way to explore the Exhibit Hall. With some inspiration from the web and the help of my Silhouette CAMEO 3 craft cutter, my Lilo (Lilo & Stitch) costume was a snap to put together.
DAY 3 – Monday 06/11/2018
So entertaining! I really enjoyed learning about Dr. Heather Knight‘s (the keynote speaker) work with robotics. And kudos to the ODTUG Board of Directors for the success of their hilarious introduction video, haha!
Sessions / Break / Sessions / Lunch / Sessions / Happy Hour
So many wonderful sessions, so little time. There is no shortage of content at the conference. The hardest part was deciding which sessions to attend.
- Download and leverage the ODTUG Kscope App
- Some sessions are recorded (the app will let you know which ones are recorded)
- Take the time to plan out your daily schedule and use the app to keep you on track.
- Session Evaluations can be submitted from the app.
- I believe paid ODTUG members have access to the Kscope18 presentations.
Community Night Events
Each of the 4 ODTUG Communities (APEX, BI, Database, and EPM) hosted their own Community Night. It was a cool way to network with peers and make new friends. I attended the EPM Speed Networking and LipSync Battle. I was invited to join one of the LipSync Battle teams and initially chickened out. But after I watched them practice the night before, I knew I had to be a part of this fun group. These amazing people made this an epic event!
Happy Birthday to Me!
The conference is a great place to be reunited with people you may not see often. I enjoyed catching up with long-time friends, who treated me to dinner to celebrate my birthday. After an action packed day, I returned to my hotel room to find this beautiful bouquet waiting for me. Hugs to my thoughtful friend for making me feel so loved!
DAY 4 – Tuesday 06/12/2018
5K Fun Run
Several people thought that I was crazy for signing up for a 5K with a 6:30 AM start time, including me! My 5K buddies and the breathtaking sunrise (no filter) made this early event completely worthwhile.
Sessions / Break / Lunch & Learn / Sessions / Happy Hour
I mostly attended sessions with EPM content, but crossed over to the Oracle APEX Community for my Lunch & Learn. It was refreshing to witness so many people excited and happy to share knowledge.
Tuesday evening was the night for vendor dinners / happy hours. I enjoyed a quiet productive evening, and managed to get work done and even got a little rest 🙂
DAY 5 – Wednesday 06/13/2018
ODTUG 2018 Leadership Program Class – Video Interview
I was honored to be 1 of the 5 individuals selected to be in the 2018 ODTUG Leadership Program Class It was a memorable experience and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in getting more involved in the ODTUG Community. After breakfast, the Leadership Class and Program Coordinator participated in a video interview to recap our experiences. Talk about feeling special!
Sessions /Break / Sessions
It was another full day of great sessions. I was able to participate in a couple of AM sessions before heading to the 2018 Leadership Program Presentation & Graduation.
Women In Technology (WIT) Luncheon
It seemed counter-intuitive to polarize the community into men and women, but after attending this luncheon, I understand the importance of these type of events. Men were invited, and I think there ended up being at least 1 male assigned to each table. The welcome speech given by Opal was so moving that I found myself getting emotional. The format of this was incredibly effective. Each table had a moderator and print-outs with different workplace scenarios. I LOVED the conversation and hearing different perspectives on each of the scenarios. I encourage men and women alike to participate in WIT events. I found it enlightening and inspiring!
ODTUG 2018 Leadership Program Class – Presentation & Graduation
We enjoyed the commencement speech delivered by our special guest and then it was show time. Every Leadership Program Class is assigned a special project. We found ours to be challenging because there was no right or wrong answer. I think all of us were a little bit nervous, but the ODTUG Board Members were engaged and everyone enjoyed the open dialog. It was an empowering experience!
Special Event – Andretti Indoor Karting & Games
We were instructed to get our neon on…and I DID! This was a fun way to end my Kscope18 experience. I had a 7am flight home the next day so opted out of the after party. I heard it was a blast and many danced the night away.
Overall, it was an amazing week. I learned so much and met so many wonderful people. If you have never attended a ODTUG Kscope Conference, I highly recommend you look into checking out Kscope19 next June.
Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel – Review
The Dolphin is an older hotel but it is nice and well maintained. I mostly stayed in the conference area of the hotel, but did do a little bit of exploring the first day. I did not visit any of the Disney Parks or Universal during my stay, so I do not have a lot of information to share on that topic.
Interesting fact: While the WDW Dolphin & Swan is on Disney property, it is not a Disney owned hotel. It is owned by Sheraton.
Dining: Between the two hotels, there are plenty of variety in fine dining options. There were not a lot of low-key (less expensive) dining options, but I think this is to be expected. You can walk (less than 5 mins) between the Dolphin and the Swan, so it is convenient to get to restaurants in either hotel.
Room: There was a fridge in the room and they provide 2 bottles of complimentary water a day. The bed was comfortable and the rooms were clean.
Entertainment: The hotel had a list of daily activities for families to enjoy. The Boardwalk is right across the bridge and features more dining and entertainment.
Transportation: There is a water bus that will take you across to Epcot. And there is a shuttle that will take you to the Magic Kingdom and I assume the other Disney Parks (I do not know for sure). I ended up Uber-ing to and from the airport, but the hotel has a shuttle service (Mears Transportation Orland) you can make reservations prior to arrival to handle your round-trip airport needs. It does end up being a little cheaper than Uber.
Shopping: There was a store in the Dolphin that sold Disney merchandise.
Pool: Not very elaborate, but the kids there seemed to be enjoying themselves.
Disney Concierge: The Dolphin had a concierge desk that you could go to for information and tickets to the parks.
Below is a view overlooking The Swan and The Boardwalk from a suite in The Dolphin. Notice the walkway between the two hotels.