By Joseph C. Panettieri  |  Posted 2001-11-01

Date: Jan. 27-31
Location: Walt Disney World, Orlando, Fla.
Why Go?: Use this show to get closer to Lotus and IBMs other product groups


Date: Nov. 12-15
Location: McCormick Place, Chicago
Why Go?: Symbols conference for vertical-market developers

Oracle OpenWorld
Date: Dec. 2-7
Location: Moscone Convention Center, San Francisco
Why Go?: More than 300 strategic partners will demo technologies

IBM PartnerWorld
Date: Feb. 17-20
Location: Moscone Convention Center, San Francisco
Why Go?: A core event for all IBM partners, integrators, developers and consultants

A lot of IBM Partners are expected to skip Lotusphere in favor of PartnerWorld, Big Blues premier event for integrators, consultants and software developers.

Still, you can use Lotusphere as a springboard into new software markets. Lotus will spend much of the show describing Notes tight integration with IBM DB2 and Websphere, which have been strong sellers amid the economic slowdown.

Of course, theres plenty to do in Orlando, Fla., after the Lotusphere seminars close each day. For those making the trip to the show, we offer some timely travel tips.

Lodging: The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel ($262 per night) hosts most of Lotusphere.

For a less-expensive stay, book a room at the reliable Disney All-Star Movies, All-Star Music or All-Star Sports resort ($77 to $109 per night). Each room is big enough to sleep four adults, but be warned: The All-Star resorts are a prime destination for families with very young children.

All Disney hotels include shuttle service, boat service or monorail service to Disney theme parks (The Magic Kingdom, Epcot and Disney MGM Studios), Downtown Disney and Disney Pleasure Island (a nightclub area).

Food & Drink: Several Disney hotels have award-winning restaurants, but our favorite dining spot is Fultons Crab House in Downtown Disney. Although pricey (at least $50 to $75 per person, if you have appetizers and drinks), this is the ultimate spot for fresh shellfish, crabs and lobsters. Reservations (407-WDW-2NITE) are highly recommended and be sure to arrive early. During your wait, check out Downtown Disney and Pleasure Island, which include several dance clubs and restaurants.

Entertainment: Truth be told, Smart Partners editorial staff typically leaves Orlando trade shows around 5 p.m. to spend a few hours at the local theme parks. The Magic Kingdom and Disney MGM Studios (dont miss The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and Aerosmiths Rockin Roller Coaster) are reliable choices for family fun. For change-of-pace entertainment, our tech staff raves about Cirque du Soleils "La Nouba," which has nightly performances in a stadium near Downtown Disney.

If you have a rental car, SeaWorld and two Universal theme parks are just up the road. Roller coaster fans should skip Universal Studios and spend serious time at Universal Adventure Islands.

Save us a seat.

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