Before the Bake-Off contestants of the 45th competition arrived in Orlando, the media came a day ahead to get settled in for the contest. My daughter Kristina and I were beyond thrilled to be a part of this team. I left on Saturday afternoon, went easily through a short security line, and found myself seated next to a darling little 6-year old boy on his way to Disney World with his dad. Unfortunately, dad drank a little too many rum and cokes, and I found myself watching the boy carefully and chatting with him here and there. At one point, we hit about 15 minutes of uncomfortable turbulence. My little passenger looked scared, so I told him it was fine, and that we were on a roller coaster like Space Mountain at Disney. His face lit up immediately, then he bounced around with the turbulence. He had such a good time doing so, I even let go of my white knuckles on the arm rest. After the tossing around finally ceased, the little guy declared, “Wow! That was so much fun, I could do it for 503 years!” I was glad he thought so, because 15 minutes was enough for me!
Greeting me at baggage claim was a friendly Bake-Off team face along with a driver holding up a sign with my name on it. (why is that so fun to see?) We got my luggage and went out to the private car for a short ride to the incredible Peabody Hotel Orlando. Since I was the last arrival, someone took my luggage and whisked me off to a bus that was waiting for me to get there so we could all go to dinner. Kristina was in the bus, saving me a seat.
Our first media event was dinner at Jiko- The Cooking Place, at Disney, where we dined with the Bake-Off judges and the rest of the invited media. The food was South African, and completely amazing.