by Carla Ruschival

It's June, and it will only be a short time until everyone starts arriving at the 48th national ACB convention, July 3-11 in Orlando.

A galaxy of tours begins on Friday, July 3, with a special private tour for ACB at the Kennedy Space Center. Spend the 4th at the Holy Land Experience, an interactive Biblical theme park. Shop in a Jerusalem street market, journey through the writing of the Bible in the Scriptorium, and hear incredible music and shows in the Temple Plaza. Don't miss the Wilderness Tabernacle, the Dead Sea Caves, the Great Temple, the world's largest indoor replica of 66 A.D. Jerusalem and much, much more.

Cinderella, Mickey Mouse, Winnie the Pooh -- all your childhood friends await at the Disney's Magic Kingdom. Far more than your average theme park, Disney World's music and animations whisk you off on unbelievable journeys with the Pirates of the Caribbean, It's a Small World and countless other attractions.

Other stars in the ACB tour galaxy include an airboat ride over the Everglades, Gatorland and Wonder Works (the convention committee had a blast at both of these), and a must-do for NASCAR fans at the Daytona 500 Experience. Mystery buffs can help solve the crime at the Sleuth's Dinner Show; unlimited beer, wine and soft drinks included with a great meal.

Check the ConventionScope for more tours and descriptions.

AT THE HOTEL: A galaxy of workshops, seminars and programs pack convention week. Whether you are a student or a teacher, a parent or a professional, in business or retired, you will find your days filled with information and new ideas. See new products in the exhibit hall; find a new career at the job fair.

JUST FOR KIDS: Calling all kids! Fantastic trips (Disney and lots more), swimming, games, crafts -- a week of fun, fun, fun! Thanks to the Mississippi Council of the Blind, every child can grab mouse ears and come on along for a dream of a lifetime.

YAC activities begin on Sunday, July 5; fun every day through Friday, July 10. Breakfast, lunch and snacks provided each day. Pre-register your child and save!

DETAILS: The ConventionScope and pre-registration form contain much information that will help you plan your week in Orlando. Read all of the materials and follow the instructions carefully. Pre-registration opened in late May, and will remain open until June 26. You can pre-register on the paper form or on-line at You save money by pre-registering; the basic fee is $20 in advance, $30 if you wait until you get to convention to sign up.

The pre-registration packet does not include all speakers and programming. Look for a complete agenda for ACB general sessions, special-interest groups, and others in the official convention program. Pick up your braille or large print program at the registration desk, or download a copy for your notetaker or computer from the ACB web site after June 20.

Reserve assistive listening devices (ALDs) by paying a $20 deposit when you pre-register. Receive your refund when you return the ALD to registration as you leave the convention. The ALD will come with a fresh battery; you are responsible for supplying additional batteries during the week.

Notify us of your need for a lift-equipped bus on ACB tours when you pre-register. Remember that tour volunteers cannot act as personal assistants on tours. If you need someone to push your wheelchair or you want a personal guide, plan to take the tour with a friend who is willing to give you his or her undivided attention.

Request interpreters and other reasonable accommodations NO LATER THAN June 15. You may call the national office at 1-800-424-8666, fill in the appropriate spaces on the pre-registration form, or e-mail Carla Ruschival at [email protected] Be sure to give us the details we need to fill your request, and remember to include a valid phone number and/or e-mail address.

AIRPORT VOLUNTEERS: Conventioners arrive at all times of the day and night. ACB volunteers will assist at the main Orlando airport during peak days and hours. ACB makes no commitment to place volunteers at other airports in the area.

EXHIBITS, ADVERTISING AND SPONSORSHIPS: Some last-minute exhibit, advertising and sponsorship opportunities may still be available. Don't miss this chance to target your products and services to blind and visually impaired people from across the country and around the world. For more information, visit our web site at; or contact Michael Smitherman (exhibits) at (601) 968-4164, or Margarine Beaman (advertising and sponsorships) at (512) 921-1625.

HOTEL RESERVATIONS: To make a reservation at the Rosen Centre, call (407) 996-9840. Rooms are $83 per night plus tax. Rates are single/double; add $10 per night for each additional person in the room.

HOTEL NON-SMOKING POLICY: The Rosen Centre is a 100 percent non-smoking hotel. Please do not smoke in sleeping rooms, suites, or public areas. The hotel can and will impose severe penalties on guests who smoke in their rooms.

CONVENTION INFORMATION: Join the acbconvention e-mail list by sending a blank message to [email protected] For convention questions or special concerns, contact Carla Ruschival, ACB Convention Committee Chair, at (502) 897-1472 or by e-mail at [email protected]; or call the ACB national office at 1-800-424-8666.

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