As I got tired, I searched the net for .vmx solutions to change the boot order, and discovered that all one needs to do is:
1) edit the .vmx file
2) add at the beginning of the .vmx file the lines:
bios.bootOrder = "cdrom,hdd"
and when the machine is started, it will boot immediately using the cdrom...
1) as always, when toying with the .vmx file, just like any other important configuration file, it is highly recommended to back it up before changing it.
2) remember to shutdown the machine before editing the .vmx file...