Posts tagged Orlando
This is that time of year when folks begin posting about how this year they’re planning on changing a zillion things and making thinks different somehow. For me, though, I’m not looking forward to changing… I’m looking forward to continuing.
2012 was a hard year, but that’s not a bad thing. As friends and colleagues will tell you – I tend to be a workaholic. I love it. I love the feeling to things getting done and the creative process attached to it in my little geek universe. My friends (my team) and I put in a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into a number of projects that are now continuing into 2013.
Hell. We’re already in production for two unannounced things in 2014.
The best way to look forward, though, is to remember where you’ve been. SO, here’s my recap of one of the craziest years of my life. Enjoy.
- Reflected on a pretty exciting life thus far in this blog post. No clue what the year was about to bring.
- We were in the thick of planning InvaderCON II: DOOMCON that month, too.
- Took the first of what would be many trips to Los Angeles to work on Anime Expo and Project Anime.
- Randomly took an air boat ride in the Florida swamp because, you know, I’m random that way.
- Took another trip to Los Angeles for work on PA/AX some more.
- Took another trip to Los Angeles two weeks later… on my way to Japan for the first time. I spent eight days being the tallest person in the room.
- I went to Tokyo Disney SEA.
- I went to Disneyland (in Los Angeles) with the voice of Gir.
- I won a $500 Apple gift card for telling a goofy story online about my old IIc.
- Took a quick trip to Atlanta to look a party spots for some adult website.
- Was the best man in my best friend’s wedding… on a Disney Cruise to the Bahamas.
- Saw Tom Petty in concert! I’ve wanted to do that for a long time.
- Went to Los Angeles again.
- Dealt with loss as my father’s wife passed away.
- Survived Year Two of Florida Anime Experience with the first ever appearance of Terri Hawkes (the voice of Sailor Moon!)
- Back in Los Angeles again… this time to visit E3!
- Return to Los Angeles at the end of the month to set up for Anime Expo and Project Anime.
- Survived the hell, horror, and amazement of Anime Expo 2012. My eyes were open to a lot of things that one week in Los Angeles.
- Found out a cheesy horror film I did in 1991 was finally coming out on DVD.
- Read the Steve Jobs book. I’ve revisited a lot in that book since then (after years of being told that I am “an asshole just like Steve Jobs.”)
- Returned to Los Angeles for Anime Expo follow up meetings… and new perspective.
- Ran, successfully, InvaderCON II: DOOMCON in Los Angeles. Amazing things happened.
- Finished laying the groundwork (after months of set up) for what has since become Talent For Cons by booking voice actors in Anime Expo and Florida Supercon.
- Announced a new show for the Jacksonville market called WasabiCon (since EXPcon had fallen completely off the radar.)
- Ran events at Gen Con in Indianapolis again. Good times!
- I spent a lot of this month recovering from the Anime Expo/InvaderCON/Project Anime stuff in July.
- Dragon*Con in Atlanta, Georgia. I helped some Edgar guy host events at a party at the Hard Rock Cafe there. While there, I saw a sci-fi celebrities drunk daughter dance on a stripper pole. (I love my life.)
- Lots and lots of catch up work that month…
- Wound up visiting EPCOT on the 30th anniversary of the park’s opening. Turned out it was a clever day to take my friend Marc Perez there for his first time.
- Launched the very first PinUpalooza. It was a lukewarm event (after getting dates bounced around and whatnot) but we proved the event was a solid concept. Already planning Year Two.
- Because one con just wasn’t enough, we ran WasabiCon that same month, too. One of the best cons assembled in two months EVER.
- Took another cruise for my five year wedding anniversary with one of the most patient women on the planet. This time we found ourselves in Belize and Cozumel, Mexico. (It seems that I still need to write a blog post about this since I didn’t see one while writing this.)
- Spent Thanksgiving with my dad… because that’s what family does.
- Got blind sided (for the first time in my life) by a surprise birthday party. I have some amazing fucking friends.
- Launched ANOTHER new event in 2012 – Cosplay Christmas. It was holiday goodness that will return in 2013.
- Went to Busch Gardens for the first time in yeaaars.
- Was a groomsman in the AMAZING wedding of Troy and Kim Doerner.
- Returned to Los Angeles for the first time since July to start work on Project Anime 2013 again. Saw some geeky stuff.
- Spent the first Christmas in 13 years without my wife… but got to spend it with my dad. My heart was happy, but my lungs were in pain. (Long story.)
SO – cities I found myself in during 2012:
- Los Angeles
- San Diego
And now for that part we all do during a perceived time of renewal – plan for the future. So what are my goals in 2013? I have a couple of things to work on, sure, like anyone else. I like keeping things simple, though, so here are the three things that I will concentrate on in this new year.
- Lose weight. (Cliche, yes, but truly needed at this point.)
- Blog more. (In reading about my past year, I realize that I didn’t write as much about most of it that I should have.)
- Continue onward. (I created a lot in 2012; now I have to build it up even more.)
So here we go…
The amazing thing about leading such a detail oriented life and having a brain that focuses on minutia is that you always notice the little things… or so you think.
Apparently, my wife and friends have been conspiring for the past two months to throw me a surprise birthday party for my thirty-something-or-other birthday. Knowing ME as well as I do, I can safely say that this had to have been a major undertaking of logistics, deception, and timed distraction to the professional level of a top notch magician. Seriously. Shit like this doesn’t get past me. I’m that guy that guesses the killers in mystery movies forty five minutes into the flick. I notice minor details to a degree that drives folks to look at me like I’m Rain Main. I ALWAYS FIND WALDO.
My only conclusion can be this: I have amazing friends who, over time, have learned to know me too well.
I mean, look at this:
Does this look like the birthday gifts for a thirty-something-or-other man? You might not think so. But they’re perfect.
After a day of business meetings in Orlando (the ONLY way my friends knew to absolutely get me into town without suspicion) I was led to the Geek Easy next to A Comic Shop to look at the space for a potential entertainment project. I was tired, dazed, and didn’t really WANT to see the space, but Tentacle Chris (whom I had been reviewing Cosplay Deviants related project stuff with) wanted to check it out and drop off some leftover flyers for some Sega video game.
When we walked into the Geek Easy and saw a large group of people I immediately thought, “Oh, shit. We accidentally just walked into a private event.” I paused ready to back step away and then, a nano second later, my brain recognized everyone in the room.
I HAD BEEN DUPED.
Not content with just a “normal” surprise party, my friends put together The Roast of Tom Croom which, if spend more than five minutes on the Internet, isn’t that hard to do. Needless to say, this is what it looked it:
I know what you’re thinking… you’re thinking, “Why the hell is Katie dressed like that in front of the mic?” Well, part of the party’s theme was to dress up as me at various points in my life. Katie (along with Disney Legend Tom Nabbe and his wife) were all dressed as ME dressed a VINCENT VEGA as a previous birthday party I had… one where everyone was required to dress as a character from a Quentin Tarantino movie. They ordered the correct shirt (just like I had years before) and even brought a photo of me for reference:
Thus my evening was spent being insulted by the most amazing people in the world… all dressed as me. I’m sure Freud would have a field day with this.
And so, at the risk of sounding sappy, THANK YOU. You’ve all made an old man feel appreciated and loved.
- Allen - My fellow towel carrying Guide lover. I’m fairly sure you can sell some of those photos from last night to TMZ or (at least) to some nerds on 4Chan. Thanks for always being there. :)
- Angie – You are an amazing part of my life and I’m glad to have you as a close friend. That said, you make a DAMN SEXY Prince Eric. Just sayin’
- Chris - The next time I say I don’t need a site tour in order to visualize an event concept, I’m sticking too it! Your epilogue from your roast was the most touching part of the evening. I love you like a brother I never had (or, at least, one my father never told me about.)
- Dave – Always the quiet one, but always one of the most reliable ones. That said, you heard that my mic was cutting in and out… WHY DIDN’T YOU FIX IT! :)
- Eric – I can’t believe you own one of those hats. You’re a gentlemen, a scholar, and good people. I’m glad our lives are permanently intertwined due to that damn cartoon. :)
- Erik – You and Karen have known Shannon and I since… well… damn near forever. AND WE’RE ALL STILL GEEKS. (Which is a good thing.)
- Gary – Stylishly late, but always stylish. Shannon and I will get out there for beer at some point. I promise!
- Gregg - Worst. Roaster. Ever. The reason, though, is because you are one of the kindest souls I have ever met. You are amazing and you’ve made this “old man” feel like more than he is, but at the same time believe that he (I) can still aspire to be it all.
- Jessica - How did you know I like Starbucks! That said, your Tom Croom costume was outstanding. Though, I’m not sure everyone remembers my time performing at the Parliament House. Thanks for being a part of this madness. :)
- Jo - Gifts are never necessary, and that gift card was too much. You’re a great guy and stop reminding me how long ago we met in college. It only makes me feel OLDER. ;)
- John – My best and worst roommate ever. It’s always great to see you again, though I am disappointed you couldn’t find our matching underwear. :)
- Kaleb – Thanks for taking photos at the event. I’m downloading copies from your camera (we took it home last night) and OMG WHAT ARE THESE OTHER PICTURES??!!!
- Karen - Damn, ma’am. I’ve known you longer than most of the folks in that room. I am happy that through the years, clubs, conventions, and strange anime fans that we’ve always remained friends. You are an amazing woman.
- Karma – What can I say that hasn’t already been said?
- Katie – Who’d of thunk that my ability to put up with Mike Herz and that FX Show would ultimately result in THIS? Seriously. There’s some deep philosophical implications there – or I’m just damn lucky to have you and mine and Shannon’s life. (I’m going to vote the latter.) Your channeling of your husband at the roast was spot on. :)
- Ken - You weren’t here in person, but your spirit (and words) were carried via your wife… asshole. ;)
- Kim – Thank you for being there all these years and I may need to hit you up for a copy of the kumquat tree story. (I need it as the foreword in my autobiography.)
- Lyn - One of the FEW people on the planet that knew that costume that you wore. Thanks for being such a good and unique (that’s a good thing) friend over the years… and for putting up with so much of my shit. :)
- Myna – I wanted to say something profound and touching here, but I was distracted by your boobs. You’re a great addition to the circle of nerds and I’m glad you were able to join the insanity.
- Ray & Diane – I always hear jokes about “the in-laws.” Thanks to you two, though, I don’t understand a single one of them. I love you both dearly. :)
- Richard – Your video message was inspiring and disturbing. Strangely, it was shot in a locations just like Rikki’s. You’re a good friend and I DON’T CHEAT AT WORDS WITH FRIENDS. That’d be that “Kaleb” guy.
- Rikki – I’ve watched your video a few times now. I keep struggling between laughing again or just calling you and forwarding you to someone for professional help. I may do both. Also see my note to Richard above; you’re both seriously fucked in the head – apparently in similar ways. :)
- Scott – I haven’t read those Shia Lebouf books. Yet. It scares me, though, that you know me well enough to know how much I’ll enjoy the torture of reading them.
- Seth – One of my oldest friends who predates my hardcore venture into the business of geek. You are an anchor for my sanity reminding me that there were people who saw things the right way in our days at Universal together. You are amazing and I’m glad to have you continually in my life.
- Shannon – I love you. You completely and entirely got me by surprise. Well done. Game on. ;)
- Shortie - Last night I realized how long we have known each other and, as a result, I felt EVEN OLDER. Thanks for always being there for Shannon and I – and especially Shannon. It’s good to have another person she can talk to about mutual friends. :)
- Tom & Janice – You will always be my adopted Orlando parents who have always been there for my wife and I. Thanks for showing up and reminding me that I will ALWAYS be younger than your real son. :)
- Tracy – I’m sorry I was tired and distracted all night and didn’t have time to make you cry – because it’s not a party until Tom Croom makes his sister-in-law cry. ;)
- Troy – Well played, sir. Now I have NOTHING to bitch about at Busch Gardens on Saturday… or Sunday. There was SOMETHING I was supposed to do on Sunday, too, right? Better check my Google Calender. ;)
Hey WPLG Local 10 News in South Florida (@WPLGLocal10) – story idea! (In regards to #StarWars Celebration 6)0
I could go on an on about the decline of journalism in lieu of tabloid television, but sometimes the actions of “the news” tells the tale well enough on its own.
It seems that WPLG, a local station in South Florida, decided it would be AWESOME to post a photo gallery of Star Wars fans from the recent Star Wars Celebration event at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida.
You know… that event that brought in thousands of travelers across the state (and outside Florida) to pump money into the local economy.
Here’s the details (from the Facebook group “WPLG Local 10 Owes Star Wars Fans a Formal Public Apology“)
“For those who do not know what is going on – this station, or should I say someone who is employed by this station posted 45 pictures from the Star Wars convention that was held in Orlando this past weekend. Attached to those pictures were very rude and insulting captions by the station. For example, there was a picture of a young lady dressed as Obi-wan Kenobi (A male Jedi knight in the films) and she was wearing a fake beard. The station captioned the photo that no one seemed to notice the number of hairy women at the convention. There were over 44 other pictures, all of them making fun of peoples sizes, gender and so on.” -El Bradfield
Here’s an example:
Caption reads “Dateless man for as far as they eye can see”
(“they” should be “the” – their typo, not mine.)
It seems that WPLG has missed the point regarding how asinine this action was and tried to do a “brush off” apology. That’s right – there’s a screen shot of that, too:
This was going south quick, so they quickly removed the apology claiming the “my sandbox/my rules” standard.
I personally don’t think this “news” organization gets it. So, for my own amusement, I have compiled a list of suggested upcoming photo galleries for WPLG to create and post based on other events coming to the Orange County Convention Center. After all, it’s not offensive or bullying based on stereotypes if it comes from a news organization, AMIRIGHT?
Suggestion #1: The Surf Expo, September 6-8, 2012
Imagine the comic genius the WPLG crew could produce! Get photos of surfers away from the beach. They’re all pot smoking stoners living in low income housing, right? Make sure to poke fun at how most of them are probably jobless and living off of welfare while they waste their days away at the beach. HILARIOUS, RIGHT?
Suggestion #2: Southern Women’s Show, October 11-15, 2012
Southern women? Hellllllloooo redneck chick jokes! I mean, based on stereotypes, I’m pretty sure that all of these lovely ladies have married their cousins and support their families as they march in KKK outfits. Just think of all the “white sheet” jokes you could get with the right photos! COMIC GOLD, NO?
Suggestion #3: The American National Cheer & Dance Championships, March 22-24, 2013
So if all the men at the Star Wars Celebration event were dateless, then (based on the WPLG thought process of news reporting) this must be the proverbial SEA OF SLUTS! I can only imagine the guffaws from a photo gallery of teenage girls in compromising positions who are OBVIOUSLY sleeping with every guy they meet. They’re cheerleaders, right? That’s their stereotype so that means IT’S NEWS, RIGHT?
When a “news source” decides, via one of it’s communication outlets (in this case, Facebook,) that perpetuating stereotypes for the sake of humor is okay then they cease being news… and transforms into a lame ass sitcom.
For those wondering:
3401 West Hallandale Beach Boulevard
Pembroke Park, FL 33023
Last Thursday night, I got to see Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers in concert at the Amway Arena in Orlando, Florida. That was something a LONG TIME coming. You see, Full Moon Fever remains, to this day, one of my all time favorite albums. Somehow, though, I never got the chance to see Tom Petty in concert… until last week
His opening act was a young lady named Regina Spektor. Shannon knew who she was. I recognized one of her songs from an episode of Veronica Mars.
Thus, here is the updated list:
*NSYNC (@ Universal’s CityWalk)
Ashlee Simpson (at Sunfest)
Barenaked Ladies (@ Universal’s Mardi Gras)
Faith No More
Fiona Apple (at Sunfest)
Guns & Roses II aka “Axl & Friends”
Guns & Roses (2 times)
Ice Cube (at Lollapalooza ’92)
Joan Jett (@ Disney’s Pleasure Island)
Journey (2 times)
Jimmy Buffett (7 times)
Metallica (2 times)
Ministry (@ Lollapalooza ’92)
Nine Inch Nails
Pearl Jam (@ Lollapalooza ’92)
The Ramones (@ Lollapalooza ’96)
The Red Hot Chili Peppers (@ Lollapalooza ’92)
Right Said Fred
Sheryl Crow (at Sunfest)
Soundgarden (3 times)
Sponge (@ Lollapalooza ’96)
Squirrel Nut Zippers (@ Universal’s Mardi Gras)
The Spice Girls
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
Tori Amos (2 times)
Van Halen (with Sammy Hagar)
Voltaire (@ The Nightmare Before Thanksgiving)
“Weird Al” Yankovic (2 times)
Acts listed in bold have a link to a blog post or photos from the show. There are other posts, too, but that will have to wait for another concert list update in the future once I finish retroactively categorizing my past blog posts.
Working for Universal Orlando taught me that one bad experience can ruin a vacation & I learned it first hand yesterday.10
I worked for Universal Orlando (originally just Universal Studios Florida) from 1994 to 2001. It was a great and often challenging job that instilled in me the concept of providing, and in turn expecting, outstanding customer service.
I remember being there when attractions like The Funtastic World of Hanna Barbera, Nickelodeon, Murder She Wrote, Back to the Future, and The Wild, Wild, Wild West Stunt Show all ran day in and day out.
Anyone else remember the Dynamite Nights Stuntacular? I do.
The main thing I remember, though, is how important it was as an employee to provide outstanding guest service. You see, in Universal theme park vernacular there are no “customers.” Only guests.
I remember how important guest service was because it was instilled in the training to work there and reinforced every day. There were guest service competitions hosted by management regularly. Prizes and incentives were awarded for turning a guest’s day around when opportunities presented themselves. Universal Orlando was intent on making sure that every man, woman, and child had the most memorable vacation of their lives when they arrived in Florida to “ride the movies.”
It’s always sad to revisit places that you remember with fondness only to learn the truth of how cruelly time has changed them. Who says you can’t go home? Universal Orlando.
A couple of weeks ago, Universal announced that they were closing Jaws the Ride. That attraction was my first job for Universal Studios, so I posted about it on my blog:
Jaws the Ride at Universal Studios in Florida. Memories & Let’s go ONE LAST TIME! http://www.tomcroom.com/?p=8495
A number of former boat skippers and I started working on meeting up to ride the ride together one last time. Thus, this event was created on Facebook to spread the word:
After getting messages and seeing posts from a number of folks looking to travel or having difficulty committing due to finances, I decided to contact Universal Orlando. I had no expectations, but there was a little hope that Universal would open its arms to some returning alumni to say good-bye to Bruce and the “mistake on the lake.”
Here’s what happened from there:
- On December 2, 2011, I emailed email@example.com presenting the event and what we had planned. I also cloned the communication via Universal Orlando’s web form here: http://media.universalorlando.com/Contact_Us/contactus.aspx?tab=PublicRelations
- On Saturday, December 10, 2011, I was in Orlando for meetings and a birthday – so I took the time to stop by Universal to talk to Guest Services since I hadn’t heard anything from Public Relations. That proved a dead end since, after checking with some supervisors, the woman at the window (who was, for the record, being very helpful) said I should contact Public Relations since they should be able to help.
- This past Tuesday (December 13, 2011… twelve days later) I hadn’t heard back. I honestly didn’t notice because (personally) I had already planned on buying a ticket. At the time I had no trouble giving Universal some money for a trip down memory lane. For me it seemed (again, at the time) worth it. Folks were contacting me, though, asking if I had heard anything about passes just in case.
- I called the Public Relations phone number – (407) 224-4233 – and spoke to a pleasant enough young woman. Her first answer after I explained why I was calling, though, was that there was nothing that could done on “such short notice.” I then pointed out that I had first made contact almost two weeks earlier. I was given the impression that I was inconveniencing her at that point and she gave me another name of whom I should speak to. She then explained that that person in question was unavailable that day and my best bet was to just email her.
- Not wanting to keep peoples’ hopes up, I posted on the Facebook Event page the direct contact information I was given (Kristen Clark, firstname.lastname@example.org) and conveyed that if folks wanted to follow through on their own that they should. I’ve dealt with plenty of businesses that aren’t savvy enough to operate an effective communications team, but seeing that Universal Orlando had become one was a huge personal disappointment. Even a short “We’re sorry we can’t help, but thanks for asking” would have been sufficient.
- EUREKA! I got an email back from Kristen yesterday stating that she got my email, but that she wasn’t the person that could handle it. She was, though, polite, direct, and promised follow through. This was what I had come to expect from working at Universal. Even if there was nothing she personally could do regarding the request, she was at least communicating the fact politely and professionally and offering to follow up on it.
Then I got a phone call last night.
Working for Universal Orlando taught me that one bad experience can ruin a vacation & I learned it first hand yesterday.
I wasn’t exaggerating with the title.
The person on the other end of the line was Tom Schroder, Vice President of Media Relations for Universal Orlando. At the beginning of the call, he explained that he was calling for two reasons. His first reason took over ten minutes of my time. His second took only two.
Tom went on the offensive immediately conveying his displeasure for my post on the Facebook Event page:
UPDATE: Universal’s Public Relations department is proving altogether useless. After not hearing anything back via email, I called today. The receptionist who answered pointed me to a “Kristen Clark” who is, of course, unavailable. I’ll shoot an email and check… but getting comp passes is looking slim. Sorry folks. If you’d like to email Kristen about the “One Last Time!” boat ride we’re doing… feel free to do so! kristen.clark@universalorlando
He brought up over and over again how he felt that the phrase “altogether useless” was unfair. I reiterated that almost two weeks without a reply and then being told that no one was available to discuss something was (in my opinion) enough to justify the phrase. Tom wasn’t calling to convey anything… he was calling to complain to me because I had said something disparaging about his team when they failed to follow through.
Seriously. This was almost a ten minute discussion.
Two things he said on the call REALLY irked the hell out of me. The first was the generic/passive aggressive “I’m sorry you feel that way” statement. For those of us that understand the language of guest service, that’s a talk off that means absolute zero. It is an apology for nothing and doesn’t address a situation, but instead turns the alleged apology back onto how the person feels instead of what they experienced. Since I speak fluent service-ese, I actually found that insulting.
The second thing he said was when he was trying to justify taking the time to converse with me on the phone about the statement. He related that the would allegedly have had the same conversation “if he were talking to a guest” about those comments. You know what? I am a guest. I am no longer an employee and, when I come to visit, I spend money at the resort. Every time.
As stated earlier, the second thing he called to talk about was conveyed in a huff after (from what I could tell) he felt he was good and done trying to lecture me about how unfair it was that I called his team “utterly useless” – and it took less than two minutes.
He called to say that there was a lot of focus on Jaws the Ride right now and (as a result) they didn’t have any available comp passes. In his words: “there is nothing they could do.”
It’s taking all of my willpower to not describe this unprofessional person using more colorful metaphors since I intend to forward this post to a number of people/media outlets. In short, though: uncool.
I want it abundantly clear that had I gotten a short phone call stating something along the lines of “we’re sorry, but there’s nothing we can do at this time” then I would have been 100% fine. The fact that this guy felt the need to get me on the phone and try to complain to me from his soap box AND THEN convey that “there’s nothing they could do” made it sound like he was drawing a cause and effect relationship between the two statements… meaning he doesn’t take ANY ownership for the communication failure on his team’s part.
Which means that he doesn’t take any ownership for the brand he represents.
Which means (to me) that Universal Orlando just doesn’t care anymore.
And that’s just sad.
I’m still planning on going to Universal Studios on Saturday to see old friends and revisit memories. I plan (as I did from the beginning) to spend my $80 to get in and check out the park. Rest assured, though, that Tom Schroder has single handedly guaranteed that when I take my family to Orlando, Florida for years to come that I’ll prefer giving my money to the mouse down the street.
Thanks for writing! I’m confused at what facts are in question. (In my best impersonation of the narrator from Pushing Daisies)
The facts were these…
- I have been attending fan conventions across the United States since 1991. I’ve visited events like yours of almost every shape and size from Los Angeles to Miami.
- In 2010, I went to Botcon in Orlando, Florida. My friend Joey Snackpants and I had been anticipating attending the event for years.
- I was tragically disappointed in Botcon’s presentation. (See this review online.) NOTE: My disappointment is a fact; my opinion of the event is… well… my opinion.
- I stated, during the ongoing online arguments that ensued on my blog, that the only way to see if Botcon had learned anything from their (in my opinion) failure in Orlando was to see the show at a location that wasn’t near Los Angeles (which resulted in 2011) or near Fun Publication’s headquarters in Texas.
- Botcon 2012 will take place less than 50 miles from Fun Publications in Texas.
Thus my argument holds plenty of water: 2010 was weak. 2011 was well attended based on location and proximity to the Transformers movie release. 2012 is less than an hour’s drive from Fun Publication’s headquarters.
Having run events across the United States, I can say that any promoter I know will tell you it is ALWAYS much easier running a convention local to your core staff.
FUN FACT: The movie Glitter has a 7% on Rotten Tomatoes. That means SOMEONE liked it; that doesn’t, though, make it a good movie: (http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/glitter/) Think about that as you look at your convention. Instead of pissy Twitter replies (making your convention look unprofessional) try listening to the feedback and look to improve your show.
Also, I am (of course) posting this email on my blog.
Thanks again for writing,
From: Pete Sinclair [mailto:pete@[FROM FUN PUBLICATIONS].com]
Sent: Tuesday, December 06, 2011 7:00 PM
Just an FYI… BotCon has been held, since FP started in 2005, in Frisco, Lexington, Rhode Island, Cincinnati, Pasadena, Orlando and then back to Pasadena.
Regardless as to whether the show is an hour a way or 16 hours away makes zero difference from a logistics standpoint. All shipments, guests and planning (and so much more) are done the same way. Same number of site visits are made as well. ONLY thing that changes is office staff will drive as opposed to fly. Out of state staff, like myself, actually handles the advertising we do for the show, so even that part of your argument holds no water I am afraid.
Please make the effort to ask before reporting the “facts” next time
Welcome to Captain Jake’s Amity Boat Tours. We’re the best – and only scenic cruise on the island.
In 1994, I moved out of dad’s house after two years sporadic fun at my local community college and ventured into the “real world.” He moved to Georgia and I moved to Orlando, Florida where I got my first full time job to pay my own damn rent… I became a Ride & Show Operator for Universal Studios Florida on the Jaws ride.
That’s me directly behind the red head.
I regularly hear folks talk about the friends you have in life that you keep along the way in that you made in high school and college. Working at that theme park ride was such a strange and similar sense of family that (to this day) I miss the people in that photo with a touch of nostalgia.
You see, Jaws was THE ride to work for at Universal Studios back then. It was the springboard for stepping into management because it presented all of a theme park ride’s challenging elements in one package for the employees:
- You had to spiel (meaning you talk practically all day.)
- It was an outside ride at a theme park open year round. (Ah, those cold winters on the outside water ride!)
- It was a ride where (like it or not) you were going to get drenched with water.
- It was a ride where you had to show up at the crack of dawn and clean show elements (the boats) with soap and scrub brushes.
- It was a popular ride and had a long line which gave way to a ton of upset park guests and an ample number of chances for outstanding customer service.
Jaws was the boot camp for the best of the best when it came to running a theme park ride. I made dozens of friends that I still keep in touch because of my experiences there. As a matter of fact, over 10% of my Facebook friends were met via “the mistake on the lake” (an affectionate nickname given to the ride by skippers.)
That’s my friend Karine. I met her when she rode as a guest on my boat in 1995. She’s from France and we have remained pen pals ever since then. As a matter of fact, she, her mother and her daughter met up with my wife and I last year for dinner and we remain in touch via Facebook.
Some experiences transcend entertainment, and my time spent at the Jaws ride at Universal helped define a large part of who I am today.
Thus, when I heard the news today that Jaws is closing at Universal Studios Florida on January 2, 2012 – I couldn’t help but be saddened a bit. The silliest things can sometimes be the most important in our lives, and we often don’t realize it until it’s time for those things to fade off into the sunset.
So I’m going back to ride Jaws… one last time.
Saturday, December 17th, 2011. Meet me out at the hanging shark between 1:30 PM and 2:00 PM. At two o’clock, I’ll enter the queue line and go searching for Gordan one last time.
Here’s the details on Facebook. It’s an open invite, so send it to everyone you’d like to see join us:
Also feel free to post a reply of your memory of Jaws the Ride on my blog here. I’d love to share in the nostalgia.