• Announcements

    • Taylor Strickland

      (IMPORTANT) What's next for our community   03/24/2016

      Today we're excited to announce the start of our new Facebook group: Universal Community by Orlando Informer. We're also announcing we're closing our forums. This is probably the hardest decision I've made so far with Orlando Informer. This week marks the 2nd anniversary of our forums. Monday will mark 2 years from when I first applied to work with Orlando Informer. I was entering a pool of over 50 applicants, didn't meet the requirements, and didn't think the odds were very high that I'd get the position of Forum Moderator. It never even crossed my mind that not only would I get the position, but that position and these forums would be the start of being able to do what I love as a fulltime job. At its core, our forums have always had two goals: A ) Help families receive specific answers to specific questions, feedback from folks who have been in their shoes, and help them maximize their investment into their vacation. B ) Build a community of people who love to visit Universal, with a foundation of respect and tolerance. I can speak for our entire team on our forums (both past and present), especially our Community Manager @Chuck Plagmann, when I say that we have devoted hours of time every day of the year working towards these two goals. We feel that we've made major strides towards both of our goals, but see the opportunity to help a significantly greater amount of people plan their vacation and add on to our established (and amazing) community. Unfortunately, as time goes on, forums like ours have a tendency to slow down and be replaced by social media. It's the cycle of life for forums. We believe that this Facebook group is the logical next step for our community. Our forums and the content within will remain browseable for the foreseeable future, however you will not be able to submit new content. Our Facebook group, Universal Community by Orlando Informer, will be curated by our same team that ran the OI Forums. @Chuck Plagmann and I will be on the group daily to provide insight and help families plan their vacation. @debi will be monitoring for any Special Needs questions. Our (very talented) authors, like @Marc N. Kleinhenz, will be on the group to talk about their latest articles and your feedback. Finally, @Park Beast will even be dropping by from time to time to talk about our weekly podcast. You can access our Facebook group by searching "Universal Community by Orlando Informer" or visiting UOR.community from any webbrowser. We know this is a substantial change from our forums, but are hopeful you'll be willing to give it a shot. Additionally, we're launching a Facebook group for Universal Hollywood: "Universal Community by California Informer" or visit USH.community. This is the end of the forums, but it is just the beginning of our community. One thing we consistently hear from members of our forums is how different our community is from some of the others found online. We are committed to maintaining this reputation in our Facebook group. I have met a countless number of people, many I call friends, from our OI Forums. I know real bonds (and even relationships) have resulted from the time spent on these forums. I'm looking forward to seeing these bonds develop and new ones form on our new outlet. Please know that this decision was not made lightly or without considering the amount of time many of you have spent on here. I fully believe this is the next step forward to growing our community and helping as many people as possible have the best trip to Universal. I'm looking forward to interacting with everyone for many years to come. As always, please don't hesitate to reach out with feedback -- taylor [at] orlandoinformer.com See you on the Facebook Group, Taylor P.S., Unlimited likes on Facebook, you can thank me in advance.

debi

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About debi

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  • Birthday November 20

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  1. General Potterhead Chatter

    There's a Lego Hogwarts Castle on display in my granddaughter's school library. It's been there for several years, I was told. I first saw it in Sept. 2013. Now I wish I'd taken a photo of it!
  2. Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party 2016

    Thanks, Matt! The FB post just hit my feed!
  3. Tell us a joke

  4. Jurrasic Park Hatchery

    Wouldn't this be great someplace in Jurassic Park???
  5. The OI Forums at 2

    And Thanks, @Maureen, for being my mentor!
  6. Yeah, same here. My GD Natalee liked HK for a very short time but she's over it already. She's 8. I made her these earrings in several different colors just to appease her at Christmas 2014: About the only thing I would like to have is this shirt:
  7. The "Good Morning" Project

    A good morning to everyone! It is now - our cable and internet are back!!! I perused your posts via my little phone but I do not type well with my thumbs. You see, our house without electricity or cable is like being in Defcon 1! EE goes ballistic on us and there is no calming her if there is no TV. And around 9 am the cable went out. I had just awoken and she was melting down. I called the company - expected wait time 2 hours. Two hours of screaming? NOOOOO! Time to fire up the DVD player. Except it's on a high shelf (to keep EE from trying to change discs on her own and ruining them in the process) and the cables didn't REACH the old TV sitting on the stand under it. The flat screen was mounted. The connections are on the bottom front of what is basically a 16" cube. I couldn't find a female connection cable to extend the length so the only recourse was to remove the shelf. DH wasn't up yet and besides, taking care of the tech in our house has always fallen to me. However, dummy me forgot I no longer have the grip strength required to do this kind of thing anymore, even though both the player and the shelf together probably only weigh 5 pounds. Once I got three screws out of the shelf so I could remove the cables and plugs (DH had put the wires and cables behind the shelf, not leaving enough room for the plugs to get through) I couldn't hold onto the small player with one hand and move the shelf with the other. The 4th screw ended up dropping out so I had to grab the player with both hands and let the shelf drop. Which it did - on my foot.... Mind you, DH still didn't wake with all this noise but I'm sure the neighbors wondered what was going on over here....I know, should have gotten him in the first place to help but I've ALWAYS done things for myself. Heck, I replaced the water pump on a '62 Olds Holiday when I was 18! But, I'm not 18 anymore. And it has frustrated me to no end to have lost this ability.... End of complaining for today. I am so relieved to hear that our Belgium contingents are okay, but my heart is still aching for Brussels. It's aching for the entire world! Leaving for Walmart in a few minutes to get a new TV for EE. And the longest HDMI, DVD etc. cables and connectors I can find!!!! Either that or the shelf is being lowered just high enough that EE can't reach it.... HAVE A BODACIOUS DAY!!!
  8. We started collecting both cups and shirts for EE (and a couple for me) when we first starting going to Universal. Not finding ceramic name cups anymore, just the plastic ones. We have had to return 2 of those. Even though the inside is molded plastic, they have developed little pin holes and began leaking! The one with the pens is the third to do it but I'm not buying another! Nope, they are not washed in the dishwasher! The ceramic ones have been, although I stopped doing that with them several years ago. City of Clearwater put a new chemical in the water which did not agree with all dish washing detergents and it did strange things to certain finishes! I made several complaints when it first happened and it ended up being a major news story here after so many people were reporting similar problems! But, the damage was done. The entire black one was originally a MIB cup which we bought when the ride first opened in 2000! A couple have been broken, as well. I had to remove the last 2 letters in Natallee's cup so I could change the spelling of her name. Oh, geeze. I forgot the plastic Grinch cup in the bathroom that EE uses for drinks of water.... And here are all the shirts we currently have! The Mardi Gras ones had 2 of each, one for EE and one for me. Other shirts have just been worn completely out as EE loves to wear hers. We did collect charms for bracelets for the girls and key chains for Ian, too. Lily has 3 Potter shirts, Ian and Nat each have one and Lily and I have started a wand collection. Almost forgot about pins - EE has several on her hat and more on her lanyard! I just wish I had more money to spend because I'd go nuts in some of the shops....
  9. Your thoughts about FastPass+

    Posted by Autism at the Parks today on Facebook. As far as I know, the DAS can't be used, either - only have the disabled viewing areas which fill up quickly.
  10. The OI Forums at 2

    Yep, I actually wrote a diatribe on a disabled Disney fan site three years ago when I read that comment. I think that's what led me to write this blog post.
  11. The OI Forums at 2

    It would take up so much room here just to quote all of you who have already posted but I feel the same way! OI and its Forums have allowed me to share what I have learned living with a disabled daughter and my own fairly recent disability to help others realize that Universal Orlando Resort actually welcomes guests with special needs! TMs and management have proven that to me over and over again. I was given the most wonderful opportunity to blog and answer questions through Special Needs Are Universal because, in 2012, there was no other site that I could find that offered current and excellence in information through experience to both the non-disabled AND disabled families! OI had been recommended to me after I was kicked off of another Facebook community for my constant positive posts when that group was hell-bent on trashing UOR instead of promoting the phenomenal gifts the parks offer! There were so many negative posts in that group, especially from Disney fans who call Universal the "other" or "dark" park when I knew that to be so not true! It was my destiny to find Orlando Informer!! I answered a question about the Secondary Platform in Forbidden Journey and the rest was history. I don't pretend to be a great blog writer like Taylor, Marc or so many of the others who write for OI. I actually find it quite difficult, especially when my family's needs are a constant interruption and my ADD brain can't focus on the track I need to be traveling. Both Dan and Taylor have been so understanding and I thank them for this opportunity more than I can express. But the wheels run smoothly when it comes to actually answering the questions and needs of others with disabilities because I found myself asking for and needing the help myself for so many years finding none. And it's been wonderful to be able to keep them on ONE website for all guests' information! Feeling like @Chuck Plagmann when it comes to seeing people not enjoying themselves in the parks, it really hurts to see families who can't find family bathrooms or even know that the Attraction Assistance Passes exist! I always walk up to those families to ask if they know about the AAP and the joy on their faces says it all when I explain what to do! We were having a miserable day in IOA with Erin's meltdowns on our first visit with her in 1999 until a team member changed our life! I hope I've been able to do that for others here. For someone like me who is stuck at home most of the time, this forum community has meant salvation some days. I so enjoy reading your posts and trip reports and through you all have learned not only more about what is available in the parks but in the world!! I really do care about your illnesses or car breakdowns, weddings and vacations. Watching the excitement build over the opening of Diagon Alley was so much fun! I'm grateful for your friendships. I'm hoping there will be many meetups yet to come because my one regret is not being able to do the ones this spring. I was quite nervous at the September one and my family had been in the parks all day and I was pretty much, well, pooped. I do miss the fact that no one thought to take a group photo!! Happy Second Birthday, OI Forums!
  12. The "Good Morning" Project

    Good morning, everyone. Once again, I am saddened to hear of yet another terrorist attack. I, too, pray for the safety of@Elcolonel78 , @ATCBelgium and my heart goes out to all people of Belgium. Finding it difficult to think of much else today. Well, we have our access to our money back. Finally. DH went to the credit union, was told every hold and risk factor had been removed and he was free to use his card without a problem. Went to Walmart for our groceries and yep, you guessed it, the card was denied. So, back he went AGAIN! It took 4 phone calls and 2 personal visits. For a $1 charge.... Don't get me wrong - I'm happy for the watchdog on the account BUT once we verified the purchase was legit that should have been the end of it! Murphy strikes again! EE's TV died yesterday while DH was at Walmart. Heard primal screams coming from her room - in tears because she couldn't make it work with her remote. She melted down the entire time I was trying to troubleshoot the problem and finally just removed it from her room. Boy! That really set her off. I brought in a 13" one we've had since 1984 that still works quite well but she still kept trying to get me to put the other one back! We've only had the flat screen 6 years. I'm pretty sure it's just the power supply and maybe my son can fix it. I'll let him try first - he's good with things like this. Good to hear you're feeling better, @MrsRobinson! And @Kris10, I sure hope Sophia gets over her gahumpa quickly and that you are able to miss it! So much illness this last winter - I really pray all of you remain healthy in the days to come! Well, time to close. Best get moving before I lose the energy.... Have an amazing day!!!!
  13. The "Good Morning" Project

    Another Monday morning! Chilly in Clearwater today, too. My step-mom called yesterday and said it was 33o where she lives in Ohio. Guess I shouldn't complain at 55o currently. But I'm still cold.... DH is dragging his feet about taking care of our debit card snafu. He used to work in card services so he knows the drill, but still. Considering Murphy's Law does seem to play big part in our life, the Girl Scout in me keeps saying "take care of it"! Said he would before he goes grocery shopping. We spent our Sunday doing laundry. And par for the course (and Murphy being such a close friend), I heard DH shout from the garage that he needed me to see THIS: Yep, the hook of my over-the-shoulder-boulder-holder was caught between the door and the drum of the dryer! I HAD put the hooks together before putting them in the washer (always do that along with turning shirts inside out, everything buttoned and zippered). Our machines both have cycles for unmentionables.... Luckily, it came free with just the need of a pair of needle nosed pliers to reshape the hook.... Wishing everyone a fascinating start to the new week!
  14. Throwback Thursday

    Yep. I had a pair - not quite like these but yep, had them!
  15. Glad I could help! We aim to please here at OI!