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    • 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.

Chuck Plagmann

Community Manager
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About Chuck Plagmann

  • Rank
    Support Staff
  • Birthday 11/29/1955

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  • Gender
  • Location
    Orlando Florida
  • Interests
    theme park junkie

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About Me

I was born and raised on a farm in Iowa, where the closest farmstead to us was over a mile away. In the cold of the winter, I remember watching "Walt Disney's The Wonderful World of Color" on Sunday nights, which often featured Disneyland. I dreamed that one day I would go there. As it turned out, my family had a vacation to Central Florida in 1971, and I finally got to visit Magic Kingdom (the next best thing to Disneyland). From that moment on, I was hooked on theme parks.

In 2008, I moved to Orlando and went into the power generation industry. I visited Universal and Disney pretty regularly. Then in 2011, my doctor told me I needed to have more exercise. I tried many things to become more active, but nothing was easily sustainable. However, walking through the theme parks proved to be great exercise for me! I started visiting Universal's parks regularly just to walk around, and as I did so, I started to notice more details beyond the big name rides.

Nowadays, I visit Universal almost weekly, learning new stuff all the time. What's more, I have come to know many Universal Team Members as friends. I stumbled onto the Orlando Informer website back when Springfield USA was about to open. I instantly became a big OI fan and have been ever since. I share the passion for planning vacations along with many OI readers, and I enjoy offering any suggestions I can.

As you can tell by now, my area of expertise is Universal Orlando. I enjoy the annual events like Mardi Gras, Halloween Horror Nights, Grinchmas, and the Macy's Holiday Parade. Also, I do my best to keep up with the construction that is constantly happening at Universal. Finally, because I have had the fortune to travel internationally and have visited theme parks in Paris, Tokyo, Hong Kong, and Singapore, I have great sympathy for those coming to our theme parks from aboard.

I hope I can be of service to the OI community!