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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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Everything posted by Chuck Plagmann

  1. The OI Forums at 2

    Hi, A new thread. As some of you may know, the OI forums are turning 2 in a few days. That got me thinking about the impact the forum has had on me. 1. I read or at least skim most every post. I get to learn a lot from the members. I enjoy the trip reports, our daily reports, and anticipation of new attractions. 2. I am a regular at the parks, so I can share my experience and knowledge. It makes me so sad to see guests at the parks without a clue as to what is going on, and not having a great time. 3. And most importantly, I have gotten to know and meet with so many fine people here. Without the forums, everyone would just be another face in the crowd. I treasure the fun time and getting to know new friends. For all this, my sincere thanks.
  2. Random Chatter

    Late Tuesday, the State Department warned U.S. citizens about potential risks to travel in Europe, saying "terrorist groups continue to plan near-term attacks throughout Europe, targeting sporting events, tourist sites, restaurants and transportation." It advised citizens to "exercise vigilance" in public places or on mass transportation, and advised "particular caution" during religious events or large events.
  3. Skull Island: Reign of Kong

    I am sure it is designed to accommodate Express, but I suspect it is unlikely to be implemented any time soon. Both FJ and EFG have express capability, but it has never been used. HULK always had express, but again, not clear if it will be available at the re-open.
  4. The "Good Morning" Project

    Good Morning. 585 Hump day for me. Seems like everyone else is off for a week or so. Enjoy your vacations. You make me want the weekend here already. A beautiful day coming up today. Low 80s (27 C) and lots of sun. Warmer the rest of the week, but some rain possible. Lots of park activity coming together. HULK track is complete, and Skull Island looks to be close. Some long lines in my future this summer. National Chip And Dip Day, an annual favorite food holiday, is observed every March 23rd. It celebrates a perfect combination that is loved by many across the country. Chips and dip are a popular party dish as it is not only favored by most but also quick and easy to prepare. A huge asteroid (4581 Asclepius) nearly hit the earth in 1989. This day is commemorated annually on March 23rd as people across the nation celebrate National Near Miss Day. On March 22-23, 1989, a mountain-sized asteroid came within 500,000 miles of colliding with the earth. ”On the cosmic scale of things, that was a close call,” said Dr. Henry Holt. Geophysicists estimate that collision with Asclepius would release energy comparable to the explosion of a 600 megaton atomic bomb. On March 31, 1989, nine days after its closest approach to Earth, the asteroid was discovered. March 23rd recognizes Melba Toast Day, a food holiday. Melba toast is a dry, crisp and thinly sliced toast. It is sometimes served with salad or soup or may be eaten plain or with a topping. Melba toast was named after Dame Nellie Melba, the stage name of the Australian opera singer, Helen Porter Mitchell. The singer was quite popular with chef Auguste Escoffier of the Savoy. It is believed he created not just this “diet” toast for Ms. Melba, but a famous dessert as well. Observed each year on March 23rd is National Puppy Day. National Puppy Day will be celebrated on the Friday or Monday closest to March 23rd if that day falls on a weekend. This day was created to celebrate the magic and unconditional love that puppies bring to our lives. National Puppy Day is also a day to bring awareness to the need for care of and homes for orphaned puppies as well as to educate people about the horrors of puppy mills across the country. The Registrar of National Day Calendar has designated March 23rd of each year as National Chia Day. This day recognizes the tiny, yet powerful chia seed that has earned its reputation as being one of the most nutrient-rich foods on the planet. Revered by the Maya and Aztecs for their amazing healing powers and natural energy, chia seeds have become a trusted staple for people around the world and can be enjoyed in many foods and beverages! Happy birthday to OI Forum member halfbloodprincess. Happy birthday to Chaka Khan (63), Keri Russel (40), & Joan Crawford. Have a great day!
  5. Hi, 1. During Early Park Admission (EPA), in the Universal Studios Park, only Diagon Alley and Despicable Me are open. There is a lined path from the front gate to Diagon Alley. We suggest doing DM first, because the line is usually the shortest of the day. DM has a small throughput and is popular, so often the wait is over 60 minutes. After DM, head to DA for Gringotts. FYI, EPA at IOA has only Hogsmeade open (at least for now, might change when Skull Island opens). 2. Three broomsticks is open when the park opens. So in your case, with EPA at US, you will not have access to IOA or Three Broomsticks until after EPA. You can take the Hogwarts Express to IOA... It should not be an issue for your breakfast.
  6. Halloween horror nights

    Hi Kari, Welcome to the OI community forum. Glad to have you join us. There is no 'restriction' on age. Universal does strongly suggest 13 and over. The intensity of the shows can be to strong for younger kids. This is both for fright/scares, and for adult themes. I would say 13 is a minimum. And 16 or so it they are to be unsupervised. Hope that helps. Again welcome. Let us know if we can be of further assistance.
  7. Tell us a joke

    Lisa needs brain surgery and figures its easier to buy a new brain. She asks the doctor what he has on sale. "Well youre in luck I have two in stock, a mans brain for $1000 and a womans for $100." Surprised, she asks why the price difference? "Generally women brains run cheaper because they come to us used!"
  8. Throwback Thursday

    I am starting off a new thread. Here is a place to post old photographs and pictures of the parks, etc.
  9. Throwback Thursday

    Miles Davis & John Coltrane - 1958
  10. Random Chatter

  11. The "Good Morning" Project

    Good Morning! 584 Sad to wake up to the news from Brussels. Jealous of all of you with short weeks this week. Enjoy your days off. Cold this morning! 45. But it should warm up again today, back into the mide 70s. Another day of work. Short one today. Happy birthday to OI forum member EliseKrake. Happy Birthday to Reese Witherspoon (40), Rick Harrison (51), William Shatner (85), Wolf Blitzer (68), George Benson (73), Chico Marx, Marcel Marceau, Bob Costas (64), Andrew Lloyd Webber (68), & James Patterson.
  12. The "Good Night" Project 2

    another cold night coming. Low 40s tonight. A fast run from the car to work in the morning... catch up on WD episode tonight... Then find an extra blanket.
  13. if your pass is registered on the UO site, you can log in to the passholder account and it is displayed there. Or you can register your pass to get an account. you should get an email ~30 days in advance of your renewal date to remind you as well.
  14. Let's talk shopping!

    I use 30 - 50 protection factor all the time.
  15. Tell us a joke

    A woman went up to the bar in a quiet rural pub.She gestured alluringly to the bartender who approached her immediately. She seductively signaled that he should bring his face closer to hers. As he did, she gently caressed his full beard."Are you the manager?" she asked, softly stroking his face with both hands. "Actually, no," he replied. "Can you get him for me? I need to speak to him," she said, running her hands beyond his beard and into his hair. "Im afraid I cant," breathed the bartender... "Is there anything I can do?" "Yes. I need you to give him a message," she continued, running her forefinger across the bartenders lip and slyly popping a couple of her fingers into his mouth and allowing him to suck them gently. "What should I tell him?" the bartender managed to say. "Tell him," she whispered,"Theres no toilet paper, hand soap, or paper towels in the ladies room."
  16. Random Chatter

  17. Throwback Thursday

    Love the claims of older advertising...
  18. September 2016 - Who's up for it.

    UPDATED to add K9copinmd's schedule.
  19. The "Good Morning" Project

    Good Morning! 583 Another Monday. Unlike most of the folks posting this morning, I have a full week coming up, so I am jealous. Rested up a bit yesterday. And it is MUCH cooler this morning, 55 F (13 C), not much warming today either, and colder tonight. It will be sunny and clear, but the wind will make it feel even cooler. Holy week for Christians. And many folks are on spring break. Looking forward to saying hello to @Narcissa this Saturday - she is having yet another Universal weekend. REO Speedwagon is the band at Mardi Gras Saturday as well. Long range weather is for rain. I hope that does not materialize. Got an email yesterday to create some foolish report based on data that is not collected. Sigh. National Common Courtesy Day is observed annually on March 21st. This day brings awareness to how important common courtesy is in our lives. In the Merriam-Webster dictionary, courtesy is described as a: behavior marked by polished manners or respect for others: courteous behavior b: a courteous and respectful act or expression. Common courtesy can be as simple as saying “please” and “thank you” when asking for and receiving a service, gift or assistance. Kindness and courtesy really do go a long way and are noticed by others even if you do not realize it. It is easy to let someone in front of you in traffic. Hold open a door for someone or give a person a hand with his groceries. Give up your seat on the bus to someone who might need it. Introduce yourself to the new employee or kid at school and take the time to introduce her to the rest of the crew. These are just a few examples of small things that make a difference to someone else. They are momentary deeds of being courteous. Spring is now in the air and so is National Fragrance Day. This day is observed each year on March 21st. Have you ever been transported back in time simply by catching the scent of loved one’s perfume? Or perhaps it was the smell of baby powder on a newborn baby that sent you reeling back to the days when your child was an infant. Maybe it was a combination of ginger and molasses, and suddenly you were in your grandmother’s kitchen. Whatever the fragrance, scents and memory are powerfully linked. We associate summer with the smell of freshly cut grass, thunderstorms with the smell of damp air and the acrid scent of sulfur when lightning has struck. We often connect memories of winter holidays with warm smells of baked pies and cookies. The brain is an amazing thing and science finds out more about it every day. Simply put, the olfactory bulb which is responsible for processing all those smells we take in is next to the hippocampus deep inside the brain. Neuroscientists have discovered that one of the responsibilities of the hippocampus is creating new memories. With the olfactory bulb and the hippocampus so closely placed, research suggests smell and memory really are linked. Our memories are most closely linked to those we have loved. Your first love may have worn a unique floral fragrance, or perhaps the uncle who taught you to tie intricate knots smelled of cedar as he told war stories. While we may often take a trip down memory lane by looking at a scrapbook, perhaps this time remembering our favorite fragrances will stir up memories that were long forgotten or maybe we will make some new ones. National French Bread Day is enjoyed by millions across the United States each year on March 21st. French bread, also known as a baguette, is a long thin loaf made from basic lean dough. It is defined by its length and its crisp crust. Over time, French law has defined the baguette. Beginning in 1920 a labor law prevented bakers from beginning their day before 4 a.m. Bakers adjusted by shaping their loaves of bread so they baked more quickly and evenly. As a result, the long, narrow loaves were found to be convenient for slicing and storing. The French are known for their high standards where culinary arts are concerned. To preserve quality in their bread, laws were passed requiring minimum quantities of certain quality ingredients in each loaf of bread. Happy Birthday to OI Forum members Squishie4, skillsvary & georgereason. Happy Birthday to Matthew Broderick (54), Scott Eastwood (30), Gary Oldman (58), Rosie O'Donnell (54), Timothy Dalton (72), Johan Sebastian Bach, & for @Dan_Mol Ayrton Senna. Have a great start of the week. Hump day already for many of you...
  20. The "Good Night" Project 2

    weekend is ending. I will be turning in early. Cold air coming in! High of 69 F (20 C) tomorrow, and 44 F (7 C) Tuesday morning! Back to January for a day!!!!
  21. Is there a Walking Dead Finale viewing Party?

    Hi teddybru, Welcome to the OI Community Forum. Great to have you join in. Sounds like you are familiar with the WD threads here. An interesting idea. I am unaware of anything organized. But maybe there are some WD fans who would like watch as a group. Let us know if we can be of any assistance.
  22. DaddyO and Cissa's Mardi Gras Weekends!

    the photos with the band are here @Narcissa
  23. Tell us a joke

  24. Throwback Thursday

    The 1901 FA Cup Final. Played at Crystal Palace in South London. @MattLynch91 @Dan_Mol @kirbyo0000
  25. September 2016 - Who's up for it.

    Great! Sounds like you have recovered from your bout with PUD.