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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.
Lainie

Lainie & Marty's Walker Stalker London Trip

53 posts in this topic

22 hours ago, Lainie said:

Anyhoo, the line up finally got announced and lo and behold Mr Reedus would be in attendance. Woohoo! No Andy Lincoln which was disappointing, however they were hoping that he would confirm at a later date.  (Usually these events in the UK are along the lines of “AND STARRING SPECIAL GUEST, 3RD WALKER FROM THE LEFT JIMMY THINGYMEBOB”, so for actual stars to confirm was quite exciting!!).

 

I spent the next few months fretting about what to wear, what to say, how to pose etc etc, egged on by @Bern and @POTTERLUVA

Marty in the meantime was telling folk that WE had a photo op with Daryl Dixon

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Funny man.  As if!!  I had a photo op pal!!!! 

Yeah I don't get that--last year they had the woman who was the biker walker at some thang--how in the heck are we supposed to know her from the person in front of us, a table aside? You know? Makes no sense. 

Well, of course. The Mini Dead Peanut Gallery was going to do their best! :D  

Oh Marty! You funny man! :lol: 

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7 minutes ago, Lainie said:

Now I am known as being the OCD-type organised one, and @marty2010 the, um how can I put this delicately? Poor Marty has a bit of a reputation for things going wrong.  There is even a topic lurking around here somewhere dedicated to "The Many Adventures of Simon and Bob" (ie us) which basically describes the calamity beset run up to one of our Orlando trips.

So, bearing this in mind, I faithfully repeated on the hour, every hour "I'll get you at 5.45 am".  Despite this, he still texted me just as I was about to go to bed to say "Um, what time are you getting me?!" Oh lordy.

Anyways, there I am the next morning, blissfully snoozing away dreaming of a certain crossbow wielding chappy, when I am rudely awakened by my phone - it's 6.10am!!!  "Ooops-a-daisy I have slept in" I said (or words to that effect - it might have been a bit fruitier!)

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One mad panic and twenty quid later (this is fast turning into an expensive trip) we hop out of a taxi with enough time to spare to grab a coffee for the train.  I tell you, if there ever is an actual zombie apocalypse, I will still fully expect Starbucks et al to be open!!

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Our hotel was located near the London Eye at Westminster Bridge.  It's the sister hotel of the one I use when I am in London for business and they are straight across the road from each other. I had never stayed there before and was quite nervous about how it would be, especially as I had got a too good to be true deal online.  I needn't have worried - it was beautiful, with fantastic views.

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We had a studio room, which had a separate living room and kitchen.  I could quite happily have moved in!!

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We unpacked and then headed up to Oxford Street to have a wander around Hamley's Star Wars and Harry Potter sections.  I bought some Potter bits and bobs and a London pop up book for baby Aaron (which he subsequently took about 3 nano seconds to rip apart.  Little hooligan!!)

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We then stuffed our faces on massive burgers at Honest Burger and Marty had the daintiest wee lager you will ever see!!

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Daaaawwwwww

 

 

You do like to live dangerously lady, that is clearly a steam iron I see in two of those photos ;) 

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Is anyone else reading this in a beautiful Glasgow accent?  I'm trying not to, but I just can't help it... :)

Also, Lainie, I need to see PICS of Norman Reedus or it didn't happen... ;)

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8 minutes ago, LooksLikeCRicci said:

Is anyone else reading this in a beautiful Glasgow accent?  I'm trying not to, but I just can't help it... :)

Also, Lainie, I need to see PICS of Norman Reedus or it didn't happen... ;)

LOL

Pics and a vid to follow ..........

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2 hours ago, LooksLikeCRicci said:

Is anyone else reading this in a beautiful Glasgow accent?  I'm trying not to, but I just can't help it... :)

Also, Lainie, I need to see PICS of Norman Reedus or it didn't happen... ;)

TOTALLY read this in Lainey's and Marty's voices! Oh F#%& Aye!

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3 hours ago, Lainie said:

"There's the Eye"

"Oh aye".  The O Eye's a lot wee'er"

"Oh aye"

"That was a great night - OI on the O Eye"

"aye"

"Should I do a periscope for the OI lot"

"oh ****** aye"

I know people are kind about my trip report, but this may be funnier than my poop story.

 giphy.gif

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14 minutes ago, Freddyglove said:

I know people are kind about my trip report, but this may be funnier than my poop story.

 giphy.gif

NOPE!

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4 hours ago, Lainie said:

LOL

Pics and a vid to follow ..........

Whoa, video?! You didn't tell me that! I've been dying to know what you talked to Norman about!!

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Bag.gif.aedf0ae38a6160931d4ccf28322e8ecd

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2 hours ago, Freddyglove said:

I know people are kind about my trip report, but this may be funnier than my poop story.

 giphy.gif

@Lainie's OI, o-eye, oh aye is absolutely brilliant! But funnier than your accident waiting to happen run? Nope. 

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6 hours ago, Freddyglove said:

I know people are kind about my trip report, but this may be funnier than my poop story.

 giphy.gif

You are too kind Sir.  You are the reigning King of the Trip Report and funny stories though.

Long live the King! :lol:

5 hours ago, Bern said:

Whoa, video?! You didn't tell me that! I've been dying to know what you talked to Norman about!!

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It's a clip of him while I am in the queue. Nothing exciting I am afraid :unsure:

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10 hours ago, Lainie said:

You are too kind Sir.  You are the reigning King of the Trip Report and funny stories though.

Long live the King! :lol:

It's a clip of him while I am in the queue. Nothing exciting I am afraid :unsure:

ARGH!!!!

Lainie, this is you right now:

i-dont-always-keep-people-in-suspense_bu

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11 hours ago, Lainie said:

Nothing exciting I am afraid :unsure:

Oh poo. You were supposed to man handle him and square thangs up! ;) 

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18 minutes ago, LooksLikeCRicci said:

ARGH!!!!

Lainie, this is you right now:

i-dont-always-keep-people-in-suspense_bu

Lol I'm not at home at the moment  (I'm supposed to be away on business but right now I'm stuck on the runway at Glasgow bloody airport!) I'll get the good stuff posted as soon as I can when I get back. Promise!!! -_-

13 minutes ago, Bern said:

Oh poo. You were supposed to man handle him and square thangs up! ;) 

I had my hand on his chest in the first photo.  Forgot (?!?!?!) To do that in the second.  Am a feckin eejit. 

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Sunday was 'D-Day' (or 'DD-Day'!!), though tbh Marty was far more interested in going to the Star Wars Exhibit at Madame Tussauds the next day. 

We had a nice liesurely breakfast in the hotel and Marty declared the haggis as some of the best that he'd ever had.  I've never seen haggis offered as part of a "full English" - someone is having an identity crisis there!

My coffee addiction is hardly a secret, and I hate the cr@ppy filter stuff that they serve you at breakfast, so I insisted in having a proper latte before we headed out.  I had to be firing on all cylinders to meet Norman!  There was an excellent Italian Coffee Bar in the hotel with great views over Westminster Bridge.

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I could seriously have sat there all day - I was born to be a lady of leisure, something has gone seriously wrong somewhere!  I had a pressing engagement elsewhere however (that's pressing as in urgent, not in the erm physical sense.....bah!) so it was time to head to the London Olympia.

  • Caffeine levels replenished - check
  • Mrs Daryl Dixon Top on - check
  • Wings hoodie on - check
  • lippy on - check
  • Grumpy boyfriend insisting that DD is a mumbling gypsy and doing a cr@ppy impression constantly - check

We were all set!

 

Edited by Lainie
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3 hours ago, Lainie said:

A short tube journey later and we arrived at London Olympia.  We were met with a large crowd of mouldy individuals shuffling aimlessly towards us.  I was rather disappointed to discover that this wasn't Walkers, but a bunch of OAPs heading for a cruise holiday convention in the venue next door (at this point I could do a nearly dead rather than the walking dead joke, but that may be in poor taste for some :rolleyes:).

Amongst the pensioners was a remarkable amount of people wearing WS lanyards, but heading in the opposite direction from the venue, which we couldn't quite understand (bearing in mind some of these people had paid £1,000 for a ticket!).  Once we got inside however it quickly became apparent why folk were leaving in their droves.  Now we had never been to a Walker Stalker convention before, and were not 100% sure of what to expect.  The clips that had been appearing on Facebook etc looked not a million miles away from some of the stuff you see at HHN - mazes, zombies, fog etc etc etc and to be honest we had hoped for something similar.

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Oh dear.....................................

It couldn't have been more far removed if it tried.   The old dears next door planning their next Saga holiday were probably revelling in a better atmos!

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- no music

- lights were on

- no zombies, walkers or anything of that ilk.  Later in the day a few (v dodgy) cosplayers appeared, but I had expected more than some fans in diy outfits

- merchandise was like a giant craft fair - lots of home-made stuff, with very little official TWD merch on sale

- the lamest 'zombie apocalypse' experience you could ever imagine.  

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They had the audacity to charge £40 quid for that!!

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The people in red are the 'zombies'!!!!

Seriously, maybe we have been spoiled by TWD houses at HHN, but we were honestly expecting something similar.  I was almost at the point of whipping out my holiday photos and screaming "THIS.  THIS IS HOW IT IS DONE!!!"

I mean look at the difference.

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WS                                                                                                             v                              HHN

I can actually almost feel your disbelief! What a load of bull! I can't imagine your state of mind.

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@Lainie Oh, I feel your disappointment my Cohort. :( Sad for you. Laughing at Marty, though, I'm sorry! :lol: 

That is my fear as well, from what I have seen online of the NJ WS--homemade crafts and basically crammed in a building. Atlanta might be nice since it's a biggun but I really have to get over to FB and do some asking before I decide for certain. I can't see M standing in line for more than an hour and if it's nothing more than 18 seconds for a picture and then the rest is fuddy duddy, my family will have my head, DH mostly for the expense that will go along with it. I adore Andrew but I'm not sure I can justify all of that. . .  . :mellow:

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Yikes! And you figure that those merchants probably had to pay to have their tables there. Aside from providing the talent for photo ops, the organizers basically did nothing to make this a good experience for fans. It was more like one big cash grab. That stinks!

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Don't get me wrong, some of the stuff the vendors were selling was great - it's just that I would have expected to see that sort of stuff on Etsy.  Beforehand they were saying that there would be lots of TWD merchandise available and that just was not the case.  There was a tiny Forbidden Planet stall selling TWD merchandise, but that's about it.  

Some of the cosplayers were great - especially some of the kids and there were a few really good look-a-likies as well.  I'll post the rest of the pics over the weekend. 

@Bern yeah I would choose carefully which event to go to.  To be fair, from what we have seen online, the WS events in the States look much better run than the UK one.  It is an expensive day out though - your entry fee just gets you in the door - everything else you have to pay for.  One thing I have noticed which has cheesed me off a bit is that I am seeing adverts for a photo with Norman for $70.  I paid just over £90 to get a print and digital copy (c$135!!!).

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