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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

The OI Forums at 2

21 posts in this topic

I can't believe it's been 2 yrs!!! I remember when the forums first started, and how awesome it was to have a one stop shop for Universal, like there was for other theme parks...and it's only gotten better :D 

 

 

Freddyglove, HPTR, debi and 6 others like this

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5 hours ago, Chuck Plagmann said:

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.

 

That was so sweet.  It's hard for me to think that the author of this is the same guy who took every advantage of getting a good cleansing at The Purge during the last two HHNs... :)

But seriously-- it HAS been awesome watching this forum become the monster it is.  I was here in the opening days (as were a lot of you) and its just been neat to watch this forum get bigger and bigger and even franchise itself over in California!

Edited by LooksLikeCRicci

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1 hour ago, LooksLikeCRicci said:

The "dark" park?  I have actually never heard that expression before, nor do I think it applies.  Unless you're talking about the Wizarding World with those bothersome Dementors.  :)

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.

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Happy 2nd Birthday OI Forums! Thanks to @debi for all her special needs information! I've learned a ton of info from you! Thanks to @Chuck Plagmann, @Taylor Strickland, @Dan Hatfieldand @Marc N. Kleinhenz (and everyone else I didn't name) for their support and expertise during my time as a contributor to the OI blogs. It's an honor to know you all. Again, Happy Birthday!  

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1 hour ago, Maureen said:

Happy 2nd Birthday OI Forums! Thanks to @debi for all her special needs information! I've learned a ton of info from you! Thanks to @Chuck Plagmann, @Taylor Strickland, @Dan Hatfieldand @Marc N. Kleinhenz (and everyone else I didn't name) for their support and expertise during my time as a contributor to the OI blogs. It's an honor to know you all. Again, Happy Birthday!  

And Thanks, @Maureen, for being my mentor!

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I quit social media in the new year because the negative aspects of it were driving me crazy.

Anyone who knows me knows how much I love Orlando, especially Universal - but I legitimately don't know when I'll get to go again.

The internet can be a lot of things to a lot of people. It'd be really easy to poke your head in here, get what you want and be on your way, never to browse this site again. Like many others, I joined this forum to gain some information or ask questions. I'm not really a "forum" guy, so I never expected to stick around.

However, not only have I stuck around, but this is one of the sites I make a point of frequenting every day, to the point where I'm still checking in to say good morning to the community here.

And I've even met some of the fine folks who frequent this place - though briefly, it was a very positive experience and I felt welcomed immediately by the incomparable @Chuck Plagmann. Hell, I even found out that @Lainie has a picture of me somewhere in her house (an unknown ride photo - I'm not that creepy)! 

Anyway, whether I'm writing ramblings about trip reports, helping others with questions and opinions, or just dropping my pointless drivel into a community thread, I've felt genuinely welcomed since day one. It's not just one person who makes it all happen (seriously, I can't mention all of the names of awesome people here), but a whole group of awesome folks who keep things positive and even supportive when times are tough.

It's a pleasure to be here, really. Even if that might sound goofy. Even if I might not get back for awhile.

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15 minutes ago, Freddyglove said:

Hell, I even found out that @Lainie has a picture of me somewhere in her house (an unknown ride photo - I'm not that creepy)! 

 

LOL believe it or not I was thinking about that photo earlier on today.  I was wondering how many of us have crossed paths in the Parks without even realising it. 

(For anyone who doesn't know the story, one of the photos of Marty and I on The Mummy from September 14 features a certain Mr @Freddyglove in the seat beside us!!! We didn't know each other through the Forum at that point and had no clue that our paths would indeed cross again in the future through this wonderful site!!)

Edited by Lainie

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