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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.
Dan Hatfield

I-Drive 360 and The Orlando Eye: news & updates

91 posts in this topic

Has Cowgirls rockbar opened yet? there doesn't appear to be much info about it. We're opening to pop in there one night to see what it's like along with McFaddens and Tin Roof, like an Orlando Bar crawl :D

 

Not open yet.  I think it is over month away.  Keep checking this thread, we will post on the opening as it happens.

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Anyone have the 411 on what happened?  I know technical glitches are to be expected with a new attraction.  Were there ever any concerns for the rider's safety?

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Anyone have the 411 on what happened?  I know technical glitches are to be expected with a new attraction.  Were there ever any concerns for the rider's safety?

 

I have heard that there was a power failure for the wheel (with power restoration requiring a repair - unclear if it was from the utility, or contained in the ride).  I don't think there was any concern for anyone's safety.  It was a nuisance for riders to wait to be removed from the capsules.  Rescues have been rehearsed often and before the ride opened. 

 

Of course, never good publicity for an attraction. 

 

The wheel was back up the next day.

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Anyone have the 411 on what happened?  I know technical glitches are to be expected with a new attraction.  Were there ever any concerns for the rider's safety?

From article below: "Orlando Eye officials released a statement saying that at about 3:45 p.m., the operating systems for the ride indicated a technical default with the system that monitors the wheel position. The attraction is designed to automatically shut down if communication with the system is interrupted."

 

http://www.wftv.com/news/news/local/riders-struck-after-orlando-eye-stops/nmrRJ/

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Have any of you Orlando locals gotten a feel for how attendance is doing as far as meeting expectations for the Eye?  The numbers we saw pre-open for needed numbers was amazingly high and from various twitter information we have followed, it does not seem to be meeting those expectations?  My assumption is special events are going to be needed to try and make up that shortfall, but just wondered what any of you might be seeing?  We are looking forward to checking it out at HHN this year.  Thanks! 

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Have any of you Orlando locals gotten a feel for how attendance is doing as far as meeting expectations for the Eye?  The numbers we saw pre-open for needed numbers was amazingly high and from various twitter information we have followed, it does not seem to be meeting those expectations?  My assumption is special events are going to be needed to try and make up that shortfall, but just wondered what any of you might be seeing?  We are looking forward to checking it out at HHN this year.  Thanks! 

 

Hi,

 

I have been there several times this year, riding 3 times.  It has never been busy.  So, without any real data, I suspect that the attendance is not up to expectations.

As to what can be done to improve attendance, that is up to their marketing folks.

RexandtheBeast, HPTR and SeventyOne like this

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I think part of the issue is the place still feels half under construction.  Cowgirls and Sugar Factory--two of the main anchors that I believe were supposed to be open this Summer--still haven't opened and don't look anywhere near ready, honestly. Their sister bar, McFaddens, has incompetent management and is basically a train wreck. Shake Shack is still just girders.  Ben & Jerrys has not yet opened, despite looking ready to go for months. Even Arcade City and the generic gift shop--not draws in themselves mind you--just opened this month. You'd think venues that simple would have been ready to go opening day.

 

Once they have a full roster of tenants--and Mangos open a block down the Drive--I think convention traffic will increase on a daily basis.  I was there both Fathers Day and Independence Day and crowds were decent, so I think the trick will be finding more of a weekday draw.

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I think part of the issue is the place still feels half under construction.  Cowgirls and Sugar Factory--two of the main anchors that I believe were supposed to be open this Summer--still haven't opened and don't look anywhere near ready, honestly. Their sister bar, McFaddens, has incompetent management and is basically a train wreck. Shake Shack is still just girders.  Ben & Jerrys has not yet opened, despite looking ready to go for months. Even Arcade City and the generic gift shop--not draws in themselves mind you--just opened this month. You'd think venues that simple would have been ready to go opening day.

 

Once they have a full roster of tenants--and Mangos open a block down the Drive--I think convention traffic will increase on a daily basis.  I was there both Fathers Day and Independence Day and crowds were decent, so I think the trick will be finding more of a weekday draw.

 

To be fair, I have eaten at Ben & Jerry's 3 weeks ago....

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Well, I am really intrigued to see how it goes.  We have a lot of trepidation about the I-Drive expansion.  Would love to see it succeed, but am leery. We call it the curse of the Mercado! I (Rex) am on record as saying I don't think Skyplex will ever be built (at least as proposed), but I sure hope I end up being wrong!  Mangos will tell us a lot about traffic anyway.

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To be fair, I have eaten at Ben & Jerry's 3 weeks ago....

 

Really, there the other day, absolutely looked closed. They could probably use some better marketing as well then.

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FYI - There is a coupon for $10 off the gate price for the 3 Merlin attractions when you sign up for the IKEA family card and look under Orlando store savings/events, etc...granted it seems to be the same as an advance online purchase price of $39/$34 kids but there is a printable page to print/or on your phone and show at the gate to receive the discount...the code is the first 4 numbers of your card number...6275 will work @ officialorlandoeye.com/IKEA...

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On 2/26/2016 at 4:00 PM, Hockeyman said:

Didnt know where else to put this so i will leave it here :D

 

24358897324_f291720d5f_b.jpgSweet Combination by Mike Sperduto, on Flickr

Beautiful shot. Went there back in June and we loved it. Wasn't crowded at all but the ride on the eye was peaceful and Sealife was better than I expected

 

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On 3/20/2016 at 11:04 AM, MyHeartIsInOrlando said:

Beautiful shot. Went there back in June and we loved it. Wasn't crowded at all but the ride on the eye was peaceful and Sealife was better than I expected

Thank you :) This was our first visit to Sugar Factory and thought the food was really really good. We didn't try any of the dessert and my wife talked sense into me wasting $30 some odd dollars on one of those drinks in the goblets, although they look really cool. Would have been easier to swallow if you got to keep the glass. 

 

As far as the Eye, I went on in December and didn't realize how much i was terrified of heights until I got on the ride, lol. Go figure since im a big coaster fan. 

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2 hours ago, Hockeyman said:

As far as the Eye, I went on in December and didn't realize how much i was terrified of heights until I got on the ride, lol. Go figure since im a big coaster fan. 

That's odd, cause I am afraid of my heights myself and The Eye didn't bother me at all. Will be interesting when I get to New York City in a few months.

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