Imagine planning an event, in which your attendees have just been recruited in a good versus evil battle to save Planet Earth. They will join Optimus Prime and the Autobots to battle 3-story-tall Decepticons, as they dodge explosions and missiles and prepare for the final battle against Megatron. This 3D experience can become somewhat of a reality for groups meeting at Universal Orlando Resort in Florida.
The opening of the new “Transformers: The Ride-3D” in June and “The Simpsons” attraction in September gives planners a new set of backdrops to incorporate into their next event amid the resort’s 250,000-sf of meeting space. While some groups prefer the good versus evil scenario, others may want a more light-hearted experience in Springfield, home of one of America’s favorite animated families. Here, guests can hang out at Duff Brewery and enjoy a Duff Beer, which is brewed exclusively at the resort, or grab a Homer-sized helping of donuts at Lard Lad. The attraction also includes Kang & Kodos’ Twirl ‘n’ Hurl ride.
“Much like all of our themed areas, the Transformers or Simpsons theme is carried through the event from the attractions to the food and beverage to the entertainment to merchandise offerings, making each event a one-of-a-kind experience,” says Lisa Jacobson, senior director of event management for Universal Orlando Resort.
The Universal team also worked with a group to create a speakeasy in the New York Street area of the theme park. It was a party within a party, in which attendees had to provide a password at the secret entrance for admittance, and once inside, they were served specialty cocktails. Throughout the night, the speakeasy was “raided” by themed entertainment characters to make room for the next group of attendees.
Another client wanted each of their 11,000 guests to receive “Despicable Me” minion hats upon entry into their exclusive event. “Amidst the sea of yellow, it was easy to tell that the guests were having a blast wearing them, and it was a creative way to tie in the Despicable Me Minion Mayhem attraction,” says Jacobsen.
“Meeting planners find those built-in themes very appealing and the immersive experience creates those lasting memories,” she says. “When event guests have the chance to share a ride on Transformers: The Ride-3D or enjoy a Duff beer together or when they’re all walking around in minion hats, most assuredly they’ll fondly recall those times together long after the event has taken place.”
In March 2014, Universal will become even more appealing to groups when Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort opens. The 1,800-room hotel is designed to evoke the feel of a 1950s or ‘60s beach resort and will feature onsite amenities such as a bowling alley, lazy river and two swimming pools—all of which will provide even more ways to incorporate a theme into your next event.