Prevue November-December 2017 - 62
New immersive worlds and meetings experiences entice the imagination
[ON LOCATION] MICHELLE MARIE AREAN
Planners want a destination where attendees will
come together and build a sense of community,"
explains Daniel Ecstatio, senior sales director for
Disney Destinations, during our recent visit to Walt
Disney World Resort for the unveiling of Pandora
- The World of Avatar in Disney's Animal Kingdom. As if on cue,
the fiery red-headed Bambi Boudreaux, an actress with Disney
Meetings, walks in exclaiming, "You're all here to do an expose
on me, right? There's going to be a full spread in every magazine
you're affiliated with." Boudreaux circles the room, speaking to
everyone in our group by name-and offering up details of our
professional backgrounds and hometowns-before informing us
that she's our guide.
A tour through Disney Meetings' wardrobe warehouse, hair
and makeup facility and design studio confirms that Disney's
"imagineers" can bring any vision to life. "Though we are the
storytellers it's really our clients we want to speak to," says Robby
Briley, senior event consultant with the Disney Event Group, a
division of Disney Meetings. "If attendees enjoy something they'll
retain it. If they experience it they will remember it."
Just walking through the luminescent gardens of this ethereal world
created by film director James Cameron for the movie "Avatar" is
an experience of its own. Bob Iger, chairman & CEO of The Walt
Disney Company, sums this feeling up perfectly to our group:
"From the moment I first saw the film I believed that Pandora
62 | prevuemeetings.com
actually existed. It just felt so real to me. And now everyone, including
me, who has ever dreamed of visiting this extraordinary world can
explore its astonishing landscape and ecosystem, see the Na'vi,
soar on the back of a banshee, and become part of the Avatar
adventure. Pandora is just as great in person as it is on the screen."
Attendees will also experience two new not-to-be-missed rides at
Pandora-"Flight of Passage" and the "Na'vi River Journey."
Disney's Coronado Springs Resort is undergoing an expansion that
will add a new 15-story tower with 50 guest rooms, dining options,
new meeting venues (including outdoor spaces), a boardroom and two
multi-purpose rooms, and a new rooftop restaurant and lounge with
panoramic views of the fireworks from various Disney theme parks.
An expansion is also taking place at Disney's Yacht Club
Resort. This one will add 28,000 sf to its convention center, as well
as three pre-function areas and two distinct gathering rotundas for
attendee networking, relaxing and reconnecting.
Disney Springs, an eclectic shopping, dining and
entertainment district, has completed a multi-year transformation,
offering meeting planners an array of new venues for private events
and dine-around options such as Paddlefish, STK Orlando, Chef Art
Smith's Homecomin' and Morimoto Asia. Additional event venues
here include the Planet Hollywood Observatory, The BOATHOUSE
and Jock Lindsey's Hangar Bar.