Hello! Florida (Central) produced a annual sales conference for 2,200 guests at the Gaylord Palms in Orlando. As a longstanding client (10 years strong), they trusted only us to create a visually stimulating and sophisticated interpretation of their conference theme: “Our Magic Moment.” Yet how do you take something that’s untouchable and turn it into a physical experience? Keep reading to see how we turned childhood fantasy into something that delighted thousands of adults.
Let's Start at the Beginning
With multiple evening receptions and two simultaneously operating waves of 1,100 people for each lunch and General Session, extensive preparation made all the difference as we executed 11 events over the span of just three days.
For the VIPs: Only the company’s highest sales performers arrive a day earlier to be pampered and attend exclusive events. The luxury began with eyelash/makeup stations, massages, endless adult beverages, and mouth-watering food service in the pool area. Nice and relaxed, the VIPs attended an awards dinner that evening with name acts from America’s Got Talent, followed by an after-party that married the mysterious and mystical to create an unforgettable experience.
General Sessions: We wanted to make the walk from the breakfast ballroom to the General Session a magical experience in its own right. For the first General Session we used the Orlando Magic Drumline as parade entertainment to infuse an enthusiastic and energetic feeling to the beginning of the conference. The second General Session’s escorts gave guests a royal welcome. Inspired by Hogwarts, each department of our client’s organization had been designated a “House” with their own colors and custom-designed graphics. Of course, it was only appropriate that guests were greeted with branded heralding trumpets that led them to an out-of-the-ordinary General Session featuring name-act talent and magic-infused performances.
Citrus Beer Garden: We developed the resort’s Coquina Lawn to give guests some fresh air with a down-home Florida flair, including a custom beer wall that featured 12 taps of ice-cold, local Florida beers. We also placed 50 faux orange trees around the lawn to enhance the citrus theme. Our in-house graphic designers created custom graphics for the event, including branded beer coasters and corn-hole boards.
Costume Party: Our client’s annual costume party is famous and fiercely competitive. Prior to the event we hosted a costuming room for the executives, where we dressed them to the nines in costumes flown in from Europe and Hollywood-worthy hair and makeup. All guests then entered the event through a space that was transformed to feel like the backstage of a circus—costumes hung above guests’ heads, ready and waiting for a wardrobe change with ropes, bricks, and other theater-like aspects. Once guests stepped through the main doors, they entered an upscale “performance area” with a kaleidoscope of colors, unique décor, games, and two large central bars.
A Magical Lunch: We gave guests a lunch break with a unique space where Quidditch towers and pumpkin pasties transported guests to another world. To create an authentic experience, we leveraged our relationship with Universal Studios Florida to grant the Gaylord’s chefs access to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter restaurants and learn how to recreate their famous dishes. Guests lunched at the communal tables representing each “House” before playing giant beer pong on (and through!) the Quidditch court.
“Top Gun of the Year” Dinner: Guests enjoyed a sumptuous plated dinner before being dazzled by more name-act entertainment. The evening included an ROTC Guard flag presentation, a children’s performance of the national anthem, and an a capella group that sat amongst the guests, appearing as if by magic to croon magic-themed songs during the transition of food courses.
Keep Calm and Dazzle On
An Unwelcome Element: The group that was at the Gaylord Palms prior to our client had installed a tent that entirely covered the Coquina Lawn; unfortunately, their rental company didn’t show up to strike the tent. Our open-air VIP after-party was that evening and a tent would hinder the theme was so carefully designed. So there we were, at load-in time for our event, with a fully installed tent from another group in our space. We communicated feverishly with the other rental company and the resort’s engineering team to remove the tent. Despite this bump in the road, we were still able to execute our load-in on time and host a phenomenal event.
Ballroom Consolidation: This program was originally designed for two ballrooms, however, with just 30 days to go our client heard two words that no one ever wants to hear from their outside production company: over budget. To help our client and provide cost-savings, we completely re-designed the program for one ballroom (incorporating all original items) and worked out new logistics. Since nearly all events took place in a single ballroom, our challenge was to flip the room each night so we could “magically” immerse guests in a “new” space the next morning.
The Final Exclamation
We used our ingenuity to create a distinctive and sophisticated multi-day program that enhanced our client’s theme using carefully selected or custom-built décor, entertainment, and embellishments.
Large-scale, labor-intensive overnight turns showcased our logistical and planning capabilities, as did our ushering of 1,100 attendees from each wave between the General Sessions and lunches simultaneously without conflict. In this highly detailed program, there was at least one event running while two other events were being set up in another area of the resort. We never missed a beat due to our extensive preparation and professionalism.
You want to host 2,200 guests over the course of three days for 11 events? We’ve got the magic touch. It’s what we do!