Let me just start off by saying I could listen to these creative minds talk for hours. The stories they shared were extremely entertaining. There were two panels of speakers, one at 6:30 and the other at 9. They were connected by an auction of assorted props from HHN, Howl-O-Scream, and some Harry Potter goodies. Both last year and this years event was held at the Mad Cow Theater in Downtown Orlando.
Literally everything about this event was great, because not only did it give a chance for people like me to meet big names in the theme park industry, but it was also for an amazing cause. Every single bit of profit made there went to the American Cancer Society Relay for Life, and it was in memory of Stephanie Girard, a college and friend of most all the speakers. They said last year they raised roughly $6,000 which is simply amazing, every bit counts. I don't know yet how much was made this year, but I can only hope it topped last year.
Both sessions were hosted by Universal Show Director Michael Aiello and went as followed; all of the speakers introduced themselves and told a bit of what they do in their respected fields, then opened up the floor for any questions. I love question and answer sessions because they often lead to very interesting topics and discussions.
If I talked about everything that was brought up throughout the night I'd have a small book, and a better memory then I've got, so I'll talk about a few favorites. It was great talking to T.J. Manarino about his work on Double Dare, and Legends of the Hidden Temple. Being a 90's baby those shows are very close to heart, and seeing as though TV in general is lacking quite a bit these days it was nice to talk about the good ol' days. I also loved watching James Keaton talk about his first experiences playing Jack the Clown. I could see and hear a little bit of Jack in him...or was it the other way around? Listening to the countless hours and detail Eric Baker put into the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is very impressive. When asked he mentioned that although there was no official count, there were thousands of props used though out the land.
It seems that with every passing year this event will get even more popular, and I have nothing but great things to say about it. I cannot wait to attend 2012!
From left to right: Michael Aiello, Patrick Braillard, TJ Mannarino, James Keaton, Mary Nesler, Eric Baker, and Rick Spencer.
From left to right: Kim Gromoll, Doug Sauls, Robbi Lepre, Ray Kiem, Cindy White, and David Hughes.