Universal Orlando’s Handling of a NBC Fan Event Was the Worst I Have Ever Seen
First, I will start off saying that when I go events like this I am assuming that the employees know their job and would give the public the proper information. What happened yesterday was beyond unbelievable not only from the Universal employees but also from the other people in attendance.
I am a HUGE fan of Days of our Lives and I was thrilled to see that they were coming back to Orlando since the last time they came was over ten years ago. I immediately pre-planned the whole day. I had my kids picked up the evening before to stay at grandmas house because I knew they would complain about standing in long lines, which would be understandable because they are kids, I just felt they would be better off not going. They were gone, my husband and I got up at 6am, left the house by 7am and arrived at 7:30am and after getting a coffee at Starbucks got in line, the fairly short line at that time in the morning. The key thing about this is that I planned to be there early.
Now, I had no idea prior to getting there how all this would be run seeing as it was outside of the parks, in CityWalk. We were in a pre-queue line, you know the queue before the real queue, something I had never seen before but okay. So after about 75 people were in that queue line they opened up and sent us to the queue to head to the stage and meet the stars of the show. They were not out as of yet but I was in a prime place to see them when they came out. I was front and center of the stage and was excited to see them. We went through the line wondering if we were supposed to get back into the queue line again to see the second set of stars that were coming out at noon (they split the cast members, five came out at 9:30, a different five were to come out at noon). So as we are leaving the stage after signings and pictures a Universal employee told us to exit the stage and if we wanted to see the second set go back to the line we were originally started in to get the first spots to see them. Here is where me thinking that the Universal employee knew what the hell he was talking about comes in. I wasn’t the only one listening to him. About 20 people who had just gone through the line were already there and the line grew quite quickly after more and more people saw the first set of stars.
We started seeing that the other line was pretty long and they had to pull the stars off in about 15 minutes so we started wondering what they were going to do about the next set of stars coming out and the now two long lines they had waiting to see them. A Universal employee came over to tell us that they would be taking ten of us from the first line and infusing us with the second line then letting ten of them move forward and so on. So when after that wasn’t happening after twenty minutes of the next set of stars being out some in my group started getting upset and went to the Universal employees to see what was up. No one had a clue what to do and one guy, who was extremely flustered came over and got the first five from my line, not ten just five (my husband and I were number 26 and 27 in line). When the employee brought those first five and allowed them in before those in the other line all hell broke loose, and I mean really nasty stuff. The people started booing and screaming that we should not be let in, shoving to block the lane and being downright rude. At this point I was feeling really bad from heat exhaustion and felt like I was going to pass out so my husband stayed in line while I bought a water and went to an entrance of a store for some cooler air.
A security guard and a very kind woman came up and asked if I was okay because I looked red and I told them I needed to rest and just as I was getting ready to say thank you another woman came up and started reaming the security guard about how that other line shouldn’t be let in they haven’t been waiting in line since 10am. I started to open my mouth to say that that line has been here since 7am when we were all interrupted by a man shouting at a Universal employee about how their letting in the other line was bullshit. He was told to go back to his spot, when less that three seconds later he approached the Universal employee and offered him $700 to cut our line completely. This led to a argument and it just really all blew up from there.
More people left my line and started in on the employees and the security guards when one of the security team told a woman that if one more person approached him he would, and I quote, “Cut off the whole damn line”, which kind of sent me the message that it was not to be fixed. As I was walking back to tell my husband that I was feeling bad enough to leave, I overheard a different security guard telling a guest that this was the most poorly organized event they had seen. I knew that, and she just verified my opinion. The chaos, name calling and flipping fingers were too much for me so I got my husband and we left. We left without ever seeing the second set of stars, even though we had been there since 7am.
Now, I totally get confusion, but why no one ever came over to us and told us they gave us the wrong information and to get in the other line is beyond me. By the time we left we had wasted two hours standing in the blazing heat in direct sunlight, watching more people get at the end of the other line while we were just corralled in a separate area watching everyone go by, wasting our time standing in a line that was never going to move.
I also do not understand how, no matter how frustrated they got, that security was allowed to speak to a woman loud enough for everyone else to hear the way they did. They could not find the Universal employee who told us to go to the original line after exiting the stage, even made it sound like we made it up, but how could almost I would say 150 to 200 people who ended up in said line could have made it up. I left there more disgusted in the Universal staff and the other people who couldn’t just nicely ask what was going on without getting nasty. They acted like ingrates and it disgusted me that after they were all nasty to us that they turned around and smiled at the stars. I am a fan, and the LAST thing I would ever do is cause a scene and make the stars deal with that.
The Fan Fest Universal held over ten years ago was run smoothly, at least from the outside looking in. This one was horribly run, handled and sad. None of which was Days of our Lives or NBC’s fault and the hundreds of decent fans that came out to enjoy the day. Universal, you really need to get your act together and your employees trained right. It was as if you never dealt with a fan event before. Very sad the day was ruined for hundreds because of your lack of planning and organization. Even your security staff was disgusted in that lack. And to get no one coming to us to set things straight was very low. Some paid money to get into your parks to attend the whole day and they were treated like crap. Worst experience ever at Universal and I have been going there for decades! I am glad I at least got to see the first set of actors, some didn’t get to see anyone, instead standing in line for nothing.