Orlando, Florida, is located near the East Coast of the United States and is in Central Florida, a dynamic region that thrives on conferences and conventions. Also a beautiful location, major technology center and a large tourist spot, Orlando offers a wide variety of choices to host Wikimania 2007, ranging from the world's largest and busiest convention center, recently renovated and expanded, to multiple smaller convention centers offered by hotels. There are many advantages to hosting Wikimania in Orlando; besides the multiple amenities offered by the convention and conference centers, such as technical assistance and setup, the region also boasts one of the nation's best service industries, with an excess of world-class hotels, restaurants, and attractions, including Walt Disney World.
Orlando is served by Orlando International Airport, as well as other airports, bus terminals, and railroad stations, making it convenient to travel to and from. In addition, airfare is generally extremely low to Orlando, and the vacation spots for everyone will hopefully attract visiting Wikimedias to stay and enjoy the "Sunshine State" either before or after Wikimania.
Though no specific dates are planned for this bid yet, dates will be flexible, with a plethora of suitable locations. Florida also has many connections to Wikimedians: one of the most populated US states, it is home to at least 200 Wikipedians, and the home of the Wikimedia Foundation, in Tampa, is a short drive away. In addition, the Central Florida region also is home to many corporations and industries that could be potential sponsors for Wikimania; organizations such as the University of Central Florida, Lockheed Martin, Disney, IBM, Siemens, Northrup Grumman, Raytheon, EA, AAA, and the Central Florida Research Park call Orlando and its surrounding regions home.
There are a plethora of suitable locations to host Wikimania 2007 in Orlando. The choice would ultimately depend on the dates, budget expectations, and venue facilities, and more will be provided about each venue as this bid progresses. However, each of these is capable and suitable of hosting Wikimania 2007.
Orange County Convention Center
The Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) is a world-class facility and one of the largest convention centers in the world. It offers various flexible spaces for Wikimania. Located on busy and vibrant International Drive, the Convention Center covers over 7 million square feet of exhibition and conference space, and is one of the United States's busiest convention centers (in fact, earlier this year the Convention Center successfully hosted one of America's largest conventions, sponsored by the National Association of Home Builders, with over 100,000+ people attending). The Center is located only 15 minutes away from Orlando International Airport (see transportation section), and offers multiple amenities, such as free technical assistance, podiums, microphones, etc., and other services, such as planning and PR assistance.
In addition, the Center also offers state-of-the-art meeting space. With a recently added wing (see overview of floor plans), the Convention Center has multiple rooms, halls, and general assembly areas that would be appropriate for Wikimania (see a general list of these facilities.) Room capacities range from being able to hold a dozen people to holding thousands. Auditoriums also range in size; the Chapin Theatre, for example, has a seating capacity of 2,643, while the smaller lecture halls can accommodate up to 160. The largest ballroom, meanwhile, can fit up to 6,000 people, and multiple smaller ballrooms/general assembly areas are also available, many with flexible walls to adjust room size. There are also nearly a hundred additional classrooms/meeting rooms and 200 "breakout rooms", with an overall capacity in the thousands.
The OCCC also offers great accommodations and food. Within the Convention Center are three full service restaurants, as well as eight food courts. Outside the Convention Center, on International Drive within walking distance are a plethora of restaurants, cafes, and other food services. The lodgings are also superb; there are over 111,000 available hotel rooms within distance of the Convention Center, including the Peabody Hotel, Rosen Center, Shingle Plaza, and the Omni Resort, just to name a few.
Orlando/ Orange County Convention and Vistors Bureau
Assistance with planning and arranging Wikimania in Orlando can also be aided by the Orlando/Orange County Convention and Visitors Bureau. Their website collects all of Orlando's convention and meeting information into one convenient place; Orlando is the right place for both "a quick huddle for a group of 50 or a week-long trade show for 100,000."
Walt Disney World
Walt Disney World offers several resort and convention centers; most of these are hotels with meeting rooms and facilities in the lower floors or in an adjacent, connected building. Disney also offers multiple amenities at its facilities, and there are several advantages. First, lodging would be at the hotel where Wikimania is taking place, meaning that people attending Wikimania would not have to travel at all between the hotel and the convention center (they're the same place!). In addition, Disney also offers complimentary shuttle and luggage delivery service, dubbed the Magical Express Service, directly connecting Orlando International Airport (see transportation section below) to any of its resorts and convention centers. The shuttle runs regularly between the airport and the hotels, and luggage is automatically delivered to the patron's hotel room. All Disney resorts also have high-speed internet and Wi-Fi. Finally, the close proximity of the resorts to Disney's theme parks (all connected either by monorail or Disney's efficient bus system) means that people can easily visit the theme parks either before, after, or maybe even during Wikimania.
There are four possible Disney resorts offering the appropriate space and amenities for Wikimania.
- The Contemporary Resort has over 90,000 square feet of meeting rooms. The largest ballroom has a capacity of nearly 4,000 in theatre-style seating; however, that ballroom and its adjacent rooms can be readjusted with flexible walls to divide into smaller rooms, meeting capacity levels of 1,000, 500, or smaller. The Contemporary Resort has two floors of meeting rooms and ballrooms, and also a spacious interior lobby area with multiple registration desks. The hotel, in addition, was recently renovated, and is connected to all the parks by the monorail which runs through the center of the hotel.
Transportation and visa information
Orlando is served primarily by Orlando International Airport (OIA), one of the world's busiest — but friendlist — airports. Airfare is generally cheap, with prices ranging, based on carrier and date. Orlando is also accessible by Orlando Sanford International Airport, which specializes in international flights originating from Europe, and especially Great Britain. Orlando Executive Airport is also available, although the airport is generally used by smaller airliners and charter and executive flights.
Rail, through Amtrak, is also possible, and there are limited bus transportation from other U.S. cities. Once at the airport or station, most hotels will have a complementary shuttle; if not, taxi service, as well as public bus service (and possibly a light-rail system, although it is highly unlikely that it will be completed by 2007), is highly convenient and economical. All of the proposed venues for Wikimania would be within a close proximity of the airport and a short drive away.
Driving to Orlando is also extremely convenient; I-75 and I-95 run down on the West and East coasts of Florida, respectively, and I-4 connects the two from Tampa to Daytona Beach, running through Orlando.
Standard U.S. Customs procedures would need to be followed for international guests.
100,000+ plus rooms
- Location of main accommodation facilities
- (where can the attendees be hosted. On site, off site, how far from conference venue?)
- Room details and price range
- (What's the accommodation like? Dorms, B&B, Hotel? Singles, doubles? How much does it cost per person and per day?
- Catering (one meal a day, breakfast is a plus)
- (Where do we eat, how much it costs)
- contacts with accommodation partner(s)
- (have you contacted the proposed locations, exchange of emails, price quotes etc.)
Local sponsorship opportunities
Possibility of local sponsorships
- (no name needed, just "company X, 4000 USD or will provide 300 beds)
(Who stands behind this bid, who will be able to help locally, names and what they can help with)
Anything you feel should be brought to the attention of the jury.
- Weaknesses of the proposed location ...and how to overcome those weaknesses
- Weakness 1
- Solution 1
- Weakness 2
- Solution 2
- Strengths of the proposed location
- Strength 1
- Strength 2