Private Events at Theme Parks.

Edited: June 12, 2020, 10:38 AM

Last year (December) I was able to attend a Private Event at Universal Orlando. I have wanted to attend a private event for a long time. We go to Orlando area parks every year for 8 days for the last 15 years.

Many times when we were leaving Universal Orlando, we would see folks coming into the parks as we were leaving. Thousands leaving all at once, tired, wet, sweaty, then, I see folks going the opposite direction. I would see many of the restaurants closed for a private event or an outside buffet being set up.

I must admit, I was extremely jealous. I wondered what would be like to attend an event with only a few thousand instead of 10’s of thousands. One day I remember we wanted to hit one of the City walk eateries but could not since HP(Hewlett-Packard) had all the restaurants reserved. Arrrrgggg

So I did what I always do, Research. I found we too could attend a private evert at Universal by an affiliated web site. All we had to do was register and buy tickets. But since we are not locals in Orlando of course we had to plan a vacation around this private event. The usual, flights, hotel, rental car.

We enjoyed the event immensely, but I was a bit surprised with the number of folks in Attendance. Still it was better than a regular day at the park. We were able to ride Hagrids Motorbike ride at night and eat at Three broomsticks.

Observations: I thought there would be less people and was surprised at the number of folks there. As I said, still much better than a regular day. The restaurants that were open in Universal like Three Broomsticks, were a walk up and take instead of sitting and ordering. Most folks were in the Harry Potter areas and other park rides like Spidy, Kong, Mummy, Jimmy Fallon were walk ons.

Would we attend a Private Event again: Hell Yesssss…

I also wonder of locals like TH Creative get to attend events like this. I know Roberts goes to media events, but I believe the whole park is not open, just that one ride\media area is open.

Replies (9)

June 12, 2020, 10:56 AM

Brian I'm really curious to know what group was hosting the event. I worked at UO for many years and spent lots of shifts working during after hours private events. I think the average park guest (NOT folks like us who frequent park websites like this) would be gob-smacked at how elaborate some of these functions can be.
My favorite (I didn't actually work or attend, but my sister did) was an event my sister attended at the then still called Disney/MGM Studios park at WDW. It was an event for the national sorority she attended. It was held on the residential street sets that were part of the old tram tour.
The party had been created to feel like a neighborhood block party. Each of the houses at the neighborhood was the "home of a member of the sorority" and they had invited all of their sisters to come to a block party. Each house had different food and entertainment in their driveway and each was decorated in the colors and iconography of the Sorority. There was a big dance party in the streets and even a fake party crash by a bunch of fraternity boys who performed a dance routine.
When it was time for the party to end, they didn't simply announce the end of the event - no. The cops showed up, again Disney castmembers in full costumes and with cop cars lights flashing and sirens blaring. The "cops" had come to break up the party because there had been lots of noise complaints from the neighbors on the next street.
She still gets starts in her eyes when she talks about it.
We did some amazing stuff at UO too, but the level of themeing for that party has always impressed me.

June 12, 2020, 10:57 AM

Brian, for those of us too lazy to do extensive research, can you provide more information as to the approach you used or the websites you found?

June 12, 2020, 11:08 AM

I assume Brian's referring to private events put on by Undercover Tourist or ACE.

Personally, my only exposure to to private events at theme parks has been for media events, with the quality and park access highly variable depending upon the park and occasion. One of the most elaborate was for the debut of Griffon at BGW, where invited guests got an evening at the park, which was actually after the official media event for the coaster, with high end food and drink, musical entertainment, and unlimited access to Griffin and a few surrounding attractions.

One of my good friends is a CIO, and attends the annual Microsoft convention in Orlando, and they rent out UO for one of the nights. I always know when this convention happens, because he usually texts me the day of asking me which rides he should go on, and what to do while in the parks. However, he always tells me that he's shocked how crowded the parks are (my guess is that the 20-30k attendees all pack the parks for the night), but almost all of the rides and shows are running, and most of the restaurants are open with slightly modified menus (but unlimited beer).

As they say, sometimes it's not about what you know, it's who you know, and if you can hook up with one of these groups that regularly rent parks out for a day/evening, they can be a lot of fun. Even smaller local parks can be rented for the day/night, it just depends on how much your group is willing to spend - a lot of times, large employers in the area will rent a local park for a weekend day in the spring or fall for a company picnic/outing (Dominion Power always rents Kings Dominion for a Saturday in September).

June 12, 2020, 11:22 AM

Well not to step On my Pal Roberts site, I also follow The Orlando Informer site where he host Private Events.

They site was owned by a man who sold it to one of his top followers\users named Terry. Terry changes the site over the years and added a met up at Universal which now has trued into a large Private event.

First it started at a trial event in June one year and was a yearly event. Now has blossomed into twice a year, One in May\June time frame and a December event.

This year May's event had to be canceled, you know damn Virus.
So he is having two weekends in a row in December. He and Universal have developed a great relationship and his events keep growing..

June 12, 2020, 11:23 AM

I've occasionally toyed with the idea of putting on a private event for Theme Park Insider readers, but I've not hit upon the idea that I've thought would sell enough tickets to make it worth the financial risk. Always open to suggestions, though.

June 12, 2020, 1:30 PM

Ik that the Undercovered Tourist UO party was in February I think, but from all that I’ve heard about these UO private parties I really want to attend one. I’ve attended some events in the SoCal area with Disneyland and Knotts and those were very enjoyable. I can’t even imagine how much fun it would be to have Animal kingdom all to yourself at night or walking around Hogsmeade with no one around.

Edited: June 12, 2020, 2:05 PM

Postcott - As I said there were a lot more attendees than I imagined it was going to be. And most were in the WWOHP...

They were also pretty strict about ride time closings. Hulk was a 20 minute wait so if you were not in line at say 10:30 PM and that ride closed at 11:00 pm. The Queue was allready closed.

Some attractions closed earlier than others. Hagrids coaster closed at 10:30 PM but the park was open to 1:00 AM. Same for Hulk, closed earlier for maintenance purposes.

We could check in at as early as 5:00 pm (we checked in at 6:00 pm)
You can go into the park right after check in even thought the Met event did not officially start until 8:00 PM to 1:00 AM.. The only difference, food was included but not until the event started officially at 8:00 PM..

I forgot to mention check in was so damn organized. You first got your e-mail\ticket about Two weeks before the event with directions on how to check in. Half checked in at Studios side, other half checked in at IOA side. Your ticket told you which side to check in at.

The did give us a map for the night telling you what time each ride closed.

June 12, 2020, 2:10 PM

Think about the fact that next time you are purchasing a product from some big company, part of what you are paying for is so they can fly their employees (usually the white collar ones who already make good livings) out to some destination where they take over some place and get drunk.

June 12, 2020, 9:07 PM

@Brian- I know that, I read your post, I’m just saying in general. I’m sure there’s other companies that offer parties that have more of a limited attendee count. But alas, it’s only a dream I guess

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