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  • Writer's pictureKaren Edwards

A Date with Disney

From my social posts, you may have noticed that I have recently been working out in Orlando, Florida.

Two weeks in the glorious Florida sunshine, working with a fabulous team, on possibly the hardest event of my life. Physically demanding because of the sheer size of the campus, and mentally demanding because of the jet lag, client expectations and the fact I had never been to the site before… so was working blind!!

The event was a big. No, huge!!

This campus wide event covered 3 Disney properties, 4 temporary structures (each a minimum of 2 football pitches long), 1 outdoor causeway and various patios and covered walkways!

I was part of a 50 strong project team all drafted in to make this large-scale event happen.

I was part of the Logistics Team with my primary role being to liaise with the US based furniture vendors to provide presentations and costings for the client to ensure that each space had the look and feel they needed for the event. And managing the delivery schedules, set up and striking of the items across the campus.

Is this role straightforward?

Yes (for a logistics brain)

Is this demanding?

Yes, very.

I am based in the UK and the vendors I was managing were based in the US (East Coast, West Coast and Mid). So the first challenge was finding a balance with home life, work life and time difference, to ensure I was available when I needed to be.

I have never worked on this event before, so had no concept of the event, the venue, the scale and the historical event delivery. Getting to know the team and the event was a priority. Looking at as much information, videos, photos from previous events would help me understand my role (and the event).

One of my skills as a planner is people; I enjoy working with and understanding the people (the team), the stakeholders and the client. This role was very much about people. Finding out what X wants, seeing if Y can provide it, putting a presentation together for X based on Y’s information, then amending, updating the presentation, and presenting new options when required. I was the link between the vendors, the team and the client – and trying to manage, please and deliver what everyone wants when they want was the biggest challenge.

Another challenge was the delivery schedule – understanding the on-site process, the timings, the venue, working with the other vendors who needed access to set up, understanding client expectations. As a team, one mammoth document was created for delivery, set up and striking.

Did I enjoy the event?

Yes. With any event that you take on as a freelancer, there is always an element of the unknown, that is what makes freelancing so exciting! You never know quite what you are going to work, who you will meet and what skills you will need to bring to the project!

Roll on 2024!

Some fun facts for you:

  • The maximum capacity of Hollywood Studios is 50,000 people.

  • My daily step count over 2 weeks was…. 30,000!!!

  • Which means I walked approx. 180 miles!!

  • Average cost of a coffee was $7.00.

  • I managed the planning, delivery, set up and striking of almost 4,000 individual pieces of furniture.

  • I worked with some of THE LOVELIEST people. When you are working so hard on an event, friendships blossom – you need to find your gang who support you when the going gets tough and your feet, legs and calves are burning!!

  • Cinderella, Belle, Pocahontas and Jasmine, I can’t thank you enough. Thanks for the LOLS!

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