TechEd Attendee Party - What to Expect

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Here's a little write up of what to expect for the TechEd Attendee Party at Universal Studios Orlando.

Around 6:00 at the convention center there will be more buses in one place than you've probably ever seen before. In the past, buses leave from the conference center to Universal Studios theme park, but last year they picked us up at the same bus stops in front of the hotel that we use to go to the convention center. Buses will run every 10 minutes or so. There will be many more people in line waiting for a bus than the buses can hold. Just be patient and meet some new friends while you wait. Hopefully it won’t rain while we’re waiting, like it did last year. :)

Remember to wear comfortable shoes and clothes, You’ll be doing a lot of walking and standing (after a full day of walking the TechEd floor).

When you arrive at Universal, there will be lots of staff on hand to usher you into the park or answer questions. All the rides, food and drink that are open are free. There will be soda and beer stands setup along the walkways. It’s a very festive, fun and family friendly atmosphere.

The big rides, like The Simpsons Ride, Shrek 4-D, and Revenge of the Mummy, are very popular, but the lines move pretty quick. The park is open to us from 6:30-11:00pm, so be sure to scope out the rides and restaurants you want to visit before getting to the park. Not all rides may be open, however, due to maintenance or weather.

The park will close sharply at 11:00pm, which leads us to the most thrilling ride of the them all… Getting back to the hotel! This is probably my least favorite part of TechEd. Thousands of people, all as tired as you, descending on an extremely crowded area filled with buses. You have to find the one that’s going back to your hotel region and fight to get on board. Keep your kids close (if they were lucky enough to come with you).

Some people choose to skip the throngs of people by hanging out along Universal City Walk. Here, you can browse shops and maybe get a drink of something stronger at one of the bars, like Jimmy Buffett’s Magaritaville. Just be sure not to miss the last bus or you'll be calling a cab! Which come to think of it, isn't such a bad idea...

Update: Microsoft just changed the hours for the Attendee Party to run from 8:00pm-12:00am this year. :(