In late 2017, a returning incentive group with more than 2,000 attendees was searching for “big” and “out of the box.” After being in Orlando in 2016, their gala event had been offsite from their host hotel, staging a grand event at one of the area’s major theme parks. For 2017, the event needed to dazzle but the client also preferred to keep the event onsite if possible.
With the bar set high, the Gaylord Palms team proposed an event that would transform the existing available spaces into a multi-layered, immersive “Wonderland” event.
From Coquina Lawn to Wreckers Sports Bar to South Beach Pool, each location represented a highly-themed part of the Wonderland experience. Hello! Florida Destination Management provided décor and talent while Gaylord Palms’ culinary team developed a menu to complement the theme, bringing the story to life.
The end result surprised and delighted the attendees as they explored the spaces, following the story created. Attendees were “transported” to Wonderland without needing to board a bus!
Upon arrival, attendees found the Red Queen’s court on Coquina Lawn, with a live band, dance floor, lounge areas, faux hedges and lots of red roses. Dress up stations helped guests prepare for their visit with the Red Queen, who was there in all her royal glory, presiding over the event at 15 feet tall. To complete this part of the story, life-size, living chess pieces and other characters mingled among the attendees.
The lower level of Wreckers Sports Bar became the Caterpillar’s Lounge, with a trippy, kaleidoscope of color, making the typical restaurant fade away. Outside the space, an outdoor area provided the ideal location to add a hookah lounge and henna artist. An upper patio of the restaurant became the White Queen’s castle, offering a VIP, chic atmosphere along with stunning views of the final event experience at South Beach Pool.
South Beach Pool was transformed into the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, with a DJ and other live performers, along with a huge acrylic bridge across the pool with an enormous table set for tea! This location featured prime photo opportunities.
The partnership between Gaylord Palms and Hello! Florida successfully created the magical journey through Wonderland, staging the perfect end to a valuable group program.
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Combining the magnificence of our spectacular resorts with an unrivaled personal touch guarantees the increased flexibility and efficiency you need to create your perfect meeting. It's a philosophy every bit as unique as our properties themselves, and an experience you'll only find at Gaylord Hotels — where higher standards plus superior value make the difference between just another good meeting and the best meeting you've ever had.