In 2017 Annual Conference, Student Members
Group of students at theme park

PR students had the opportunity to experience a behind the scenes look at Universal Studios during the 2017 FPRA Annual Summer Conference.

Many opportunities arise for students within the Florida Public Relations Association. For several years we’ve offered behind-the-scenes “field trips” during Annual Conference. This year, our students witnessed the making of “Race Through New York with Jimmy Fallon™” at Universal Studios in Orlando.

When Alyson Lundell, APR, CPRC, Senior Director of Corporate Communications for Universal Orlando Resort, welcomed the students and introduced her team, she was quick to mention Deni Ricci and Ashlynn Webb are both products of FPRA and had both been in student chapters before coming to Universal.

The three ladies offered many pieces of advice to the students including “Always be honest and transparent when things aren’t always working right.” And “teamwork is valuable when all teams have to work together.”

Universal Studios opened the Fallon ride when Volcano Bay was also opening, so they had to determine what stories would work best in which mediums specifically for Fallon. They shot their own behind-the-scenes video from the production side specifically for their blog, but that wouldn’t have worked for the type of TV ad spot they had. Choosing the right storyline for the right medium was key.

Makayla Chancey, senior at UCF in Quotes, said “It was great when Buddy Dyer was on the Jimmy Fallon show to show government works with this park.” Opportunities like that truly elevate the PR for the attractions that much more.

The team shared how decisions are made to retire certain attractions, including how a piece of the old attraction is always a part of the new one. For example, in Diagon Alley, there’s a record album with Jaws on it as well as sculptures in a gift shop made from parts of the shark from Jaws.

In reflecting on the field trip, Jaimy Garner, senior telecommunications student from UF said “The Attention to detail (in Harry Potter and others) at every turn blew our minds.” And Taylar Freitag, president of Quotes and junior at UCF summed it up by saying. “This makes me want to work at Universal!”

FPRA loves creating opportunities for our students and look forward to another great field trip coming in August in the Jacksonville area!

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