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Author Topic: Orlando Invitational - Unofficial Guide  (Read 1252 times)

Benny B

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Orlando Invitational - Unofficial Guide
« on: October 17, 2019, 11:57:58 AM »
As promised, Benny B’s unofficial Scoop guide to the Orlando Classic Old Spice Classic AdvoCare Invitational Orlando Invitational.

(Not as promised, it’s horrendously tardy; therefore, I’m refunding 150% of your paid subscription fees.)

The 5 W’s  Actually, just 4 W’s… I’m going to presume you know the ‘what’ by now.

Who & When:
You can click here for the official bracket but let’s get straight to who matters:

Thursday 11/28
Davidson vs. Marquette 6:00-6:30p (20 mins after USC/Fairfield) ESPN2/ESPNU

Friday 11/29

USC/Fairfield vs. Marquette
If MU wins Thursday: 4:00/4:30p ESPN/ESPN2
If MU loses Thursday: 6:30/7:00p (20 mins after previous game) ESPN2/ESPNU/ESPNews

Sunday 12/1
MD/Temple/TAMU/Harvard vs. Marquette
Championship @ 1:00p ESPN
Consolation Championship or 3rd Place Game @ 4:00/6:00/6:30p ESPN2/ESPNU
7th Place Game 10:30a ESPN2/ESPNews

All times are EST.

Noteworthy: Marquette is the bottom of the bracket, which means they will be the home team throughout the tournament, regardless of opponent.

Where:
HP Fieldhouse, ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, 700 S Victory Way, Orlando (NW of I-4 & US-192 Intersection).  Enter from the North off of W Osceola Pkwy (opposite entrance to Art of Animation Resort)

Why:
Because we like you. (duh)

Tickets



Available (online) through Ticketmaster or (in-person) at the HP Fieldhouse Box Office.

All seating is general admission divided into two tiers. Premium Sideline GA (General Admission) will allow first come, first served access to Sections 101-106 and 111-116, while Baseline/Upper GA includes all other areas. All-tournament tickets, which include all 12 games, for Premium Sideline GA tickets are $150 while Baseline/Upper GA is $130. Single session tickets are also on sale for $55/$45 per session (two games per session).


As you can see, an all-tournament ticket is actually cheaper than buying three individual session tickets for MU’s games only.  Now I know what you’re thinking: “I’ll just hook up with fans from the other schools who bought all-tournament tickets and buy the MU sessions from them on the cheap.”  Good luck is all I can say to that… I know of several people who tried off-loading their extra sessions in 2014 – when Kansas and MSU were in town, no less – and ended up just trashing them or giving them to the concierge for nothing.  If you’re going to be down there for the whole weekend, just buy the all-tournament ticket.


Seating inside the HP Fieldhouse is ample.  Like all holiday destination tournaments, there really isn't a bad seat in the house.  In fact, the HP Fieldhouse is very comparable to the Al in size and layout, just with more "ancillary revenue areas."  Tickets typically do not sell out (unless it's Florida vs. FSU or something like that), so you can likely show up Wednesday and buy tickets from the box office if you like to procrastinate.  The only thing that may concern OCD fans (like myself) is claiming decent seats as soon as the doors open (or the early game in the session ends)... worst case - if you're running late - is you end up sitting on the side of the court opposite the benches. 

Notable: There is (or at least used to be) something at Disney World called the "Space Mountain Morning Mini Marathon," which if you think about it, it's pretty self-explanatory, but for those unfamiliar with the mouse's world, I'll explain... every morning, before the gates to the Magic Kingdom open, there's a congregation of kids, teens and adults just outside the turnstiles with a certain anxiety about them... as soon as those gates open, there's a mad dash to be the first in line for Space Mountain.  Someone once told me (facetiously) that Magic Kingdom had more injuries during the first 5 minutes after the park opened than they did the remainder of the day.  Fortunately, we aren't that insane, but just be aware that courtesy is not a strong point of MU fans when it comes to claiming GA seats before a game.


Accommodations

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re already well aware that one could spend weeks trying to figure out where to stay in Orlando, so let’s narrow it down to the obvious:

Team Hotel: Gaylord Palms Hotel and Convention Center, 6000 W Osceola Pkwy, Kissimmee, FL 34746

Anthony Travel has packages available including 4 nights at the Gaylord Palms, tickets, transportation (to/from games), etc. starting at $685/pp (Quad Occupancy).  I won’t comment on the value paid vs. value received from these packages, but the people I have run into who have traveled on these packages generally don’t have any complaints. 

That said, in the interest of full disclosure, Anthony Travel – no joke – was started (and still operates out of a basement of a building located) on a certain university campus in South Bend, Indiana.  So draw your own conclusions on whether this is the type of business you want to support.

EDIT: If you're traveling with children (or if you're renting some disabled children for the weekend to help you skip the lines), you may wish to consider one of the online rental sites (e.g. AirBnB, VRBO/HomeAway, etc.) or a local rental agency... see my post below for more information, but in short, you can get 4- and 5-bedroom homes within 5-10 miles of WWOS well below the price of two rooms at the Gaylord Palms.  Of course, you won't be at the team hotel, and you won't have a pirate ship in the lobby, but we stayed in the Lahaina countryside for the Maui Invite two years ago, and even though my kids got a glimpse of the Hyatt Regency (team hotel) during the banquets and pre-/post-games, each one of them will tell you to this day that when we go back to Maui in 2022, they want to stay in the same home we did in 2017. 

That said, I will readily admit that the opportunity to run into players in the lobby, restaurants, hallways, pool, etc. is probably one of the most significant benefits of following MU to the tournaments, especially for your kids (if you drag them to enough games that they actually know the players by name).  So if this is your first time doing a holiday tournament (whether or not it might be a once-in-a-lifetime thing), and you're on a budget or like having space, I would still suggest at least considering the team hotel for a couple nights, even if it means spending a few nights in a Holiday Inn Express.


Transportation

The Gaylord Palms is approx 1.5 miles from the HP Fieldhouse.  In a properly master-planned community, this would certainly be a walkable distance, but anyone familiar with the Reedy Creek Drainage District would find such a concept laughable.  Not to worry, however, as the MUAA has arranged for shuttle transportation to/from the Gaylord Palms for each game (see below)… hopefully the bus company is a little more organized than they were in Hartford.

For those who prefer to avoid the busses, there is ample, free parking at the ESPN WWOS Complex (or at least it was free in 2014… remember, this is Disney, so don’t be surprised if parking says “Free” out front but once you’re in there’s a costumed mouse charging $50 per axle). 

EDIT Noteworthy: The ESPN WWOS complexing is much more than just the HP Pavillion.  There are always tournaments going on throughout the year on about a dozen baseball and softball fields and something like 3,285 soccer fields (soccer moms love Disney tournaments, as much as they love the on-site sports bar).  On Thursday, the basketball tourney should be the only thing going on, but there will be several youth tournaments in progress Friday and Sunday; so if MU is playing later afternoon or early evening on those days, you may get bumped to the overflow parking... however they usually run the courtesy “carts” (the 6- and 8- passenger golf carts) to shuttle people to/from overflow parking if needed. 

Official MU Alumni Association Events

Direct any MUAA questions or special needs about the ESPN Orlando Invitational Tournament to Kim Perez at kimberly.perez@marquette.edu or (414) 288-0347.

WEDNESDAY, NOV. 27
MARQUETTE ON A MISSION: UNITED WAY SERVICE PROJECT
10:00 a.m. - Noon
Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center, St. George Room #104
Men and women in service to others is at the heart of the Marquette mission. In the spirit of the Thanksgiving holiday, join Golden Eagle alumni, parents and friends to assemble and package soup kits for Orlando-area charities.


THURSDAY, NOV. 28
SENIORS FIRST TURKEY TROT 5K PRESENTED BY HUB
Join us at beautiful Lake Eola bright and early Thanksgiving morning and burn some calories for a great cause! The scenic and shady race route meanders through the brick streets of beautiful downtown Orlando. Participate as over 4,000 runners, joggers and walkers, many dressed in full costumes or Thanksgiving themed hats hit the course for a morning of fun to raise money for Meals on Wheels and other programs that support seniors in the Orlando community.

7:00 a.m.: Costume judging begins
7:45 a.m.: Turkey Call judging begins
8:00 a.m.: 5K
9:15 a.m.: Tot Trot
Lake Eola
227 N. Eola Dr., Orlando

Family-friendly fun run through downtown Orlando. 5K run begins at 8:00 a.m.; Tot Trot begins at 9:15 a.m. Shuttles will depart Gaylord Palms at approximately 6:30 a.m. and return immediately following the race.

Register online for the Turkey Trot here: http://trackshack.com/event/240/event-info.

MARQUETTE MASS
1:30 p.m.
Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center, Coquina Lawn
Gather with the Marquette family for a special Thanksgiving Mass celebrated by the chaplain for Marquette Men’s Basketball, Rev. John Laurance, S.J.

MARQUETTE BLUE & GOLD THANKSGIVING DINNER
2:30 p.m.
Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center, Coquina Lawn
$75 for adults; $20 for children ages 6 – 12; free for children 5 and under*
Bring your family to celebrate Thanksgiving with Marquette! Enjoy a traditional holiday buffet which includes beer, wine and soda. A cash bar will be available for cocktails.

Shuttles from Gaylord Palms to HP Field House begin at approximately 5 p.m. and will continuously loop until tipoff; return shuttles will begin immediately following the game.


FRIDAY, NOV. 29
PREGAME RECEPTION
2:00 p.m. or 4:30 p.m.
Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center, The Wreckers Sports Bar
$25 for adults; free for children 12 and under*
Join fellow alumni, parents and fans at pregame receptions, which will begin two hours before tipoff for all Marquette Men’s Basketball games in conjunction with the Orlando Invitational Tournament. Pregame receptions will feature heavy appetizers, non-alcoholic beverages and one drink ticket per person. Following the games, head back to The Wreckers.

Shuttles from Gaylord Palms to HP Field House begin at approximately one hour before the game and will continuously loop until tipoff; return shuttles will begin immediately following the game.


SUNDAY, DEC. 1
MARQUETTE MASS
Gather with the Marquette family for Sunday Mass celebrated by the chaplain of the Marquette Men’s Basketball Team, Rev. John Laurance, S.J.
Mass time may be adjusted depending on game schedules.
10:00 a.m.
Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center, St. George Room #104

PREGAME RECEPTION
Two hours before tipoff of the Marquette Men’s Basketball game
Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center, Wreckers Sports Bar
$25 adults; free for children 12 and under*

Shuttles from Gaylord Palms to HP Field House begin at approximately one hour before the game and will continuously loop until tipoff; return shuttles will begin immediately following the game.

*Please note that a portion of the registration fee will be considered a non-refundable gift to the Marquette Blue & Gold Fund.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2019, 09:12:37 AM by Benny B »
Wow, I'm very concerned for Benny.  Being able to mimic Myron Medcalf's writing so closely implies an oncoming case of dementia.

mubb3434

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Re: Orlando Invitational - Unofficial Guide
« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2019, 12:25:05 PM »
This is great! Thank you for putting this together.

SaveOD238

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Re: Orlando Invitational - Unofficial Guide
« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2019, 12:25:16 PM »
Thanks Benny!  Great Info!

My family and I rented an airbnb for just over $100 a night in Davenport (about 20 minutes away).  There were still a lot of sites available if that's your preferred route.

warriors78

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Re: Orlando Invitational - Unofficial Guide
« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2019, 12:57:03 PM »
thanks for this great information!  i'm a 2001 alumni currently living in Tampa so our family is driving at staying at the Gaylord Palms for the Thanksgiving weekend.  looking forward to meeting and hanging out with fellow alumni!

Benny B

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Re: Orlando Invitational - Unofficial Guide
« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2019, 01:17:55 PM »
Thanks Benny!  Great Info!

My family and I rented an airbnb for just over $100 a night in Davenport (about 20 minutes away).  There were still a lot of sites available if that's your preferred route.

With three kids, VRBO/HomeAway/AirBnB is the only way to go.  I didn't initially put this in the write-up (mostly because I only have one data point and the rest is anecdotal), but unless you're travelling ultra-peak (e.g. b/t Christmas & New Years, Spring Break, etc.) even at the last-minute, there's no shortage of hotels and vacation homes... hell, we still haven't booked our VRBO because we've spent the last 10 days trying to narrow things down, and yet new options keep popping up every day (cancellation deadlines are approaching).  I have had nearly three dozen properties on my VRBO Trip Board for the last week and only one is now showing that it's no longer available.

In 2014, we ended up booking a 5-bedroom home about 10 minutes from WWOS for under $150/night, all-in (face rate was $100/nt)... the going rate for 4-bedroom rentals (in the same area) the week prior was $50-75/nt more.  The owner was planning on spending Thanksgiving with their extended family in Orlando, and when some had to cancel, they scrapped the whole plan and put the listing up at a fire-sale rate.  When we walked into the home, we were amazed at how excellent the condition was.

Also - anecdotally - I've heard from more than one source that VRBO will have several new options pop up right around Oct 31 because there are a lot of (hopeful) owners who always black out the holiday dates "just in case" and only put the listing up when, inevitably, their son/daughter/in-laws let them know a few weeks prior that they can't make it to Florida, can't find cheap enough airfare, Billy has a basketball game on Saturday, etc.

In other words, right now 85%+ of the listings are rentals from owners/managers who have multiple properties and/or bought the rental as an "investment"... in other words, the owner doesn't actually use or stay in the home.  How to tell: if  the garage has been converted into a rec room, the owner doesn't use the home (because owners prefer to park their car in the garage rather than play air hockey).  But over the next few weeks, you're going to start seeing more of the "owner's personal use" properties home pop up as their respective extended families begin to disappoint and frustrate... and that is music to a bargain-hunter's ears (especially when considering how these homes are maintained to a much higher standard). 

Such is exactly why you shouldn't necessarily dismiss a rental property because it has very few, if any reviews (or why listings that have a couple hundred reviews scream out "heavily used, and more likely abused" to me.)  Just ask the owner how often they use the property for personal use.

That said, Davenport has a lot of great options.  Great find.
Wow, I'm very concerned for Benny.  Being able to mimic Myron Medcalf's writing so closely implies an oncoming case of dementia.

MU82

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Re: Orlando Invitational - Unofficial Guide
« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2019, 01:32:37 PM »
Great stuff, Benny.

My only problem with it is that I probably won't be able to use the info. It looks like my wife (an RN) is gonna have to work on the Wed and the Fri, so we're not gonna be able to make it. Bums me out to have to miss a good tournament that's within a not-bad drive.

I'll be MU-rah-rahing as loud as I can from home.

I still wish we had drawn just about any other first-round opponent, though. Davidson will be very, very tough.
"Turn in your Erin Andrews cars with the drivel above you wrote."

-- hoopaloop

4everwarriors

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Re: Orlando Invitational - Unofficial Guide
« Reply #6 on: October 17, 2019, 02:13:19 PM »
Grate tyme ta strap it on. Somethin' 'bout wen da goin' gets tough, aina?
"Give 'Em Hell, Al"

dgies9156

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Re: Orlando Invitational - Unofficial Guide
« Reply #7 on: October 17, 2019, 02:19:35 PM »
Thanks Benny, good stuff (as always).

Ms. Dgies and I will not be in South Florida during the tournament. Our family is still in the Chicago metro area and so we will be back in the north suburbs to celebrate while our heros are down here.

Rest assured, we will be avid Warriorwatchers on television.


marquette20

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Re: Orlando Invitational - Unofficial Guide
« Reply #8 on: October 17, 2019, 06:20:00 PM »
For those planning on going to Disney, there is a link to buy discounted tickets. Only catch is they must be used between 1 week before and 1 week after, but they are significantly cheaper than what Disney offers otherwise.

https://www.mydisneygroup.com/19orlandoinv

5YearsatMU

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Re: Orlando Invitational - Unofficial Guide
« Reply #9 on: October 18, 2019, 07:51:22 AM »
Anyone confirmed going?  We'll be there with extended family, 11 of us in total.  It was a good time in 2009, hoping this year is just as fun. 

pbiflyer

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Re: Orlando Invitational - Unofficial Guide
« Reply #10 on: October 18, 2019, 11:57:36 AM »
Team Hotel: Gaylord Palms Hotel and Convention Center, 6000 W Osceola Pkwy, Kissimmee, FL 34746


That said, I will readily admit that the opportunity to run into players in the lobby, restaurants, hallways, pool, etc. is probably one of the most significant benefits of following MU to the tournaments, especially for your kids (if you drag them to enough games that they actually know the players by name).  So if this is your first time doing a holiday tournament (whether or not it might be a once-in-a-lifetime thing), and you're on a budget or like having space, I would still suggest at least considering the team hotel for a couple nights, even if it means spending a few nights in a Holiday Inn Express.[/color]


One of mrs. pbiflyer's favorite pictures is with JFB in front of a Christmas tree from the last time MU played in this tournament.
Chatting with Theo last Thanksgiving was awesome.

MARQUETTE BLUE & GOLD THANKSGIVING DINNER
2:30 p.m.
Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center, Coquina Lawn
$75 for adults; $20 for children ages 6 – 12; free for children 5 and under*
Bring your family to celebrate Thanksgiving with Marquette! Enjoy a traditional holiday buffet which includes beer, wine and soda. A cash bar will be available for cocktails.


I take it that the team won't be participating this year, as they have a game shortly after the dinner.

mubb3434

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Re: Orlando Invitational - Unofficial Guide
« Reply #11 on: October 18, 2019, 12:59:14 PM »
Anyone confirmed going?  We'll be there with extended family, 11 of us in total.  It was a good time in 2009, hoping this year is just as fun.

We will be there. Staying at the Sheraton Vistana Resort

pbiflyer

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Re: Orlando Invitational - Unofficial Guide
« Reply #12 on: October 18, 2019, 02:34:01 PM »
We will be there. Staying at the Sheraton Vistana Resort

We stayed there last time.

We will be going and staying at the Gaylord.