That really loud ticking you hear? That's the seconds until Midwest FurFest ticking by (we hope, anyway). There's ten days to go until Midwest FurFest, so it's time for #7 in the Midwest FurFest Top Ten: Navigating the Hyatt.
For this little tour we're going to need a map to follow along with, so here it is: https://www.furfest.org/uploads/HyattMap2012.pdf
Let's start with the Lobby Level. Most people will enter this level first, as they come through the bridge from the parking garage (upper left of the map). Although we're not doing much programming on this level, it is still very important because the lobby is the social center of the convention. There is plentiful seating all around the lobby, great places to hang out and chat with your friends as you admire the glass elevators and spacious atrium.
Of note here is the hotel restaurant, called O'H American Grill, which serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner (plus they serve a tasty buffet at each meal for which MFF members receive a 15% discount!). Immediately outside of O'H is the Lobby Bar, which is open in the evenings. Across the lobby is Red Bar, which opens in the afternoons. Red Bar is a full-service sports bar and restaurant. Check out both bars for furry drink specials, including such tasty drinks as Sweet Teeth, the Wolf Pack, and Fur-Tastic! Note that the ADA Elevator to the Entry and International Levels is located just to the left of Red Bar as you face it; this is the only elevator that goes all the way down to the International Level.
The Conference Center is where you will find the Thursday Night Mixer and our famous Sponsor Brunch on Saturday. This is also the new home for our Security office, which will be in the Dulles Room. Outside of the Conference Center is a patio for smokers. This is in addition to the smoking area outside of the entrance to Grand Foyer on the Entry Level. Please remember that Illinois state law requires smokers to stay 15 feet away from all doors into the building. Thanks!
The next level down is the Entry Level, so called because the front entrance is located on this level. Starting with the upper left of the map, you'll see that the Rosemont Ballroom Complex has a couple of important things going on - Convention Registration (United AB) and Art Show (North Central/Rosemont CD). In addition to being used for Registration on Thursday night and Friday morning, Rosemont A and B will also be used for various Programming panels. Across the elevator foyer, you'll walk through a set of glass doors into the Conference Center to DFW, which is where the primary Fursuit Lounge is located. In the elevator foyer between the Art Show and the Fursuit Lounge, you'll find our Internet Room.
Just outside the Conference Center is the Business Center, which is notable because it contains a FedEx Office - handy for sending those convention purchases home! Next to that is the ADA Elevator, which is the only elevator access to the International Level, one floor below. Beside that is Perks, the hotel's 24-hour cafe/gift shop. They serve pastries, sandwiches, and Starbucks coffee, as well as serving as the hotel gift shop.
Directly across from Perks is a hallway that leads to the Grand Ballroom. Along the way you'll find a handy kiosk to check in for your flights and print your boarding pass! You'll also fine Convention Operations in the Grand Boardroom, and the Info Desk right next to that. Make sure to check out our charity, Felines and Canines, which will be located across from the Info Desk after Friday evening.
The Grand Ballroom is huge! As you walk in from the front entrance, the first thing you'll find is the Secondary Special Events Room (Grand ABC). This is where you'll be able to see our auctions, and smaller events that don't quite need the whole main stage. Next up is Midwest FurFest's fabulous Con Suite (Grand D), serving snacks, sodas, and other tasty stuff throughout the weekend starting at 5 PM on Friday. You'll also find lots of comfortable seating and room to hang out there 24 hours a day. Finally, we have Main Special Events (Grand EFGH), an enormous room big enough to handle all the great stuff you've come to expect from Midwest FurFest, from great performances to dances. And during the Furry Variety Show and dances, we'll be able to provide an oasis for fursuiters by deploying the airwalls around Grand H so they have a nice big space to cool off and relax!
The final level of the Hyatt is the International Level. To help you find your bearings, the stairs shown outside of Heathrow B are the same stairs shown on the Entry Level just in front of the Front Entrance. On this level, the spacious International Ballroom is the home to our Dealer's Den. Outside of the Dealers Den in the four rooms on that short hall (Florence, Paris, London, Vienna) is the Artists Alley. Additionally, the Tech Center is tucked away between the escalators and Artists Alley - this small classroom-style amphitheater setting is excellent for how-to panels. All of the other rooms are Programming panel rooms, where you'll find the Tabletop Gaming Rooms, Video Gaming Room, and great panel discussions and presentations on a host of different topics.
So there you have it! You're ready to walk into the Hyatt and know exactly where everything is. There will be a quiz when you get to the convention, when you try to find everything!
Like an oncoming avalanche, the convention is swiftly approaching. We'll have #6 in the countdown tomorrow - see you then!