Elevator Changes at Furry Weekend

TLDR: There are a lot of you. We’ll be changing the way our guests load-in and load-out from the elevators in the convention space. 


Furry Weekend Atlanta Leadership has been hard at work solving the biggest point of feedback from our guests in 2023: Elevators. We will be implementing a new strategy for elevator management for 2024 and beyond. Below, please review our strategy for elevators. Please note that some of the specifics may change as we work with our hotel partners to continually improve our efforts to make sure that we’re supporting efficient and quick access to hotel rooms. 


Specific elevator etiquette policy: 

Elevator challenges are not unique to Furry Weekend Atlanta. Every convention has the same problems that we face. We recognized that most of these strategies are passed down via word of mouth, which is not effective for the community at large. To solve that problem we spent time preparing a clear, concise, and specific Elevator Etiquette Policy that discusses what steps the community can take to make sure that everyone gets to their destination as fast as possible. 


More Signage:

We understand that in the throes of the convention experience it can be easy to forget some common practices that are important to keep everyone happy. We’re combatting this by providing more signage inside, and outside of the elevators to remind guests of the most important things to elevator safety and efficiency. 


New Volunteer Opportunity - The Zookeepers, our queue management department:

Furry Weekend Atlanta has created a new department designed to help with line management. New to 2024, their primary focus will be to manage the elevator queue and load-in/load-out activities of those elevators. As this department grows, they will additionally assist in line management for our biggest and most popular events. 


The Zookeepers are looking for patient, compassionate individuals to help us with this dire need. Please consider giving back to the community and applying to be on this great team - Apply here. If you can’t dedicate the time required to be a staff member, this is also a great volunteering opportunity if you find yourself with a few free hours during the convention.  Volunteering is a great way to get an idea of what staffing a convention is all about


Changes to Elevator Load-in and Load-out inside of the convention space

After evaluating the problem, we found that there were four (4) leading causes of the elevator issues at Furry Weekend Atlanta: People going up to go down/down to go up, lack of line control, elevator overcrowding, and a lack of consideration for those that need priority access into the elevators. We’re making big changes to the elevator process to address each of these: 

  • There will be a designated load-in line for each elevator bank. These lines will be clearly labeled and provide a simpler, organized way for you to get where you’re trying to go. 
  • All attendees will be required to exit the elevator when it reaches the Marquis level. If this isn’t the floor you were trying to get to, you will be required to exit the elevator and enter the line for your final destination floor. Please pay close attention to which direction the elevator is traveling as we won’t make exceptions.
  • Elevator load-in will be limited to 10 people per load. Our staff may change the number of guests loaded into the elevator based on several factors. Please be respectful of these changes as we’re doing everything we can to get everyone to their destination, in the safest way possible. 
  • We will be implementing a priority line for guests with accessibility needs and Fursuiters. Fursuiters and guests with accessibility needs will be permitted to bring one additional person with them on the elevator. All other guests traveling with the priority traveler will be asked to get into the line designated for regular attendees. 
  • All floors not designated as the load-in floor may only be used for guests with an accessibility need.
    • To reduce wait times, we encourage all guests with accessibility needs to leverage the auxiliary elevators at the back of the Marriott property (near the Hilton Skybridge) to access the Lobby level, Marquis level, and International level. In addition, wherever possible, enter the priority line on the load-in floor.
    • Don’t forget to pick-up your accessibility badge from our accessibility booth! 
  • Elevator lines and logistics will be managed as much as possible, but it isn’t feasible to manage the elevators 24/7 or at each of the hotel properties. Guests can expect that elevators will be managed after peak events, and during peak traffic flows. We will do everything we can to expand elevator management times. This is largely contingent on the number of staff we have in our queue management department. Help us out by applying here.
  • Finally, the Atlanta Marriott Marquis is restricting access to the hotel service elevators. Hotel service elevators should -not- be used for guest travel. These elevators must be kept clear to ensure that hotel staff, security, EMTs, and designated convention staff can get to where they need to be as soon as possible. Unless directed by a hotel manager, hotel security, or by our Safety team, use of these elevators are strictly prohibited


Elevator technology enhancements at The Atlanta Marriott Marquis

The biggest change, and why it’s taken us so long to communicate this, is because we’ve been working closely with the Atlanta Marriott Marquis to improve the technology for the elevators at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis. As of 2024, the Marriott has implemented a new weight management technology: 

  • Once an elevator has reached the weight capacity, the elevator will not stop on any floors until it reaches its selected destination. This means that the elevator will bypass any called floors and continue to the floors specifically requested by the occupants of the elevator. 
    • This enhancement will reduce the travel time for elevators and will assist in enforcement of the “Don’t go up to go down” guideline discussed in our “Elevator Etiquette” policy.
  • If an elevator is overweight, the elevator will not operate. If you find that the elevator door is not closing, please exit the elevator as it will not move until the elevator is under the weight capacity. 
  • Elevator technicians will be onsite during the weekend. This change won’t stop elevators from breaking down, but it will ensure any issues are resolved more quickly. Please understand that, even with a technician on site the parts needed to repair elevators may not be available. 
  • A note on “weight capacity” - The posted weight capacity on the elevators at the Atlanta Marriott marquis includes the weight of the elevator itself. 


We appreciate all of the feedback, suggestions, and problem-solving our community has provided to us. We’ve answered a lot of the questions we received in the following FAQ, please take a moment to review the FAQ before reaching out with questions. 


We understand that this is a big change for Furry Weekend Atlanta, but we’re confident that this will reduce elevator wait times and stress for all attendees involved. 

Elevator FAQ

Why can’t you just lock down all of the elevators?

This is a question that our team has looked at and is working on. The biggest reason why we can’t just “lock out the elevators” to a single floor is because there is no other ADA accessible way to get from the Atrium level to the other convention floors, and there is no ADA accessible way to get from the other convention floors to the Atrium. It’s a unique challenge of how the Atlanta Marriott Marquis is laid out.

Why do people with accessibility needs get priority access into elevator lines?

First, let’s remember, you can’t always tell just by looking at someone that they have an accessibility need. Guests with accessibility needs may need to get to their room quickly for health and safety related concerns. For example, a guest that requires insulin needs to get that insulin as quickly as possible to prevent bigger health problems from occurring. Insulin requires refrigeration and may not always be able to be carried with the guest. The only option for that guest is to keep the insulin refrigerated inside of their room.

Why do fursuiters get priority access into elevator lines?

Fursuiting is tough work. The amazing costumes that our fursuiters wear are extremely hot, and sometimes very heavy. We allow Fursuiters priority access out of concern for the safety of the person under the cute animal. When a fursuiter needs to get to their room to de-suit, it’s important that they can do so as quickly as they can so they can cool down. Overheating in a fursuit is -really- bad. If it happens, the person under the suit’s life is in danger.  That’s also why we allow one guest (or handler) to travel with them. To make sure they have the assistance they need to de-suit and cool down. Our headless lounges can only provide so much cooling, sometimes the only option is to remove the suit entirely.

I go to other furry cons and they don’t have problems this bad.

Like you, our convention staff LOVES going to other conventions as well. The truth is, all conventions have challenges with their elevators just like we do. Ours seem to be exacerbated for a few key reasons:

  • The Atlanta Marriott Marquis is one of the largest, if not the largest single hotel of any Furry Convention. That means there are more rooms and more people trying to get to their room. At other large events, like AC and MFF, guests are spread out across the city much more than at FWA.
  • Every single room at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis is accessed through a main core of elevators. That means every guest going to a room is trying to get where they need to be, in the same place. That’s a lot of people all trying to go to a room. At other large events like MFF and TFF, hotel traffic is divided across the hotel property. 

I go to other non-furry events that don’t have this problem. What gives?

This is a good question and something that we’ve had a lot of internal discussions about. Our research and observations point to attendee habits being a big difference. At non-furry events, the majority of elevator traffic is from the guest room to the convention floor. Our guests behave differently than guests at these events. Furry Conventions are a social affair first and foremost. That means that our guests aren’t just going from their room to the convention space, they're going from their room to another room, and then everyone in that room is going to ANOTHER room. Our event is simply atypical for hotels that hold other large events. 

Why are you only managing elevators during peak times.

  • In short - staffing requirements. The Atlanta Marriott Marquis has four banks of elevators all loaded in the same place. In addition, there are three separate floors where guests can enter and exit the elevator. We’ve spent a lot of time looking at the numbers and the volunteer deployment to manage the elevators. This extra elevator management alone would require a new staff equal to half of our current staff level for the entire convention. That’s a lot of volunteers.
  • Additionally, hiring private security personnel to manage the process for us will create a financial burden so significant for FWA that the cost of registration would have to be increased significantly to keep FWA afloat.
  • By combining the deployment of FWA staff and private security, we’re aiming to maximize the amount of time we can manage the elevators and will do everything we can to provide the best experience possible. 

As stated, the biggest problem is personnel to help manage this process. Please consider, and encourage your friends to join our Crowd and Line Management Department - The Zookeepers, to help us manage the elevator lines as much as possible. You can apply to our staff here. 

This is such an easy problem to fix. Why haven’t you done something before now?

First and foremost, elevator management at Furry Weekend Atlanta is not a simple problem. The Atlanta Marriott Marquis has a few unique challenges that make managing elevators more difficult than expected. For example, the Marriott Marquis has four separate banks of elevators that serve entirely different floors. Additionally, the main core of elevators are the only elevators to the Atrium level, which is our busiest level. When we look at managing elevators as a whole we have to consider staffing levels, ADA access, line management, as well as traffic flow into and out of the elevator bank.