Category: Elevators

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.