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Meeting Attendees Enjoying Stellar Event Experiences at New Space Shuttle Atlantis (SM) at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

February 27, 2014 MICE No Comments Email Email

The new $100 million Space Shuttle Atlantis (SM) attraction at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex has been thrilling and inspiring guests with its dramatic reveal, up-close views and interactive exhibits.

Now meeting planners can share this incomparable experience with their guests by hosting an event underneath the historic spacecraft.

The new, flexible event space is located on the first floor of the 90,000-square-foot Space Shuttle Atlantis attraction, with the shuttle serving as the spectacular centerpiece. The facility can seat up to 300 attendees in a plated dinner format or accommodate large receptions for groups of up to 1,200.

Space Shuttle Atlantis was developed by Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts, operators of Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex for NASA since 1995. The Visitor Complex is 45 minutes from Orlando in Central Florida.

“It is an incredibly memorable experience for attendees,” said Sue Fullington, Visitor Complex food and beverage director. “While there are many formats for meeting planners to consider, what has already proved popular is holding an outdoor reception adjacent to the attraction, then experiencing the dramatic Atlantis reveal as a group, followed by dinner under the shuttle.”

About 1,200 dignitaries and other guests attended the Space Shuttle Atlantis grand opening reception the evening before it opened to the public on June 29. Several other group events have been held at Atlantis since, with rave reviews pouring in. The United Way of Brevard County recently launched its 2013 giving campaign underneath Atlantis with more than 300 people in attendance.

“If you want your guests to remember that it was your organization that gave them this spectacular experience, do whatever you can to get your guests under that shuttle. I promise that they will be grateful,” said Rob Rains, United Way of Brevard president.

United Way guests enjoyed an outdoor reception under full-size replicas of the shuttle’s towering external fuel tank and solid rocket boosters, then explored the many exhibits inside as they made their way around the priceless spaceship. Atlantis is dramatically displayed as if flying in space and undocking from the International Space Station – elevated and rotated 43.21 degrees with payload bay doors open and Canadarm extended. The attendees then dined under the orbiter’s black heat shield tiles and sweeping wings.

The 40-member Boeing Space Exploration/Network and Space Systems Leadership team also recently enjoyed an evening at Space Shuttle Atlantis.

“The Atlantis exhibit made an outstanding venue for hosting our event,” said LaDonna Neterer, Boeing customer relationship specialist. “This venue is wonderful for hosting large, high visibility meetings. We all very much enjoyed it and were thrilled to see Atlantis in her new home.”

Event Planning and Catering
Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex employs a team of experienced meeting and conference staff onsite who provide turnkey planning and execution of events at any level of production or sophistication.

But not only is Space Shuttle Atlantis’ function space one-of-a-kind, guests also are enjoying outstanding food and beverage and superior service.

“It was excellent. The food was very well planned and prepared. Food preparation is often a concern when hosting larger events due to cooking quantities, but the quality of our dinner did not suffer. Hats off to the chef!” said Boeing’s Neterer. “We would return to Atlantis for another meeting not only for the impressive setting and hands-on learning activities but also the great customer service and outstanding food.”

United Way attendees offer similar accolades. “The food and beverage was outstanding,” said Rains. “The staff was wonderful – very helpful, responsive and professional!”

Delaware North Companies is actually a leading global hospitality and food service provider, operating restaurants at luxury resorts and historic lodges and fine dining at major sports events around the world, including this year’s Super Bowl at MetLife Stadium. Its culinary team is guided by Certified Master Chef Roland Henin, and its chefs have catered political conventions, World Series galas and private parties for rock stars.

At the Visitor Complex, Executive Chef Gidget Wickham, who oversees dining and catering operations for Atlantis and several other venues, creates menus to accommodate specific tastes, including dishes reflecting Florida-inspired cuisine, special dietary needs and vegetarian and gluten-free dishes.

Space Shuttle Atlantis
Space Shuttle Atlantis is the world’s most comprehensive attraction devoted to NASA’s 30-year Space Shuttle Program. Space Shuttle Atlantis brings visitors nose-to-nose with the priceless spacecraft and features more than 60 interactive experiences and simulators that bring to life the people, passion and patriotism behind the space shuttle program.

Other Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex Event Venues
In addition to the new Space Shuttle Atlantis, there are two other venues that can be configured for groups of from 30 to 3,000 people: the Dr. Kurt H. Debus Conference Facility and the Apollo/Saturn V Center:

The Dr. Kurt H. Debus Conference Facility can be used as a single room or converted into five fully functional meeting spaces (Juno, Jupiter, Vanguard, Atlas, and Redstone) supported by an onsite kitchen and multimedia audio/visual equipment. The conference facility can accommodate groups from 30 to 700 and overlooks the historic Rocket Garden, a full-sized display of eight vintage rockets from the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo space programs.

The Apollo/Saturn V Center captures the authenticity of the moon landing missions within a 100,000-square-foot facility. The centerpiece is the gigantic Saturn V moon rocket revealed in all of its awesome stages. There is banquet space available that can accommodate a 300-person plated dinner or a 3,000-person standing reception.

Other Amenities for Meetings and Events at the Visitor Complex
The Astronaut Appearance programs feature inspiring presentations and give guests a chance to mingle, ask questions, take photos and even dine with a true space hero. Photo-ops with a fully-costumed “Spaceman” character can also be arranged.

Each day at the Visitor Complex, guests can experience the thrill of Lunch With An Astronaut, listening to inspiring space travel stories and asking questions of a NASA space hero, all while enjoying a delicious buffet lunch. The program includes a video presentation of “everyday” life on the space shuttle, followed by a personalized presentation by a featured astronaut about what it was like to live in space and a question-and-answer session and photo opportunity.

Themed group tours are a unique aspect of events, taking guests behind the scenes of this working space center and providing special access to areas of the Apollo/Saturn V Center. These daylong excursions encourage people to arrive early and take advantage of the many exhibits and historical sites. Astronaut-guided tours can also be arranged for corporate groups.

Kennedy Space Center, located on Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, encompasses more than 140,000 acres – over 200 square miles – providing a truly unique environment. As a result, the Visitor Complex is also a scenic location for gatherings with an environmental theme.

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex offers state-of-the-art audio/visual facilities and auditorium-style space, including two 400-seat IMAX theaters and the 300-seat Astronaut Encounter Theater.

ATX – Astronaut Training Experience – This in depth program gives guests a glimpse of what it takes to be an astronaut. The half-day of activities includes a realistic mission simulation in a full scale orbiter mock-up, meeting a real astronaut and simulator experiences including moonwalk and multi-axis trainer.

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