Farewell Blogger Open… Thanks for the Memories

For the past four years following the Lotusphere Closing General Session, the Blogger Open has taken place at the Disney Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf Course.  If you are not sure what the Blogger Open is was you can find out all about it here.

I am sorry to announce that the Blogger Open is done, history, finished. Why you may ask? Simply put I can not come to an agreement with the folks at Disney to run the event this year,

The facts are as follows:

  • Disney will not (for any price) grant us exclusive use of the course
  • Disney insists on interspersing families among our group
  • Disney loves the beer sales generated by the Blogger Open (they sell in a few hours what they usually sell in month)
  • Disney receives complaints from the families they insist on putting out on the course among us

The fact is 75 geeks, sleep deprived for a week, drinking beer, having fun after a week attending a conference, while meaning no harm, simply does not mix well with families vacation at Disney.

As a father of 3 small children I can appreciate that, and while I can not understand why Disney refuses to rent us the course, I will not make commitments to the Disney folks that are unrealistic.

Big thanks to all those who helped make this even fun and successful over the last number of years. Warren Elsmore who along with me came up with the idea and helped launch it.  Mike McGarel for developing the Blogger Open site (and contributing the code to OpenNTF) and Joe Hoetzl for providing the site graphics.  Thanks to the event sponsors throughout the years, Corey Davis and Conxsys, GSX, Andrew Pollack and Northern Collaborative Technologies, Chris Miller and Spiked Studios, and David Leedy and Notes In 9.

All that is left to do now is to figure out what I should do after the Closing General Session of Connect 2013.

31 Responses to Farewell Blogger Open… Thanks for the Memories
  1. Thomas Duff
    December 3, 2012 | 8:36 am

    Thanks for all the work you’ve put into that, Mitch.

  2. Andy Donaldson
    December 3, 2012 | 8:58 am

    Mitch, thanks for ALL the hard work you had put into the event! It was always a great time for everyone to unwind, relax and make fun of each others putting skills. You ARE the man, sir!

  3. Steve Mullen
    December 3, 2012 | 8:59 am

    Bummer. I missed it last year after my first LS. Oh well. Thanks Mitch for your effort in putting this on in the past.

  4. Theo Heselmans
    December 3, 2012 | 9:19 am

    Sad news. We’ll have to figure out something to unwind on Thursday afternoon.
    Thanks all for the great initiative and the fun you’ve given us all those years!

  5. Julian Woodward
    December 3, 2012 | 9:32 am

    Shame on them! And thanks for all the work you’ve put into this over the last few years to make it such a blast at the end of the week.

  6. Stuart McIntyre
    December 3, 2012 | 9:33 am

    Sad – its been a terrific event, Mitch. Thanks to you and the team for all that you have done.

    However, lets make this an opportunity to start a new ‘tradition’, a new and different event…

  7. David Schaffer
    December 3, 2012 | 9:50 am

    It was fun while it lasted. Thanks.

  8. William Eberle
    December 3, 2012 | 9:56 am

    It’s too bad an arrangement couldn’t be made but well done for all the work you’ve put into this. Kudos!

  9. Richard Moy
    December 3, 2012 | 10:35 am

    Thank you so much Mitch and everyone involved for organizing it. It was fun.

  10. Karl-Henry Martinsson
    December 3, 2012 | 10:38 am

    Mitch, I also want to thank you for all work you put in. I have been to Blogger Open for the last 3 years, and it was very enjoyable, one of the highlights of the conference. We were able to unwind and have fun, catch up with friends we may not have been able to spend as much time with as we wanted duing the week, and just have a blast in general.

    I hope someone can figure out an alternative.

  11. Bill Buchan
    December 3, 2012 | 10:45 am

    Beach bar in the pool area behind the Dolphin? That could so easily descend into a hot-tub session.

    —* Bill

  12. Gabriella Davis
    December 3, 2012 | 10:50 am

    Really sorry to hear that Mitch, it was a great way to finish up the week and you put a lot of work into it. A shame.


  13. Alan Lepofsky
    December 3, 2012 | 10:54 am

    Sorry to hear that, it’s become one of my favourite transitions. I’ll miss my tender moments with the crocodile. (did I just write that on the internet?) Mitch, thank you for the work you’ve put into this event over the past few years.

  14. Ray J Bilyk
    December 3, 2012 | 11:55 am

    Mitch, thanks to you and everyone else involved that made that event a great success. It was a lot of fun, and everyone had a good time. The end of an era indeed! Disney’s beer sales will definitely suffer at the course…

  15. Steve Breitenbach
    December 3, 2012 | 12:09 pm


    Thanks for the memories, as Bob Hope would say. It has been a lot of fun. Thanks to you and all involved with this event. It’s too bad Disney can work with the team to get things done.

  16. Norman Cox
    December 3, 2012 | 12:11 pm

    Sorry to hear about this, but understand. Thanks for you energy and efforts. I was only able to partcipate last year, and had a great time.

  17. Chris Miller
    December 3, 2012 | 12:23 pm

    Congrats on a well run event. Prizes, sponsors and more just for minature golf. Who would have thought? I am sure we can come up with alternate plans

  18. Jim Casale
    December 3, 2012 | 12:56 pm

    Well we can always turn the whole Swan/Dolphin/Yacht Club complex into a giant geek paintball competition. Hummm.. OK maybe not 🙂

  19. Richard Schwartz
    December 3, 2012 | 1:51 pm

    Thanks from me, too, Mitch. I won’t be there this year, but it’s always been a fun way to finish up the conference.

  20. Michael Kobrowski
    December 3, 2012 | 2:31 pm

    Thanks for your hard work. I was able to attend at LS12 and it was great fun.

    I bet there are plenty of miniature golf courses in Orlando that would like the business and beer sales. And I bet a sponsor could be found to rent a shuttle too!

    I won’t be at Connect (13 at least) but hope it comes back one way or another.

  21. Roy Rumaner
    December 3, 2012 | 4:05 pm

    Well it looks like this is the year that all the old traditions come to an end. No more LotusSphere, no more BloggerOpen and changes to the Sunday night opening party. We are going to have to come up with something else that will become a tradition that can also carry over to the LUGs around the world and I expect every city has a bowling alley or three that we could invade like we did in Pittsburgh at MWLUG. Well, it was fun while it lasted.

  22. John Head
    December 3, 2012 | 4:16 pm

    Mitch – thanks for all your hard work organizing this over the years. It was always a fun event and usually pretty smooth. And that is saying something when it’s at the end of a crazy week with a bunch of tired, punchdrunk geeks who just want to blow off steam and drink.

    But everyone else, let’s not treat this like it’s the end of world. Some of us have been to somewhere between 15 to 20 Lotuspheres – and this has been around for 4. Thursday ended up being a time we all crashed and just hung out at a bar and then went to dinner. We talked about doing something for years and Mitch just made it happen. Let’s keep the tradition of a community event on Thursday and find something new. I personally love the idea of the new bowling place at Downtown Disney. Easy to get too. Looks huge. And they can handle a bunch of geeks who want to drink and blow off steam.

    Thanks again Mitch – for taking ideas talked about by many (including myself) and making it happen.

  23. Matt Broomhall
    December 3, 2012 | 4:22 pm

    It has been a blast! We could take over an outside bar, we could go to Fantasia anyway, or perhaps a nearby mini golf venue.

  24. Darren Duke
    December 3, 2012 | 4:37 pm

    And I even kept my clothes on…..won’t make that mistake again 😉

    Sad news. Long live the .

  25. Mat Newman
    December 4, 2012 | 2:29 am


    Thanks so much for what has been a highlight of the Lotusphere social calendar for the past 4 years. To you, Mike and Joe, congratulations on putting on the bloggeropen.

    Along with everyone else who has commented here, I look forward to the replacement event!

    See you in a few weeks 🙂

  26. David Leedy
    December 4, 2012 | 8:45 am

    Thanks for all your efforts on this event Mitch. I loved this event and being a sponsor of it.

  27. Chris Blatnick
    December 4, 2012 | 12:57 pm

    Mitch…just adding to the thanks here. You and all of the sponsors did an amazing job organizing this fun event and we’ll all have great memories of it for years to come. Cheers!

  28. Tim Clark
    December 5, 2012 | 6:25 am

    Thanks for organising this Mitch. I can’t believe it’s not happening this year.
    The bowling alley at Downtown Disney sounds like a laugh. That could be a whole lot of fun, and free busses to get there too. ;o)
    Let me know if I can help in any way.

  29. Luis Benitez
    December 5, 2012 | 11:03 am

    Off to paintball open ? 🙂

  30. Todd Carpenter
    December 6, 2012 | 4:55 pm

    Thank you Mitch for your dedication in organizing this very fun event. It has been stated here that we have seen many changes to the Sphere over the last 15 years that I have been fortunate enough to attend. All good things come to an end, but that leaves the door open for new traditions. I would be honored to assist in the next Thursday night event, and I concur that the downtown bowling might be a good starter.

  31. Steve Mullen's Blog
    December 31, 2012 | 2:05 pm

    […] Farewell Blogger Open… Thanks for the Memories – alas, 2012 was the last one. May be replaced by bowling at Downtown Disney. […]