Dear VEX Robotics Competition Community,
**We are excited to announce a change in the date and location of the 2011 VEX Robotics Competition World Championship to April 14-16, 2011 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World outside of Orlando, Florida. **
Moving the competition from Dallas was not a quick or easy decision, as the 2009 and 2010 VRC World Championships in Dallas were extremely successful events. Recognizing that, we want to share the primary reasons we have decided to make this change.
- It’s Disney World.
Everyone at the Robotics Education and Competition (REC) Foundation takes our responsibility of planning, managing and growing the VEX Robotics Competition very seriously. We know how much time, effort and passion students, teachers, mentors and volunteers put into the program and want to do everything in our power to make the World Championship at the end of the season a memorable event to celebrate the entire season. We’ve had many teams from both the United States and Internationally ask if we’d consider ever holding the World Championship at venues like Disney World or Disneyland. We understand that many teams put an incredible amount of effort into being able to travel to a world championship and want to get everything out of the trip they can, in and out of the competition, including sightseeing and fun activities for the students outside of the competition. VEX teams work hard and deserve the highest quality, highest profile and most exciting World Championship venue we can find – so when Disney became an option, we knew we had to strongly consider it.
- Preferred dates for schools to avoid conflicts
We have received a lot of feedback from teams and schools that holding the World Championship during the last week in April or first week in May can be very difficult because of:
We understand that tests, finals and social events like proms are critically important to students and should always be priorities. The VEX Robotics Competition exists to do many things for students: motivate, challenge, educate, inspire, excite and more – all to enhance the educational experience for students in middle school, high school and college. Scheduling events of this magnitude is difficult, and some conflicts will always exist. But we are committed to doing everything in our power to limit such conflicts whenever possible, so when Disney presented this opportunity with dates earlier in April, we knew these dates would be much more convenient and preferable for many teams.
- We have created many self-imposed requirements when considering locations for the World Championship, much of it based on feedback and input we’ve received from VEX teams over the years. Some of which are:
a high quality and safe facility with enough space to ensure that over 400 teams can participate
a city with a convenient international airport to ensure the World Championship is accessible to VRC teams from all over the globe
a facility with reasonable costs to ensure the entry fee remains affordable
a location that will ensure safe and quality hotel room accommodations available close to the competition
dates in April which do not land on a major holiday weekend or run into May.
Dallas is one of the few locations that could meet virtually all of those requirements, which is one reason it is also a very popular convention center for many other events. Because of this, most weeks in March, April and May are booked years in advance with the last week in April being the only available date for the 2011 VRC World Championship. While we love holding the World Championship in Dallas, we heard loud and clear that the existing date is not ideal for many teams. We didn’t know if we could find a better alternative, but felt we needed to try, and searched for the right locale and dates. No location could meet all our requirements for the right facilities earlier in April, at least until Disney entered the picture.
We have had a great experience working with the people at Disney and the ESPN Sports Complex on the VEX All-Star Challenge in November. We had looked briefly before at Disney as a potential site for the World Championship, but couldn’t get all the aspects to line up in a cost effective way. While planning for the All-Star Challenge during the summer, we revisited the possibility of Disney hosting the VRC World Championship.
With the help of some key program supporters, sponsors and the creative problem solvers at Disney, the REC Foundation and VEX are thrilled that we are able to host the 2011 VEX World Championship at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida. Disney and key sponsors have found a way to ensure we have space for over 400 teams. Disney has stepped up to provide great resort packages for all VRC participants (with transportation, park tickets, meal cards and more included with hotel rooms – details available soon) and we’ve been able to secure the earlier preferred dates of April 14-16 to avoid the various conflicts many face at the end of April.
We did not take changing the date and location of the 2011 VEX World Championship lightly and wanted to share the details with everyone as soon as possible. We feel strongly that listening to the VEX community will help ensure we make decisions that are best for the program. When this incredible opportunity presented itself, we knew teams would love the new venue and would prefer the earlier dates in April. We are very excited about the opportunity to celebrate the VEX Robotics World Championship at Disney World and are confident that it’s going to be an amazing and memorable event. We know teams are already working hard designing and improving their robots for VEX Round Up. We can’t wait to see the results of all the hard work at the tournaments around the world, culminating at the 2011 VEX Robotics Competition World Championship April 14-16, when students from top teams from around the world will get to tell their friends and family they are going to Disney World!
Robotics Education and Competition Foundation
View the official press release about the 2011 VEX Robotics World Championship here.