Wyndham IDrive Orlando has closed: Florida loses a hotel, fighting game players lose a home

Earlier this month, fighting game players across the US learned that the Wyndham Orlando Resort International Drive hotel was to close suddenly, pulling the rug out from under the upcoming CEOtaku tournament. This sucks for a variety of reasons, obviously. At a base level, a lot of hotel staff are getting laid off. For the attendees of CEOTaku, it will force a sudden change in travel plans, and the organizers must now undergo the expensive process of tracking down and securing a new venue on short notice. But more than that, it means that one of the last remaining in-person gaming subcultures is losing a home of sorts.

The Wyndham Orlando Resort IDrive has been the home of CEO and attendees events since 2011. That’s over a decade of in-person gaming events, slowly growing and morphing alongside the wider gaming industry around it. CEO stands for Community Effort Orlando, a fitting name for a tournament salvaged from the wreckage of a last-minute cancellation that forced founder Alex Jebailey and Florida natives to come together and play video games despite the circumstances. Since these fledgling beginnings, CEO and Wyndham Orlando IDrive have been tied by the hip, but for the past few years it’s remained a home to CEO’s anime fighter sister event CEOtaku.

“I am personally devastated,” states founder of CEO Alex Jebailey. “It’s very hard to find venues that you create a genuine relationship with as they were the first hotel to give CEO a chance back in 2011. My first thoughts were the employees and staff that have taken care of CEO over the years to which I hope they bounce back with other opportunities. It began with Lisa in 2011 helping me understand how hotel contracts work, AV media giving me more than fair pricing on AV and Divya, who I will forever be grateful for handling my contracts since about 2014 there who always helped where I needed it.”

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