#MyOrlandoStory of the Week

Orlando Story of the Week


This photo was taken at the Kennedy Space Center in 2011, days before the last space shuttle launched. It was such a wonderful holiday and we visited so many places, including Disney World, Universal, Sea World, Miami, the Everglades and St Augustine.

story of the week

Stories shared on OrlandoStories.com and using #MyOrlandoStory on social media may be featured as the Story of the Week.

Visit Orlando Events

Dec. 17
Business Referral Group

Mystic Dunes Resort & Golf Club
7600 Mystic Dunes Lane
Cost: $19 Inclusive
Click here to RSVP.

Feb. 4
Member Orientation
Click here to register.
Please note: Member Orientation will not be held in December or January due to the holiday season. The next session will be held February 4, 2016.

Member Presents
Members interested in targeting the meetings and convention market can present their products or services during monthly, 30-minute sessions with Destination Services. Click here to schedule a session.

Member-to-Member Offers

It's that time of year again. With fall in the air and Thanksgiving just around the corner, now is the time to take advantage of special rates at The Palms Hotel & Villas. Visit Orlando members and their families and friends will receive a rate of $55 plus tax and $10 resort fee. Offer expires Dec. 15.

Regal Oaks - A CLC World Resort is offering an exclusive rate for Visit Orlando members of $99 per night for a two-bedroom townhouse, Sunday through Thursday, and $119 per night, Friday through Saturday; based on availability. The offer is good through Dec. 15. For more information, call 407-997-9478 or click here. Reference offer code: VIOR15.

Visit Santa Holiday Island Family Fun and save up to 10 percent now through Dec. 21. Experience dancing elves, Rudolph the Reindeer, live music, falling snow, the lighting of the Christmas tree, and photos taken with Santa at Holiday Inn Club Vacations at Orange Lake Resort. Call Rich at 407-477-7021 and ask for code IPKGV.

Book your next staycation at Wyndham Lake Buena Vista Resort, located in the Downtown Disney® Resort area, and receive 30 percent off of the best available rate. Relax poolside with a refreshing beverage from the Oasis Bar & Grill while the kids have fun at the aquatic playground. Then, enjoy a great night's sleep in one of the spacious guest rooms. For reservations, call 800-624-4109 and mention this offer. Seven-day advance booking required. Subject to availability. Rate code: DISVOMD. Offer valid through Dec. 24.

Destination MCO Transportation Logistics & Management is offering super-cool value transfers with the "Chill Your Bill" promotion. Based on the outside temperature in Orlando at the time of reservation, callers booking a one-way sedan transfer between any two locations within metro Orlando for any day between Dec. 24 and 30 will pay that rate for the entire transfer. For example, if the temperature is 65 degrees Fahrenheit at the time the reservation is made, the trip rate will lock in at $65. "Chill Your Bill" reservations can be made now through Dec. 26 and must be booked more than 12 hours prior to the trip. Simply call 407.422.2522 and mention offer code Chill2015.

America's Escape Game revolutionizes a rising industry by creating an immersive experience that takes the escape room attraction to a new level. Through Dec. 31 receive 20% off as a Visit Orlando member. Please use the code VOMember15 in the coupon code section of the website or mention this offer.

The Church of Life has expanded its preschool by 1,000 feet! Through Dec. 31, Visit Orlando members can enjoy 50 percent off of the registration fee, as well as 15 percent off of the weekly fee. For registration information, please click here.

Lovespoon Candles offers locally produced soy candles that make unique, special gifts. Visit Orlando members are invited to enjoy a special price of $17 each, tin or jar (regular price $27.95 and $23.95, respectively), through Dec. 31. Click here for more information.


OrlandoConventionPhotographers.com, which provides creative, experienced and professional photography services, is offering Visit Orlando members a great deal for the holiday season. Through Dec. 31, receive 25 percent off of photography for your holiday party. For more information, click here.

The Florida Association of DMOs is seeking brief news items of 75 words or less for the "Quick Trips" section of its newsletter, Tourism Marketing Today. Please send submissions with a photo (if available) and a caption to editor.trainor@gmail.com. The deadline is Jan. 21 for the February edition.

Now through March 30, 2016, experience the nostalgia of driving a classic car or the thrill of driving a sports car for $25 off of any rental. Happy Dog Motors offers unique rental cars for a truly memorable visit. Take a day trip to the beach, explore some of the small towns outside of Orlando or just go cruising. Show this offer on your phone/tablet or print a copy to redeem on site.

Industry Events

Dec. 15-19
3rd World Research Summit for Tourism and Hospitality and 1st USA-China Tourism Research Summit: Transforming Partnerships
UCF Rosen College of Hospitality Management

International travel to the United States generated $220.8 billion in 2014, supporting 1.1 million jobs. China is an important contributor to those numbers as the No. 2 country for visitor spending to and within the United States in 2014, with an estimated $23.8 billion spent on travel and tourism. With this backdrop, the 1st USA-China Tourism Research Summit is being designed by UCF Rosen College of Hospitality Management and Elsevier to support and promote the dynamic hospitality/tourism business growth and exchanges between USA and China. Industry experts, leading scholars, and government officials from both countries will offer cutting-edge insights through keynote speeches, panel discussions, open forum discussions and more.

Community Events

Through Dec. 18
Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party
Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort

Through Dec. 30
Holidays Around the World at Epcot 2015

Through Jan. 3
Light Up UCF
CFE Arena

Dec. 11-13
Ladies Tennis Getaway at Disney
Walt Disney World Resort

Dec. 12-13
Lakeridge Winery 5th Annual Wine & Chocolate Festival
Lakeridge Winery

Dec. 18
Holiday Movie at Lake Eola: How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
Walt Disney Amphitheater at Lake Eola Park

Dec. 19
Inaugural AutoNation Cure Bowl
presented by Florida Hospital

President & CEO's Message
December 11, 2015


George AguelWestJet Airlines in Canada—our No. 1 market for international visitors—this week launched its new weekly nonstop seasonal service from the Region of Waterloo International Airport in Ontario to Orlando International Airport.

Orlando is one of Waterloo Region's most-requested and most-popular destinations, resulting in this new service that will operate weekly through April 28, 2016, and use WestJet's Next Generation Boeing 737-700 series jet aircraft featuring 130 seats.

Despite concerns that may exist regarding exchange rates, this latest addition of service is a testament to our Canadian guests recognizing the value they receive from our destination compared to others in the U.S.

Visit Orlando welcomes WestJet's new service. As the theme park capital of the world, with warm winter weather and now convenient seasonal access from Waterloo Region, Orlando is the perfect destination for even more Canadians to create memorable stories they'll share for years to come.

—George Aguel

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From the Research & Insights Desk of Visit Orlando
Meetings Industry Still Growing

The business-to-business exhibition industry, as measured by the CEIR Total Index, posted a year-on-year gain of 3.1 percent during the third quarter of 2015. This marked the 21st consecutive quarter of year-on-year growth for the Index. The CEIR Index measures year-over-year changes in four key metrics to determine overall performance of the exhibition industry, and all four posted year-on-year gains in the third quarter. The strongest metric was Real Revenues, which rose 4.6 percent, followed by Net Square Feet (+3.3 percent), Exhibitors (+2.9 percent) and Professional Attendance (+1.6 percent). Click here to read more about the CEIR Index.

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Visit Orlando Updates


Visit Orlando's Magical Dining Month Sets All-New Record

As Visit Orlando's Magical Dining charitable beneficiary, ELEVATE Orlando received a donation totaling $160,735. The funds raised by Magical Dining-which takes place each year during the month of September-will enable ELEVATE to expand its programs into Jones High School. ELEVATE Orlando currently mentors more than 1,200 urban youth weekly at Evans and Oakridge High Schools providing both character education and life skills training. Since 2009, Visit Orlando's Magical Dining Month has raised more than $500,000 for local charities.


Visit Orlando Awarded 2015 Award of Excellence

Corporate & Incentive Travel (C&IT) has presented Visit Orlando a 2015 Award of Excellence. The 31st annual award was judged by meeting and travel professionals who vote on the suppliers that have best served their needs by excelling in service and support, promotional assistance and other criteria. Winners were featured in the November issue.

Japan FAM

Japanese Travel Trade Clients Experience Orlando

Visit Orlando's Travel Industry Sales team partnered with Delta recently to host Japanese travel professionals from Tokyo and Nagoya. The group consisted of eight staff members of key accounts, including JTB World Vacations, H.I.X. Co; and ST World. The educational tour focused on updates at the theme parks, Kennedy Space Center and Orlando Premium Outlets.


RCN Television Shares Orlando's Holiday Spirit in Colombia

From Dec. 4 to 10, Visit Orlando's Public Relations department hosted Colombia's RCN Television, which was filming a series of segments for its show "RCN AROUND THE WORLD" that is broadcast during prime-time noon and evening news, with an audience of well over 2.2 million viewers. The five segments will also be posted on RCN's website, as well as its social media channels. The segments will feature holiday events at Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort, plus I-Drive 360 attractions and shopping, and entertainment around I-Drive, Downtown Orlando and Winter Park.


Brazil news

Brazilian Newspaper Highlights Orlando Theme Park Attractions

As a result of a press trip in early November, Brazilian newspaper Estado de Minas, with a circulation of 103,270, published a cover story about Orlando in its travel section titled "Entertainment Paradise." The two-page spread highlighted several attractions in Animal Kingdom, Epcot and Universal Orlando Resort and also featured coverage on Winter Park. The online version was divided into two parts, with the first featuring the theme parks and the second, titled "Between the Future and the Past ," focusing on a list of Epcot's multi-sensory attractions and Winter Park's gastronomy, shops and unique entertainment options.


Visit Orlando and Members Hold Scandinavian Sales Mission

Visit Orlando, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, Universal Orlando Resort and Visit St. Pete/Clearwater were recently in Scandinavia for an annual sales mission. During the course of the week, the group visited four destinations in Norway, Sweden and Denmark. Evening events were hosted in cooperation with Icelandair. A total of 269 travel trade contacts were targeted during the week with meetings, in-house presentations and special events. Visit Orlando prize packages were awarded during the evening functions. Above, from left: Norbert Simon, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment; Gemma Pascall, Visit St. Pete/Clearwater; Susanne Nielsen, Spies Denmark; Rukhsana Timmis, Visit Orlando; Grant Daley, Universal Orlando Resort


Destination Services Team Hosts Florida Nursery Growers & Landscape Association

The Destination Services team greeted associates from the Florida Nursery Growers & Landscape Association (FNGLA) during its team holiday lunch at Slate on
Dec. 7. Visit Orlando brought them a special gift to thank them for their business over the past 20+ years and for their future programs. The team took a private tour of International Drive on the I-Ride Trolley as a refresher on the area. FNGLA holds its annual landscape show at the Orange County Convention Center every fall, with more than 6,500 attendees.

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News About Orlando



Madame Tussauds: Wax Royals Now in Orlando

The wax versions of Queen Elizabeth II and family have moved into Madame Tussauds Orlando. Visitors can now take pictures of themselves with the queen, Prince William, Prince Harry and Duchess Catherine.

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Visit Orlando Leaders Expect 2015 to Buck Growth Projections

Visit Orlando officials said 2015 is on track to buck expectations that the region would see a smaller growth compared with last year's tourism's metrics.

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Orlando Airport Board Opts to Pursue Right-of-Way

A proposal to build a rail system between Orlando International Airport and International Drive will move forward after a vote by the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority on Wednesday.

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Year in Review: Fan Events Add $49 Million to Orange County Economy

Fan events have always brought their own flair to the local convention schedule. In 2015, they brought $49 million to the local economy as pop culture devotees met up and dressed up at the Orange County Convention Center.

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I-Drive 360 Nears Completion on Retail, Entertainment Offerings

Nearly eight months after the Orlando Eye opened in I-Drive 360, the rest of the complex is almost entirely open.

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Orlando Top-Ranked Florida Metro on 2015 'Best Performing Cities' list

Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford was the top-ranked Florida metro on the annual Milken Institute "Best Performing Cities" list, coming in at No. 28. That's a huge leap for the metro area after coming in at No. 56 among large cities last year.

Read More

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Industry News


What Changes to the U.S. Visa Waiver Program Mean for Travelers

A bipartisan majority in the U.S. House of Representatives voted Tuesday to make changes to the Visa Waiver Program, which currently makes it possible for citizens from 38 approved countries to travel to the United States for up to 90 days without first applying for a visa.

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Snaith: Consumer Spending a Bright Spot in Latest Economic Forecast

Free-spending consumers will be the bright spot in the U.S. economy for the next few years, even as weak foreign buying power and tepid growth in the gross domestic product work against them, according to the latest forecast from the University of Central Florida's Institute for Economic Competitiveness.

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Biz Travel Group Stresses Importance of Visa Waiver Program

Mike McCormick, executive director and COO of the Global Business Travel Association, came out strongly in favor of the Visa Waiver Program in a blog post Tuesday morning, calling it "one of America's most important and effective security programs."

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How Hotels are Catering to Traveling Families

As the family and multigenerational travel segment continues to grow, hotels are finding new ways to not only attract traveling families, but keep them coming back.

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Hotels and Social Media: A Beautiful Friendship?

The minute a customer books a room, hoteliers have an opportunity to provide the guest with a memorable experience. In today's digital age, social media has changed the landscape of hotel/guest interaction, so in the quest to stay relevant (and ultimately profitable), accommodations have to think beyond merely smiling and calling guests by name.

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Cruise Ships Emerging as the Next Great Meeting Destinations

Holding meetings on cruise ships can be cost-effective and can simplify mixing business with fun.

Read More

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Corporate Ambassadors
ARDA Bags BB&T British Airways Clear Channel Outdoor
Darden Fairwinds Credit Union Florida Distributing Company Florida Hospital The Florida Mall
Lufthansa The Mall at Millenia Orlando Economic Development Commission Orlando Health Orlando International Airport
Orlando Magic Orlando Premium Outlets OUC Smart City Tupperware Brands
United Service Companies
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