#MyOrlandoStory of the Week

Cupful of joy

A Cupful of Joy

"I will never forget the look on my daughter's face the first time she rode the tea cups in Disney World! We had been having an amazing first family vacation but there was something about the look on our daughter's face on the teacups that I will never forget. It was just pure joy! It made all the hard work and saving to go away worth it!"

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

Oct. 15
Business Referral Group
The Whiskey

7563 West Sand Lake Road
Cost: $15
Click here to RSVP.

Oct. 8
4th Annual Trivia for Charity Night
Howl at The Moon

8815 International Drive
Cost: $25 per person or team of 6 or 8
Click here to register.

Nov. 5
Member Orientation
Click here to register. 

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

Plan to attend the International Canna Pro Expo at Caribe Royale All-Suite Hotel & Convention Center, Oct. 2-4. You will be provided with relevant content from experts and experienced leaders in the medical cannabis industry, as well as an exceptional CME/CNE program on medical cannabis. Montel Williams will deliver the keynote. Through Sept. 30, Visit Orlando members will receive 25 percent off of the reduced registration price by using promotional code OVB. Click here to register.

Join #1 New York Times bestselling author Janet Evanovich on Saturday, Nov. 14 at Osceola Heritage Park for Plum Palooza and celebrate the release of the new Stephanie Plum novel, Tricky Twenty-Two. Get a signed copy and enjoy food and entertainment. Visit Orlando members will receive 10 percent off of the general admission price. Use code ORLANDO. Purchase tickets here.

Visit Orlando members are invited to attend the RTO Summit Orlando Symposium and Luncheon, Monday, Nov. 16 at Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek for a special price of $395. Panel sessions will feature the latest on the growing Middle East and India markets to Orlando, perspective on the evolving Brazil market, and more. Click here to register.

The Spa at Hyatt Regency Orlando is offering Visit Orlando members 20 percent off of spa and salon services, through Nov. 30. For more information and reservations, call 407-345-4431 or contact Carol Cox.

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.

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.

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.

Industry Events

Through Oct. 3
Hospitality Industry Nights - Howl-O-Scream Unearthed
Busch Gardens Tampa

Oct. 17
The Pineapple Ball
Rosen Shingle Creek

Nov. 4
Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI)'s
Revenue Optimization Continuing Education and Training (ROCet)
Loews Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando

Nov. 4
Orlando Economic Development Commission's
BBQ on the Boulevard
301 East Pine Street
Orlando, FL 32801

Nov. 7
2015 VRM Awards Gala
Westgate Town Center Resort & Spa

Nov. 16
RTO Summit Orlando
Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek

Community Events

Through Oct. 4
Global Peace Film Festival
Orlando and Winter Park

Global Peace Film Fest

Through Nov. 1
Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party
Magic Kingdom Park

Through Nov. 1
Halloween Horror Nights 25
Universal Orlando Resort

Through Nov. 29
Mummies of the World: The Exhibition
Orlando Science Center

Oct. 2-6
Orange County Convention Center

Oct. 3-18
Brick or Treat
LEGOLAND Florida Resort

Oct. 3-31, weekends
SeaWorld Orlando's Halloween Spooktacular
SeaWorld® Orlando

Oct. 6
Volunteer Orientation for Pioneer Village at Shingle Creek
Osceola County Welcome Center and History Museum

Oct. 9
Pink Ribbon Bagel Day
Panera Bread

Oct. 10
Cruisin' for a CureAn American Cancer Society
Relay for Life Fundraiser/
Car Rally & Show
Freddy's Frozen Custard & Steakburgers
8701 Vineland Avenue
Orlando, FL 32821

Oct. 10-11
42nd Annual Winter Park Autumn Art Festival
Central Park, Downtown Winter Park

Oct. 10-11
Vintage Venture Festival
Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards

Oct. 11
Celebrate the Capen Open House
Historic Capen-Showalter House,
Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens

Oct. 12
39th Annual CFADA AutoClassic Golf Tournament
Falcon's Fire Golf Club 

Oct. 15
Art of Medicine
Orlando Museum of Art

Oct. 17
The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando's
Savor the Night
City Hall Rotunda & City Commons Plaza

Oct. 17
Music of the Americas
Bach Festival Society of Winter Park

Oct. 18
Latin Food & Wine Festival
Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, Seneff Arts Plaza

Oct. 22
Food Truck Crazy
Caribe Cove Resort by Wyndham Vacation Rentals

Oct. 23
4th Annual Casino Night
Winter Park Community Center

Casino Night

Oct. 24
4th Annual Fore the Animals
Charity Golf Tournament
to benefit Pet Rescue by Judy
Mayfair Country Club

Oct. 24
2015 Wyndham Vacation Ownership Charity Championship Golf Tournament

to benefit Give Kids the World Village
MetroWest Golf Club

Oct. 29
West Orange Chamber of Commerce's Golf Classic

MetroWest Golf Club

Oct. 30-31
6th Annual Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic
Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort

Food and Wine Classic

Oct. 31
Classic Car Show
Artegon Marketplace Orlando

Oct. 31
Making Strides of Orlando
Lake Eola Park

Nov. 7
Eighth Annual 5K Run for The Gift
Southwest Aquatics

Nov. 13
American Lung Association's
SeaWorld Orlando - Sea Harbor Pavilion
and Ports of Call

Nov. 14
5K Gingerbread Run
Give Kids The World Village

Nov. 14
15th Annual Dancing for Diabetes
Seminole High School

Nov. 19
Champion of Choices with Marc Mero - Dream Big Tour
Lake Mary Prep

Nov. 26-29
Central Florida International Auto Show
Orange County Convention Center

Dec. 2
Christmas at the Casa
Casa Feliz Historic Home Museum

Dec. 19
Inaugural AutoNation Cure Bowl
presented by Florida Hospital

President & CEO's Message
October 2, 2015


George AguelI spent last week in Brazil, Orlando's No. 1 overseas market, visiting with the principals and executives of several of our most important tour operators, travel agents and airline partners. I also met with officials, including our own U.S. State Department Consul General. We discussed the state of affairs in Brazil and the potential outlook for visitation to Orlando. As you might expect, there continues to be concerns about the current political climate and its effects on the Brazilian economy. But there was also optimism about the prospects for an improving economy before too long. Most important of all, there was a high level of excitement for the desire the Brazilian people have to visit Orlando, even if more may need to place a greater emphasis on value during their time in our destination.

We should be proud of the fact that Orlando is an iconic destination to Brazilians. Everywhere I went, our Brazilian friends told me how much it means to them to be able to come to Orlando. They understand that, in comparison to other U.S. destinations, Orlando represents a great value for the experience they are provided. And they remain very interested in all of the new development underway throughout our tourism community that will enhance our visitors' time with us and the overall diversity of options available for their enjoyment.

My parting message was that Visit Orlando, along with its members and partners, remains committed to the importance of the Brazil market to our destination. And that together we will continue to dedicate the necessary resources to ensure we demonstrate that commitment, beginning right now with the launch of our new and exciting brand campaign. Our marketing efforts are designed to reinforce the priceless value of the cherished memories made across our destination, and aimed at strengthening our leading position in Brazil. Brazilian visitors have historically stayed longer and spent more money in Orlando than the average visitor and will long remain a very attractive segment for our destination. So, remember, when you run into one of our Brazilian tourists, be sure to greet them with "Bem-vindo" or "Welcome" in Portuguese.

-George Aguel

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From the Research & Insights Desk of Visit Orlando

Gas Prices Lowest Since 2004

The national average price of gas was $2.29 per gallon on Oct. 1, the cheapest average for this time of year since 2004. A gallon of gas averaged $2.34 for the month of September, down $1.05 (31 percent) from $3.39 in September 2014. According to AAA, the typical decline in driving that follows Labor Day and the end of the summer driving season should help push gas prices below $2 per gallon in most parts of the country by the end of the year, as long as crude oil costs remain steady. Click here to learn more.

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Visit Orlando Updates

Visit Orlando on TV

Visit Orlando Takes to TV to Encourage Fall Travel

Visit Orlando's Mark Jaronski was a featured guest on New York Live's (NBC) news broadcast and two Atlanta news programs, Atlanta & Company (NBC) and Atlanta Plugged In (CBS). Mark offered reasons why viewers should consider traveling to Orlando this fall and how they can share their Orlando stories as part of Visit Orlando's newly launched campaign.

Toronto TV

Visit Orlando Partners with Leading Morning TV Show in Toronto

Visit Orlando has partnered with SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment and CP24, Canada's first and only 24-hour local news channel, to search for an Orlando Junior Reporter to broadcast live from Orlando alongside the regular morning show host. CP24 Breakfast is Toronto's leading morning TV show and they will be broadcasting live from Orlando Nov. 16-20 to cover all the new and exciting things happening in the destination. The search for an Orlando Junior Reporter launched this week and will run through Oct. 12. In conjunction with the broadcast, a contest for some lucky viewers to win an Orlando family vacation will run through Nov. 29, giving Orlando two months of exposure in Toronto.


USATOURS.dk Tour Operator Visits Orlando for Custom FAM

Last week, the Travel Industry Sales & Marketing department hosted a USATOURS.dk tour operator familiarization trip that arrived to Orlando via Norwegian Air. The group of 12 included its sales and booking staff, who stayed at Avanti Resort Orlando and were captivated by nature at Orlando Tree Trek Adventure Park, as well as attractions on I-Drive, such as Fun Spot America, I-Drive 360 and Escapology. The participants also experienced I-Drive dining and hotel site inspections.

Discover America Workshop Held in Malmö

Last week, the Visit Orlando representative for Scandinavia visited six key tour operator and airline contacts in Copenhagen, Denmark, and attended the Discover America Workshop in Malmö in southern Sweden, where Visit Orlando was able to train 80 Swedish travel agents. An Orlando prize package was awarded at the end of the evening.


Destination Promoted at MLTU Trade Show

Visit Orlando recently participated in the MLTU trade show in Minneapolis, where we provided destination information to 2,000 top producing retail travel agents from the United States. MLT Vacations® is one of the largest providers of vacations in the United States, and manages multiple vacation package brands, including Delta Vacations®, in partnership with Air France Holidays and Alitalia Vacations and Aeromexico Vacations.


Visit Orlando Debuts New Orlando Brand during Japan's Leading Travel Exhibition

Visit Orlando was represented during the JATA Tourism Expo held Sept. 24-27 in Tokyo, Japan. Produced by the Japan Travel Agent Association, the annual event is considered to be the leading travel exhibition for the Japanese travel industry. This year's show attracted more than 45,000 travel trade and media visitors, as well as nearly 100,000 consumers. The destination was represented within the Brand USA pavilion alongside other U.S. destinations, including NYC & Company, Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority, Los Angeles Tourism, Travel Portland, and Seattle, among others. Pictured above, Visit Orlando representative Satomi Yamamoto prepares to welcome Japanese travel trade and media to Step Into Your Never Ending Story.


Colombian Hospitality Magazine Highlights Orlando

Revista Catering, a Colombian food and beverage magazine focused on hotels and restaurants, published a special feature on Orlando in its October edition following a trip here by the journalist during IPW. The 18-page story, titled "A Very Profitable Destination," covered IPW 2015, new attractions, hotels and Orlando's gastronomic scene. The magazine circulates 12,000 copies and has a readership of 309,000. Click here to read the online version.

Travel industry exchange

Visit Orlando Attends Travel Industry Exchange Trade Show

Visit Orlando's Travel Industry Sales team recently attended the first edition of the Travel Industry Exchange trade show at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort. The event had over 700 delegates and more than 120 exhibitors, and offered key educational tracks, such as sales and marketing, professional development and destination immersion. Our team had the opportunity to hold 24 one-on-one meetings.


Tourism World

Chinese Media Get a Taste of Orlando

In partnership with VISIT FLORIDA, Visit Orlando's public relations team welcomed two Chinese journalists this week, one from JOYEUX LIFE, based in the city of Hangzhou, and one from Tourism World, based in Shanghai. Focusing on luxury travel and attractions, their visit included theme parks, shopping and dining.


Visit Orlando Receives Medical Tourism Emerging Destination Award

Fred Shea, senior vice president of Convention Sales and Services at Visit Orlando, accepted the 2015 Medical Tourism Emerging Destination Award from Jonathan Edelheit, president of Employer Healthcare & Benefits Congress, at the World Medical Tourism & Global Healthcare Congress held in Orlando this week. The award recognizes Orlando's professional accomplishments in the medical tourism industry.


Convention Sales Representative Attends MSR Partner Forum

Ken Barnett, intermediary account director for Visit Orlando, recently attended the 9th Annual Meeting Sites Resource Partner Forum at the Loews Hollywood hotel. Meeting Sites Resources (MSR) was founded in 1993 and has 90 enterprise-wide meeting professionals dedicated to best-in-class customer service, support and strategic outcomes. This includes MSR teams that are focused on global meeting site research and hotel contract negotiations, full-service meeting and event planning, professional on-site staffing and advanced meeting technology solutions. The annual forum brings together MSR associates, their top clients and suppliers from around the United States for education and networking over the two-day event. Above, from left: Tim Brown, CEO of MSR; Jennifer Brown, president of MSR; and Ken Barnett

Boston mission

Visit Orlando Hosts Top Clients During Boston Sales Mission

This week Visit Orlando hosted a Boston Red Sox game for top clients, including trade show managers and corporate and third-party meeting planners. A total of 11 clients and seven partners attended.

Dallas mission

Dallas Sales Mission Caters to Top Planners

Visit Orlando, along with Disney Destinations, Orange County Convention Center, Rosen Hotels & Resorts, Universal Orlando and Wyndham Orlando Resort International Drive recently hosted a client mission in Dallas. The event was a Denim & Diamond themed reception for 27 of Dallas' most influential planners. It took place at the Denim Bar, where the boutique closed early to offer our guests a private shopping experience for their very own custom jeans.


Destination Services Team Attends National Black MBA Association Conference

The National Black MBA Association, Inc. Annual Conference and Exposition welcomed 9,000 plus attendees to the Orange County Convention Center, Sept. 23-26. District 6 Orlando Commissioner Victoria Siplin welcomed the group at its ribbon cutting and proclaimed "National Black MBA Week." The conference featured recruiters, skill-building workshops and a competition for aspiring small-business owners. This is the third time that Orlando has hosted this event. Above, from left: Robin Houdyschell, Visit Orlando; Kim Wilson, vice president of Strategic Program Initiatives for the National Black MBA Association, Inc.; Commissioner Siplin; and Collette Johnson, Visit Orlando

Iron Chef

Disney Springs and Grand Opening of Morimoto Asia

Walt Disney World Resort has officially changed the name of its shopping and entertainment complex to Disney Springs. On the same day, Chef Morimoto (pictured above in gray) of "Iron Chef" fame opened his first pan-Asian restaurant, Morimoto Asia, in the heart of Disney Springs. Visit Orlando captured the inaugural events to create original content to share with our online audiences. Click here to read the full story.

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News About Orlando

Next Week at the Convention Center

Group Meeting Start End Estimate Attendees Estimate Economic Impact
Orlando Interactive Experience OrlandoiX Oct. 3 Oct. 6 4,500 $8,865,000
Fiserv Fiserv "CU" Forum Oct. 5 Oct. 8 1,400 $2,758,000
Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Show Oct. 6 Oct. 8 11,000 $21,670,000


Convention Center Reveals Details on 20-Year Expansion Plans

Sitting at more than 2 million square feet, the Orange County Convention Center is a major economic engine for the region's tourism and business convention industry. And it's about to get bigger.

Read More

Tech, Medical Tourism Shows Headline $43M Convention Week

Orlando is set for a big week in convention business from tech gadgets to the latest in medical tourism.

Read More

Orlando May See New Rides, Ideas Thanks to Comcast's Universal Studios Japan Buyout

Universal Orlando Resort's parent company, Comcast Corp., wants to grow its overseas business portfolio, so what does it do? It purchases Universal Studios Japan for $1.5 billion. And that can open up some interesting doors here in Orlando.

Read More


Food and wine

30 New Dishes Debut at 20th Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

This is the 20th year of Epcot's International Food & Wine Festival, and to celebrate the milestone, festival leaders combined food with a theme of sustainability and technology.

Read More

JetBlue, Orlando Airport Host Autism Travel Program

JetBlue's "Blue Horizons for Autism" program at Orlando International Airport gives people with autism, and their families, the chance to go through the process of flying without getting in the air.

Read More

See How Orlando's I-4 Might Become a 'Smart Highway'

With all the construction going on in Central Florida to make Interstate 4 bigger and better, one local CEO wants to make the heavily used highway smarter as well.

Read More

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Industry News

Capitol Hill

USTA Welcomes FAA Extension, Urges Further Action

According to C-Span Capitol Hill Producer Craig Caplan, H.R. 3614, the Airport and Airway Extension Act, has passed both the House and the Senate. Pending approval by President Obama, the bill will extend funding of the Federal Aviation Administration for another six months to March 31, 2016.

Read More

Chinese Tourists Will Spend $229 Billion Abroad in 2015

According to a recent report from consultancies Fung Business Intelligence Centre and China Luxury Advisors, China's outbound traveler numbers are still growing and are poised to double by 2020 to 234 million passengers, from more than 100 million last year.

Read More

World Tourism Day: Celebrating the Billion Opportunities Brought About by the Tourism Sector

With an increase of 4% in international tourist arrivals in the first semester of 2015, the sector follows an increasing trend that is estimated to reach 1.8 billion international tourists by the year 2030.

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Wells Fargo Study: Millennials Are Optimistic About Financial Future

Americans are feeling good about their future and finances, especially the millennials, according to a new Wells Fargo survey.

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hotel desk

North American Hotels Experiencing Heavy Business

Despite recent volatility in the stock market, the coming months appear to be promising for North American hotels.

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DMAI Hires Firm to Search for New President/CEO

Destination Marketing Association International has retained Searchwide, an executive recruiting firm for the travel and meetings industry, to find a new president and CEO for the organization following Michael Gehrisch's recent departure.

Read More

How Millennials Are Disrupting the Meetings Industry

Millennials may be a small part of your client base now, but in the next 10 years, they will be a major factor in all aspects of a workforce that will be 75 percent technology driven.

Read More

Some 15 Million Online Bookings are Scams by Rogue Websites

Early estimates suggested that some 2.5 million hotel bookings a year were affected by deceptive practices through rogue third-party online travel agency affiliates who pose as direct hotel booking sites.

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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