#MyOrlandoStory of the Week

Orlando Story of the Week

Fun at Typhoon Lagoon

My dad promised to take me to Orlando at Christmas 2014, but he passed away two months later. Me and my mum went ahead with the trip in his memory.

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

Jan. 7
Business Referral Group

Shiraz Grill
6427 Westwood Boulevard
Cost: TBD
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.

Feb. 24
10th Annual Party at the Pointe
Pointe Orlando
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.

Congratulations Members

Mango's Tropical Café Orlando is opening Friday, Dec. 18 and will be offering happy hour from 4 to 6 p.m., dinner and shows from 6 to 10 p.m. and a nightclub atmosphere from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Member-to-Member Offers

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 percent 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. 20
Christmas Bricktacular at LEGOLAND Florida

Through Dec. 30
Holidays Around the World at Epcot 2015

Through Dec. 31
SeaWorld's Christmas Celebration
SeaWorld Orlando

Through Jan. 2
Grinchmas at Universal's Islands of Adventure
Universal's Islands of Adventure

Through Jan. 2
Macy's Holiday Parade at Universal Studios
Universal Studios Florida

Through Jan. 3
Christmas at Bok Tower Gardens Holiday Home Tour
Bok Tower Gardens

Through Jan. 3
Christmas at Gaylord Palms
Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center

Through Jan. 3
Light Up UCF
CFE Arena

Through Jan. 3
The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights 2015
Disney's Hollywood Studios

Through Jan. 8
Connecting to Cuba
Osceola County Welcome Center and History Museum

Dec. 19
Inaugural AutoNation Cure Bowl
presented by Florida Hospital

AutoNation Cure Bowl

Dec. 29
Russell Athletic Bowl 2015
Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium

Dec. 30
Florida Citrus Parade
Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium

Dec. 31
New Year's Eve Celebration Starring Kristin Chenoweth
Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts

Jan. 5–8
The Sound of Music
Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts

Jan. 7–10
Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend
ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex

Jan. 15–18
10th Annual Otronicon
Orlando Science Center

Jan. 23
Color In Motion 5K
Artegon Marketplace

Jan. 24
Bach Festival Society of Winter Park - Red Priest
Rollins College, Tiedtke Concert Hall

President & CEO's Message
December 18, 2015


George AguelAs the retail industry preps for the final shopping weekend before Christmas and the labor forces in professional services, utilities and government prepare for a quiet end of the year, Orlando's tourism industry is anticipating a very strong holiday season. With AAA reporting that the number of year-end travelers will top 100 million for the first time on record, Visit Orlando is forecasting that more than seven million visitors will experience Orlando during the month of December.

The majority of these guests are expected to arrive over the next two weeks. It's a time when our theme parks bustle with traditional festivities, our local hotels see ultra-high occupancy rates and our retail stores and restaurants experience significant traffic.  Making precious holiday memories in Orlando with family and friends is very special to our visitors and as always, the key is the gracious hospitality that they experience with us that makes them want to return time and time again.

On behalf of the leadership across Orlando's tourism community, I want to thank the men and women of our industry who make all the difference in the happiness our visitors feel when they are here. On a more personal note, let me be the first to wish you a very happy holiday season and prosperous new year!

-George Aguel

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From the Research & Insights Desk of Visit Orlando
Holiday Travelers to Top 100 million for First Time

The number of year-end holiday travelers will top 100 million for the first time on record, according to the new forecast from AAA. The forecast represents a 1.4 percent increase over last year and the seventh consecutive year of growth in year-end holiday travel. Nearly one in three Americans will take a trip this holiday season. More than 90 percent of travelers will drive to their holiday destinations and AAA expects most U.S. drivers will pay the lowest gas prices on New Year's Day since 2009. At the time of the forecast, the national average price for a gallon of gasoline was $2.01, 53 cents less than last year, and the national average is poised to fall below the $2 per gallon benchmark by Christmas. Click here to read more.

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Visit Orlando Updates

Toronto Star

Orlando Featured in the Toronto Star and Numerous Canadian Publications

Orlando was featured in the Toronto Star following our Canada press trip this fall. The article highlights the fact that there is a lot more to the destination than just theme parks. To date, we have secured seven hits in target publications following our Canadian short-lead and dining group press trips including: The Province, Metro News, thestar.com, VitaminDaily.com, HuffingtonPost.ca and westjetmagazine.com.


Brazilian Magazine Highlights Orlando

As a result of a 10-day photo shoot, Revista Pais&Filhos, the equivalent to Parents magazine, published a fashion editorial in its December issue. The seven-page article features various venues, including The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art in Winter Park. It also posted two videos on its website and YouTube channel, one for LEGOLAND Florida Resort and one for Crayola Experience. Both videos describe the attraction and offer tips to best enjoying them.

Chinese FAM

Chinese Travel Professionals Introduced to Orlando

Visit Orlando's China representative traveled to Xiamen, located in China's Fujian Province, to introduce Orlando's tourism product to the more than 300 travel professionals who attended the Orlando seminars held at four leading travel companies in the region. Located on China's southeastern coast, the region is experiencing economic growth that is attracting attention as a potential new outbound travel market from China to the United States.

DC luncheon

Washington, D.C. Convention Sales Team Holds Luncheons for Top Clients

The Washington, D.C.-based convention sales team hosted three holiday luncheons, Dec. 8-10. Thirteen partners from Orlando traveled to the nation's capital to express their thanks and celebrate the holidays with more than 60 clients. The highlight of the luncheons were creative networking games that offered our partners valuable face-to-face time with some of our biggest clients. Above, from left: Barb Herod, Visit Orlando; Ryan Strowger, VP of exhibitions, conferences and sales, International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions; Margie Sanchez, senior manager, event sales, SeaWorld Orlando; and Chuck Mincey, national sales manager, Hyatt Regency Orlando

NJ sales

Visit Orlando and Members Conduct Sales Calls in New Jersey

The Convention Sales department and seven members, including Universal Orlando Resort and Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resort, met up last week in New Jersey to conduct sales calls and presentations to a variety of pharmaceutical accounts. Visit Orlando met with its largest New Jersey customers and connected with more than 80 clients.


Colombia FAM

Visit Orlando Hosts FAM for COPA Airlines

On the first week of December, Visit Orlando hosted a COPA Airlines Colombia familiarization tour from the Bucaramanga region. Eighty percent of the group had never experienced the destination and participants enjoyed accommodations at Ramada Inn International Drive. They explored Orlando's theme parks, culinary experiences and shopping.

Inccentive magazine editors

Manager of Convention Communications Meets with Top Magazine Editors

Jennifer Juergens, manager of convention communications (second from back right), hosted the editors of Incentive magazine and Successful Meetings magazine for a holiday lunch in New York.

holiday showcase

Visit Orlando and Orange County Convention Center Sponsor Holiday Showcase

Visit Orlando and the Orange County Convention Center were proud sponsors of another successful Holiday Showcase, Association Forum's signature trade show. Held in Chicago, it is one of the industry's best and most highly attended one-day exhibitions, with more than 1,400 qualified buyers in attendance. This year, alongside with Visit Orlando and the Orange County Convention Center, we had many members exhibit in our Orlando aisle, including: Caribe Royale Orlando, Disney Destinations, Doubletree by Hilton Orlando at SeaWorld, Hiltons of Orlando, Rosen Hotels & Resorts, SeaWorld Orlando Parks & Resorts and Universal Orlando Resort. Above, from left: Fred Shea, Visit Orlando; Christine Melendes, Association for Corporate Growth; Peter Kacheris, Waldorf Astoria Orlando and Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek; and Jim Goodman, American Dental Association


Destination Services Team and Convention Center Host ASIS International

From Dec. 8-10, ASIS International partnered with Visit Orlando and the Orange County Convention Center to host a familiarization tour so its top exhibitors could showcase off-site venues, hotels and the convention center. Visit Orlando developed a "fun fact" trivia game, which ended with an award ceremony for the attendees. The FAM included 22 exhibitors, nine ASIS staff and four vendors. ASIS International will hold its annual Seminar & Exhibition in Orlando in September 2016 for an estimated 15,000 attendees. Above: ASIS Exhibitors Award Ceremony at the Orange County Convention Center

HB cares

Convention Sales Meets With HelmsBriscoe and Associates

Visit Orlando attended HelmsBriscoe's HB Cares holiday event last week in Minneapolis. The afternoon had a reverse trade show format, with approximately 100 suppliers from around the country, along with 35 HB associates. Afterwards, an evening reception was held for the HB associates and their top clients. Above: Michael Bergman, vice president of HelmsBriscoe, and Ken Barnett, intermediary account director for Visit Orlando


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News About Orlando



Orlando Ranked No. 1 U.S. City for Celebrating New Year's Eve

WalletHub's number crunchers ranked the 100 biggest cities based on 17 key factors. Data ranges from the legality of fireworks to the average price of a New Year's Eve party ticket to the forecasted precipitation on
Dec. 31.

Read More

hollywood plaza

I-Drive Hollywood Plaza Gets OK From County Planners, Set for January Vote

Developer Joshua Wallack is on the verge of a hat trick in projects after Orange County planners gave the OK on his Hollywood Plaza parking garage slated for International Drive.

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Exclusive: Mall at Millenia-Area Land Sold for New Marriott Hotels

A Puerto Rican development firm reportedly has secured a 4-acre site near The Mall at Millenia with plans to build a new dual-branded Marriott hotel complex.

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Orlando International Tops 38M Passengers Mark for First Time

It was a really big year for Orlando International Airport, which topped the 38 million passengers mark for the first time in its history.

Read More


Skipper Canteen

Magic Kingdom: New Skipper Canteen Opens This Week

A new restaurant is opening at Magic Kingdom this week. The Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen officially opens in Adventureland on Wednesday, although the eatery has been in testing and previews for a few days.

Read More

Skipper Canteen

National Airlines Launches Nonstop Service to San Juan

This week, National Airlines celebrated its inaugural flight from Orlando Sanford International Airport to San Juan, Puerto Rico's Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport. The flight marked the launch of the airline's nonstop service to destinations in North America and the Caribbean. In addition to San Juan, the airline will begin nonstop flights to Windsor, Ontario, on Dec 17, with flights to St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, will be added next year. As it departed the gate, the plane's first commercial passengers and crew were honored with a traditional water arch salute.

Science Center Launching Winter Science Spectacular

Orlando Science Center is gearing up for educational, seasonal programming called Winter Science Spectacular, which launches Saturday and runs daily through Jan. 3.

Read More

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Industry News

gas pump

Holiday Travelers to Top 100M for First Time Ever; Most Will Drive

If you hit the roads, the skies or the rails this holiday season expect to have a little company: almost one-third of the country to be exact.

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Why Some CEOs Are Ordering Employees to Take Vacation

Work-life balance is a perpetually hot topic, with 40% of full-time American workers logging more than 50 work hours a week, according to a 2014 Gallup poll.

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What Millennial Travel Professionals Envision for the Future of Travel

Some 80 millennial travel professionals entered the Onyx Room at the Park Hyatt New York last January to talk about what they know, not think, the future of travel will look like.

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How Hotels Are Bringing Groups Together

Hotels around the globe are embracing teambuilding activities, offering group guests a variety of ways to improve chemistry, communication and trust.

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Many Holiday Flight Routes to Be Busier Than Last Year, but Also Less Expensive

Top destinations for Christmas include many of the usual suspects such as Chicago, New York and Seattle. In fact, Expedia holiday data analysts have found that average ticket prices are down between 5 and 10% in some top destinations, including Las Vegas, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Cancun and Orlando in addition to Chicago, New York and Seattle.

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Airport Satisfaction on the Rise, Reports J.D. Power

American travelers are happier with their airport experiences than they were five years ago, according to the market research firm, J.D. Power.

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Industry Welcomes More Jobs, and More on the Way

According to a new report from Marcus & Millichap, U.S. employers are on track to add 2.5-million jobs in 2015, with over 211,000 jobs added in November alone. Approximately 39,000 of those jobs were in the hospitality industry, which Marcus & Millichap attributes to new hotel and restaurant openings.

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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