As you're no doubt aware, Saturday marks another major milestone in our destination's ongoing recovery, with the reopening of Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom theme parks. When EPCOT and Disney's Hollywood Studios follow suit July 15, all of Orlando's theme parks will be operational once more — something we haven't been able to say in four long months.
Disney's importance to our region's economy and global tourism appeal cannot be overstated, and we're excited to have Orlando's No. 1 employer officially back in the game.
Speaking of games, congratulations to Major League Soccer for Wednesday's return to action at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, kicked off with a win by Orlando City. And a big welcome to the National Basketball Association players who started arriving at Disney hotels this week to resume their season later this month. Both leagues have gone to great lengths to promote health, safety and hygiene.
As a destination, recent events have given us reason to celebrate, but we also must remember that our community's progress hinges on how well we can truly be Safer, Stronger, Together. Please do your part to slow the spread of COVID-19 by following the three W's: wear a mask, wash your hands and watch your distance.
Orlando Health Partnership: Visit Orlando and the Orange County Convention Center are teaming up with Orlando Health on a groundbreaking partnership to provide convention groups with customized medical guidance, planning and support through 2020.
The new program, among the first in the nation, features direct access to PPE for attendees, planner access to a medical expert, 24/7 virtual medical concierge and many other resources promoting best practices in health, safety and hygiene.
As the nation's top meetings destination, it was imperative for us to use the challenges facing the entire meetings industry to create a brand-new industry model. This new personalized concierge program gives planners the tools, access and comfort that our destination, convention center and expert medical professionals are with them every step of the process to keep attendees safe.
Looking at the big picture, this is just one of the many new and enhanced procedures that have been implemented across our destination, from theme parks and attractions to hotels, restaurants and Orlando International Airport. Add it all up and we're working toward a common goal: Whether visitors are here for business or leisure, we're committed to providing the best, safest experience possible for them and our residents that host them.
Webinar to Help Businesses Communicate Safety Measures: Join us Tuesday, July 14, at 2 p.m. for a webinar about our new regional safety communications campaign – Safer, Stronger, Together – in conjunction with Orange County and Orlando Economic Partnership. The session is designed to help businesses communicate their safety commitment to customers, and encourage local consumers to support businesses that are taking strong, highly visible measures. View more details and register here.
Visit Orlando's Magical Dining: I'm pleased to share that Visit Orlando's Magical Dining, now in its 15th year, will run from Aug. 28 through Oct. 4. For $35, diners can enjoy a three-course meal at some of our top member restaurants. As always, $1 from each meal will benefit one or more deserving local charities, with the recipients to be announced before the start of this year's program.
Hotel Metrics: Metro Orlando's occupancy rate for the week ending July 4 was 29.3%, up less than 1 percentage point from the previous week. The average daily rate, however, rose more than 10% to $88.93 — only 20% off last year at this time. Friday and Saturday saw occupancy hit 37% and 39.7% respectively, the highest daily levels since March 14.