April 7, 2015
First up today is a Punch List with Jay and Lissa plus we’re joined by Jake who is taking the Caption E.O. news pretty hard. After a touchy exchange between Ken and Lissa regarding Disney Jay brings up some UOR news.
Then for the Main Event today we have Part 2 of the interview with Simon and Susan of Veness Travel Media (Part 1 was posted March 16). They give their unique insights into the local British tourism trends and weigh in on all the news including Star Trek attractions, Star Wars and where SeaWorld goes from here.
- Punch List- March 28, 2015
- Interview with Simon and Susan- March 5, 2015
- Tomorrowland in Future World. Is Caption EO leaving for good? Does this point to future developments (Carousel of Progress rumor)? Innoventions Westis closing April 29 and in Disneyland its closing for 2 months, what does this mean?
- Pirates of the Caribbean closed for the summer.
- 50 Cent’s audio company is sponsoring Star Tours. WTF?
- Theme Park Insider noticed what looks to be a new road being built near DHS. Is this the new entrance?
- Trader Sam’s opens. Will the lines be a staple of this new bar?
- Amphibious Cars arrivedand they look awesome!
- Marvel store coming to DTD
- Updates to (what is likely) Kong from Amusement Buzz
- Lego Friends announced as final room theme of LLF Hotel. Is it smart to focus so heavy on a gender specific brand
Part 2 of the interview with Veness Travel Media (Part 1 is here)
5 Takeaways from the Interview
- Paramount is bringing an ‘American style’ park to U.K. and it will be interesting to watch how its received.
- Simon and Susan think gaming will be a bad mix for Orlando
- Tampa, Daytona and Miami have the adults covered, Simon and Susan think Orlando should be family focused
- SeaWorld does a great job of conservation but they could do more to focus on it
- 192 may have to give up on tourism as the main draw for certain segments of the road, but not the entire road.
March 30, 2015
On today’s extra long episode Ken and Kyle start off with huge news coming out of SeaWorld. Then Lissa joins in for rest of the Punch List. The wave of recent hotel announcements is covered along, yet more announced for Skyplex, the new bus-only lanes coming to I-Drive, and the latest on Miami’s megamall.
Then Mark Brisson, Executive Director of Skeletons: Animals Unveiled, calls in for a discussion on I-Drive 360, the future of the region and much more. The conversation focuses on safety, the future of the SLR-I-Drive intersection and what it takes to be successful in the most intense tourist district in the nation.
- Lissa of Magical Enchanted Vacations | Lissa’s introduction SideChat
- Special Guest- Mark Brisson of Skeletons: Animals Unveiled
- SEAS President Reactions Recorded – Mar 21
- The Punch List Recording – Mar 17
- Mark Brisson Interview – Mar 13
- New President is announced and he looks like the right choice.
- Is Bloomin’ Brands coming to SeaWorld?
- BGT releases a statement regarding its otters. #OtterGate isn’t mentioned in it.
Tourist District and Related News
- Planet Hollywood condo hotel coming to Lake Bryan/535
- 11 story condo hotel and retail project coming across from SWO
- DPPAC might get fancy hotel
- Hyatt Place at Church St proposed
- Patel hotels bought
- Skyfall at Skyplex announced at State of I-Drive
- The property that Chuck Whittall mentioned at State of I-Drive that he will be developing over next 5 years
- American Maglev confirms expansion plans beyond I-Drive
- BRT coming to I-Drive?
Outside of the region
Interview with Mark Brisson of Skeletons: Animals Unveiled
5 Take-Aways from the Interview
- Skeletons: Animals Unveiled is working with Boy and Girl Scouts to have badge programs at the museum
- They’re aiming for attendance in the 100K-400K range
- Special Events will be a central funding source for Skeletons: Animals Unveiled
- Mark predicts a day when parts of I-Drive will be pedestrian plazas
- He doesn’t seem to expect the Tourist Development Tax distribution plan to change anytime soon
March 22, 2015
On today’s SideChat we introduce a brand new pixie duster to the team. Lissa from Magical Enchanted Vacations will be bringing her passion for Disney to the podcast to help balance Ken and Kyle’s I-Drive obsession. This quick SideChat is an introduction to Lissa and her takes on all the recent Disney news. A few bits of news from CityWalk and I-Drive are also featured.
Recording- Mar 12, Mar 21
Lissa Recommends- Painting the DHS Chinese Theater
Lissa Recommends – Use WDW transportation when moving around the resort
Ken Recommends- Parking at a resort and taking transportation to Disney Springs
Lissa Recommends- Cap’n Crunch Friend Chicken at Planet Hollywood
da Vinci exhibit coming to I-Drive.
- Grand Opening = April 18 (4p-8p) $25 ticket to ALL THREE 7220 attractions and food by Tin Roof.
March 16, 2015
On today’s show Jason of Orlando Fun & Food weighs in on the shocking news coming out of Ringling Brothers. Then Jay and Ken talk about some recent news before Kyle joins. Kyle and Ken interview Simon and Susan of Veness Travel Media. Simon is the author of ‘The Brits Guide to Orlando,’ the best selling guide of its kind in the U.K. Simon and Susan discuss their observations in the changing demographics of Orlando tourism and how the larger trends in Florida are affecting it.
- Interview with Jason- March 8, 2015
- Interview with Simon and Susan- March 5, 2015
Ringling Brothers/Feld Entertainment
- Ringling Brothers Press Release regarding the elephants
- Center for Elephant Conservation
- Ringling Brothers HuffPo Op/Ed piece regarding SEAS
- Ringling Brothers article on ABC.com
- Jim Hill’s review of Circus World
- Disney Parks Blog announces Soarin’ and Toy Story Mania expanding
- MK’s Little Mermaid ride reopens with black light treatment
- World’s Largest Perkins coming to Skyscraper at Skyplex
- World’s largest McDonalds coming to I-Drive Map | Ken’s article from 2013
- I-Drive 4-Pass
Other Tourism in Central Florida
- Oasis of the Seas coming to Port Canaveral
- Josh Gonzales on The Park Blogger and Mighty Men of Mouse
- Brit Guide to Orlando
- Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World
- OTR Ep 25 – Unofficial Tours and Thoughts with Bob Sehlinger
- UK vacation time
- Orlando demographics
- British American Chamber of Commerce of Central Florida
- Bloomberg talks about the dollar rising
- New flights from Belfast to Orlando
- Orlando Sanford International Airport
- Travel City Direct
- Proposed Miami Wilds 20th Century Fox park
- Paramount Park London
March 13, 2015
We’re excited to have Animal Kingdom expert Safari Mike from the Radio Harambe podcast and the Jambo Everyone website answer a few questions regarding his views on Orlando tourism. Mike has long been an advocate of Animal Kingdom and has supported numerous conservation efforts around the world. His weekly podcast has become the go-to place for the very latest news regarding Animal Kingdom and all of Walt Disney World. Mike and his Radio Harambe co-host Dave McBride have both long been advocates of Animal Kingdom not being a half day park.
OTR- What makes Orlando unique when compared to other tourist centric destinations?
SM- This one is easy: Volume. The sheer number of theme parks and attractions is overwhelming. Like I said, I never set foot “off property” but I know I am missing another world. Back when I first started going to WDW, there was just the Magic Kingdom (yes I am that old). So we would go to Busch Gardens, Sea World, Silver Springs, Cypress Gardens. Then Epcot opened and we stopped doing a couple of those other attractions. Then Disney MGM Studios opened and it was game set and match. Other than checking out Universal Studios in its infancy we really never set foot off property. But there is sooooo much out there that people could spend a month on vacation in Central Florida and not see everything.
OTR- What is the most ‘Disney’ ride currently at Universal Orlando Resort?
SM- This one is a toughie since I usually don’t leave the World. But I am constantly looking at videos and whatnot of Universal. The easy answer would be something Potter due to the level of theming or perhaps Spider Man since that’s actually a Disney property. But I am going to pick Revenge of the Mummy. It just seems like a Disney type ride with the level of details in it. The queues, the effects, the façade, all are quite “Disney.” And if they ever put it into Hollywood Studios it would automatically be a Top 3 attraction, no?
OTR- What are your predictions/hopes on what the next big news item regarding Disney World resorts being?
SM- This would have to be what’s the next DVC. We all know its coming and they have pretty much maxed out the monorail resorts for vacation club expansion. Once the Poly is done, what will Disney do next for DVC? I have heard all sorts of things including even a large addition to the Caribbean Beach resort to allow for rooftop Illuminations viewing or something build right behind Epcot for the same advantageous views. I suppose only time will tell but with DVC being such a cash cow, you can bet they are not done with it.
As for hopes? I want them to build a train that runs from Kidani to Jambo to a dedicated DAK entrance at Harambe. How cool would that be?????
OTR- What is the one thing that would cause the biggest improvement to Orlando International Airport?
SM- I have three words for this – Earl. Of. Sandwich. That’s right, my home airport of Newark NJ has an Earl in one of its terminals. Let’s put one in the Orlando airport. Then I wouldn’t have to try to work my way down to that ridiculous Disney Springs area and its nightmarish construction to get a decent sub. And who wouldn’t feel better about going home munching on a holiday sandwich? I say no one. And what better way to enjoy the Magical Express ride to the Animal Kingdom Lodge than by chowing down on a Chipotle Chicken Avocado. Better WiFi? Sure that would be nice. Quicker baggage claims? OK, that helps. But both pale in comparison to adding an Earl.
OTR- What ride at Walt Disney World would you point to as best resembling what the future of the parks will be?
SM- I was going to say Triceratops Spin here, but I decided against that. Instead, I am going with Enchanted Tales with Belle. What’s that you say? Well, hear me out on this one. Yes, I know it’s an attraction that is basically for little kids and it doesn’t have a ride element. But the reality is the technology in here is pretty amazing. The mirror effect and the Luminere AA are wow factors. I see these types of things continuing; clearly the 7 dwarves at the mine train take a cue from the Luminere figure. The lighting effects are used so well (Avatarland anyone?). And, most importantly, an immersive experience, which is of course, a Disney hallmark. Yeah, this attraction is not necessarily a “big deal” but it does show to me where Disney is possibly going into the future.