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On occasion a few of our area councils will join together to present an update on topics that are relevant to all of them. This year, our Celebration Area Council, Four Corners Area Council, and Hospitality and Tourism Council decided to make a strong return to in-person lunchtime presentations with a Joint Council Luncheon hosted at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort on Friday, September 17. Presented by Walt Disney Parks & Resorts, the luncheon included updates on topics important to our tourism industry and region.
The Four Corners Area Council kicked off the lunch with a presentation on the Four Corners, One Vision initiative. 2021 4CAC Chairman Steve Silcock of Bardell Real Estate introduced Rafael Montalvo of The Consensus Center, who for the last four years has consulted with the 4CAC Board and a team of precisely assembled steering and technical committees to create and advance the One Vision initiative and bring unity to the Four Corners. These committees are each focused on one of three
After a short break for lunch (including an adorable and delicious Mickey Mousse!), the program resumed as Osceola Resort Area Council Chairman Thearon Scurlock of Old Town introduced Experience Kissimmee‘s Research Manager Jonas Onkelinx. Jonas shared the latest industry trends that point toward positive improvements for post-pandemic tourism in Central Florida. For example, traffic at Orlando International Airport was only down 7% from July of 2019 (and up 219% from July of 2020!), and that was without most international travel. Traffic for the recently-passed Labor Day weekend is projected to be up 7% over that weekend in 2019. Tourist Development Tax collections in Osceola County were on par with 2018 and 2019 in the month of July following a steady rise since the beginning of the year. Interestingly, in Osceola County, TDT collections from vacation homes has significantly increased since March of 2020. While hotel occupancy is again on the rise after a rough year in both Orlando and Osceola County, the higher percentage of stays in Osceola are in vacation homes. It is great to see this major industry for Osceola County growing and thriving.
Finally, Celebration Area Council Chairman Charles Castellon of Widerman Malek introduced 2021 Walt Disney World Ambassador Alexandra “Ali” Manion who previewed “The World’s Most Magical Celebration,” Disney’s 18-month 50th Birthday Party that officially kicks off on October 1. Ali presented the new “Beacons of Magic,” sparkling enhancements to each of the four parks’ signature icons: Cinderella Castle, Spaceship Earth, Tower of Terror, and The Tree of Life. She also shared that Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Goofy, Pluto, Chip, and Dale will be known as the “EARidescent Eight,” and each has received brand new themed costumes. The parks are also debuting a Fab 50 character collection, and statues of these “fab” Disney favorites can be found around each of the four parks. As part of the celebration, both Magic Kingdom Park and Epcot will also debut new fireworks spectaculars on October 1. Other enhancements at Epcot include new ride Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, new restaurant Space 220, and new retail locations Creations Shop and a revamped Club Cool. Meanwhile, Animal Kingdom will present daytime air show Disney’s Kite Tails, and the Resort looks forward to the debut of the new Star Wars Galactic Star Cruiser 2-night stay adventure. There is so much to look forward to and keep us busy at Disney for the next 18 months!
The Joint Council Luncheon was a great opportunity to get together after so many months apart, and attendees truly appreciated and update on and sneak peek at some of the most exciting aspects of tourism here in Osceola County and our surrounding areas.