Brent's Blog / / Theme Park News, Orlando News, Real Estate News

The Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) and the economics practice at AECOM has published their 2015 Theme Index. This report ranks the top theme parks, amusement parks, water parks, and museums by attendance.

Atop the list at #1 - the most visited amusement/theme park in the world, is Magic Kingdom at the Walt Disney World Resort with 2015 attendance of 20,492,000, a 6% increase.

Disney’s three other Orlando theme parks EPCOT (+3% / 11,798,000), Disney’s Animal Kingdom (+5% / 10,922,000), and Disney’s Hollywood Studios (+5% / 10,828,000) nab spots 3, 4, and 5 in North America and 6, 7, and 8 Worldwide.

The most impressive gain in North America came from Universal Studios Florida which enjoyed a 16% increase in attendance in 2015 (9,585,000) thanks in part to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. They claim the 6th spot in North America and 10th spot Worldwide.

Universal’s Islands of Adventure (8,792,000 / 12th W / 8th N.A.) and SeaWorld Orlando (4,777,000 / 22nd W / 10th N.A.) posted gains of 8% and 2%, respectively.

Orlando’s Water Parks also faired well. Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon, Disney’s Blizzard Beach, Aquatica, and Wet ’n Wild ranked 1, 2, 3, and 4 in North America and 2, 3, 6, and 10 Worldwide.

Here’s an overview for our Florida Parks:

Worldwide Theme Park Rankings

1. Magic Kingdom


7. Disney’s Animal Kingdom

8. Disney’s Hollywood Studios

10. Universal Studios Florida

12. Universal’s Islands of Adventure

22. SeaWorld Orlando

Worldwide Water Park Rankings

2. Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon

3. Disney’s Blizzard Beach

6. Aquatica, SeaWorld’s Waterpark

10. Wet ’n Wild

North America Theme Park Rankings

1. Magic Kingdom


4. Disney’s Animal Kingdom

5. Disney’s Hollywood Studios

6. Universal Studios Florida

8. Universal’s Islands of Adventure

10. SeaWorld Orlando

11. Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

North America Water Park Rankings

1. Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon

2. Disney’s Blizzard Beach

3. Aquatica, SeaWorld’s Waterpark

4. Wet ’n Wild

7. Adventure Island Tampa

While LEGOLAND Florida did not make North America’s Top 20, it is notable that Merlin Entertainments Group which includes LEGOLAND parks as well as new Orlando attractions - The Orlando Eye, Madame Tussauds Orlando, and SEA LIFE Orlando - ranks 2nd as a company only behind Walt Disney Parks and Resorts and ahead of both Universal Parks and Resorts and SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment.

Orlando is the most visited destination in the United States and recently posted record breaking citywide visitation numbers of over 66 million people.

Do you have a trip to Orlando scheduled in your future? If so, check out the following links:

Discount Attraction Tickets

Disney World Ticket Price Chart

FREE Orlando Visitor Guide

Want to learn more about owning a rentable vacation home located just minutes from our worldclass attractions which you can use whenever you want? Contact me today! I offer FREE Buyer representation with full access to MLS resales and new construction opportunities, plus an easy rental/management solution.

Contact me for the full 2015 Theme Index Report.

Posted in:General
Posted by Brent Ferry on May 26th, 2016 10:22 AM
The Commerce Department reports that new home sales jumped 16% in the South in April.

Nationally, new home sales rose 16.6 percent last month - a seasonally adjusted rate of 619,000 up from just 531,000 in March - taking it to the highest level since January 2008.

Looking for a new home? I can help!

I have access to all the Builder's inventory and can represent you with your purchase. Contact me today if you'd like to learn more about the Disney area's newest communities.
Posted in:General
Posted by Brent Ferry on May 25th, 2016 8:25 AM

ORLANDO, FL. – The first quarter of 2016 is in the books and Orlando International Airport (MCO) has recorded double-digit growth both in domestic and international traffic so far this year.

For the first three months of the year overall traffic has climbed nearly 11.5 percent with more than 10.7 million passengers. When you break down the numbers, Orlando International is handling more than 3.56 million passengers per month on average in a facility that was designed to handle 2 million per month.

A significant contributor to the busy first quarter was a record breaking Spring Break and Easter holiday travel season, which combined to give Orlando International its busiest days in airport history. During this period, at peak, approximately 160 thousand travelers per day moved through MCO.


  • Domestic traffic climbed 10.6 percent with 9,375,413 passengers
  • International passenger traffic was up 17.46 percent with 1,389,243 total travelers
  • Overall passenger volume increased 11.49 percent with 10,764,656 travelers


  • Domestic traffic was up 8.48 percent with 34,627,999 passengers
  • International passenger numbers climbed 18.1 percent with 5,290,768 travelers
  • Combined overall passenger traffic was up 9.67 percent with 39,918,767 passengers


  • Domestic passenger volume increased 8.45 percent with 3,480,438 travelers
  • International traffic climbed 15.59 percent with 479,344 passengers
  • Overall combined travel for the month was up 9.27 percent compared to last year with 3,959,782 travelers

Basic MCO information:
Orlando International Airport (MCO), serves approximately 39 million passengers annually, of which over 13 percent are international. MCO is the second busiest airport in Florida and has more than 18,000 badged employees and generates over $31 billion in direct and indirect revenue for the regional economy. In its ongoing efforts to value and delight its customers, MCO has embarked on a series of Capital Improvements valued at over $1.3 billion and has approved designing a new South Terminal project all aimed at enhancing The Orlando Experience®.

Greater Orlando Aviation Authority Press Release

Posted in:General
Posted by Brent Ferry on May 20th, 2016 11:34 AM
Get your first look inside the proposed Storey Lake amenity center, the Hideaway Club.

Storey Lake is a brand new resort and residential community located near Lake Buena Vista less than 5 miles from Disney!

Want to learn more? Visit my Storey Lake page, follow Storey Lake on Facebook (, or contact me directly at 407.506.7857 or Free Buyer Representation.

Posted in:General
Posted by Brent Ferry on May 17th, 2016 8:18 AM
The newest neighborhood in Disney Springs, Town Center, is officially open!

Pleasure Island. What's that?

You'll no longer recognize the center section of what was formerly known as Downtown Disney. While West Side and Marketplace remain with modifications, and you might make out parts in The Landing where things "used to be", the retail focused Town Center is all new. And with it also comes the opening of the Lime Garage - the second parking structure.

Here's a look at the new places which just opened at Disney Springs with the exciting Town Center milestone:

American Threads
Amorette’s Patisserie
Daily Poutine
D-Luxe Burger
Edward Beiner
Everything But Water
Johnston & Murphy
kate spade new york
L’Occitane En Provence
Lucky Brand
MAC Cosmetics
Melissa Shoes
Na Hoku
Tommy Bahama
Under Armour Brand House
Vera Bradley
Posted in:General
Posted by Brent Ferry on May 17th, 2016 7:52 AM
NEW YORK – May 12, 2016 – Steady order growth and strong backlogs should continue to support healthy financials for U.S. homebuilders for the remainder of the spring and beyond, according to Fitch Ratings. Potential impediments include a slowing U.S. economy, volatile financial markets, and labor issues relating to cost and an adequate supply.

"Low oil prices, generally healthy employment growth and pent-up demand should help support the housing upturn for at least the next few months," says Robert Curran, managing director and lead homebuilding analyst.

Fitch projects that single-family starts will expand about 11.5 percent in 2016 and multifamily volume will gain about 4 percent. New home sales should improve about 14.6 percent, while existing home sales rise 3 percent.

Fitch expects the housing upcycle to continue in 2017. It projects single-family starts to improve 10 percent as multifamily volume grows 5.1 percent. Fitch also expects new and existing home sales to increase about 11.5 percent and 4 percent, respectively.

© 2016 Florida Realtors®

I specialize not only in Disney/Attractions Area Vacation Homes, but also the area's top new construction communities. Most of the area Builders have gone to production with move-in ready or near complete inventory available. This means it's a great time to pick up a good deal! Contact me today for availability and pricing including the brand new ChampionsGate, Windsor at Westside, and Storey Lake resorts.
Posted in:General
Posted by Brent Ferry on May 13th, 2016 8:19 AM

Orlando Welcomed 66 Million Visitors in 2015

Doubles Visitation over Past Two Decades

ORLANDO, Fla., (May 2, 2016) - Visit Orlando announced a new all-time record for the destination. In 2015, 66.1 million people visited Orlando, growing 5.5 percent from 2014 and solidifying Orlando's position as the most visited destination in the nation. Visitation to Orlando more than doubled over the past 20 years, growing from 32.4 million in 1995.

"Reaching more than 66 million visitors to Orlando is an amazing accomplishment for our tourism community," said Visit Orlando President and CEO George Aguel. "This new milestone and rapid growth over the past two decades is a result of having a tourism industry and community partners that are focused on growth and investment, dedication to the needs of our visitors and the global marketing and sales efforts of our Visit Orlando team and member companies."

A record 33 million room nights were sold in Orlando in 2015, resulting in record tourist development tax collections topping $230 million in Orange County, Fla., home to the Central Florida tourism district.

"We're so proud to break another national record and again be named the top visitor destination for the U.S.," said Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs. "With our superb convention center and culture of hospitality, world-class theme parks, family-friendly entertainment and luxury dining and lodging amenities, it's no surprise that Central Florida remains the top destination for business, family and leisure guests."

Visit Orlando announced the record-breaking achievement at its annual Travel & Tourism Luncheon, a celebration of Orlando's tourism community, attended by more than 800 tourism and community leaders. The event was held during the 33rd annual National Travel and Tourism Week, which unites communities each year to celebrate what travel means to American jobs, economic growth and personal well-being.

"Orlando has reached yet another historic milestone with more than 66 million visitors in 2015-a significant achievement for Orlando and the U.S. travel industry," said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow. "The region's remarkable commitment to travel and tourism-with especial kudos to Visit Orlando, its tourism community members, and the leadership of local public officials-enabled it to hit yet another visitation record."

Since 1995, Orlando's hotel inventory grew by more than 37 percent, topping 117,000 rooms in 2015. Passengers at Orlando International Airport increased by more than 72 percent, reaching 38,809,337 in 2015. In the past two decades, significant openings and expansions have continued to reinforce Orlando as the theme park capital of the world and a leading convention destination. Orlando also established a robust lineup of luxury offerings to meet the needs of travelers seeking five-star service and amenities and downtown Orlando experienced a renaissance with new arts and sports venues. The destination emerged as a thriving culinary destination, garnering consistent James Beard Award nominations for local chefs while also attracting internationally-praised celebrity chefs with new culinary concepts.

About Visit Orlando

Visit Orlando is the official tourism association for the most visited destination in the United States, with representation in more than a dozen countries around the world. Visit Orlando, together with its 1,200 member organizations, represents the area's leading industry.

Read Press Release @VisitOrlando

You can invest in the United States' largest tourism market!

Be part of Orlando's astounding growth by purchasing attractions area real estate. Enjoy freedom of personal usage and reap the benefits of nightly vacation rental income. Contact me today to get started.

- Brent Ferry, REALTOR - Specializing in Disney/Attractions Area Vacation Homes
Posted in:General
Posted by Brent Ferry on May 3rd, 2016 9:42 AM

It's National Travel & Tourism Week May 1 - May 7, 2016. And it may come as no surprise that travel is a primary industry in Florida specifically the Orlando and Kissimmee area which welcomes over 60 million visitors each year and is home to 7 of the top 10 U.S. theme park leaders including the most visited theme park in the world.

According to the U.S. Travel Association, domestic and international travelers to Florida spent $85.3 billion in 2014 and generated $12.3 billion to federal, state and local governments. The 845,100 jobs created by travelers to Florida in 2014 represent 12.6% of the state’s total private industry employment.

Travel also greatly benefits our relationships, families and children.

Did you know that kids who travel with their families are more likely to attend college, and earn more as adults? And it’s good for our well-being—numerous research studies have confirmed the positive health effects of travel and time off, from reducing the risk of heart disease to decreasing depression. So come see us here in Florida for some fun in the sun!

Start planning your Orlando/Kissimmee vacation today! Check out my free Visitor Guide. I have complied a comprehensive list of the Orlando area's top attractions and popular points of interest to help you build your perfect getaway. Link directly to official theme park and attraction pages, stay informed by following me on Facebook, save time and money by purchasing discount attraction tickets, plan a night out, consult store directories to map out your next shopping adventure, take in a game, explore local opportunities beyond just the theme parks, and more.

Posted in:General
Posted by Brent Ferry on May 2nd, 2016 9:26 AM
Please see the following announcement and Q & A from Melrose Lifestyle Services

Information about the Solterra Resort Amenity Expansion

You may have heard the rumors of an amenities expansion of the Solterra amenity and the addition of a new bar and grill.

Beginning in June of 2016, we intend to break ground to begin an expansion of the amenity including a lazy river and to add a poolside restaurant and bar.

A list of anticipated questions has been compiled below, with answers to each.

For exact details on the amenity expansion, you may contact the CDD management office at (321) 263-0132, or email inquiries to

Some Questions, Answered

How long will construction last?
  • Construction is estimated to last into early 2017, that schedule may change depending on weather and other unforeseen circumstances. 
What will this expansion include?
  • The pool area expansion will include a 100,000 gallon lazy river, with associated deck areas. The clubhouse expansion will include a bar/grille that will provide food and beverage (including alcohol) items for residents and guests of Solterra Resort. 
Will any parts of the pool area be affected or closed during the construction period?
  • The poolside restrooms will be closed during the renovation as facilities are being added to this building. We do not expect the construction to close any of the other Solterra amenities for a long length of time. We will provide a few days advance notice if any of the other facilities will need to be closed. 
What should I tell my renters?
  • We do not expect the construction to close any of the other Solterra amenities. However, you should let them know that there will be construction happening and noise and dust will result from the construction. 
What kind of food will the restaurant serve?
  • The menu is being worked on at this time. We would expect a selection of salads, sandwiches, pizzas and snacks being available. Once it is finalized by the restaurant operator, we will be sharing it with everyone. Delivery to your home for takeout orders and catering is also being considered.
Will homeowners have a discount at the restaurant, or have other benefits?
  • That will be up to the restaurant operator if they choose to offer any discounts or specials.
Will pool guests still be able to bring food and drink to the pool area?
  • No. The restaurant will be the only provider of food and beverage and no outside items will be allowed. We need to support the restaurant to make it viable. In addition, Health Department Regulations will require that the food operator be the sole provider. Catering for special events/rental of the facilities from outside providers will be considered on a case-by-case basis. 
Will innertubes be provided by the resort for the lazy river?
  • Yes, they will be part of the lazy river once completed and are not to be removed from the premises.
What are the hours of the lazy river and restaurant?
  • The lazy river will be open the same times as the pool slide. The restaurant will open for lunch at 11am and will close typically at sundown. Some evenings will be available for dinner. A final schedule will be determined once the facility is open. 
What is the estimated cost of this expansion?
  • The total expansion is around $1 million dollars. For exact details, please contact the CDD management office at (321) 263-0132.
Will my CDD or HOA dues increase due to this expansion?
  • All parts of the expansion will be owned by the CDD. At this time, we do not foresee any special assessments to offset construction costs. We do anticipate operation and maintenance assessments to go up to pay for the additional operating expenses associated with the amenity expansion but we don’t believe the increase will exceed 10%. The adjustments to assessments will be finalized as construction completes. 
Posted in:General
Posted by Brent Ferry on April 22nd, 2016 8:37 AM
SeaWorld today has made some historic announcements. Effective immediately the park will end its orca breeding program and has indicated that the killer whales currently in their care will be the last generation of orcas in the parks.

SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment President and Chief Executive Officer, Joel Manby, revealed the changes in an open letter to the Los Angeles Times.

SeaWorld CEO: We're ending our orca breeding program. Here's why.

Americans' attitudes about orcas have changed dramatically. When the first SeaWorld Park opened in 1964, orcas, or killer whales, were not universally loved, to put it mildly. Instead, they were feared, hated and even hunted. Half a century later, orcas are among the most popular marine mammals on the planet. One reason: People came to SeaWorld and learned about orcas up close.

For some time, SeaWorld has faced a paradox. Customers visit our marine parks, in part, to watch orcas. But a growing number of people don't think orcas belong in human care. Lawmakers in Sacramento and even in the U.S. House of Representatives have proposed legislation to phase out orca captivity. Even the California Coastal Commission — a state agency with oversight over land use and public access — moved last year to ban orca breeding at SeaWorld San Diego.

We are proud of contributing to the evolving understanding of one of the world's largest marine mammals. Now we need to respond to the attitudinal change that we helped to create — which is why SeaWorld is announcing several historic changes. This year we will end all orca breeding programs — and because SeaWorld hasn't collected an orca from the wild in almost four decades, this will be the last generation of orcas in SeaWorld's care. We are also phasing out our theatrical orca whale shows.

Some critics want us to go even further; they want us to “set free” the orcas currently in our care. But that's not a wise option.

Most of our orcas were born at SeaWorld, and those that were born in the wild have been in our parks for the majority of their lives. If we release them into the ocean, they will likely die. In fact, no orca or dolphin born under human care has ever survived release into the wild. Even the attempt to return the whale from “Free Willy,” Keiko, who was born in the wild, was a failure.

For as long as they live, the orcas at SeaWorld will stay in our parks. They'll continue to receive the highest-quality care, based on the latest advances in marine veterinary medicine, science and zoological best practices.

These decisions — and the debates that preceded them — are about more than these orcas. Bigger questions are at stake than whether any animals anywhere should remain under human care.

Americans and thoughtful people everywhere need to acknowledge these fundamental problems: More than 3,000 species are endangered, and hundreds are lost every year. Some scientists predict that, within a century, 50% of large mammals will be extinct.

Wild animals and wild places will continue to disappear — biologists call this “the sixth extinction,” comparable to previous cataclysms such as the ice age — unless humans awaken and take action.

In this impending crisis, the real enemies of wildlife are poaching, pollution, unsustainable human development and man-made disasters such as oil spills — not zoos and aquariums.

Governments cannot address this crisis alone. We need concerned individuals to take action, as well as nongovernmental organizations. And, yes, the private sector also has to join in addressing this problem.

SeaWorld takes seriously its responsibility to preserve marine wildlife. That's why we are partnering with the Humane Society of the United States, the nation's largest and most effective animal protection and advocacy organization. Together, we will work against commercial whaling and seal hunts, shark finning and ocean pollution.

The Humane Society recognizes the critical work SeaWorld performs as one of the largest rescue organizations in the world. SeaWorld will increase its focus on rescue operations — so that the thousands of stranded marine mammals like dolphins and sea lions that cannot be released back to the wild will have a place to go.

SeaWorld will also join in the Humane Society's efforts to raise awareness of animal welfare, offering humane food options and serving only sustainable seafood.

Without a critical mass of informed and energized people, humanity will never make the difficult decisions that are necessary to halt and reverse the exploitation of wild places and the extinction of wild species.

By offering our guests enjoyable, memorable and educational experiences, SeaWorld will continue to create the constituency for conservation, just as we helped to inspire the changing attitudes that, in turn, inspired our company's changing policies.

To learn more, visit

Posted in:General
Posted by Brent Ferry on March 17th, 2016 8:44 AM


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