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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.

#NTTW16
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 solterra@melroselifestyle.com.

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 https://seaworldcares.com/Future/

Posted in:General
Posted by Brent Ferry on March 17th, 2016 8:44 AM
Seasonal Pricing. Tiered Pricing. Surge Pricing. Whatever you call it, it's here. 

Effective February 28, 2016, not long after Universal Orlando Resort raised ticket prices, Walt Disney World shifted to seasonal pricing on 1-day tickets and increased pricing on multi-day tickets.

According to a Disney spokesman, "...the demand for Disney Parks continues to grow, particularly during peak periods....we continue to look for ways to help spread out visitation. So, ...we are shifting to seasonal pricing for 1-Day tickets. It’s an approach that you are probably familiar with from many other areas, including sports, entertainment and travel."

Value. Regular. Peak. What does it all mean?!?!

The first thing to know is that the new tiered pricing ONLY APPLIES to 1-day tickets. 2 thru 10-day tickets continue to be priced the same for all 365 days of the year.

And if we ignore the fact that increased ticket pricing makes visiting cost prohibitive for some, the only people the new pricing structure effects are those visiting the park(s) for just one day.

If that's you, the price now depends on 1. the park you plan to visit (Magic Kingdom versus Epcot, Hollywood Studios, or Animal Kingdom) and 2. when you plan to visit.

Different times of the year now have different prices. The dates for 2016 are as follows:

Value Season - 2/28-29, 3/1-3, 8/22-31, 9/1-29 (1-day pricing unchanged from 2015)
Regular Season - 3/4-10, 4/3-30, 5/1-26, 7/24-31, 8/1-21, 9/30, 10/1-31, 11/1-19, 11/28-30, 12/1-21 (increased 1-day ticket price)
Peak Season - 3/11-31, 4/1-2, 5/27-31, 6/1-30, 7/1-23, 11/20-27, 12/22-31 (premium 1-day ticket price)

For those not familiar with Disney's ticket options, this move further complicates what can already be a complicated ticket buying process. In an effort to make these changes easier to understand, I have prepared the following Disney Ticket Price Chart.

The amounts shown reflect the new 2016 Walt Disney World Theme Park Ticket Prices which you can expect to pay direct with Disney online or in person at the gate (Don't do that! You want your Disney tickets ahead of time so you can make FastPass+ selections in advance of arrival).

Step 1. Decide how many days you want.
Step 2. Choose to buy your ticket(s) with or without Options.




The Options, in brief:

Base Ticket w/ No Options - Provides admission to choice of any one of the four theme parks per day for each day of your ticket. For 1-day tickets, you must specify Magic Kingdom or one of the other three theme parks when buying.

w/ Park Hopper Option - Required if you would like to visit more than one theme park in the same day.

w/ Water Park Fun & More Option - Gives a certain number of visits based on the length of your theme park ticket - separate and additional admissions to your choice of Disney's Blizzard Beach Water Park, Disney's Typhoon Lagoon Water Park, Disney's Oak Trail Golf Course, Fantasia Gardens or Winter Summerland Miniature Golf (before 4:00 PM), and / or ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex (not valid for ticketed events).

w/ Both Options - Enjoy both the Park Hopper and the Water Park Fun & More Options at a combined rate which is less expensive than each individual Option.

Looking to save money on Disney tickets? I am pleased to be partnered with the only discount ticket seller located in Disney's Town of Celebration. If you are buying multi-day Disney tickets, you don't have to pay full price! Buy your tickets for less with KGS. And enter my special Promo Code FER at checkout to receive FREE Domestic Shipping or $10 off International Delivery (minimum order required). Remember, get your tickets in advance so you can make FastPass+ selections prior to arrival.

When to buy direct with Disney?

1. 1 and 2-day tickets are typically least expensive directly with Disney.
2. If you are staying onsite and want a Dining Plan. This requires a package of room, tickets, and dining plan.

When to buy with an authorized discount ticket seller?

If you want to save money off of the charted Disney direct prices and neither of the above applies to you! Learn more.

Stay up-to-date regarding the latest Disney area vacation home information together with theme park and Orlando news on my Facebook page. 'Like' Brent Ferry, Realtor - Orlando, FL now.

Contact me now at info@bferryhomes.com for vacation home sales or rental information.

Posted by Brent Ferry on March 9th, 2016 12:29 PM
PLAY BALL!

It's that time of year again. Spring training baseball has returned to Central Florida. Come out and enjoy the beautiful Florida weather while watching your favorite team as they prepare for the 2016 Major League Baseball season.

Great atmosphere. Intimate settings.

Locally, you can catch the Houston Astros who have their Home Opener today versus the St. Louis Cardinals at Osceola County Stadium at Osceola Heritage Park in Kissimmee, FL at 1:05 PM.

Check out the Astros complete Home Schedule:

Friday

March 4

Cardinals at Astros

1:05

Saturday

March 5

Mets at Astros

1:05

Sunday

March 6

Blue Jays at Astros

1:05

Tuesday

March 8

Nationals at Astros

1:05

Wednesday

March 9

Braves at Astros

1:05

Friday

March 11

Tigers at Astros

1:05

Sunday

March 13

Braves at Astros

1:05

Tuesday

March 15

Nationals at Astros

1:05

Wednesday

March 16

Tigers at Astros

1:05

Thursday

March 17

Blue Jays at Astros

1:05

Tuesday

March 22

Braves at Astros

1:05

Wednesday

March 23

Phillies at Astros

6:05

Saturday

March 26

Marlins at Astros

6:05


You can also check out the Atlanta Braves who call Champion Stadium at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World home for Spring Training. The Braves are in action at home again on Saturday.

Here is their complete Home Schedule:

Tuesday

March 1

Orioles at Braves

1:05

Thursday

March 3

Tigers at Braves

1:05

Saturday

March 5

Pirates at Braves

1:05

Tuesday

March 8

Mets at Braves

1:05

Friday

March 11

Phillies at Braves

1:05

Saturday

March 12

Nationals at Braves

6:05

Monday

March 14

Rays at Braves

1:05

Wednesday

March 16

Cardinals at Braves

1:05

Thursday

March 17

Astros at Braves

1:05

Friday

March 18

Marlins at Braves

1:05

Sunday

March 20

Tigers at Braves

1:05

Thursday

March 24

Phillies at Braves

6:05

Friday

March 25

Astros at Braves

1:05

Saturday

March 26

Mets at Braves

1:05

Monday

March 28

Astros at Braves

6:05

Wednesday

March 30

Yankees at Braves

1:05

Friday

April 1

Rays at Braves

1:05

Saturday

April 2

Tigers at Braves

1:05


Posted in:General
Posted by Brent Ferry on March 4th, 2016 8:29 AM
Inspired by Florida's waterfront towns and natural beauty, Disney Springs, formerly Downtown Disney, continues near completion. Another notable step in expansion occurred yesterday with the announcement of 30 new tenants and 2 Disney owned and operated concepts - 28 new stores and 4 new dining venues to be located in "Town Center", a sophisticated, new shopping and dining promenade overlooking "The Spring". When complete, Disney Springs will have have four distinct outdoor neighborhoods - The Landing, Marketplace, West Side, and Town Center. The following new shops will open in phases beginning May 15th:

Retail
-Anthropologie
-LACOSTE
-kate spade new york
-Sephora
-Under Armour
-M·A·C Cosmetics
-Vince Camuto
-Vera Bradley
-Lucky Brand
-Oakley
-Coca-Cola Store
-TROPHY ROOM
-ALEX AND ANI
-Na Hoku – Hawaii’s Finest Jewelers Since 1924
-Shore
-American Threads
-Volcom
-Kipling
-francesca’s
-Melissa Shoes
-UNOde50
-Johnston & Murphy
-Everything But Water
-Free People
-JOHNNY WAS
-Columbia
-Sperry
-Luxury of Time by Diamonds International

Dining
-D-Luxe Burger - Gourmet burgers (Disney owned and operated)
-Amorette's Patisserie - High-end pastry shop (Disney owned and operated)
-Tablas Frontera - Contemporary Mexican-themed restaurants from Chef Rick Bayless
-Homecoming - Florida Kitchen and Shine Bar - Florida inspired farm-to-fork by Chef Art Smith

Additional announcements include a new Welcome Center as guests enter Town Center, additional details regarding the re-imagined Fulton's Crab House including a new rooftop lounge, and a new location for the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique.

Self parking at Disney Springs is free. Direct access from I-4 West to the first of two new parking garages which includes smart technology to identify the number of open parking spaces on each level and in each row is available.

Visiting Disney? Buy your discount theme park tickets now.


Posted in:General
Posted by Brent Ferry on March 1st, 2016 8:02 AM

JUST LISTED IN VISTA CAY!Premium unit in Building directly next to Clubhouse. Prime location off of Universal Blvd....

Posted by Brent Ferry, Realtor / Orlando, FL on Thursday, February 18, 2016
Posted in:General
Posted by Brent Ferry on February 18th, 2016 11:41 AM
Universal Orlando Resort which includes Universal Studios Florida and Universal's Islands of Adventure has increased their theme park ticket prices.

A 1 Day Single Park Admission Ticket which did cost $102 now costs $105.

A 1 Day Park-To-Park Admission Ticket which did cost $147 now costs $155. A Park-To-Park ticket allows visitors to visit BOTH parks in the SAME day and is required if a guest would like to ride the Hogwarts Express train between the two Wizarding World of Harry Potters sections.

Monkey see, monkey do.

Universal and Disney frequently adjust pricing within days of each other. Last February Universal raised their prices following Disney leads. This year, we'll have to see what the Mouse may do next.

As it stands, the new Universal pricing of $105 and $155 matches the cost of admission for the Magic Kingdom, the most visited theme park in the World, and a 1 Day Ticket with Park Hopper which allows same day access to all 4 Disney theme parks. 1 Day at Epcot, Disney's Hollywood Studios, or Disney's Animal Kingdom park is currently $97.

Stay tuned!

Don't want to pay full price? For FULLY AUTHORIZED, DISCOUNT ATTRACTION TICKETS click here.


Posted in:General
Posted by Brent Ferry on February 11th, 2016 6:00 PM

Three Years Strong and Still Moving Along!

Today marks the 3 Year Anniversary of the Grand Opening of the prestigious ChampionsGate resort.

This much sought-after community is the flagship resort for Lennar Orlando, a division of Miami-based Lennar Corporation - Central Florida's largest homebuilder and the 2nd largest homebuilder in the U.S.

The resort features both residential and vacation home buying opportunities together with a championship golf course, ChampionsGate Country Club, and a world-class amenity center, The Oasis Clubhouse at ChampionsGate, all contained within the larger City of ChampionsGate and conveniently located in the golden triangle just off of I-4 Ext 58 near Walt Disney World.

100s of people turned out that first day. Today, 100s of homes are complete with much more development to come.

Here's a look back at some images from the Grand Opening celebration held on Saturday, February 9, 2013 starting with an amazing view of the Oasis Clubhouse site before and after demonstrating just how very far things have come along - and still going strong.

It's not too late to be a part of this amazing community. For ChampionsGate real estate information, contact me, Brent Ferry, REALTOR.

For ChampionsGate vacation home rentals, click here.

Oasis Clubhouse Site BEFORE



Oasis Clubhouse NOW / AFTER



Grand Opening Celebration / February 9, 2013























Posted in:General
Posted by Brent Ferry on February 9th, 2016 10:12 AM

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