SeaWorld’s counterattack on Blackfish gets more aggressive

PETA-s-Whale-Slavery-Lawsuit-Against-SeaWorld-Tossed-2The “Open Letter from SeaWorld’s Animal Advocates” — which appears in today’s Orlando Sentinel, New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today, among other papers — is SeaWorld’s answer to criticisms raised by the CNN film. It doesn’t identifies the “Blackfish” directly but defends the park’s way of caring for its 29 whales SeaWorld President and Chief Executive Officer Jim Atchison said in an interview Thursday that the company decided to respond after several well-known performers backed out of concerts that had been scheduled for early next year at SeaWorld Orlando, most of them citing the “Blackfish” controversy. Continue reading “SeaWorld’s counterattack on Blackfish gets more aggressive”

Which airline gives most opportunities for flying from Central Florida?

No, it not Southwest, even though they are the biggest carrier at Orlando International Airport (MCO), it is confirmed that low budget Allegient beats them, offering  52 different destinations from Sanford International Airport (SFB). They offer a great variety but to small town airports Little Rock, Ark. and Tulsa, Okla. And some of the flights are only available once or twice a week; some are seasonal…

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OrlandoSentinel gives more details about the pros and cons of flying with Allegiant, but whatever you choose, make sure one of our chauffeur waiting for you when you land or helping you with your bags when you leave.

SeaWorld’s Bands, Brew & BBQ loses performers

Country singer Willie Nelson and rock bands Heart and Barenaked Ladies have canceled their planned performances at SeaWorld in Florida. This comes after CNN’s documentary “Blackfish” – focused on Tilikum, an orca currently held by SeaWorld and the way the park treats animal in captivity. The film had huge impact and many petitions had started after its premiere at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival on 19 January 2013. willienelsonWillie Nelson is the latest act to cancel a concert at Orlando’s SeaWorld in the wake of CNN’s “Blackfish” documentary. The legendary country singer’s decision comes after the Canadian rock band Barenaked Ladies pulled the plug on their show at the Florida theme park. SeaWorld spokesman Nick Gollattscheck confirmed Nelson’s decision not to sing at SeaWorld. But the spokesman said the reasons weren’t tied to the recent documentary on SeaWorld’s captive killer whales and a resulting petition calling on acts not to play SeaWorld. Instead, the Sea World spokesman cited scheduling conflicts in the Nelson cancellation. “I understand there are petitions going around with thousands of people’s names on it, so I had to cancel. Also, I don’t agree with the way they treat their animals. It wasn’t that hard a deal for me,” Nelson is quoted as saying. A posting on Heart’s official Twitter page said the decision was influenced by the recently-released documentary “Blackfish.” “The Sea World show was planned long ago as an Orlando show,” the tweet said.”Had we known, we’d have said no then. We said no today. Love you all.” When the Barenaked Ladies nixed their plans to play at SeaWorld last week, they explained that it was a decision made after viewing “Blackfish.” “This is a complicated issue, and we don’t claim to understand all of it, but we don’t feel comfortable proceeding with the gig at this time,” the band said on a Facebook post. Joan Jett on Monday also joined the list of recording artists distancing themselves from the marine park when she sent a letter to SeaWorld President Jim Atchison asking that the park stop using her song “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” as the opening music for its “Shamu Rocks” show.

Flying magic comes to Orlando

GC131202_Mickey_640x360_78542915748The Canadian airline WestJet introduced its custom-painted aircraft this Monday. The “Magical Plane” comes as result of the collaboration between WestJet, WestJet Vacations and Disney Parks & Resorts. Its first flight between Calgary and Orlando International Airport took off yesterday and brought its passengers for a three-day vacation at Walt Disney World. After that „Magic Plane” will fly on WestJet’s domestic, trans-border and international network, which includes 39 flights per week from various Canadian cities to Orlando. The special livery is designed to tell a story from tail to nose. It starts with Sorcerer Mickey, prominent on the aircraft’s tail, with magic stars coming from his hands. The magic stars swirl around the fuselage and past the wings, culminating with fireworks over the Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World. Inside, the seats are sprinkled with stars and the plane’s crew will pass out Disney-shaped cookies. According to WestJet, to paint the plane took a team of 26 people working around the clock for 24 days. The design, which features Mickey Mouse as Sorcerer Mickey in the Disney classic Fantasia, includes 36 different paint colors. The paintjob also has a little riddle – both side of the plane are mirror images, except for one detail – it left to the viewer to find out what it is exactly. “It’s a flying billboard,” said Gregg Saretsky, president and CEO of WestJet. “I think it just brings our whole partnership to another level.” WestJet and Disney have been working as partners for nearly a decade and the “Magic Plane” is designed to lead the passenger to Disney before the plane has even landed at Orlando. westjet-magic-plane-mickey-mouse-e1386022759145“Families and kids, they’ll be in an airport somewhere and they’ll look out and they will see Sorcerer Mickey,” said Marlie Morrison of Walt Disney Company. “That little bit of Disney magic, you know, just might surprise them anywhere they are at any particular airport.”

Bad weather didn’t disrupt Thanksgiving travelers

Winter storm was expected to drench the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic states with rain through Thursday morning and to bring snow to the Midwest through New England. That could have caused serious trouble to people traveling for the holidays. Some airlines were even advising customers headed to destinations such as New York, Boston and Philadelphia that they could reschedule their travel without a penalty or receive a refund. Despite the storm Thanksgiving travel started smoothly Wednesday at Orlando International Airport.

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Delays were concentrated in the Northeast, where the storm brought wet weather to already busy airports and snow to inland areas. By midafternoon Wednesday, Orlando International Airport reported three canceled flights and 65 delays of more than 30 minutes.  These are the times when we’re reminded it’s one system,” said MCO spokeswoman Carolyn Fennell. “If planes can’t get out of their point of origin, then there are delays here.” The longest delay was two hours, airport officials said. Southwest Airlines, the busiest carrier at Orlando International, said operations were getting back on track Wednesday afternoon after minor delays because of the storm. Spokesman Dan Landson said about 75 percent of the airline’s system had great weather, which helped things run more smoothly.  Allegiant, the primary carrier at Orlando Sanford International Airport, said the airline has only a handful of flights scheduled Wednesday, which is a quieter day for departures from the Seminole County airport. Airline spokeswoman Jessica Wheeler reported no problems at midday Tuesday. Officials at Orlando International predict air traffic will be back to normal by Saturday and Sunday, which are forecast to be the busiest days at OIA during the Thanksgiving holiday.

Orlando International Airport sets a new record

orlando-airport-codeOrlando International Airport ends 2012 – 2013 fiscal year with a record number of international travelers. International traffic increased to 3.9 million travelers, 5.2 percent more than last year. At the same time domestic traffic is down by 2 percent to 23.4 million passengers. “As we continue to set new international travel records year after year, it is imperative that the Authority plans for more international growth by enhancing our infrastructure and maximizing our customer service efforts,” says Frank Kruppenbacher, Chairman of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority. The airport authorities approved $1.1 billion expansion plan in October. The project includes four additional international gates, an automated people mover, improvements to the ticket hall and baggage screening areas, and a rail terminal to support All Aboard Florida, a train service between Orlando and Miami that is being backed by private investors. Traffic to MCO comes from the new air services from several airlines this year. GOL Airlines increased service from five to seven days per week to Sao Paulo, Brazil and Southwest Airlines increased service to Minneapolis to seven days per week. Also notable in September, Delta Air Lines celebrated 43 years of service at MCO, Frontier Airlines celebrated 14 years and SunWing 7 years of operations at Orlando International Airport. JetBlue and Spirit Airline added new flights to the airport. Spirit will fly daily from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and JetBlue – from Worcester, Mass. The latest addition is from two days ago. Air Canada rouge will officially began service at Orlando International Airport. Eventually, the airline will provide service from Toronto to Orlando with six flights per day, seven days a week, according to a news release. Air Canada rouge is a component of Air Canada Leisure Group and the A-319 aircraft seats 136 passengers.

A week devoted to attractions in Orlando

The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions has chosen Orlando for its annual expo. The Event will take pace at the Orange County Convention Center this week. Over 25,000 people are expected to attend the show coming from more than 100 countries. “We would encourage people to buy tickets early as they may sell out throughout the week,” said Colleen Mangone, manager of media relations for IAAPA.

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More about the convention on OrlandoSentinel

A quicker way through security for Southwest Airlines clients

Southwest Airline has joined the TSA PreCheck program at Orlando International Airport . It allows frequent flyers to go through security with minimum effort – without having to take their shoes, jackets or belts off and with their latop in its case. Jerry Henderson, who runs TSA in Orlando, estimates the TSA Pre line is, on average, three times faster than going the usual route.

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More information from OrlandoSentinel

Living in Disney World

Golden-Oak1Disney World is a place which every child wants to visit. And after seeing it – dreams to stay there. And not just every little kid, I mean child-at-heart grownups too. For almost two years now some grownups have a chance to make their dream come true.

The Golden Oak Gated Community is the only place in the world where homeowners actually live on Disney park property. 980 acres have been set aside for the company to build up to 450 homes at Lake Buena Vista – some within eyesight of the famous Cinderella Castle fireworks. Approximately 100 homes are already built and most of them are sold. Owning a place in the „happiest place in the world” does not come cheap. Prices are between $1,7 and 7 million and annual fees of as much as $12K  but many would say it is worth it. disney-cinderella-castleThe perks include park passes, door-to-park transportation, extended hours for visiting attractions such as the Magic Kingdom and Epcot, and a 17,000-square-foot clubhouse with a restaurant and concierge. Residents also will have access to some of the amenities, including the spa and dining rooms at the $370 million, 444-room Four Seasons resort scheduled to open in Golden Oak next summer. And for some die-hard Disney fans, having a view to Cinderella’s Castle is all they need.

New Florida air services

JetBlue and Spirit Airline added new flight to Florida airports this week. spiritSpirit Airlines will start four seasonal direct routes to warm-weather destinations from the Twin Cities. The nonstop daily flights from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport g Los Angeles (LAX), Orlando (MCO), Phoenix Sky Harbor (PHX) and Tampa (TPA). “We’re excited to offer Minnesotans even more low fare options to even more warm and sunny destinations with Spirit’s ultra-low fares and optional add-ons for a total price that’s tough to beat!” said Spirit’s Vice President of Network Planning, Mark Kopcza The new JetBlue services will fly from Worcester, Mass. To two Florida destinations – Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood and Orlando. The daily flights to Orlando are scheduled to depart Worcester Regional Airport (ORH) at 7:30 a.m. and arrive at Orlando International (MCO) at 10:33 a.m. They will leave Orlando at 1 p.m. and arrive at Worcester Regional Airport at 3:38 p.m.jetblue