Tag Archives: travel planning

A New Record for U.S. Travel: Orlando First to Surpass 70 Million Annual Visitors

Tourism officials announced today a historic milestone in the travel industry as Orlando became the first U.S. destination to surpass 70 million annual visitors. In 2017, 72 million visitors traveled to Orlando, an increase of more than 5 percent over the prior year, once again making it America’s most-visited destination.

Visit Orlando, the region’s official destination tourism and marketing organization, shared the number today at a special gathering of more than 1,000 tourism and community leaders.

“Our record-breaking year was achieved despite international headwinds and the statewide effects of Hurricane Irma,” said Visit Orlando President and CEO George Aguel. “In 2017, our destination launched new consumer experiences on a significant scale and our marketing efforts leveraged increasing consumer confidence in the United States. We also continued our focus on communicating the unique emotional connection visitors have with Orlando.”

“Orlando’s record-setting visitation affirms the city as a leader in the U.S. travel industry,” said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow. “The success in Orlando is great, not just for this iconic destination, but for travel as a whole. As the U.S. overall looks to regain its share of the global travel market, this new milestone in Orlando is a welcome reminder of the resiliency of this industry.”

Orlando reached a host of new milestones in 2017 including:

  • Record number of U.S. visitors
  • Record convention attendance: The Orange County Convention Center welcomed an unprecedented 1.53 million attendees (+5.0 percent).
  • Record airline arrivals: Orlando International Airport became the busiest airport in Florida, with 44.6 million passengers (+6.4 percent).

In addition to the openings of new attractions, resorts and dining venues, Orlando’s visitation benefited from new and adjusted destination marketing strategies from Visit Orlando.

  • Domestically, Visit Orlando recognized the potential of the country’s growing positive economic indicators and increased marketing initiatives focused on U.S. audiences, with a special emphasis in the important Northeast region. Domestic visitation for 2017 grew to an all-time record total of 65.86 million.
  • Internationally, with several key markets facing uncertainties, Visit Orlando maintained its extensive marketing, brand and publicity programs to retain Orlando’s leading position as a top international destination, with 6.15 million visitors.
  • Swiftly addressing potential concerns after Hurricane Irma struck in September, Visit Orlando quickly launched initiatives to demonstrate how Orlando tourism areas rebounded. This was accomplished through social media and publicity campaigns that used authentic visuals of real guests, in real-time, enjoying and commenting on the status of the destination.

About Visit Orlando
Visit Orlando, The Official Tourism Association®, represents the most visited destination in the United States, with a presence in more than a dozen countries around the world. Visit Orlando, together with its 1,200 member organizations, represents every segment of the area’s leading industry.


For more I-4 travel information, visit www.i4exitguide.com, the Internet’s largest and most complete website devoted to Interstate 4. Detailed exit service listings… discount lodging, camping, food, gas and more for every exit from Tampa to Daytona!

Traveling another route? Visit our growing family of exit guides: I-95 Exit GuideI-5 Exit GuideI-10 Exit Guide and I-75 Exit Guide.

There’s Something New for Thrill Seekers at U.S. Theme Parks and Water Parks in 2018

Record numbers of theme park visitors are preparing for thrilling and memorable new experiences as the unofficial theme park season opens Memorial Day Weekend.

According to the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions’ IAAPA Global Theme and Amusement Park Outlook Report (2017 to 2021), in 2018 the anticipated U.S. theme and amusement park attendance estimate is 398.5 million and guest spending will grow to an estimated $23.58 billion.

Roller coasters are a big part of new development across the country this season, and an abundance of new rides and experiences—more than 70 according to an early 2018 IAAPA compilation—include water slides, kiddie rides and new themed lands.

“There really is something new for everyone this season,” said Susan Storey, communications director, IAAPA. “The industry is innovative and dynamic, and this year many destinations are debuting their own ‘spin’ on amusement park favorites, infusing speed and height with twists and turns and even unexpected ‘surprise’ elements. The best part is many of these experiences were created for the entire family—kids and adults—to enjoy together.”

According to park guest surveys, roller coasters remain the top-rated ride of interest to park guests, and 2018 will see many new coasters deliver big thrills, added Storey.

With 12 roller coasters, four giant swings, four towering rides and, many more unique experiences to excite visitors, parks across the country are ready for a season filled with fun. Family entertainment centers are a segment of the attractions industry that continues to grow and expand, offering an array of experiences from golf and go-karting to ziplines and trampolines. These traditionally smaller destinations provide a mix of activities designed for parents and kids to experience together. Families can also soak up the fun at the nation’s water parks, with many new water slides and water attractions making a splash all season long.

The list of new attractions is available at http://bit.ly/2G7DCOd

“Summer is synonymous with the attractions industry and our member facilities continue to create new and memorable experiences for their guests,” said Storey. “This year is truly an exciting one for the business of fun.”


For more I-4 travel information, visit www.i4exitguide.com, the Internet’s largest and most complete website devoted to Interstate 4. Detailed exit service listings… discount lodging, camping, food, gas and more for every exit from Tampa to Daytona!

Traveling another route? Visit our growing family of exit guides: I-95 Exit GuideI-5 Exit GuideI-10 Exit Guide and I-75 Exit Guide.

I-4 Ramp to Adventure Way Closing Nightly Thru May 3

Motorists looking to head to the attractions area at night could encounter the nightly closure of the westbound Interstate 4 (I-4) exit ramp to Adventure Way.

The ramp closes from 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. thru May 3 to assist with ongoing work at the Kirkman Road (State Road 435) and I-4 interchange.

Modifications or extensions to this schedule may become necessary due to weather delays or other unforeseen conditions. Motorists are advised to maintain a safe speed when driving through the work zone.


For more I-4 construction information, visit www.i4exitguide.com, the Internet’s largest and most complete website devoted to Interstate 4. Detailed exit service listings… discount lodging, camping, food, gas and more for every exit from Tampa to Daytona!

Traveling another route? Visit our growing family of exit guides: I-95 Exit GuideI-5 Exit GuideI-10 Exit Guide and I-75 Exit Guide.

Unwind Oceanside at Cocoa Beach Uncorked Food and Wine Festival

Showcasing Central Florida’s most-renowned chefs, restaurants and breweries, the second annual Cocoa Beach Uncorked Food and Wine Festival takes place April 28-29 at Alan Shepard Park.

The two-day celebration of food, wine and craft beer offers attendees a chance to indulge in the finest tastes the region has to offer, while unwinding along Cocoa Beach’s spectacular oceanfront.

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I-4 Exit to Fairbanks Avenue Shifting to 2 Miles Sooner

Beginning the morning of April 12, motorists on eastbound Interstate 4 (I-4) who wish to exit to Fairbanks Avenue will be required to do so nearly 2 miles sooner. The new temporary configuration will combine the exits to Fairbanks Avenue (Exit 87) with Par Street (Exit 86).

The purpose of this temporary configuration is to move the auxiliary lane of existing eastbound

I-4 to the newly constructed portions of the roadway.

In August 2017, traffic entering eastbound I-4 from Princeton Street and exiting eastbound I-4 to Par Street was separated from the mainline of eastbound I-4 onto newly constructed portions of the roadway. The temporary Fairbanks Avenue exit ramp opening on April 12 will add to this temporary road configuration. This configuration is not part of the final design for the I-4 Ultimate project, but is a necessary intermediary step to create space so crews can continue building the new eastbound I-4 while maintaining the same number of lanes.

Modifications or extensions to this schedule may become necessary due to weather delays or other unforeseen conditions. Motorists are advised to maintain a safe speed when driving through the work zone.


For more I-4 construction information, visit www.i4exitguide.com, the Internet’s largest and most complete website devoted to Interstate 4. Detailed exit service listings… discount lodging, camping, food, gas and more for every exit from Tampa to Daytona!

Traveling another route? Visit our growing family of exit guides: I-95 Exit GuideI-5 Exit GuideI-10 Exit Guide and I-75 Exit Guide.

Nighttime Closures on I-4 and Central Parkway in Orlando Scheduled for March 26-28

The Florida Department of Transportation reports that both directions of Interstate 4 under Central Parkway are temporarily closing for one night each on March 26 and 27 for nearby construction activity.

  • Eastbound I-4 closes at 10 p.m. on Monday, March 26, and concludes at 5 a.m. on Tuesday, March 27.
  • Westbound I-4 closes at 10 p.m. on March 27, and concludes at 5:30 a.m. on Wednesday, March 28.
  • Central Parkway over I-4 will close from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. both nights to support the operation.

The detours use Douglas Avenue, Montgomery Road, State Roads (S.R.) 436 and 434.

Modifications or extensions to this schedule may become necessary due to weather delays or other unforeseen conditions. Motorists are advised to maintain a safe speed when driving through the work zone.


For more I-4 construction information, visit www.i4exitguide.com, the Internet’s largest and most complete website devoted to Interstate 4. Detailed exit service listings… discount lodging, camping, food, gas and more for every exit from Tampa to Daytona!

Traveling another route? Visit our growing family of exit guides: I-95 Exit GuideI-5 Exit GuideI-10 Exit Guide and I-75 Exit Guide.

Lane and Ramp Closures, Detours for I-4 Construction in Seminole and Volusia Counties

The Florida Department of Transportation will be installing lighting and new highway signs at several interchanges along I-4 in Seminole and Volusia counties. The lighting will be installed along the main travel lanes and ramps, and will include both standard light poles and the taller high-mast poles. The I-4 locations are at U.S. 17/92, Dirksen Drive, S.R. 472, Orange Camp Road, S.R. 44 and U.S. 92 ramp.
This project also includes lighting on County Road 15 (Monroe Road) at U.S. 17/92.

The following traffic impacts will result:

Lane Closures
Sunday, March 25th, 2018 to Saturday, March 31st, 2018

  • I-4 ramp closure: Tuesday – Wednesday, 10 p.m. – 5 a.m., S.R. 472 westbound on ramp to I-4 eastbound will be closed. Traffic will be directed to take I-4 westbound to Saxon Boulevard toward Deltona to access I-4 eastbound.
  • Thursday – Friday, 8:30 p.m. – 6 a.m., single lane closure on I-4 westbound west of the Dirksen Drive interchange for installation of light pole bases.
  • Sunday, March 25th, 2018 to Saturday, March 31st, 2018
    Sunday – Monday, 8:30 p.m. – 6 a.m., single lane closures possible on S.R. 472 eastbound and westbound near the I-4 interchange for installation of light pole bases

For more I-4 construction information, visit www.i4exitguide.com, the Internet’s largest and most complete website devoted to Interstate 4. Detailed exit service listings… discount lodging, camping, food, gas and more for every exit from Tampa to Daytona!

Traveling another route? Visit our growing family of exit guides: I-95 Exit GuideI-5 Exit GuideI-10 Exit Guide and I-75 Exit Guide.

Legoland Florida Debuts New Virtual Reality Coaster

Brick fans, start your engines! The newest attraction at LEGOLAND® Florida Resort combines roller coaster thrills with virtual reality (VR) technology to put guests in the center of an action-packed road rally where the laws of physics and aerodynamics only loosely apply.

Now open at the multi-day vacation destination, The Great LEGO® Race invites guests into a virtual world where they’re the star of a rollicking race against several LEGO minifigure competitors – all while taking an exciting roller coaster ride.

Wearing optional VR headsets while riding the roller coaster, guests experience the point of view of a LEGO race car driver with action taking place in every direction — up, down, forward, backward and all points in between — in a dazzling environment where everything is made of LEGO bricks.

The wild and wacky race pits guests against a LEGO pirate, wizard, surfer, trendsetter and pharaoh driving brick-built vehicles like a rocket-powered windsurfing rig, a stylish scooter fueled by espresso and an ornately canopied bed (called a “litter”) carried by mummy servants.

The adventure begins as guests step through the ride’s bold new entry portal, which features giant versions of several minifigure racers and their custom LEGO vehicles. The nearby queue is filled with colorful graphics representing each of the five racing teams, with themed elements to entertain waiting riders and video screens demonstrating the virtual reality experience.

Once guests are dispatched aboard the ride vehicles, sophisticated technology syncs the virtual visuals with the roller coaster’s twists, turns, drops and climbs, creating an all-new experience filled with action, surprises and humor — an experience only LEGOLAND could create.

Developed under the supervision of Merlin Magic Making, the company’s global creative and delivery division, The Great LEGO Race is the first virtual reality roller coaster experience designed for kids and represents the first time the LEGO brand and minifigure characters have been integrated with the state-of-the-art technology in a theme park attraction.

“The Great LEGO Race was inspired by the way kids play with LEGO toys at home,” said Candy Holland, senior creative director for Merlin Magic Making. “It’s a unique LEGO adventure that lets kids enter an epic, imaginary world made entirely from LEGO bricks, featuring a host of different themes and fun LEGO characters all mixed up together.”


For more I-4 travel information, visit www.i4exitguide.com, the Internet’s largest and most complete website devoted to Interstate 4. Detailed exit service listings… discount lodging, camping, food, gas and more for every exit from Tampa to Daytona!

Traveling another route? Visit our growing family of exit guides: I-95 Exit GuideI-5 Exit GuideI-10 Exit Guide and I-75 Exit Guide.

Traffic Shift for I-4 Westbound Construction in Orlando

The Florida Department of Transpoertation reports that motorists traveling on westbound Interstate 4 between Maitland Boulevard (SR 414) and Lee Road (SR 423) and will notice a new traffic shift.

All traffic on westbound I-4 between Maitland Boulevard and Lee Road is now shifted to the old eastbound I-4 lanes to prepare for roadway demolition and construction of the permanent westbound I-4 lanes. In December 2017, all eastbound I-4 lanes between Lee Road and Maitland Boulevard were shifted to new, permanent lanes. The westbound I-4 exit ramp to Lee Road also will shift about one-tenth of a mile sooner. The exit lane leading to the ramp will be maintained.

Orlando I-4 Construction | I-4 Exit Guide

Modifications or extensions to this schedule may become necessary due to weather delays or other unforeseen conditions. Motorists are advised to maintain a safe speed when driving through the work zone.


For more I-4 construction information, visit www.i4exitguide.com, the Internet’s largest and most complete website devoted to Interstate 4. Detailed exit service listings… discount lodging, camping, food, gas and more for every exit from Tampa to Daytona!

Traveling another route? Visit our growing family of exit guides: I-95 Exit GuideI-5 Exit GuideI-10 Exit Guide and I-75 Exit Guide.

I-4 Construction in Orlando Closing Local Roads This Weekend

The Florida Department of Transportation reports that portions of Douglas Avenue and Wymore Road are closing near State Road (S.R.) 436 for one weekend beginning the night of March 16.

The two road closures will begin at 10:00 p.m. on Friday, March 16, and will continue until 6:00 a.m. on Monday, March 19.

Orlando I-4 Construction | I-4 Exit Guide

Modifications or extensions to this schedule may become necessary due to weather delays or other unforeseen conditions. Motorists are advised to maintain a safe speed when driving through the work zone.


For more I-4 construction information, visit www.i4exitguide.com, the Internet’s largest and most complete website devoted to Interstate 4. Detailed exit service listings… discount lodging, camping, food, gas and more for every exit from Tampa to Daytona!

Traveling another route? Visit our growing family of exit guides: I-95 Exit GuideI-5 Exit GuideI-10 Exit Guide and I-75 Exit Guide.