To win, a kid age 13 – 18 needs to answer a simple question: Why does Orlando make you smile? The answers, which must be by video, can either be animated or in live action and can’t exceed three minutes. The winners will be announced in late February, and their films will be premiered at the film festival.
John William Moyer, a 60-year-old visitor to Walt Disney World probably won’t be welcome at the theme park any longer. The Cressona, Pennsylvania resident was convicted of feeling up Minnie Mouse (yes, there are people inside those suits). Moyer claimed he was innocent, and his son vouched for him, saying that his father would never touch a woman inappropriately.
Meanwhile, the victim reveals, according to an Associated Press report, that “she had to do everything possible to keep Moyer’s hands off her breasts.”
Moyer was nailed for misdemeanor battery. His punishment includes 180 days probation, 50 hours of community service and to write an apology to the victim. He’s also on the hook for $1,000 in court costs and may have to submit to a mental evaluation.
Orlando has spoken! A pair of New Yorkers rose above hundreds of applicants to become Orlando’s Smile Ambassadors. For 67 days, they will experience more than 100 attractions offered … which includes a hell of a lot more than just a dance with the Mouse. Alligators will be involved, for example. Along the way, they’ll blog and their experiences, giving the rest of the world an “in the trenches” view of what Orlando has to offer.
The final test for Kyle Post, a Broadway performer and Stacey Doornbos, a childcare worker in Harlem, was a 67-hour “boot camp” that ended on July 29, 2009. The candidates went hang gliding, did some indoor skydiving and checked out downtown Orlando, blogging and tweeting as though it were the real deal.
“Every member of the selection committee agrees that selecting one pair from our ten finalists was one of the toughest career decisions we have each faced,” said Gary C. Sain, president and CEO of the Orlando CVB. “Each pair demonstrated tremendous creativity, desire and commitment. We thank all of the finalists for making us smile and ultimately look forward to Kyle and Stacey bringing the complete Orlando experience to life for a worldwide audience starting Aug. 27.”
Kyle and Stacey have been frends since childhood, growing up together in Holland, Michigan. They have taken more than 30 amusement park trips together and say they’ve been on 618 rides. Kyle moved to New York and was cast in RENT, and Stacey wound up in the city after experiencing seven countries in three months.
The duo took a “friendship honeymoon” (how it pains me to use that expression … it’s worse than “staycation”) to Orlando shortly after they finished college, so it’s easy to see why Kyle says, “We feel like everything we have done in our lives so far has led to this moment.” He continues that they “chose to apply for this position because Orlando embodies everything we are – passionate, charismatic and adventurous. We can’t wait to start our 67 days in Orlando to share everything we learn about what this amazing destination has to offer.”
Prices are about to go up at Disney World, but the company is keeping the increases reasonable. Theme park multi-day admission prices will increase by 2.5 percent to 5.3 percent, depending on the nature of the passes. In 2006, when the economy was strong, the park hiked prices 16 percent.
The money has to come from somewhere. Hotel bookings are down 7 percent for Disney’s domestic parks this quarter, and the discounts used to bring more people in the door are hitting the company’s bottom line, as well. Park attendance was up last quarter, but revenue fell 9 percent, thanks to aggressive hotel room pricing.
What’s this all mean? Disney CEO Bob Iger doesn’t expect the economy to recover anytime soon, so he’s got to keep Mickey’s pockets full. He does make the point, however, that a $79 ticket to the Orlando park compares favorably to sporting events, ski lift tickets and other forms of entertainment – not a bad point.