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Holiday Magic Has Arrived at Walt Disney World Resort for the 2021 Season

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – This holiday season marks the return of Candlelight Processional at EPCOT and a new holiday-themed after-hours event, “Disney Very Merriest After Hours,” at Magic Kingdom Park. As 2021 holiday festivities officially kick off Nov. 12 across Walt Disney World Resort, guests will discover a sleigh-full of festive entertainment, whimsical décor, seasonal food and drinks, special merchandise and more. Here is a look at merrymaking that can be found this year during the 50th anniversary celebration of Walt Disney World Resort:

Magic Kingdom Park

  • Main Street, U.S.A. is decked for the holidays with holly jolly seasonal décor and themed menu items at select locations.
  • On select evenings, special holiday projections will beam onto Cinderella Castle, alternating periodically throughout the night with the Castle transforming into a Beacon of Magic as part of “The World’s Most Magical Celebration.”
  • “Disney Very Merriest After Hours,” a new specially ticketed event, began Nov. 8 and continues on select nights through Dec. 21, 2021. The four-hour experience features “Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks,” Disney character sightings, holiday music, complimentary treats, “Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade,” and a new show, “Mickey & Minnie’s Very Merry Memories,” which draws inspiration from classic Disney holiday stage shows. The event is open to a limited number of guests after regular park operating hours, with lower wait times on more than 20 available attractions. Tickets can be purchased online at Disneyworld.com/events
  • Guests will have the opportunity to wave hello to Jolly Old St. Nick during special appearances through Dec. 24 of this year.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

  • The Hollywood Holiday Tower Hotel twinkles anew at the end of Sunset Boulevard during Sunset Seasons Greetings. Projection effects magically transform the park icon into snowy Arendelle, a Muppets gingerbread masterpiece, a Toy Story toy hotel, and a Dickensian village inspired by “Mickey’s Christmas Carol.” This holiday show also alternates with the tower’s nightly transformation into a Beacon of Magic.
  • “For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration” features a festive finale starring Olaf.
  • Santa Claus brings some North Pole cheer to a Merry Motorcade down Hollywood Boulevard through Dec. 24 of this year.
  • Minnie Mouse hosts a meal at Hollywood & Vine, joined by her pals in their holiday finest – and Santa, too!
  • Cheerful holiday décor throughout Disney’s Hollywood Studios honors the spirit of the season.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park

  • Discovery Island springs to life with a Merry Menagerie of winter animals in the form of playful, life-sized artisan-sculpted puppets interacting with guests.
  • The park’s centerpiece – The Tree of Life – becomes another Beacon of Magic most nights as a part of the 50th anniversary celebration. During the holiday season, there will be even more magic inspired by nature as the holiday edition of Tree of Life Awakenings also takes place most nights.
  • Accompanied by joyful songs of the season, Disney characters set sail down Discovery River, including limited-time voyages featuring Santa Claus through Dec. 24 of this year.

Disney Springs

  • The Walt Disney World shopping, dining and entertainment district transforms into a winter wonderland, full of sparkling lights, enchanting décor and holiday surprises, offering a wide array of Disney holiday merchandise, including ornaments, matching family pajamas, Spirit Jerseys and more.
  • The Disney Springs Christmas Tree Stroll presented by AdventHealth features 20 elaborately decorated themed trees, including some inspired by “The World’s Most Magical Celebration.”
  • In the evening, guests visiting Town Center experience a magical snowfall, bringing the spirit of the North Pole to Central Florida.
  • Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar becomes Jock Lindsey’s Holiday Bar with delightful décor and a delicious limited-time menu filled with festive favorites.
  • Santa Claus will visit Disney Springs, where guests have the opportunity to wave hello and pose for a photo through Dec. 24 of this year.

Disney Resort Hotels

  • Iconic trees and other seasonal touches turn Disney Resort hotels into holiday hideaways.
  • Select resorts feature intricate gingerbread displays perfect for holiday photographs … and inspiration for holiday treats.
  • Select resorts offer holiday menus at restaurants, as well as other specialty food and drinks.

EPCOT

  • The EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays presented by AdventHealth will return Nov. 26 – Dec. 30 with special live entertainment, Holiday Kitchens around World Showcase, a Holiday Cookie Stroll and more.
  • Candlelight Processional at EPCOT, a beloved holiday performance and Disney Parks tradition dating back to 1958 at Disneyland park, returns with a lineup of celebrity narrators telling the Christmas story, a choir of Disney Cast Members and a live orchestra.
  • Guests of all ages can take part in Olaf’s Holiday Tradition Expedition Scavenger Hunt to search for holiday traditions Olaf has gathered from around the world – and lost along the way!
  • A stirring and uplifting performance of music in celebration of Christmas and Kwanzaa, “JOYFUL! A Celebration of the Season” returns to the Showcase Plaza Stage.
  • Holiday traditions of the world come to life once again around World Showcase with unique presentations such as Las Posadasat the Mexico pavilion, the Canadian Holiday Voyageurs in the Canada pavilion, a Chinese Lion Dance celebrating the new year in the China pavilion, a Hanukkah storyteller along the promenade and delightful holiday storytellers in France, Italy, Japan, Norway and the United Kingdom.
  • Santa Claus will appear at EPCOT through Dec. 24 of this year, giving guests the opportunity to wave hello and pose for a photo.

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Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA) Announces 2023 Board of Directors Executive Committee

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FRLA's 2023 Board Chair John Horne, owner of Anna Maria Oyster Bars, Bradenton and Cafe L'Europe, Sarasota. Photo: FRLA.

TALLAHASSEE (FNN) – Today, the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA) announced the installation of its 2023 Board of Directors Executive Committee, which includes veteran industry leaders with nearly 230 years of combined experience in hospitality. As Florida’s premier non-profit hospitality trade association, FRLA has provided unmatched service to the industry and its members for more than 75 years. The mission of FRLA is to protect, educate, and promote Florida’s hospitality industry – a nearly $112 billion industry with more than one million employees.

 

FRLA’s 2023 Board of Directors Executive Committee is comprised of the following:

Chair: John Horne, Owner of Anna Maria Oyster Bars, Bradenton region, and Café L’Europe, Sarasota

Vice Chair: Roger Amidon, General Manager for Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island Beach Resort & Spa

Secretary/Treasurer and Restaurant Director: Nick Sarra, Chief Operating Officer, Saltwater Restaurants, Inc., Destin

Lodging Director: Barbara Bowden, Area Managing Director for Loews Hotels at Universal Orlando

Restaurant Director: Henry Delgado, Managing Partner, Smith & Wollensky Restaurant Group, Miami Beach

Lodging Director: Lisa Lombardo, Chief Culture and Strategy Officer, HDG Hotels, Ocala

Immediate Past Chair: Olivia Hoblit, Regional Manager for Innisfree Hotels, Amelia Island

“The 2023 FRLA Board of Directors Executive Committee is one of our strongest ever,” said Carol Dover, President and CEO of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA). “With more than two centuries’ worth of combined experience, we value the wisdom and guidance of these industry icons as we work to build on our industry’s incredible growth this year. In the face of uncertain economic times, historic food prices, and labor challenges, we need dedicated and passionate industry leaders who are innovative thinkers to get engaged. John Horne is a true visionary with such a warm and big personality who thrives in this wonderful ‘people business’ we all love, and we are thrilled to have him as our new Chair.”

“It’s an incredible honor to lead the FRLA Board of Directors, and I am looking forward to an outstanding year,” said John Horne, Board Chair for the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA). “Hospitality is the greatest industry in Florida, and it is our collective priority to keep it that way through our statewide and federal advocacy, as well as our commitment to make a difference in our local communities. We’re in the business of helping our guests have memorable experiences and ensuring that Florida remains the greatest place to live, work, and have FUN!”

 

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Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens adds New Year’s Eve celebration

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When: 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. with entry times at 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 31, 2022
Where: Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens | 3755 W Seminole Blvd, Sanford, FL 32771
What: Families in Central Florida can send 2022 out on a WILD note at the Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens.
The Zoo has added a night at its popular Asian Lantern Festival: Into the Wild, presented by Publix—New Year’s Eve. Families can stroll through dozens of larger-than-life, handcrafted lanterns around the Zoo, plus enjoy a DJ and an hourly countdown and celebration.
The perfect way to start off a date night or celebrate with the family and get the kids home at a reasonable time. The family-friendly fun lasts from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. with two entry times at 5:30 and 6:30 p.m.
Select tickets are available here, and more information is available at https://www.centralfloridazoo.org/lanterns/.
The Asian Lantern Festival runs on select nights through January 15.

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PHOTOS: The Complete List of Central Florida Hotel & Lodging Association’s 2022 Hospitality Gala Winners

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The winners of the Central Florida Hotel & Lodging Association (CFHLA)'s 2022 Hospitality Awards (l-r): Lou Rocco, ; Ray Garro, Global Engineering/ Resort Operations at Marriott Vacations Worldwide; Jason Siegel, President & CEO, Greater Orlando Sports Commission; and Jesse Martinez, General Manager, The Alfond Inn at Rollins. Photo: Photo: Hidekel Griffin/FNN News en Español.
The winners of the Central Florida Hotel & Lodging Association (CFHLA)'s 2022 Hospitality Awards (l-r): Lou Rocco, ; Ray Garro, Global Engineering/ Resort Operations at Marriott Vacations Worldwide; Jason Siegel, President & CEO, Greater Orlando Sports Commission; and Jesse Martinez, General Manager, The Alfond Inn at Rollins. Photo: Hidekel Griffin/FNN News en Español.

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN) – The Central Florida Hotel & Lodging Association recognized leaders in the hotel and hospitality industry during its annual Hospitality Awards gala at Disney Coronado Springs Resort Saturday.

The event not only honored industry leaders, but also provided legislative updates, including $50 million in the state budget to ensure Visit Florida and Enterprise Florida continue running until 2028, which was co-sponsored by former State Representative Daisy Morales, who was present Saturday.

The 2022 CFHLA Hospitality Award Winners

2022 Lodging Member of the Year
Jesse Martinez
General Manager, The Alfond Inn at Rollins

Jesse Martinez, General Manager of The Alfond Inn at Rollins received the Central Florida Hotel & Lodging Association's 2022 Lodging Member of the Year award during the 2022 CFHLA Hospitality Gala at Disney Coronado Springs Resort Saturday, December 17, 2022. Photo: J. Willie David, III/Florida National News.

Jesse Martinez, General Manager of The Alfond Inn at Rollins received the Central Florida Hotel & Lodging Association’s 2022 Lodging Member of the Year award during the 2022 CFHLA Hospitality Gala at Disney Coronado Springs Resort Saturday, December 17, 2022. Photo: J. Willie David, III/Florida National News.

2022 Engineer of the Year
Ryan Garro
Global Engineering/Resort Operations, Marriott Vacations Worldwide

Ryan Garro, who works in Global Engineering/Resort Operations for Marriott Vacations Worldwide, wins CFHLA's 2022 Engineer of the Year award during the 2022 CFHLA Hospitality Gala at Disney Coronado Springs Resort Saturday, December 17, 2022. Photo: J. Willie David, III/Florida National News

Ryan Garro, who works in Global Engineering/Resort Operations for Marriott Vacations Worldwide, wins CFHLA’s 2022 Engineer of the Year award during the 2022 CFHLA Hospitality Gala at Disney Coronado Springs Resort Saturday, December 17, 2022. Photo: J. Willie David, III/Florida National News

2022 PAC Member of the Year
Erin Sims, CEO of Landform of Central Florida, Inc.

FILE - Erin Sims receives her award during the CFHLA Hospitality Gala at the Loews Sapphire Falls Resort Saturday, December 18, 2021. Photo courtesy of the CFHLA.

FILE – Erin Sims receives her award during the CFHLA Hospitality Gala at the Loews Sapphire Falls Resort Saturday, December 18, 2021. Photo courtesy of the CFHLA.

2022 Allied Member of the Year
Lou Rocco, President & CEO, Global Sourcing International, LLC

Lou Rocco, President & CEO of Global Sourcing International, LLC wins CFHLA's 2022 Allied Member of the Year award during the 2022 CFHLA Hospitality Gala at Disney Coronado Resort Saturday, December 17, 2022. Photo: J. Willie David, III/Florida National News.

Lou Rocco, President & CEO of Global Sourcing International, LLC
wins CFHLA’s 2022 Allied Member of the Year award during the 2022 CFHLA Hospitality Gala at Disney Coronado Resort Saturday, December 17, 2022. Photo: J. Willie David, III/Florida National News.

2022 Charles Andrews Memorial Hospitality Award
Jason Siegel, President & Chief Executive Officer, Greater Orlando Sports Commission

Jason Siegel, President & Chief Executive Officer of the Greater Orlando Sports Commission, wins CFHLA's 2022 Charles Andrews Memorial Hospitality Award during the 2022 CFHLA Hospitality Gala at Disney Coronado Springs Resort Saturday, December 17, 2022. Photo: J. Willie David, III/Florida National News.

Jason Siegel, President & Chief Executive Officer of the Greater Orlando Sports Commission, wins CFHLA’s 2022 Charles Andrews Memorial Hospitality Award during the 2022 CFHLA Hospitality Gala at Disney Coronado Springs Resort Saturday, December 17, 2022. Photo: J. Willie David, III/Florida National News.

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Mellissa Thomas is Editor for Florida National News. | mellissa.thomas@floridanationalnews.com

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