AMTRAK was set to resume Auto Train service
yesterday between the southern terminus of Sanford, Fla., and the
northern terminus, Lorton, Va., outside Washington. Service was
suspended after the derailment April 18 of an Auto Train near
Crescent City, Fla., 44 miles north of Sanford. Temporary tracks
are being used near the crash site. The accident, now being
investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board, left four
dead and 159 injured. Amtrak reported that 14 passenger cars
derailed. In all 418 passengers and 34 Amtrak employees were on
board, along with 200 vehicles.
AMERICA WEST VACATIONS added Orlando packages
to its North American roster. For information, call (800) 356-6611
or check the Web site, www.americawestvacations.com.
RECRUITMENT of more than 4,000 permanent and
seasonal workers was begun by Florida's major theme park operators:
Disney, Universal and Busch Entertainment (SeaWorld). All
anticipate a normal influx of summer vacationers.
ROYAL CROWN PALM PLAZA officials decided to wait a little longer
before opening the 442-room Miami Beach hotel to guests. While May
1 was the projection reported in TW's Florida E-Letter last week,
the opening has been reset for May 15. For information, call (305)
604-5700 or check the new Web site www.royalpalmcp.crowneplaza.com.
FAMILY ACTIVITIES will be underscored by The Breakers, Palm
Beach, when it introduces a modified version of its Coconut Crew
Interactive Camp. In the past, activities were designed for
children only. Now the activities are for adults as well, with the
expectation of interaction. The revised camp program meets demands
for more family activities, a hotel official said. The camp program
is in session May 24 to Sept. 22. Available over those dates is a
$150 credit per room on two-night stays and a $200 credit on
three-night stays during major holidays. Funds from the credit can
be applied to the camp and other hotel activities. For information,
call (888) BREAKERS.
CYPRESS GARDENS, near Haines City, will hold
its annual Mum Festival from Oct. 1 to Nov. 3. In past years, it
has been held in November. For information, call (800)
THE IMAX DOME THEATRE at the Museum of Science
and Industry, Tampa, offers these films: "Disney's Beauty and the
Beast" through May 20; "Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure" through
June 27, and "Space Station," May 18 to Nov. 21. Also, "*NSYNC:
Bigger Than Live," the giant screen version of the popular group's
"No Strings Attached" concert, opens June 15 and continues through
July 14. Also coming is "Australia: Land Beyond Time," June 28 to
Dec. 31. Group rates are available for the Imax Theater. Check www.mosi.org for
DOLLY PARTON'S previously announced Dixie
Stampede dinner show, to be run in the Orlando area by a subsidiary
of Pigeon Forge, Tenn.-based Dollywood Productions, postponed its
opening from this November to early 2003 or later. The downturn in
tourism to central Florida since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks led
to the postponement. A site off Interstate 4 was selected for the
1,200-seat attraction, which has yet to break ground.
CHARLTON HINES took over as managing director
of the 740-room Loews Miami Beach Hotel. He came from The
Ritz-Carlton, South Beach, where he was general manager. In related
news, the Loews property introduced a 10% commissionable $169
nightly room rate for June 1 to Sept. 15, when its SummerFest
activities will be available for children, teens and adults. These
include sandcastle contests, table tennis, scuba-diving lessons
(ages 13 and older), beach power walks, Latin dance classes and
poolside movies. For information, call (800) 23-LOEWS or check the
Web site www.loewshotels.com.
MEETING DEAL: The 1,014-room Wyndham Palace
Resort & Spa in the Walt Disney World Resort offers meeting
planners a value-added incentive called the Exceptional Meetings
credit. Under the plan, a new group booking will qualify for a 5%
to 7% credit to the master account for room, food and beverage
purchases when at least 100 room nights are paid. New meetings must
be booked by June 30, for qualified dates between September and
December. For 100 to 500 total room nights, there is a 5% credit;
for 501 to 1,000, it is 6%; for 1,001 or more, it is 7%. For
information, call (407) 827-3364.
JONATHAN TISCH, CEO of Loews Hotels, New York,
will be the luncheon keynote speaker Thursday at the Revisiting the
Visitor Industry tourism seminar set for the Turnberry Isle Resort
in Aventura. The seminar was organized by the Greater Miami Chamber
of Commerce, with the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors
Bureau acting as a co-sponsor. For information, call (305) 350-7700
or check the Web site www.greatermiami.com.
OPENING AROUND May 1 will be the 110-room tower
addition to the historic Riverside Hotel in downtown Fort
Lauderdale, bringing its inventory to 217 units. The high-rise,
with 7,400 square feet of meeting space, will allow the property to
go after corporate and group guests. Group rates for 10 or more can
be quoted on either a commissionable or net basis. Room rates for
the new wing are from $169 per night, corporate; $189 rack. For
information, call (954) 467-0671.
CARDEL HOSPITALITY Group, Miami, with seven
hotels in Florida and one in Costa Rica, launched a Web site at www.cardelhotels.com.
TO BOLSTER TOUR operator business, the
landmark, 585-unit Roney Palace in Miami Beach, retained Muzii
& Associates, Miami, to negotiate contracts on its behalf. Led
by industry veteran Ron Muzii, the firm can be reached at (305)
THE 80-UNIT Comfort Suites Sawgrass, Tamarac,
held its grand opening. Nightly rates are from $80 per room. The
property, at 8301 W. Commercial Blvd., is owned by Dilip Patel of
Hollywood, Fla. For information, call (800) 4-CHOICE.
LOYALTY HONORS: The Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf
Resort & Spa, Destin, received the Hilton chain's 2001 Customer
Loyalty Award, beating out all other Hiltons with 500 or more
rooms. Guests' written comments were tabulated to determine which
hotel was the recipient.