Travel Weekly's Florida E-Letter: December 24, 2002

THE HARD ROCK VAULT opened Dec. 23 at the Mercado Mediterranean Village along Orlando's International Drive. Grand-opening celebrations, meanwhile, are slated for Jan. 16. The 17,000-square-foot interactive museum features themed exhibits and galleries showcasing memorabilia and displays "for music fans of all ages," said a spokesman. More than 1,000 items from the Hard Rock collection fill the rooms of The Vault, including the two guitars that spawned the entire collection -- the guitars of Eric Clapton and The Who's Pete Townshend that hung above the bar in the original Hard Rock Cafe in London. The Hard Rock Vault is open daily from 9 a.m. to midnight. General admission is $14,95 for adults and $8.95 for children ages 5 to 12. For more information, cal (407) 599-7625 or visit

EXHIBITS at The Vault include "The Hungry Eye," a look at poster art and record covers from rock history; "The Temple of Toys & Trinkets," featuring collectible rock & roll items; and "The Roots Room," honoring the early legends of rock music. Of special note is "The Total Immersion Tour," a multi-sensory walk through various periods of rock music, featuring a visit to "The Dressing Room," an in-depth look at rock fashion, and "The King's Chamber," a tribute to Elvis Presley.

FOUR SEASONS Hotels and Resorts purchased about 400 acres in Celebration, with future plans calling for the property to house a 425-room luxury hotel, an 18-hole golf course and a fractional ownership Four Seasons Residence Club. Still in the early planning stages, a date for construction has not been determined. This is the first property for Four Seasons in Central Florida. The company currently operates one other resort in Florida, Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach.

• Edgewater Beach Resort in Panama City Beach is extending discounted rates to travel agents through March 31. Rates start at $59 per night, double, for Sunday- through Thursday-night stays and $79 for Friday and Saturday stays. To book, call (800) 874-8686 or visit
• Through May 31, the National and the Palms properties in South Beach also are inviting agents with discounts. At the National, rooms start at $115 per night while rooms at the Palms run from $117 per night, including breakfast. Prices are per room, double. For details, call (800) 550-0505.

CONTINENTAL launched nonstop service on Dec. 12 between New York and Daytona Beach with two daily flights; and between Cleveland andWest Palm Beach with one flight per day.

• Society for Accessible Travel & Hospitality World Travel Congress for Travel with Disabilities & the Mature, Miami, Jan. 15 to 19.
• Florida Huddle, Coconut Grove, Jan. 22 to 24.
• Meeting Professionals International, Professional Educational Conference -- North America, Orlando, Feb. 2 to 4.
• United Motorcoach Association Motorcoach Expo, Orlando, Feb. 19 to 23.
• Seatrade, Cruise Shipping Convention, Miami, March 3 to 6.
• Travel Alternatives Group, 4th International Conference on Gay & Lesbian Tourism, Miami Beach, March 10 to 13.
• American Society of Association Executives, Strategic Leadership Forum, Kissimmee, March 29.

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