Travel Weekly's Florida E-Letter: January 1, 2003

DELTA CONNECTION will increase its service between Atlanta and five Florida destinations for the spring season beginning in January. One roundtrip flight will be added to Key West and Sarasota on Jan. 20 and to Melbourne and Panama City on Feb. 6. Two daily roundtrip flights will be added to Daytona Beach, one on Jan. 20 and one on Feb. 6. The five new flights will continue until April 4 and 5. The flights will be operated by Atlantic Southeast Airlines using 70-passenger Bombardier CRJ700 jets.

US AIRWAYS, meanwhile, will add daily nonstop service between Washington (National) and Fort Myers beginning Feb. 9. Flights will depart Washington at 8:40 a.m., and arrive in Fort Myers at 11:14 a.m. Return trips will depart Fort Myers at 12:15 p.m. and arrive in Washington at 2:29 p.m. The airline will deploy 144-seat Boeing 737-400 aircraft with 12 first class seats and 132 coach class seats. US Airways also runs nonstop flights from Washington to several other Florida cities: Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa and West Palm Beach.

MARRIOTT EXECUSTAY, the corporate housing division of Marriott Int'l, signed a franchise agreement with Tampa-based Mainsail Management Group under which Mainsail will become the Marriott ExecuStay franchisee for more than 200 apartment units in the Tampa-St. Petersburg area. Mainsail will also assume management of ExecuStay's existing corporate housing units in Tampa. The agreement takes place Jan. 1.

THE COLONY HOTEL in Palm Beach recently completed a $7 million, four-year renovation. The hotel was brightened with a new tropical color scheme of green, yellow, gold and red, but retains its underlying British Colonial style. The hotel's furnishings also have been redesigned and the Royal Room's cabaret performance offerings were beefed up.

DISNEY-MGM STUDIOS added new audio, visual and olfactory special effects to its Twilight Zone Tower of Terror attraction. In addition, Disney is introducing a new system of random "ride and drop sequences" that make the sequence of effects unpredictable even to the attraction's operators. The new ride sequences and special effects debuted Dec. 31.

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