AN ANCHOR HOTEL for the 600,000-square-foot
Broward County Convention Center at Port Everglades will be under
consideration once more in January. The Broward County Commission
will decide if the time is right to pursue a developer after at
least two failures to get the elusive hotel built in recent years.
A hotel with about 500 rooms was sought in the past. The Greater
Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau, according to its
president, Nicki Grossman, will be urging the commission to make
the attempt because the center is losing out on business from those
conventions that require an anchor hotel. With more than 3,000
rooms within a few minutes' drive, and with more rooms available
further out, the center has been able to handle its current meeting
business, she said. In fact, meetings attendees and collegiate and
amateur sports events have offset declines in the leisure sector,
she said. There are 90 conventions booked through 2006, she said.
ON SALE is the message from Orlando's
International Drive Resort Area, which extends fall discounts on
accommodations, attractions and dining. The I-Ride Trolley,
operating from 8 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. daily, is itself a bargain,
stopping at 94 locations, including some within walking distance of
the Universal Orlando, Wet 'n' Wild and SeaWorld parks. Tickets
are: single fare, 75 cents for ages 12 and older; seniors (65 and
older), pay 25 cents. Children (ages 11 and younger) ride free with
a paying adult. Unlimited-ride passes cost $2 to $7 depending on
their duration. For information, check the Web site at www.internationaldriveorlando.com and then look for
I-Drive on Sale. An area guide with $250 in coupon savings also is
available by calling (866) 234-7483.
AT UNIVERSAL ORLANDO'S Islands of Adventure
theme park, annual Halloween Horror Nights sales are going so well
that walkup guests lacking prepaid tickets were turned away last
Saturday night and, because attendance is capped, it could happen
again. A Universal spokeswoman suggested that agency clients buy
tickets in advance and arrive early to assure admission. The scary
experiences run from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays and
from 7 p.m. to midnight on selected weeknights. The series of 21
nights will end Nov. 2. For information, call (877) 2-FRIGHT or
check the Web site, www.halloweenhorrornights.com.
MEANWHILE, at Universal Orlando's Royal Pacific
Resort, Tchoup Chop, the Polynesian restaurant run by New Orleans
chef Emeril Lagasse, is now slated to open in December, rather than
during the fall.
THE MALL AT MILLENIA, opening in Orlando on
Oct. 18, is participating in commissionable shopping packages with
the Peabody Orlando, Westin Grand Bohemian and Marriott's Orlando
World Center. For information, contact Sally March, tourism
manager, (407) 363-3555, Ext. 207. The related Web site is found at
AT AMELIA ISLAND Plantation near Fernandina
Beach, the Falcon's Nest aviation-themed entertainment bar with 250
seats, will stage its grand opening on Nov. 8. The property's
Holiday Light Celebration is set for 7 p.m., Nov. 29. For
information, call (800) 874-6878 or check the Web site, www.aipfl.com.
PENCIL IT IN
• The Outside Sales Support Network will hold its National
Conference and Trade Show Dec. 8 to 10 at Universal Orlando, where
the Royal Pacific Resort will play host. For information, call
(888) 331-3592 and press option #2. A $99 nightly room rate is
• The 2002 First Coast Ham Jam, a festival featuring contests
involving pork barbecues, is set for World Golf Village, St.
Augustine, Oct. 31 to Nov. 3.