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The Might of Mickey: Orlando still top U.S. destination

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It’s a crowded world after all – at least in Orlando’s hotels and theme parks. Tourism officials announced Monday that the number of visitors coming to Orlando last year jumped 5.5 percent to more than 66 million visitors. That figure sets a record for tourists in Orlando and helps the central Florida city hang onto its bragging rights as the top tourist destination in the United States for the second year in a row. The head of Orlando’s tourist marketing…

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Caricature artist charged with attempted murder in Universal Orlando attack

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A recently fired caricature artist at Universal Orlando Resort tried to kill his manager by stabbing him in the neck with scissors on New Year’s Day, according to a police report released Monday. Frederick Torres, 33, was charged with attempted first-degree murder for his attack on Glenn Ferguson at the Islands of Adventure park. Both artists draw caricatures at Universal’s parks but work for an outside firm, Orlando-based caricature firm, Fasen Artists Inc. The general manager of the firm, Anthony…

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Universal Orlando looks back 25 years, more innovation ahead

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When the Universal Orlando theme park opened in 1990, it was a way for visitors to have fun inspired by the movies they loved – without traveling to California. Director Steven Spielberg held the scissors at the ribbon-cutting. One of the first rides was themed on his movie “E.T.” Even ads for the park had the tone of a movie-quality teaser, promising the “greatest Hollywood production ever.” Jason Surrell, creative director at Universal Creative, saw that ad while still in…

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Board approves plan for world’s tallest coaster in Orlando

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Orlando’s hope of having the world’s tallest roller coaster is one step closer to becoming reality. Orange County’s board of commissioners granted zoning approval Tuesday night for the $500 million Skyplex Orlando project. The unanimous vote means that developer Joshua Wallack and his family can go forward with plans to build the 570-foot “Skyscraper” coaster and surrounding entertainment complex on Orlando’s International Drive. Several dozen people spoke about the plan at Tuesday’s standing room-only public hearing. The support included residents…

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SeaWorld ticket prices increase for single-day admission

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SeaWorld Orlando is increasing its single-day admission and parking prices. The Orlando Sentinel reports that adult prices for theme park admission rose by $2 to $99 on Monday. Tickets cost $94 for children younger than 10. Discounts are available when purchasing advance tickets online. The park also announced that parking costs will by $1 to $18. The increase comes several months after admission prices rose at Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando. SeaWorld’s annual passes remain unchanged at $156. The…

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