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Senate panel OKs beer bill — that beer companies hate

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A bill that—as one beer-company insider put it—could allow theme parks to “extort” advertising dollars out of them cleared a Senate panel this week. The legislation (SB 388), which allows beer companies to advertise in theme parks, was OK’d unanimously by the Senate Regulated Industries Committee with scant attention. It chips away at the state’s “tied house evil” law by allowing ads, which could include a beer company sponsoring a concert or festival within a park. And ironically, the companies don’t want the law changed.…

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SeaWorld Parks announces largest expansion ever

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SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment announced the largest expansion in the company’s 53-year history. The improvements include three new roller coasters, two new shows and the transformation of Orlando’s Kraken coaster into a virtual reality ride. “We are doubling down on our mission to create experiences that matter,” said Joel Manby, president and CEO of SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, who made the announcement Tuesday at the IAAPA Attractions Expo at the Orange County Convention Center. SeaWorld is in the first year…

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Andy Gardiner, business leaders launch Florida Unique Abilities program to help disabled find work

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Senate President Andy Gardiner appeared in downtown Orlando Wednesday to promote the launch of the new Florida Unique Abilities partnership, an initiative that businesses can join to support hiring those with disabilities. Gardiner and business leaders representing AT&T, Walgreens, and SeaWorld, appeared at the Canvs building on Garland Avenue to talk up the program, saying it would behoove businesses all over the state and country to start hiring more people with disabilities. The Florida Unique Abilities partnership, they said, would…

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‘This is not over’: Hurricane sideswipes Florida coast

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Hurricane Matthew sideswiped Florida’s Atlantic coast early Friday, toppling trees onto homes and knocking out power to more than 800,000 people but sparing the most heavily populated stretch of shoreline the catastrophic blow many had feared. Authorities warned that the danger was far from over, with hundreds of miles of coastline in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina still under threat of torrential rain and deadly storm surge as the most powerful hurricane to menace the Atlantic Seaboard in over a…

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Hurricane Matthew spares South Florida, pushes north

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Hurricane Matthew scraped Florida’s Atlantic coast early Friday, toppling trees onto homes and knocking out power to a half-million people but sparing some of the most heavily populated stretches of shoreline the catastrophic blow many had feared. Authorities warned that the danger was far from over, with hundreds of miles of coastline in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina still under threat of torrential rain and dangerous storm surge as the hurricane pushed north. “Remember, it could be the worst of…

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For tourists, storm is Hurricane Who Shall Not Be Named

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Voldemort couldn’t stop Harry Potter, but Matthew did. Three of the world’s most popular tourist attractions, Universal Studios (home to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter), Walt Disney World and SeaWorld all made a rare decision to close their theme parks Thursday ahead of Hurricane Matthew’s arrival. Soggy tourists rushed to cram in a few more rides before their vacations ended, or tried to figure out how to pass the time instead. “I never get time off,” said Amber Klinkel, 25,…

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Report: Magic Kingdom world’s top theme park, drawing 20M

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Disney World’s Magic Kingdom continues to be the top amusement park draw in the world with 20.5 million visitors in 2015, according to a report released Wednesday. Disneyland in Anaheim, California, was No. 2 with an estimated 18.3 million visitors, followed by Tokyo Disneyland, which had an estimated 16 million, according to a report from AECOM and the Themed Entertainment Association. Disney World, Universal Orlando and SeaWorld all saw a jump in attendance in 2015 over the previous year, according to…

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