|By Jason Garcia and Sara K. Clarke, The
Orlando Sentinel, Fla.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Oct. 17, 2011--Walt Disney World is adding a new penalty for guests who don't show up for their reservations at some of its popular restaurants, in a move that could create some more openings in the resort's chronically full eateries.
Beginning Oct. 26, customers will have to provide a credit-card number to make reservations in Disney World's "signature" restaurants. Guests who miss their reservations will be charged $10 a person unless they cancel at least 24 hours in advance.
That means a party of five would be charged $50 if they are a no-show.
According to the site WDWMagic.com, the cancellation charge will apply to nearly 20 restaurants in Disney World's various theme parks and hotels, from Le Cellier Steakhouse in Epcot to Jiko at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge.
Orlando tops for health meetings
Orlando ranked as the top destination for health-care meetings in 2010, according to the Healthcare Convention & Exhibitors Association.
The destination pulled in 51 events last year, followed by Washington (46), San Diego (44), Las Vegas (43) and Chicago (36).
Orlando has turned to medical meetings in recent years as a key source of business, citing assets such as the University of Central Florida's new medical school and the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute as a way to attract more groups. In addition to providing training opportunities for those attending meetings, the medical venues offer local experts who can be tapped to speak at such events.
But while Orlando was tops in number of events, it didn't rank among the top five locations pulling the largest health-care meetings. Those five were: Chicago, Atlanta, Denver, New Orleans and Washington.
Of the top 20 cities for health-care meetings, Orlando had the lowest average hourly wage, at $18.71. The highest-paid destination was Washington, with a mean hourly wage of $29.95.
New name for U.S. 192?
Osceola County's tourism industry is asking local elected officials to consider changing the name of the county's main tourist drag, U.S. Highway 192 in Kissimmee.
Tourism promoters say the road's official name -- W. Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway -- is confusing to tourists. They're asking for a $29,000 study of whether the name should be changed and, if so, what the road should be called instead, said Mark Brisson, a spokesman for Fun Spot Attractions, a member of the 192 Business Alliance.
Barbara Kenney of the Osceola Resort Area Council is scheduled to make a pitch to county commissioners at their meeting Monday evening.
"This is being brought forth by the industry to try and make the tourist corridor in particular more marketable," Brisson said.
The main names being floated are "Vacation Boulevard" or "Vacation Highway," he said.
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