TORONTO — Experience Kissimmee is inviting Canadian travellers to “Escape the Cold” this winter in favour of the sun and sandy shores of Florida. And even though temperatures have been unusually mild north of the border, they still don’t beat the heat of sun-soaked Kissimmee.
Representatives from VoX International, which represents the destination in Canada, recently held a media luncheon in Toronto to promote the ‘Escape the Cold’ sweepstakes, which runs until March 27. Three Grand Prize winners will each receive a four-night prize package to Kissimmee, which includes: roundtrip airfare for four; rental car accommodations at the Fountains Resort at ChampionsGate; admission to Orlando Tree Trek; wristbands for unlimited rides at FunSpot America-Kissimmee; tickets to Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom; tickets to La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil; and an airboat experience with Spirit of the Swamp Airboats.
In addition, daily winners of the contest will receive a ‘Winter Survival Kit’ containing Kissmmee branded items like a scarf, gloves, hand warmers, colour-changing mug, hot cocoa and more.
To enter the sweepstakes, travellers can text SUNNY to 393939 or by visiting the official campaign website at EscapeCold.ca.
This year is an especially good time to visit Kissimmee and its surrounding area, which welcome a number of new attractions and offerings. The most notable include:
- Gatorland, the ‘Alligator Capital of the World’, officially launched its newest zip line ride, the Gator Gauntlet, an attraction accessible to park patrons with mobility challenges or other disabilities. The ride, which is wheelchair accessible, allows participants to travel 350 feet down a zip line and soar over the park and its lake of giant alligators.
- The Frozen Ever After ride at Walt Disney World’s EPCOT replaces the 27-year-old Maelstrom ride. Located in the Norway pavilion of the World Showcase, fantastic Disney storytelling combined with new technology and favourite characters and music from the film will make guests feel like they stepped into the kingdom of Arendelle.
- New Star Wars offerings have landed at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, including the Star Wars Launch Bay, which offers guests the chance to interact with characters from the film franchise. The adventure continues on newly enhanced Star Tours as well as at Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple.
- Universal Orlando Resort’s new Skull Island: Reign of Kong will make its debut this summer at Universal’s Islands of Adventure. Guests will board large vehicles and explore ancient temple structures while encountering hostile natives and fending off unspeakable terrors.
- Located just a short drive from Kissimmee, Busch Gardens Tampa has announced plans for a new family thrill ride called Cobra’s Curse, opening this year. The spin coaster will be the only one of its kind, featuring a vertical lift and an 80-foot snake icon.
- The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex has introduced a new, live-action game experience called Cosmic Quest this month. Young guests, known as ‘trainees’, are immersed in a variety of STEM-based space adventures while learning about NASA’s current and future space science and exploration endeavours.
- Encore Club at Reunion Resort, a new luxury community in Kissimmee, is scheduled to debut in March. Located just five miles from Walt Disney World Resorts, this upscale ‘resort within a resort’ features a water park filled with drop slide towers and pools.
- Set to break ground in mid-2016 and opening in 2017, the US$750 million vacation resort MargaritaVillage will welcome families, couples and business travellers. The property will be home to a 175-room Margaritaville-branded hotel, 500 vacation homes, 300 timeshare units and approximately 550 condominiums. Other amenities include three acres of swimmable freshwater lagoons, children’s play areas, paddle boarding and snorkelling.
- The first Red Lion-branded franchise location in Florida has opened in Kissimmee. The Red Lion Hotel Orlando-Kissimmee Maingate has 516 guestrooms, complimentary parking and Wi-Fi, and an Angel’s Rock n’ Roll Café-Bar. A second hotel bearing the Red Lion flag – the 416-room Red Lion Hotel Orlando-Lake Buena Visa South – is planned to open in November.
For travel agents, Kissimmee is running a contest for agents with SeaWorld, Sunwing, and Alamo. Go to travelweek.ca/contests/win-amazing-vacation-two-kissimme/.
For more information on travel to Kissimmee, visit ExperienceKissimmee.com.