Orlando Grads Convene In T.O.
with Martha Chapman

Angela Beasley of CWT Bracebridge with Barbara Lowe of CWT Midland, Ont.

Anita Walker, proud Canadian rep for Orlando/Orange County CVB

The stunning banking hall

New Wave Travel’s Ray Surette, Disney aficionado par excellence!

You usually associate graduations with sunny days in June – not gloomy November evenings.  But the Orlando/Orange County folks wisely held theirs in Toronto this week, just as all us Canucks are gearing up for a busy winter season.

The venue was the snazzy Grand Banking Hall at One King West, a stunning heritage building in the heart of downtown, and the occasion was the official graduation of dozens of agents who have taken the first on-line Orlando Travel Academy.  And what would a graduation be without mortarboards (complete with tassels), photography, and a few adult beverages to celebrate?

The program has clearly been a success, with some 400 Canadian agents already making the grade. Plus, for just a couple of hours of their time, the grads get a raft of goodies such as discounts and freebies, and 2 CITC credits!

So since it was all about education, I asked the hosts (and some agents) to share some surprising factoids about Orlando.

Peter Cranis, VP Leisure Marketing with MCO, told me that you’d officially need 67 eight-hour days to take in all the attractions (in fact, they cleverly held a contest with the winners doing just that – check it out at  www.67daysofsmiles.com). Dennis Quinn of Universal Orlando Resort told me that his fave new thing to do is ride the Hollywood Ripride Rocket.  No bland boring roller coaster this:  you get to pick your music and are filmed by eight video cameras.  Hang onto your lunch!

Barbara Lowe of Carlson Wagonlit in Midland said that though she already sells “a ton of Orlando†she learned a lot from the course and was amazed to find out about the high-end dining and the golf, golf and golf.  Will she sell more armed with this new knowledge? “Absolutely!†And New Wave’s Ray Surette, who’s been to Disneyworld 27 times, says even he picked up some pointers, particularly about other attractions in the area.

Way to go, MCO.  You sure earned a lot of smiles.

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