Hugs And Kisses From Kissimmee
with Martha Chapman

Linda Randolph, Terri O’Neal and
Jackie Moquin

Sylvia Oliande and René Kuziv of the Kissimmee CVB

If you ever think you are not appreciated enough, may I suggest you have a word with the tourism folks from Kissimmee in Florida?

Boy do they ever love us. So much so that René Kuziv of the Kissimmee CVB and a team make an annual pilgrimage to Canada to thank and educate us. You’d think Kissimmee would cower in the shade of nearby Orlando, but that’s not at all the case. In fact the area has a ton of attractions that lots of Canadians (390,000 of us last year, to be exact) love.

By the way, I learned it’s pronounced “ki-SIMM-ee”, though with the love-in happening with Canada I guess we could be excused for putting the emphasis on the KISS.

As Sylvia Oliande of the Kissimmee CVB puts it “We love Canadians – they’ve been coming for generations, know the area really well – and they stay longer.”

And Linda Randolph of Tuscana Condominiums told me, “By now we’re seeing parents bringing along their kids so they can experience what the parents enjoyed when they were little. And we’ve got so much to do, they don’t have to worry about their kids sitting in the sun and frying!”

Yes, lots to do indeed. Linda says she loves Disney but confesses her heart is in Gatorland – “And I get to see gators in my back yard! But they really do a bang up job at Gatorland, educating and getting up close.”

Jackie Moquin of Star Island Resort says she loves to go to the beach. After all, it’s just an hour’s drive away. Terri O’Neal from Seralago Hotel and Suites recommends the theme parks for little ones – “I take my 3 year old grandson and it’s wonderful – he’s starting to see the magic.”

But Sylvia has the best mouth-watering suggestion: a stop at Pure Magic Ice Cream where they will whip up a concoction to your order (peanut butter flavour? brownie?) and flash freeze it in front of your eyes.

In this heat wave, that’s enough to make me want to be Kissimmee’s 390,001st Canuck this year!

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