Central Florida Roundup
Calculations: Orange County's string of GOP mayors may be coming to an end
- Universal Orlando opened a Fast & Furiousthemed ride in its Universal Studios Florida theme park.
- Nemours Children’s Hospital will begin a residency program at its Lake Nona hospital.
- The Coca-Cola Orlando Eye, one of the biggest attractions along the city’s International Drive tourist corridor, was renamed ICON Orlando.
- Delta Air Lines and Aeromexico began weekly summer flights between Orlando and Monterrey, Mexico.
- UCF opened an incubator for life-sciences startups in Lake Nona.
- Emeril’s Orlando, one of the flagship restaurants at Universal Orlando’s City- Walk, will close. The restaurant employs 108.
- Darden Restaurants, parent company of Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse and other chains, will pay $2.85 million to settle an age-discrimination lawsuit.
- The Holocaust Memorial and Resource Education Center, currently in a suburban facility in Maitland, will relocate to a $24-million, 40,000-sq.-ft. facility downtown that will be called the Holocaust Museum for Hope & Humanity.
- Orlando International Airport began using facial-recognition security screening technology.
- County hotel-tax collections rose 11% to $145.6 million through the first six months of the fiscal year.
- County commissioners voted to reinstate three-day waiting periods for guns sold at gun shows and flea markets.
- SeaWorld Entertainment will pay $11.5 million to settle a class-action lawsuit in which a judge ruled that the company had breached the contracts of tens of thousands of annual passholders by continuing to charge them monthly payments beyond the terms of their agreements.
- SeaWorld opened a new water slide in its Aquatica water park and said it will open a Sesame Street-themed land at Sea- World Orlando next year.
- The county voted to spend $2 million in hotel taxes to sweeten a bid for the 2022 Special Olympics and $1 million to help lure another Wrestlemania in 2023 or 2025.
- A Norwegian Cruise Line ship embarked on the first sailing from Port Canaveral to Cuba.
- Anuvia Plant Nutrients struck a deal with an agricultural supplier in Mauritius to begin selling its products in Africa.
INNOVATION: A Digital Boost
When Kingdom Strollers, an Orlando company that rents cribs and strollers to theme park visitors, hired Concepta, an Orlando web and mobile app developer, the results were impressive. Kingdom Strollers had Concepta digitize its business with a suite of technologies that included inventory tracking, online booking, delivery updates and travel agent referral tracking. The technology replaced manual systems that the owners had been using since they started the company in 2010, such as making all updates to an order over the phone and logging them into a single spreadsheet. Since digitizing, Kingdom Strollers, which rents primarily to Disney tourists, says revenue has grown more than 40%, and the company has moved from a 6,700-sq.-ft. rented office to a 16,000-sq.-ft. warehouse it bought.
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