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^^ Spenser1058, you really need to do a podcast or something like that; YouTube perhaps where you're getting paid to blog.  your analysis and commentary is truly a great thing.  No BS, I mean it.

Yes I am tourist but I usually avoid the theme parks but did go to Disney Springs.  I knew they were restricting crowd size but did not know they had temperature checks in order to get in and masks we

Orlando will host the Special Olympics USA games in 2022: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/politics/political-pulse/os-ne-desantis-special-olympics-orlando-20190312-story.html From the Se

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Not really sure how I feel about this building, kind of a let down.

I take it that's the convention portion of the Hilton. As far as it being a letdown, my main focus is the 1,400+ hotel rooms that will help the OCCC stay competative. Newer hotel projects will see this and follow suit.

I think Peabody is doing a better job of wall-ing off I-Drive with their expansion. Hilron is too recessed, I agree, but, I'll take what we can get as they say. 1,400 rooms is huge by Florida standards.

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^It is a street with considerable pedestrian activity. All development along I-Drive at this point should be pedestrian oriented. I don't think we need to "take what we can get" if guidelines were put in place to just make it happen.

true, but remembering that 9-11 killed off and delayed most of the OCCC hotel projects, and slowed down the convention industry a bit, we are lucky that the Championsgate people collaborated with Hilton for this hotel. Need I even mention the Peabody debacle and the fact that, the mere fact that the expansion is in progress is a miracle- more so than 55W getting built... it really is.

Also, the mega-Hyatt proposal got chopped b/c of funding and eventually cancelled b/c of financing- most recently. If there is a new deal in the works, I'm not familiar with it.

So, that's where I'm coming from when I say I'll take what I can get, b/c the alternative could very well be no hotel at all. ANother example: Village of Imagine... the Westin looks so out of place with the rest of the development canceled.

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true, but remembering that 9-11 killed off and delayed most of the OCCC hotel projects, and slowed down the convention industry a bit, we are lucky that the Championsgate people collaborated with Hilton for this hotel. Need I even mention the Peabody debacle and the fact that, the mere fact that the expansion is in progress is a miracle- more so than 55W getting built... it really is.

Also, the mega-Hyatt proposal got chopped b/c of funding and eventually cancelled b/c of financing- most recently. If there is a new deal in the works, I'm not familiar with it.

So, that's where I'm coming from when I say I'll take what I can get, b/c the alternative could very well be no hotel at all. ANother example: Village of Imagine... the Westin looks so out of place with the rest of the development canceled.

the problem is we're then stuck with it even when times are good and it's damn near impossible to retrofit an auto-oriented monstrosity into a pedestrian friendly building. If the timing isn't right, it isn't right. Basically, the building has turned its back to the street. That's the biggest problem I see and you can't fix that.

disclaimer, I'm not an architect but I slept at a holiday inn last night.

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^^

you mean a Holiday Inn Express.... LOL!

definitely not what the casino hotels do to get you to go in... it's odd... the entrance faces the parking deck to the south about a block east of I-Drive; it doesn't even face the OCCC. it is quite odd.

Peabody works, though. so does the Rosen Plaza and Rosen Centre. But remember, that part of I-Drive where the Hilton is located is very close to the 528 ramp and overpass; hardly a place where pedestrians should be at anyways. It's extremely congested as well. it's the inbetween no-man's land zone between the OCCC and Sea World; not really much of a loss to pedestrian-friendlydom if you will. Across the street is a different story altogether; but on the east side of I-Drive, there's really nothing there, and I think it's b/c of the ramps to 528. It still doesn't explain why the lobby doesn't face the OCCC to the north, though.

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^^

you mean a Holiday Inn Express.... LOL!

definitely not what the casino hotels do to get you to go in... it's odd... the entrance faces the parking deck to the south about a block east of I-Drive; it doesn't even face the OCCC. it is quite odd.

Peabody works, though. so does the Rosen Plaza and Rosen Centre. But remember, that part of I-Drive where the Hilton is located is very close to the 528 ramp and overpass; hardly a place where pedestrians should be at anyways. It's extremely congested as well. it's the inbetween no-man's land zone between the OCCC and Sea World; not really much of a loss to pedestrian-friendlydom if you will. Across the street is a different story altogether; but on the east side of I-Drive, there's really nothing there, and I think it's b/c of the ramps to 528. It still doesn't explain why the lobby doesn't face the OCCC to the north, though.

Just because there is nothing there at this time doesn't mean you have to build it irresponsibly and in the Orlando vein of stupidity. Turning this into an extension of the pedestrian, walkable environment along I-Drive would have been a benefit to all, including the hotel which could have benefited from restaurant/retail runoff from the convention center and those coming in from surrounding attractions. And why shouldn't pedestrians be walking in this area? Plenty of pedestrians walk around the on/off ramps running through the city of Boston and they've managed just fine.

The reason this was designed the way it was is because no one in the City, or in this case the county, has demanded that they do it another way. Again, until there is a comprehensive approach to building urban environments that are friendly to pedestrians, it will always be free reign for developers. It is a shame really--this area, with all its attractions and retail activity, could have been a "Magnificent Mile" had the vision been in place. Chicago wasn't always the Chicago we know it to be today.

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^^

right up to the time of the proposal for the Hilton, there was so much backlash for the $$$ spent on the OCCC N/S Bldg. it was ridiculous. The County's excuse was the lack of convention-class rooms adjacent to the complex which hurt the center in head to head competition for certain shows. The County's No.1 focus was more rooms and fast, not whether it was ped friendly to passersby on I-Drive sidewalks. It caters directly to the N/S Bldg., and has a skywalk to foster that. That's pretty much it.

In Chicago, where I happen to be from BTW, noone walks where Mich Ave hits LSD; its a ped deathtrap even though highrise condos abut the west side of the street. THere's other parts of DT where peds avoid it like the plaque for the very same reasons. On I-Drive, you can't have pedestrians walking down the I-Drive sidewalk and crossing the off ramp from 528 WB which is a loop that creates another lane that eventually ends to the west of the N/S Bldg. They'll get killed. Tourists drive like idiots b/c they don't know where they're going usually.

anyway, to make a long story short, and its too late for that now, the Hilton is the Hilton. For better or worse, that's fine;

The Peabody is a totally different story altogether, save for the parking deck abutting Universal by Point Orlando- I'll never understand that one.

I don't know, maybe you are right about this...

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the county has never been all that concerned about pedestrian connectivity and urban design. It's getting a little better. Their transportation folks also have never really cared about bikes or peds and I'm sure that drove a lot of the design. From the pic it looks like there's an access drive leading to a structured parking deck or entrance. Move the cars at all costs and maintain traffic flow.

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^^

no, I actually agree with you two, after assessing the track record of some of these projects. Pointe Orlando has improved greatly from what it was before. Rosen was actually supposed to make improvements to cater to peds like you're saying, but not sure about the schedule of those improvements to the Centre and Plaza.

I think the story of Orlando is a bunch of self contained projects, kind of closed in the their surroundings, the more I think about it.

But I think that now, the gears are finally turning with the construction of the Hilton and Peabody, after the slow start that Westin, Pointe, and Vista Cay and Shingle Creek started a couple of years before that. With that project that, what's his name, Watson?, from Georgia, wants to do at OCCC N/S north side of the bldg., that's another step in the right direction I think.

If the Great Wheel gets built, I think that will have good ped access as well (or it will need it to make it more appealing to tourists)...

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  • 2 weeks later...
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sorry for lack of pix, but the new Hilton is lit up at night now. It has a white neon band lining the top occupiable floor, just under the red Hilton sign, and has white spotlight lighting on the non-windowed walls, kind of like the Flamingo Hilton does in LV.

very prominent, except you can't see it from I-4, and you can't get that good a look from I-Drive, b/c its edge-on. You can see it well from Kirkman and Universal, and for a brief period from 528.

it is what it is, and so is the Peobody miracle project, but, once these two hotel projects come online, Orlando will be sitting pretty and even more competative for those shows that need close-in hotel rooms for conventioneers. And that's what really counts.

I foresee that once these shows take notice, it will attract new development a few years down the line.

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Disney bought Marvel, what does it means to Universal Studio spiderman 3D and the Hulk?

Apparently nothing as it relates to the FL parks, as the Sentinel reports Uni has long-term contracts with Marvel east of the Mississippi for Spidey and Hulk. It could get interesting since nothing of that sort exists in California (and perhaps the foreign parks) where Disney could do something out there. Guests who have never fully understood who owns what will probably get even more confused. One fun sidenote for the Mouse is that IOA should have a boost in attendance with HP opening at IOA next year, and depending on whether their Marvel contracts are based on attendance levels, Disney could actually benefit from Universal's new attractions.

Outside of Florida, this also helps Disney get stronger with the boy market in the way they have captured the girls with princesses/Hannah Montana, etc.

Kudos to Iger on this one.

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Hilton OCCC: Orlando Sentinel

yeah, now, it's a three horse race: Rosen, Peabody & Hilton. Now, three entities are marketing heavily the immediate area... Actually, it's a four horse race- CVB is the other entity marketing trade shows. But with Hilton in the picture, their independent marketing machine will positively affect the OCCC and even market the area for other future developers. Even if a new hotel doesn't come for a while, at least there is a larger existing base of hotels to build from. Peabody's presence is also growing and that in and of itself is contributing to this as well.

Too bad the Marriott World Center wasn't built near the OCCC.

Disney's answer to Harry Potter at Universal: Orlando Sentinel: New Fantasyland

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do the new improvements expand the original boundaries of the property, or are they merely gutting fantasyland?

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I am not sure I 100% buy into the shown plans, but in a nutshell, it depends on how you look at it. It does away with Mickey's ToonTown Fair, and gives that over to Fantasyland. So that is a major gain in space. However, in actual gain, not a lot, it does extend out the back a little bit, but mostly takes advantage of wasted space and makes it more dense. I have to say that I actually like the plans, Fantasyland was always such a parking lot, if this is in fact real then it will be a great improvement.

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