Orlando International Airport to Shut Down Operations Tonight

Orlando International Airport has made an announcement regarding its aircraft operations as Hurricane Matthew approaches.

It is expected that all commercial service into the airport will cease by 8 PM tonight. Their advice is to check with your airline for cancellations.

According to FlightAware.com, 241 flights into Orlando International have been cancelled so far.

Walt Disney World to Sponsor New Professional Soccer Team in Orlando


Walt Disney World said on Wednesday it would sponsor Orlando’s new Major League Soccer team, which plays its inaugural match on Sunday against a fellow expansion club from New York.

The sponsorship by the Walt Disney Co-owned theme park is expected to raise Disney’s profile in Brazil, home of the Orlando team’s star player Kaka, and in Latin America generally where soccer is a national pastime in almost every country, a joint news release said.

A record 2 million Brazilian tourists visited the United States in 2013 and listed theme parks third on their list of activities behind shopping and sightseeing, according to a 2014 U.S. Department of Commerce report and traveler surveys.

Their top destination was Orlando, leading Brazilians to overtake the British as Florida’s largest group of overseas visitors by country of origin, the figures showed.

A Disney spokesman said the company’s policy is not to release financial information, but a source familiar with the details said it was “a seven-figure deal.”

The sponsorship makes Disney World the soccer team’s official theme park, resort destination, cruise line and vacation club under terms of the deal. Disney also plans what it calls a significant presence at the team’s home games and stadium, which is under construction.

Major League Soccer and the players’ union are in last-ditch talks to avoid a work stoppage before the season begins.

Disney’s Global Technology Group for its Parks Getting Restructured


From the Orlando Sentinel

Disney’s global technology group for its parks-and-resorts division is undergoing a sweeping reorganization that is expected to result in some employees losing their jobs.

Disney said it is eliminating some positions and replacing them with others that will help the company reach more long-term technology goals. The company would not provide specifics but said the net number of workers after the restructuring will be “similar” to its current level.

Disney is also outsourcing additional information technology jobs.

Most of the positions affected are in Orlando. Some are in Anaheim, Calif., where the company has Disneyland.

Spokeswoman Jacquee Wahler said in a prepared statement Disney is “restructuring our global technology organization to support future innovation and new capabilities.”

Less than 30 percent of the technology staff works in roles Disney considers “new capabilities development.” In the new organization, that will become 65 percent.

“That says you’re moving people away from maintenance into development and you want to get into a type of situation where you’re really kind of reinventing the way you’re managing your technology,” said Robert Niles, publisher of ThemeParkInsider.com.

Employees have 90 days to apply for new positions within the company as part of the restructuring, Disney said. Disney will provide severance packages and job assistance for workers who do not qualify for other positions. Employees can also apply for roles with Disney’s vendors, the company said.

Outsourcing work is typical in information technology, said Duncan Dickson, an instructor with the University of Central Florida’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management.

Last year, Disney laid off two information-technology vice presidents, Laura Hall and Allen Fazio, who had worked more than 20 years for the company. Two other vice presidents with different skill sets were later hired, Disney said.

Disney has been investing heavily in technology. One of its biggest priorities has been MyMagic+, which includes a “FastPass+” reservation system allowing customers to book ride times for attractions up to two months in advance. On Tuesday it announced the latest step in that system. Guests wearing the system’s MagicBands – essentially tickets you wear on your wrist – on certain attractions can automatically view photos on their online accounts.

Meg Crofton Honored for Orlando Economic Development Achievements


Meg Crofton, president of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Operations, United States and France, accepted the Orlando Economic Development Commission (EDC) James B. Greene Award for hercontributions to Central Florida’s economic prosperity.

Crofton received the honor at the organization’s annual awards dinner last evening at Amway Center. First presented in 1990, the award recognizes a leader whose work has had a significant impact on the region’s business community and quality of life.

“With her enduring enthusiasm and hard work in support of our area’s economic vitality, Meg is truly deserving of this highest honor bestowed by the EDC,” said Scott Faris, CEO of MicroVapor Devices and current chair of the EDC Board of Directors. “Through initiatives such as the EDC Leadership Charter, she built a legacy of collaboration and engagement that propelled the organization to new heights in economic development for the region.”

As EDC board chair from 2009-2010, Crofton helped guide the organization through the recession, developing innovative ways to engage the group’s board members. During those challenging economic times, she championed a variety of regional initiatives, such as the development of SunRail, Amway Center and Orlando’s Medical City.

During her time as president of Walt Disney World Resort, Crofton took on a variety of community leadership roles. She was appointed to the University of Central Florida’s Board of Trustees and served on the Florida Council of 100, a group that promotes statewide economic growth. She also served on the Rollins College Board of Trustees, the boards of the Central Florida Commission on Homelessness and Orlando Health, and the Executive Committee of the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.

“I’m honored and humbled to be recognized by the EDC with this prestigious award,” said Crofton. “Central Florida will always be special to me and I’m so proud of all the EDC has accomplished on behalf of this outstanding community.”

Crofton, who grew up in Central Florida and lived in the region until 2013, is responsible for operations at many of Disney’s theme parks and resorts, including Walt Disney World Resort – Central Florida’s largest employer – Disneyland Resort in California and Disneyland Paris.

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