Dreamworld — a word that captures the imagination of Disney, Universal, Lego, Busch Gardens. A word that brings delight to millions of families with bright-eyed children looking for excitement. Miami now has been given the opportunity to allow us all to dream!
South Florida — in particular Miami — does not have an entertainment attraction that includes a family-oriented theme park. For the record, Florida has 25 theme parks, 24 of which are along the I-4 corridor or North of it. Only one, Uncle Bernie’s in Lauderdale, located in the Swap Shop, is listed. It’s also clear that South Beach does not cater to families with children.
As one who spent 54 years in the tourist industry in Miami, I was here when Disney looked at our area but chose Orlando instead. Since then, we have witnessed Disney World, Legoland, Universal Studios, and Busch Gardens cater to tens of millions of visiting families.
This is not about competing malls, because if it was, Miami International Mall would have stopped Dolphin Mall and Dadeland Mall would have stopped The Falls and Merrick Park.
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As the new malls were built, the older ones expanded, creating new jobs instead of losing jobs. I’ve yet to see hotel companies unite to prevent new hotels from being built.
What a great opportunity for this area, not only based on its economic impact and job creation, but it will establish South Florida as a destination for families, something we have lacked ever since Disney World opened in the ‘70s.
Contrary to what some are saying in Tallahassee about the value of tourism, more than 100 million visitors came to our state last year and it’s time we enjoyed a bigger share.
I, for one, am tired of being told there is nothing south of I-4 and we’re not a family destination. Let’s embrace the dream!
Retired President/CEO Greater Miami and the Beaches Hotel Association