Walt Disney World is among the local theme parks rolling out special deals for Florida residents. (Photo by Michael Freeman).
LAKE BUENA VISTA – When midnight arrives tonight, it will mark the official end of the summer tourist season in Central Florida, as visitors from other states return home up north for the start of the fall school season.
September is known to be a somewhat slow time for the region’s tourism industry, before visitations pick up again in October in time for seasonal Halloween-themed events like Universal Studio’s Halloween Horror Nights.
At the same time, even though it’s now September and the summer vacations are over, that doesn’t mean the theme parks are not making an effort to lure in more visitors.
And their aim: Florida residents, not people from northern states.
Both Walt Disney World and SeaWorld just unveiled special deals for Sunshine State residents, in an effort to lure in those who don’t have to drive far or catch a plane to get here, and who may still want to spend evenings or weekends visiting the theme parks now that the big crowds and long lines have likely disappeared.
“Florida residents are a lucky bunch,” Walt Disney World’s Disney Destinations program noted in a recent release. “You’ve got swaying palms. You get lots of sun. And you can enjoy the magic of all four Walt Disney World theme parks throughout the year with your choice of Florida Resident Annual Passes.”
The passholders, Disney Destinations noted, become eligible for exclusive perks and insider tips about what’s happening at Disney before this information gets released to the general public.
And to make it all that much more enticing, Disney Destinations also set up a special payment program, for $10, $19 or $30 per month after a downpayment.
“You can even purchase your Annual Pass with the Monthly Payment Program, which gives you the flexibility to spread out the cost over a whole year,” the release notes. “Just pick the pass that suits you best.”
To qualify, passholders need to show proof of Florida residency and make a down payment of $94.79. The remaining cost of the Florida Resident Annual Pass will be split into 12 monthly payments, automatically billed to their credit card.
To learn more, residents can email Disney Destinations Marketing at WDWRESPASS-12-23354©Disney.
SeaWorld, likewise, is offering its own deal to Florida residents. On Aug. 28, SeaWorld sent out a release noting “There’s never been a better time than now for Florida residents to experience an exciting fall getaway.”
As part of that, Discovery Cove is offering exclusive savings through Dec. 31, which include a “Dolphin Swim Day Resort” admission price of $199 plus tax, or a “Day Resort” admission that includes a full day in the park, without the dolphin swim experience, for $129 plus tax.
“This great offer includes an unlimited admission pass to SeaWorld Orlando and Aquatica through January 31, 2013, valid after the date of Discovery Cove visit,” SeaWorld noted.
This program not only allows Florida residents to experience a day at Discovery Cove, but also offers unlimited admission to SeaWorld and Aquatica through January 2013 – a time period that covers upcoming events such as SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular, Christmas Celebration and January’s Just for Kids, which features live shows from artists popular with kids.
“Dolphin Swim Day Resort” admission for Florida residents at Discovery Cove includes a reserved dolphin experience; unlimited access to Freshwater Oasis, The Grand Reef, free-flight Explorer’s Aviary, Serenity Bay, and Wind-Away River; breakfast and lunch plus snacks throughout the day; beverages all day, including sodas, water and alcoholic drinks; all swim gear that includes mask, snorkel and swim vest or wetsuit, towels, locker, and sunscreen; all-day self-parking at Discovery Cove; a complimentary photo portrait of the guest and their family as they’re entering the park; and the unlimited admission pass to SeaWorld Orlando and Aquatica.
Residents can book online at DiscoveryCove.com or call 1-877-434-7268 for more information.

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