Unless you’ve been under a rock, you’ve heard about the heartbreaking events that unfolded in the past few weeks in Orlando. Many families from across the world have saved for and planned and dreamed about a magical Florida vacation, filled with sunshine and Mickey Mouse popsicles and warm afternoons in the swimming pool. They’ve bought the gear, made the reservations, booked the accommodations and have started counting down the days
for their dream vacation.

And now many are worried that the recent events may have changed the dynamic and feeling of the city. And they’d be right, the city has changed. But maybe not in the way everyone may expect.

When you get to Orlando, you won’t be able to miss the “Orlando Strong” motto posted on signs, t-shirts, bumper stickers and billboards. You’ll notice strangers helping strangers; you’ll notice a very diverse group of people, living together in peace. Everywhere you go, from Disney to Universal Studios, Sea World to the Outlet Malls, you’ll be able to notice the people who are from this beautiful city. They’re the ones that let you in front of them in a long line. They’re the ones who let you squeeze in front of them in traffic with a friendly wave. They’re the ones working at the stores, restaurants and attractions that are genuinely happy to see you. They’re the ones that want you to have a great time here, and love and support your family regardless of where you come from, what you look like, or what language you speak. They’re the ones that don’t sweat the small stuff, because they’ve had to deal with very big, very difficult stuff. They’re the ones that make you and your family feel like you’re part of this city while you’re here.

Orlando HAS changed. We’ve always been the city of Disney and hot summers and roller coasters, but now we’re a city that has been through trauma, and has come up on the other side stronger and better. We have come together in such a profound way in the last few weeks, that we can never go back to how we were. And it’s the tourists, the visitors, the guests, like you, who will really notice the difference. You’ll enter a city that is united in love and solidarity.

You can feel safe here. You can feel accepted and wanted and loved here. You can feel the magic of Disney here, the excitement of Universal Studios here, the awe of Sea World here. You can feel the warmth of the summer sunshine, the coolness of the Florida rain showers, and most of all, the happiness that comes from spending time with your loved ones in one of the happiest cities on Earth.

Yes, we went through some heartbreak. Yes, we were scared and shook up and devastated. But as the news crews leaves, as our story fades from the headlines, we remain a city that is forever changed for the better, and it is families like yours that will get to experience this change first hand when you come to visit.

So stay excited about your upcoming trip! Mark down the days on your calendar, start packing, and order an Orlando Strong shirt so you fit in like the rest of us, and get ready to visit Orlando, a city that is stronger than ever before.

Diana McCarthy
Magical Stays Vacation Homes