It’s with a real heavy heart that I have to even write this post, I never imagined a time where I would have to write about an attack on my favourite place to go on holiday and definitely not in the horrific way that it has happened.
I woke to the news yesterday morning to hear that a senseless gunman had gone on a rampage and was holding hostages inside a nightclub in Orlando – a nightclub that was home to people I knew and a nightclub that was a home of togetherness for the entire LGBTQ community in Orlando – and instantly, I knew this wasn’t going to be a spur of the moment shooting, but more an attack on everyone in Orlando, the USA and the millions of tourists that visit every year.
As the day progressed, my heart fell more and more, I was upset and sad for Orlando for having to deal with such a tragic attack, I was sad for the 49 people who lost their lives, the 52 injured and all of the families and loved ones that were forced to grieve because of this horrible individual. I knew how I felt but I needed to let that sink in before I could even bring myself to update the website – instantly our social media profiles all changed to a grey cover image and we issued our heartfelt sincere condolences to everyone involved to show that we were united with Orlando and that we will stand together with everyone to condemn anyone that was involved in this attack.
I speak on behalf of the entire YOV Media group including YourOrlandoVisit.com, MyMagicalHoliday.com and CompareOrlandoTix.com when I say that we condemn the heartless act that was performed against your loved ones and we send our thoughts and prayers to all of you and any injured we wish a speedy recovery. Together we are standing tall with Orlando and we are united with the city and all of it’s residents during this difficult time. We will show everyone that Orlando is stronger than hate.
One of the victims worked at one of my personal beloved parks and worked on an attraction that most Brits love and one I visited lots just a couple of weeks ago – The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal’s Islands of Adventure. We know it’s been said, including by J.K. Rowling and Universal Orlando Resort, but we are sending our thoughts and prayers to Luis Vielma’s family and to the family members of Tony (whose last name is yet unconfirmed and is in intensive care) and we are deeply saddened that a selfless team member that serves visitors every day, even in challenging situations, was caught up in this horrible situation.
Orlando – you have been my favourite destination for over 10 years and that will never change. The world class tourist destinations play only a part, its the world class residents that live and work there and make our experiences as tourists just as world class. To the people of Orlando, there is light at the end of the tunnel and this will make the city a stronger place. It is worth noting that if you are a tourist and are concerned about going to the area, don’t be. This was so far away from the tourist area of Orlando – there really is nothing to be worried about. Let’s not make the people of Orlando suffer anymore, it is a safe destination and we should continue to pay back to their economy for the great service and great holiday memories we receive.
I finally just want to say a massive thank you to all of the emergency service teams involved in the attack, you all showed amazing bravery, support and you should all be proud of the dedication you all have showed. You are all Orlando’s heroes.
To the hundreds of thousands of tourists in Orlando now, please be patient, there are extra security checks ongoing throughout Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando Resort and SeaWorld as you can imagine for your own safety. Please let the law enforcement and security officials do their job and help to protect everybody in what is a difficult time for Orlando and don’t be scared or alarmed, they are there to help and protect you.