Now You Know: Tree lighting ushers in new and improved Vets Park

Will Watts
People shoot photos of Marco's enormous Christmas tree. People crowded into Mackle Park in 2021, the temporary home for the Christmas Island Style tree lighting.

The city of Marco Island will be hosting a joint event with Christmas Island Style.

The 2022 Annual Tree Lighting and Community Celebration will mark the reopening of Veterans Community Park. The event is from 5 until 9 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 3.

At 5 p.m., there will be a ribbon cutting, followed by the lighting at 6 and a concert at 7 featuring Joel Fry.

Food will be available for purchase. Beer, wine and frozen drinks will be for sale by the Sunrise Rotary.

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Gift guide

Speaking of the holidays, the Marco Eagle will print Terri Schlichenmeyer’s best bets for the Bookworm in your family. The Annual Holiday Gift Guide always runs the day after Thanksgiving.

Holiday sales

Calusa Garden Club will hold a plant and Thanksgiving fresh flower arrangement sale from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 22, outdoors in the parking lot at Marco Lutheran Church.

The sale includes potted plants for indoors and outdoors, beautiful Thanksgiving centerpieces with fresh flowers, orchids, succulent dish gardens, mixed planters ready for your porch, lanai or great room, and herb gardens. Club members will be available to answer your questions.

File: The Marco Island Shell Club items for sale.

Proceeds of the sale benefit Calusa Garden Club's college scholarships and the Club’s community garden sites in Marco Island parks such as the Butterfly Garden and the Blue Star Memorial.

The Marco Island Shell Club will hold their annual holiday shell art sale from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m., Nov. 25 at New Life Community Church, 489 West Elkham Circle, Marco Island. Holiday decorations, jewelry, hostess gifts and home décor available, all hand crafted from shells.

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City Council swearing in

On Dec. 5, City Council will be sworn in. The meeting starts at 4 p.m. at 51 Bald Eagle Drive, Marco Island.  

On Nov. 8, incumbents Erik Brechnitz and Greg Folley have won reelection to the Marco Island City Council. Joining them will be Darrin Palumbo.

Folley was the top vote-getter with 27.9 percent of the vote or 7,014 votes. Brechnitz received 27.6 percent or 6,945 votes. Palumbo was third with 16 percent of the vote or 4,021 votes.

Christine Dowell received 3,598 votes, or 14.3 percent of the vote, and Nanette Arlene Rivera received 3,563 votes or 14.2 percent.

Brechnitz was most recently the chairman of the council body. He has been a resident of Marco Island since 1995 and has considerable experience in municipal government, having served on the Decatur, Illinois, city council for 10 years and as the city’s mayor for another four years.

Folley describes himself as a “Reagan conservative,” a Caterpillar executive who directed 10,000 employees and a budget of $10 billion. He is a veteran and an attorney.

Disney World to raise ticket prices

Visiting Walt Disney World is about to get more expensive. The Florida resort is raising base ticket prices for the first time since 2019, but that's not the only major change coming.

Starting Dec. 8, Disney will introduce park-specific pricing on one-day one-park tickets, making Magic Kingdom the most expensive park to visit on its busiest days.

“Magic Kingdom Park will be priced at or above our other theme parks due to the incredible demand as it remains the most-visited theme park in the world,” Disney said in a statement.

Cinderella Castle inside Magic Kingdom Park is lit on October 11, 2020 at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.

Among other changes, Park Hopper and Park Hopper Plus pricing will begin varying by date, and the price of most annual passes will increase. Here's everything guests planning Disney World vacations should know.

Effective Dec. 8, each of Disney World's four theme parks will have a different price range for new purchases. Existing tickets will be honored at their previously purchased price. Currently the lowest price for all four parks is $109, and prices go up depending on date and demand. 

Animal Kingdom will be the only park to keep its current price range. Starting Dec. 8, new one-day one-park tickets will cost as follows.

  • Disney's Animal Kingdom: $109-$159
  • EPCOT: $114-$179
  • Disney’s Hollywood Studios: $124-$179
  • Magic Kingdom: $124-$189

Disney notes the top end $189 Magic Kingdom price is only for nine days between Christmas and New Year's, a peak period for the park, and more than 99% of one-day one-park tickets will cost less than that. Additionally, discounted tickets will again be available to active and retired U.S. military in 2023, though details have not been announced.

Starting Dec. 8, Park Hopper and Park Hopper Plus pricing will vary by date, depending on demand. That pricing range was not immediately revealed.

The paid Park Hopper add-on allows guests to hop between parks, after 2 p.m.

Disney World offers four tiers of annual passes, though for about a year, most have only been available for existing pass holder renewal. New sales have been suspended for every pass except the Pixie Dust Pass, which is limited to Florida residents and has the most blockout dates.

New sales for the top three passes will continue to be paused for now, but prices are going up Dec. 8. Here's how much all four annual passes will cost.

  • Pixie Dust Pass: $399 (no change)
  • Pirate Pass: $749 (currently $699)
  • Sorcerer Pass: $969 (from $899)
  • Incedi-Pass: $1399. (from $1,299)

Existing annual pass holders will continue to get a discounted rate for renewals. That pricing was not immediately shared by Disney.

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Bill Green and Eve Chen contributed to this report.