2 Disney visitors injured getting off and on rides at Magic Kingdom, state report says

Two elderly visitors were hospitalized with fractures after they fell climbing on or off rides at Walt Disney World, according to the latest report where the major theme parks self-disclose customers’ injuries.

The state report released Tuesday covered all the injuries between January and March where visitors were hurt or sick on the attractions and required at least 24 hours of hospitalization.

A 69-year-old man fell and fractured his hip while climbing off the Prince Charming Regal Carrousel at the Magic Kingdom Jan. 30, the report said.

A 75-year-old man fell and fractured his leg while entering the Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, an attraction also at the Magic Kingdom, on March 18.

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Disney will donate $5M to help Notre Dame Cathedral

The Mouse is joining in the outpouring of support to rebuild the Notre Dame Cathedral in the aftermath of a devastating fire.

The Walt Disney Co. announced Wednesday it will donate $5 million to the cause.

“Notre Dame is a beacon of hope and beauty that has defined the heart of Paris and the soul of France for centuries, inspiring awe and reverence for its art and architecture and for its enduring place in human history,” the company’s CEO Bob Iger said in a statement.

The Associated Press reported nearly $1 billion has been raised from “ordinary worshippers” to “high-powered magnates around the world” to reconstruct the beloved cathedral.

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Disney: What to do on Hollywood Studios’ 30th birthday

The 30th anniversary of Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park will be celebrated with special merchandise, food and parade on May 1. That’s also the night that “Wonderful World of Animation” debuts in front of the attraction’s landmark Chinese Theater.

The day will feature a character cavalcade going down the park’s Hollywood Boulevard at 10 a.m.

Exclusive merchandise — including baseball caps, tumblers, T-shirts and MagicBands — will go on sale at Grand Park, the area back by the MuppetVision 3D attraction. Look for the celebration’s logo, the one with characters inside the 0 of 30, to dominate the designs. (According to a post on the official Disney Parks Blog, merchandise will go on sale at 8 a.m., while the Studios will open at 9 a.m.)

Disney’s plans for 30th anniversary food include a Kylo Ren cupcake.

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Orlando among top 10 cities for ‘voluntourism’

Orlando is among the nation’s top 10 destinations for “voluntourism” — the hot trend of mixing vacations with volunteering, according to the online travel company Travelocity.

In a recently released survey, Travelocity found more than a quarter of U.S. travelers report they plan to volunteer during a trip this year, and more than two-thirds claimed they had volunteered during a previous vacation.

The top U.S. city for voluntourism was Anaheim, Calif., — home, of course, to Disneyland — followed by Chicago, Las Vegas, Nashville, New Orleans and New York City. Orlando landed at No. 7 — ahead of San Diego, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.

The impact can be significant, particularly at this time of year.

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Jehovah’s Witness sues Universal, claiming termination over objections to Halloween, Christmas events

A former Universal vacation planner who is a Jehovah’s Witness says she was forced out because she refused to wear a lanyard promoting the theme park’s Halloween and Christmas events or attend those celebrations.

Celebrating those holidays goes against her religious beliefs, said Christine Dussia, who filed a lawsuit in 2017 that reached a settlement this month, according to Orange Circuit Court records.

Dussia’s lawsuit claiming religious discrimination and employer retaliation sought at least $15,000. The amount of the settlement was not disclosed in court records, and neither her attorney nor Universal would comment.

She started her job in March 2013 at the guest services desk in hotels, selling Universal Orlando tickets and giving tips to vacationers, according to her lawsuit.

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Disney: Kylo Ren cupcake heads Hollywood Studios’ 30th anniversary treat party

We have something new to chew on for the 30th anniversary of Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Plus, fresh sipping options accompany those food items when the theme park’s celebration begins on May 1.

Anniversary menu items fall into three categories: “Star Wars,” Pixar and Mickey and Minnie. Culinary director Robert Adams and pastry chef Sergio Avila shared details about a tableful of the upcoming goodies during a recent preview.

Cutting an imposing figure was a cupcake inspired by Kylo Ren, a notorious “Star Wars” character. The dessert is chocolate sponge cake with peanut-butter filling, topped by Kylo’s hooded head, which is surrounded by silver chocolate rocks and flanked by a little lightsaber.

The rocks “give him a little bit of crunch when you bite it, because the cake is really soft and moist,” Avila said. “It’s fun to eat … if the force is with you.”

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Skeletons brings museum attitude to International Drive

An International Drive business – built with bones — retooled its strategy and has attracted an increasing number of curious customers.

Skeletons: Museum of Osteology, despite its location in the heart of Orlando’s tourism corridor, morphed from its initial intent as an attraction to an educational outlet.

The changes began soon after Skeletons opened in 2015 and had “Animals Unveiled” in its name, said Samantha Tutor, national director of marketing and sales.

“We’ve done a lot of rebranding inside,” she said. “What we talk about is very different. How we present ourselves to the public is very different.”

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Margaritaville Resort Orlando in Kissimmee’s water park to be selfie- and Instagram-worthy

A water park set to open this summer in Kissimmee will give visitors a chance to get social.

Officials behind Island H2O Live!, which will be set on the sprawling Margaritaville Resort Orlando, have revealed plans to give different areas around the park social media-themed monikers.

For instance, visitors can plunge down “Follow Me Falls,” sip on a drink from “Tag Shack” or go down “Hashtag Heights,” a family tube ride.

“We used interactive terms that are prominent in social media, as this will be a highly engaged waterpark experience,” said H2O Live! General Manager Jim Kunau, who added in an email that booths that offer music, lighting effects and other enhancements will be set up in the park.

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Disney World’s new solar farm is twice the size of the Magic Kingdom

The sun beat down Thursday on another picturesque day worthy of a Sunshine State postcard.

That’s excellent news for the new giant solar farm at Walt Disney World Resort, a facility on 270 sprawling acres that’s roughly the same size as two Magic Kingdoms put together.

“It goes straight into powering the magic in our parks right now — as we speak, it’s happening,” said Angie Renner, environmental integration director at Disney parks. “We’re really proud of it.”

Disney gave journalists and bloggers a behind-the-scenes tour of the solar panels Thursday in honor of the upcoming Earth Day.

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First look: Busch Gardens adds energetic Tigris to roller coaster lineup

Tigris, Busch Gardens’ new roller coaster, is one deceptive attraction. The ride looks like a kitten, one that might run playfully after a red laser beam. In reality, it’s a big cat on prowl, madly chasing its tail, causing a frenzy.

The thrill ride, which officially opens at the Tampa theme park on Friday, has a small footprint and a slender design that looks uncomplicated. But its use of the rail – backwards and forwards – makes the experience confusing and, thus, exciting.

The park has pushed the ride as a triple-launch coaster, and that is true. The trick is that all three launches happen in the same place.

“You will notice all of them because they all go right through the station,” said Andrew Schaffer, director of design and engineering.

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