Theme Park Central

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Archive for the category “General”

Disney World’s Space Mountain Inspected After Incident

A 48-year-old woman was found unconscious on the Space Mountain roller coaster at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom yesterday morning, prompting Disney to close the popular ride for inspection.

Closure is routine for such situations, and no reports of problems had been heard. The injured woman was transported to the hospital. No word on her condition yet.

Space Mountain opened as scheduled this morning. No issues were found with the ever popular ride.


Universal Adds “Hop” Chracters To Park

Universal Studios has decided to add characters from the upcoming live action/animated film “Hop” to its theme park lineup.

Through April 5, characters will perform on the French Quarter stage then meet-and-greet theme park guests. The Universal Pictures film, which debuts April 1, stars James Marsden, Kaley Cuoco and Russell Brand as the voice of the Easter Bunny. Also listed among the stars is David Hasselhoff “as himself,” according to the International Movie Database.

Peace Land: Korea’s Newest Theme Park

On one side is the world’s most strategically dangerous frontier, all coiled razor wire, minefields, death strips, and blank-faced North Koreans. On the other side is… a theme park.

The clash of civilizations was never better dramatized than at Peace Land, in Imjingak, on the 38th Parallel. Here, the starving people of the world’s nastiest dictatorship can look across the border at capitalism quite literally putting on a funfair. For the Southerners, of course, the North Koreans are the principal attraction.

Right alongside the Pirate Ship, the Wriggly Worm and all the other fantasy rides run the perfectly real electrified fences and watchtowers of the border. The organizers of the theme park provide special viewing platforms and free telescopes for visitors. A key attraction is a bombed-out steam locomotive, still standing on its original tracks in front of a blown-up railway bridge across the River Imjin marking the frontier.

Peace Land has remained open throughout the latest outbreak of hostilities – but on Sunday, with the peace between the two Koreas at its most fragile since the 1950s, the Sunday crowds were understandably thinner than normal.

A drive along part of the hundred-mile border yesterday revealed significantly heightened levels of tension. Away from the theme park, large buffer zones adjoining the frontier line have been closed, with military roadblocks and checkpoints turning back all but local residents.

For miles south of the frontier, the banks of the Imjin are fenced off, and nets draped beneath bridges, to thwart infiltration by North Korean swimmers or canoeists. The military watchtowers on these fences, normally manned only during the hours of darkness, are now manned continuously.

South Koreans’ fear of the North is underlined by the outlaw state’s sheer proximity to their capital city. Seoul is less than 45 minutes’ drive from the frontier and the Peace Land theme park is accessible via the city’s metro system. Seoul’s 19 million people are within easy range of the same artillery which last week shelled Yeongpyeong island.

Concrete blocks and tank traps are kept by the sides of the road to block any North Korean advance. But South Koreans know that if it ever did come to war and invasion, there is little they could immediately do to stop it.

Roller Coaster Cars Collide At Knott’s Berry Farm

Ten people were hurt early Thursday evening when two roller coaster cars collided at a theme park in southern California. The accident happened just after 8 p.m. PDT on the Pony Express ride at Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park, a city in Orange County. “First units that arrived on scene encountered multiple patients,” said Captain Greg McKeown of the Orange County Fire Authority. McKeown said two cars of the roller coaster hit in the loading area of the roller coaster. McKeown said all ten patients were transported to nearby hospitals with mostly minor neck and back injuries. The Pony Express is a a steel motorbike roller coaster which features sweeping turns and sudden drops in an “out-and-back” configuration. It has two trains with eight cars per train and riders are arranged two across in a single row for a total of 16 riders per train. It was first opened in 2008.

British Man Dies At Florida Theme Park

A british tourist was dragged from the fast swirling waters of a theme park ride in Florida but did not survive. Ivan Henson, 68, from Manchester, was on the Roa’s Rapids ride at SeaWorld Orlando’s Aquatica park when he was rushed to hospital.
His condition improved while he was in the ambulance but it’s thought Mr Henson – who was holidaying with his family – may have died from natural causes. A sign at Roa’s Rapids warns: “Only guests in good health should ride this attraction.” British honeymooners Steve and Danielle Brown, of Luton, Beds, toook the ride after it reopened. Danielle said: “The current can be quite strong.”

Islands of Adventure Modifies Seats For the Forbidden Journey

The “Forbidden Journey” ride at Universal Studios’ Harry Potter park just got a little less forbidden, at least for some large tourists (no offense). The park has added new larger sized seats to the ride, so at least some of those who were turned away in previous months might have better luck now. Banks Lee, a man who was turned away because of his size, reported on the new seats:

“Now, with the addition of the modified seats, the test seat process has changed. When you sit down, there are three lights next to you; red, yellow, and green. As I stated earlier in the post, red=no ride, yellow=modified seat, and green=sit anywhere. If you get yellow and need a modified seat, once you get to the part before the loading platform where the second test seat is, the attendant will put you in the middle line, which is reserved for guests needing the modified seat.

Since there are only around 8 vehicles that currently have modified seating, you have to wait for one to come around. Once it does come you go to the loading platform, and choose either of the outside seats. The two middle seats are not modified. You still need three clicks to be able to ride, but they are now much easier to get, especially with the little extra room you have in the seat.”

12 Year Old Orca Dies At SeaWorld San Diego

SeaWorld’s signature Shamu show, already under scrutiny after a trainer died in February, suffered another setback Tuesday when one of its famed killer whales mysteriously died in San Diego. The 12-year-old male orca named Sumar did not have any health problems and his passing shocked SeaWorld employees, many of whom feel the creatures are like family. Sumar’s passage leaves the San Diego facility with six of the highly valuable whales and lowers the company’s national total to 18, including animals in San Antonio and Orlando, Fla. “All of us, especially his trainers, will miss Sumar more than you know. He was a truly wonderful whale and was very deeply loved,” the company said in a message to fans on Facebook. Sumar’s death complicated challenges for SeaWorld’s shows, which rely on captive breeding of whales such as Sumar instead of capturing the giant mammals in the wild. They also rely on public support for keeping orcas in captivity, something that animal rights groups said is eroding after a string of high-profile incidents. Tuesday’s news followed a $75,000 fine last month by the U.S. Department of Labor over allegations that SeaWorld neglected safety measures before the death of an orca trainer in Orlando Feb. 24. Veteran trainer Dawn Brancheau died after being battered by Tilikum, Sumar’s father. SeaWorld said it would fight the charges but it remains unclear how the company will comply with safety mandates and allow its trainers to return to the popular performances in which they swim with orcas. Analysts said the company likely won’t see any impact at the gates from Sumar’s death. “People aren’t going to stop coming because one whale died,” said Dennis Speigel, president of International Theme Park Services, a consulting firm in Cincinnati. “Visitors still go to see the killer whales in the pool and it didn’t affect their entertainment value, (SeaWorld) felt,” Speigel said of the research. But he said Sumar’s death could be costly if SeaWorld decides it needs to buy another whale — for instance from another theme park. Company officials downplayed that possibility on Tuesday, saying they would continue with captive breeding efforts. Sumar’s mother Taima, 20, died during childbirth in Orlando in June. Some conservationists said SeaWorld’s ill fortune this year underscores long-standing questions about whether large pools at entertainment parks provide healthy environment for creatures that cruise the world’s oceans. “Sumar was 12. That is not a long life — not for a wild orca. Was it a happy or fulfilled life? Not from our perspective,” said Courtney Vail, a campaign director for Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, an international nonprofit group. “The loss of Sumar today is not related to him being a whale in a zoological environment like ours,” said David Koontz, a spokesman for SeaWorld San Diego. “There is no other marine-life organization in the world that is more committed to the care of their animals.” Sumar died at about 1:45 p.m. after park officials canceled the early afternoon show so they could care for the sick whale. “This came on very quickly,” Koontz said. He said veterinarians took blood samples from Sumar and put him on antibiotics after he started acting lethargic on Monday. Koontz said there’s no concern that the whale had an infectious disease that might spread to other animals and he said other orcas appeared to be fine on Tuesday evening. Koontz said a necropsy is planned for today but details may not be known for weeks. Yeri Park, 21, of San Diego, and her friends learned the first show on Tuesday had been canceled about 30 minutes before it was scheduled to start and they later heard the final show of the day, at 5 p.m., also was nixed though park officials didn’t say why. One of them wondered whether another trainer had died. “That’s really sad,” said Park, after hearing about Sumar’s death. That (Shamu show) was the last thing we wanted to see.” The Bristols, from Cincinnati, visited SeaWorld on Tuesday because Isabella, 10, and Audrey, 7, had never seen the park’s famed killer whales. “I hope he had a good life,” Isabella said.

Man Drops From Tower Of Terror

A man was injured on August 20th after he fell 25 feet from a staircase Wednesday evening while waiting in line to ride the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney’s California Adventure park in Anaheim, California. He was taken to the hospital for minor injuries and was then released, reports local television KABC. The unnamed 19-year-old man fell after he attempted to climb over a barrier but lost his balance. Police did not release his name. Before toppling over, he told his friends, “Wouldn’t it be funny if I fell,” KABC reported. Ironic, eh? Police officials say that the man had most likely been drinking. “The guest was standing in line with friends on a second-floor platform when he climbed over a barrier to the area below and lost his balance and fell approximately 25 feet,” said Disneyland spokeswoman Suzi Brown, CNN reported. His fall caused the theme park ride to shut down temporarily.
“The guest was transported by ambulance to the hospital,” stated Brown. “We understand his injuries were minor and he has been treated and released.”

Pittsburgh Officer Charged With Theme Park Theft

Pittsburgh police Chief Nate Harper says an officer will likely be moved to desk duty during an internal investigation of charges that he shoplifted more than $300 worth of Harry Potter merchandise from Islands Of Adventure theme park. Police at Universal Studios in Orlando say 49-year-old Officer Henry Rogowski stuffed the items in a bag he was carrying on Sunday. Police say the officer told them his family visited the park in April but returned this month because the Harry Potter ride was not open on the prior visit. Police say Rogowski told them he was going to pay for the items, but the cash “registers were busy and he did not feel like waiting.” Rogowski was reportedly still on vacation Tuesday. His mother, reached at her Pittsburgh home, says her son won’t commenting about the incident.

Woman Sues Disney, Says Pervy Donald Duck Molested Her

A Pennsylvania mom is suing Walt Disney World, claiming an actor dressed as Donald Duck copped a feel when she asked for an autograph for her kids.
April Magolon, 27, of Upper Darby, Pa., said she approached the iconic duck while at Epcot in May 2008, and the actor inside the feathery suit got happy with her. “Donald Duck proceeded to grab [her] breast and molest her and then made gestures making a joke indicating he had done something wrong,” said the suit, which was filed in federal court. Magolon says she suffered “severe physical injury” as result and has been plagued with anxiety, headaches, nightmares, digestive problems and cold sweats. She is demanding more than $50,000 in damages. Donald Duck could not be reached for comment, but a spokesman for Walt Disney World said the amusement park “will respond appropriately in court.” The suit claims that the local sheriff’s office had fielded 24 complaints of similar alleged sex acts by costumed characters since 2004. A spokesman for the sheriff couldn’t confirm the claim but did say Magolon never filed a complaint. In 2004, a man dressed as Tigger was arrested on charges he groped a 13-year-old girl and her mom. He was later acquitted after wearing the costume in court to show how little can be felt through its mitts.

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