SeaWorld won’t appeal OSHA ruling keeping trainers out of water

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I’m a bit surprised, but not totally shocked, by SeaWorld’s decision not to appeal the court ruling enforcing OSHA’s finding that it was unsafe to have employees (aka trainers) in the water with Killer Whales (aka big animals with a remote risk of danger).

I expected SeaWorld to take the position that it will keep trainers out of the water during the performances, but that “in water” sessions were essential for training. However, it looks like the park has decided to tackle the issue another way.

That way was the recently announced Blue World project that will expand the Killer Whale habitats in all three parks and provide a variety of enrichment activities for the animals, including fast water current for them to exercise in. There are other killer whale facilities around the globe that don’t involve in-water training, so it can be done.

The decision was revealed in a recent regulatory filing. The park also released this statement:

“The safety of our staff and the welfare of our animals are SeaWorld’s highest priorities, and since February 2010 we have made significant safety improvements. … We are focused on the implementation of those improvements moving forward. As such, we opted not to pursue further appeal of the court’s decision, which was based on how we were conducting our killer whale program prior to February 2010.”

More details on the decision in the Orlando Sentinel.

After the Killer Whale habitats are expanded, I’d like to see the same thing happen for the Dolphins and Pilot Whales. How about you?

Previously: SeaWorld announces Blue World Project to expand Killer Whale habitat

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Posted in Florida Attractions, seaworld | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Downtown Disney to Disney Springs construction update – August 2014

Earlier today we had a video with a Walt Disney Imagineer talking about the backstory that will unite Disney Springs once the transformation is complete. The first area, The Landing, will open in 2015.

Our latest construction update looks at progress at The Landing as well as other projects, big and small around the shopping and dining district that will soon be formerly known a Downtown Disney. Take special note of the new ferry boat dock. All three docks are back in operation now. Only the Marketplace location is now closer to Saratoga Springs than Rainforest Cafe. There’s also been quite a bit of progress on the first parking lot they’re constructing. Finishing that will be a welcome relief to the problems with finding a spot on those busy days.

Watch our short video for the gist of the changes

or head below the jump for a full multi-photo gallery of images from across the construction site.

Continue reading

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Posted in Walt Disney World | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Orlando My Way to debut on local TV

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I’m looking forward to Orlando My Way’s new TV show. A special pilot edition airs this Saturday August 23rd at 7 and 10:30PM on CW18. It will feature stories focused on some of Orlando’s best attractions, dining and entertainment. Inside the Magic host Ricky Brigante will be on the show to talk about Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando as well.

Here’s the TV spot that’s been running:

Having a show like Orlando My Way will help showcase central Florida to a wider audience, hopefully attracting more tourists to our town, it should also help educate locals to some of the great theme park experiences they’re missing. If it gets picked up for a regular series, it could be a big chance for many local experts to talk about their passion for Central Florida attractions.

Disclaimer: I am currently under contract to work at Hearst Television, the company that owns WESH & CW18, the local TV station that is producing Orlando My Way. I do not, however, work for Orlando My Way and was not compensated for this post. I really am excited for the show and its prospects.

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What is the backstory for Disney Springs?

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Walt Disney Imagineering Executive Creative Director Theron Skees is out with the first video giving guests a greater insight into the story behind Disney Springs. Disney Springs will unite the existing Downtown Disney area under one-project backstory with multiple themed locations. The Landing is the first of those areas and it will open in 2015.

I love the use of pre-viz to help you get a feel for the architecture of the finished project.

Downtown Disney has been a part of Walt Disney World for 40 years (even earlier if you count the preview center that is now the Amateur Athletics Association building). It looks like this new project will respect that history and root the project firmly in the environment and history of Central Florida as well.

What do you think of the backstory as explained by Skees?

Stay tuned for an photo and video update of the construction that’s taking place all over Downtown Disney as it adds two new parking garages, and plenty of new shops and dining experiences as part of Disney Springs.

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Posted in Walt Disney World | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

O-Town MacDown this Saturday, fantastic food for a great cause

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As fans of Walt Disney’s theme parks, we know the joy it brings to families of all shapes and sizes. That’s why many Disney fans support Give Kids The World, a top-rated non-profit whose sole mission is to grant magical Central Florida theme park vacations to children who struggle with life-threatening diseases and their families. If you’re looking for a way to support that great cause, I have just the thing this Saturday.

It’s the O-Town MacDown this Saturday, August 23 from 11am-4pm at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando. It will pit professional and restaurant chefs, and home cooks in a competition to see who has the best mac-n-cheese in Central Florida. There will be a kids zone, live entertainment, cooking demonstrations, the competition and all the mac-n-cheese you can eat! Where else can you stuff your face on mac-n-cheese all day for just $10 for adults and $5 for children? Ticket prices will be higher at the door, so order ahead.

Here are the details: www.OTownMacDown.org

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Posted in Florida Attractions | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment