The world’s tallest spinning ride, the Starflyer, will be opening soon in Orlando, Florida.
The ride will be 450 feet tall and is set to open in June along International Drive.
Developer Chuck Whittall has spent a lot of money to swing business into I-Drive. He has invested nearly a billion dollars between the Coca Cola Orlando Eye and the I-Drive 360.
The Starflyer will be 50 feet taller than the Orlando Eye.
"To the very top, it's 450 foot. Riders will actually fly at 400 feet; slightly over 400 feet,” Whittall said. "We just finished the certifications on it, and we're just making sure it's working absolutely perfectly."
Whittal said he’s also working on a second phase of I-Drive 360. He is developing a new hotel and more retail space, and putting several hundred million dollars into building apartments to get people to live on I-Drive.
"I think I-Drive is the go-to destination for conventioneers and for half-day experiences,” Whittall said. "Once you get tired of the theme parks, you still want to have fun and do things. We offer all that here."
Developer Josh Wallack told WFTV’s Jamie Holmes that he’s also sinking hundreds of millions into I-Drive.
First came Mango's and the Hollywood Plaza Complex is next. It will be a rooftop restaurant with a 360-degree view of Orlando.
The biggest hurdle remains traffic on I-Drive.
The restaurant is on top of a parking garage with 880 spots.
"This is now the I-Drive entertainment district, and we are looking to make this downtown Orange County,” Wallack said.
The Transportation Security Administration isn’t known for its humor, but the government agency has won three internet awards thanks to its lighthearted messages used to keep us safe.
The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences awarded the TSA Instagram account with awards for - Marketing/Corporate Communications, Social Content Marketing/Weird and the People’s Voice Award: Social Content Marketing/Weird.
TSA uses its various social media accounts, like on Instagram and Twitter, to “inform, educate and at times even entertain millions of travelers across the country.”
Just last month, its social media teams reminded travelers that swords are not allowed as carry-on items in tweet that started, “We expected this would happen once they started offering direct flights from San Antonio to Gondor.”
“We’re not in the entertainment business, but mixing humor with our messaging has been a very successful formula for us, and I’m glad IADAS as well as our followers have recognized and appreciated that.” Bob Burns said.
Burns is the TSA’s social media lead who runs the agency’s Instagram account and writes the captions for the photos.
Not only do the TSA’s social media accounts give lighthearted, tongue-in-cheek reminders, they also give tips on how to get through screening, packing and highlights its canine officers, plus it offers specific information on Twitter for big, national events like the Super Bowl.
TSA had 1,200 tweets in 2017 on its main account, and its Instagram account has more than 865,000 followers.
Opening your hotel room door with your cell phone? Disney has started to roll out the new technology for guests to skip the front desk and go directly to their room, speeding up the start of vacations.
Disney gave WFTV anchor Jamie Holmes an exclusive look at how guests will be able to use their cellphones to get into their hotel rooms.
The theme park rolled out the technology at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.
Over the years, the My Disney Experience app has been an expanding feature of how guests navigate the parks and hotels.
Guests can use it to check ride wait times and even clean up park photos.
But guests can also use it to plan their hotel stay, skip the check-in desk, and go straight to their rooms.
"If you choose to, you can actually bypass the front desk area, if that's important to you, and start your vacation earlier," Michael Trum, with Disney digital guest experience, said.
Here’s how it works: Guests take their cellphones and hold it up to their hotel room door, and that’s when a little Disney magic happens.
"They're Bluetooth-enabled. Your phone, most smart phones. We've upgraded our locks to be Bluetooth enabled as well. So, they pair together, via security obviously," Trum said.
The technology can be used as a companion to the Magic Bands, which are required to get into the parks.
Long gone are metal hotel room keys, and for the most part, even plastic key cards are gone.
But, since most guests these days aren't far from their phones, the Bluetooth technology gives them a choice.
Many people wonder whether the new technology is safe.
Cellphone passcodes are notoriously hard to crack and Disney stands by the system.
“We obviously designed this with security in mind. We can't go into details on Disney security policies, but our guests should absolutely feel safe using this as an entry point into their rooms," Trum said.
Disney is not the first to use the Bluetooth technology. Hilton and Marriot hotels have been using it for several years.
The FBI said it has never had a case of hackers using phones to enter a hotel room in the U.S.
Disney will expand the service to other hotels over the next several months.
What’s the longest nonstop flight you’ve been on? Maybe a five-hour trip between Los Angeles and Hawaii? Or maybe it’s a flight between New York and London that’s more than 7 hours.
Whatever the time is, the trips have nothing on Singapore’s newest flight.
Thanks to the Airbus A350-900ULR that’s being produced, the airline is planning on offering a nonstop flight between New York and Singapore that will last nearly 20 hours in the air, CNN reported.
The ultra long-range plane had its first test flight Monday with a nearly five-hour round-trip from an assembly plant in Toulouse, France.
Singapore Airlines ordered seven of the new planes that replace the A340-500 that the airlines grounded in 2013, CNN reported.
The plane offers high ceilings and LED lighting and promises low noise level, CNN reported.
A Colorado woman is paying the price for forgetting an apple in her bag when flying internationally.
Crystal Tadlock recently was returning to Arvada from Paris when flight attendants on the international flight handed out apples in sealed plastic bags, KDVR reported.
She said she didn’t want it at the time, so she tossed it in her bag, intending to eat it on her second flight to Denver, KDVR reported.
When she landed in Minneapolis, she went through U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Minneapolis, where she was supposed to declare fruits, vegetables, plants, flowers, meat, animal products or live animals, the Washington Post reported.
That free apple ended up costing Tadlock $500, a fine for not declaring the fruit and bringing it into the U.S., KDVR reported.
Tadlock says she shouldn’t have been fined for a mistake. She’s also saying that Delta Airlines should have told passengers not to take the fruit with them.
She also told KDVR that she asked the agent if she could throw the apple away or eat it. She said the agent said no before handing her the ticket.
Delta officials told The Washington Post that food given during a flight “is given with the intention you consume it on board.”
She told KDVR that she’s upset that she got the ticket when the fruit came from Delta and was marked with the Delta logo.
She says she plans to fight the citation in court, KDVR reported.
Southwest Airlines said it canceled about 40 flights Sunday as it inspects engine fan blades in the wake of an engine failure last week that led to one passenger’s death.
That’s about 1 percent of Dallas-based Southwest’s daily schedule of nearly 4,000 flights. The airline encouraged passengers to check their flight status. “We anticipate minimal delays or cancellations each day due to the inspections,” Southwest said in a written statement.
Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines has the same type of engines on the Boeing 737s in its fleet and is also adding ultrasonic inspections of the engines, but said it doesn’t expect any operational impact to customers.
Both airlines last week, in advance of the Federal Aviation Administration’s official release of an emergency airworthiness directive, said they would accelerate the inspections.
The FAA on Friday issued the anticipated directive requiring airlines to inspect fan blades on certain engines within 20 days. The directive draws from information gathered in the investigation of Southwest’s engine failure last Tuesday. The FAA said the inspection requirement is estimated to affect 352 engines in the United States and 681 engines worldwide.
The CFM56-7B engine that blew on the Southwest flight showed evidence of “metal fatigue,” according to the National Transportation Safety Board. That engine model is on all of Southwest’s 737-700s and 737-800s, which make up the vast majority of Southwest’s fleet.
On Earth Day, April 22, Disney’s Animal Kingdom will celebrate its 20th anniversary with entertainment, parties, and educational experiences for a limited time.
Party for the Planet
It wouldn’t be a milestone celebration without a party, and all 500 acres of Disney’s Animal Kingdom will come alive with a wild party that includes animal encounters, activities, and special desserts the Party for the Planet celebration that will take place from April 22 until May 5.
During the two-week celebration, guests can attend conservation talks by animal-care experts and participate in enhanced interactions with some of the more than 2,000 animals at thepark.
Take a Peek Backstage at Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Rafiki’s Planet Watch has long been a favorite of guests at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and during the 20th anniversary it will take center stage.
After boarding the antique train you will make your way to Rafiki’s Planet Watch to find educational exhibits and activities that help create awareness of animal issues, and for the rest of the year you will also get a ‘backstage experience’ with animal experts around animal nutrition, visit the veterinary hospital, and hear how Disney promotes global wildlife conservation.
A New Show Debuts
On April 22 a new show, UP! A Great Bird Adventure featuring Russell and Dug from the Disney•Pixar animated comedy-adventure film, will make its debut.
Senior Wilderness Explorer Russell and his fuzzy friend Dug and park guests will encounter exotic birds from around the world in a free-flying show, multiple times a day.
Special Anniversary Photo Opportunities
Disney Photopass photographers will have a specially branded oversized picture frame to celebrate the park’s 20th anniversary, as well as ones that will help the “Reverse the Decline” initiative to help protect 10 threatened animal species. Recently the program has been credited with the birth of two critically endangered Sumatran tiger cubs at the park.
The Wilderness Must be Explored…Caw, Caw, Roar
The popular park scavenger hunt centered around “Up”’s Wilderness Explorer will have a new, limited-edition badge to earn through fact-finding challenges.
The Wilderness Explorer Program is one of the free experiences available at Walt Disney World.
Dine with Animal Experts
If learning about animals is your passion, six different Tiffins Talks offer intimate dining experiences with specialty food and beverages that complement the topics shared by animal and conservation experts.
You can find more information on the Tiffins Talks here.
Merchandise & Treats
It wouldn’t be a celebration at Walt Disney World without commemorative merchandise, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom 20th anniversary is no exception!
The merchandise offered will include t-shirts, hats, pins, Alex and Ani bangles, 2 styles of Disney Dooney & Bourke purses, a limited edition banshee for adoption in Pandora, and more.
In addition the merchandise there is also a special-edition print that was created by renowned Walt Disney Imagineer Joe Rohde, and he will be available on April 22 from 1-4 p.m. to sign prints at Discovery Trading Company. Quantities are limited.
There are going to be two celebratory cupcakes, a Tree of Life Cupcake will be available at Creature Comforts and Flame Tree Barbecue, and an Earth Day Cupcake will be available at Pizzafari and Restaurantosaurus.
On the savory side, there are delicious plant-based burger offerings at Nomad Lounge and Restaurantosaurus. Nomad Lounge will offer Impossible Burger Sliders with tomato chutney and smoked onion on a brioche bun and served with yucca fries. At Restaurantosaurus, you’ll find an Impossible Burger with avocado and tomato on a brioche bun.
Tiffins will offer a limited-time 20th Anniversary Chef’s Lunch Tasting Menu. Served daily from 11:30am to 3:30pm, this 3-course tasting menu celebrates the cuisines of Africa, Asia, and South America. Walk-ups are welcome!
All of these offerings will be available during Party for the Planet at Disney’s Animal Kingdom through May 5.
Can't make the celebration in person?
If you want to experience the 20th Anniversary moment during Sunday's Celebration, the Disney Parks Blog will be live streaming the #DisneyAnimalKingdom20 ceremony starting at 10:15 am EST!
Wild Adventures Before an Incredible Summer
All of these wild adventures help kick off an ‘Incredible Summer’ at Walt Disney World that includes a new celebration at Disney’s Animal Kingdom!
Donald and his friends from Ducktales will premiere a ‘dino-tastic’ celebration Memorial Day weekend in DinoLand, U.S.A. as Donald celebrates his discovery that bird ancestors were actually dinosaurs. DinoLand U.S.A. will feature colorful new décor and playful character greetings with rarely seen pals like Scrooge McDuck, Launchpad McQuack and more.
Make sure to follow @icFloridaEvents on Instagram and Twitter for the latest news and fun that Central Florida has to offer. And to use the #icFloridaInsider when you post for a chance to be featured!
Alaska Airlines announced Thursday it is making policy changes for passengers who fly with emotional support and psychiatric service animals.
Starting May 1, the airline will require passengers traveling with those type of animals to provide animal health and behavioral documents. The airline said a signed document from a medical doctor or mental health professional will also be needed.
All of the documents must be submitted at least 48 hours before flight departure, Alaska Airlines said.
Ray Prentice, Alaska Airlines’ director of customer advocacy said, "We are making these changes now based on a number of recent incidents where the inappropriate behavior of emotional support animals has impacted and even injured our employees, other guests and service animals."
The airline reported at least 150 emotional support and psychiatric service animals travel on its planes daily.
The airline said passengers can obtain the necessary documents on alaskaair.com beginning April 30.
The policy changes do not apply to traditional service animals, Alaska Airlines said.
Learn more here.
What happens when the person steering a massive ship into port misjudges the space between the vessel and the dock? Now we know, because the whole thing was caught on video.
The MSC Armonia was coming into port on the island of Roatan in Honduras, but the ship was bearing down on the pier, NPR reported.
The ship crashed into the dock and tore out a chunk of the pier before running aground on the nearby beach.
The vessel was held for a few minutes before it was reversed back to the ocean, the Mirror reported.
MSC Cruises, the company that owns the ship, emailed NPR a statement, “While maneuvering alongside, for reasons that are currently still being duly investigated, the ship deviated from her course and grazed the end of a pier.”
The company said that guests and crew were not at risk and that the ship sustained minor damage, NPR reported.
It was heading to the next port of call in Belize as it continues its 14-night Caribbean trip, the Mirror reported.
The video of the crash can be viewed here, but warning, profanity can be heard from the onlookers.
It’s another good day to live in Austin, Texas.
As in years past, the publication ranked the 125 largest cities in the country based on a variety of factors and data. Five indexes were used to compile the list: job market, value, quality of life, desirability and net migration. Cities were graded on each of these indexes on a 10-point scale, which were then averaged for an overall score.
The top 10 cities are:
2. Colorado Springs, Colorado
4. Des Moines, Iowa
5. Fayetteville, Arkansas
6. Portland, Oregon
7. Huntsville, Alabama
8. Washington, D.C.
9. Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota
Austin Mayor Steve Adler took to Twitter to share the good news:
It’s not all sunshine in the greatest place to live in the U.S., however. Or maybe it’s too much sunshine, in at least one category. U.S. News and World Report noted Austin’s higher-than-average housing costs, its notoriously bad traffic, issues with segregation and those hot, hot summers as negative factors.
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