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French Balloon soars 400 feet over Disney World

French Balloon soars 400 feet over Disney World Apr 20th, 2009 at 7:00PM: French Balloon maker Aérophile just announced the newest attraction for Disney World. Their 105 foot high "Characters in Flight" balloon will soar 400 feet over Downtown Disney, and can carry up to 30 passengers in its gondola. When the weather cooperates, passengers will be able to get a 360 degree view for up to 10 miles. The balloon is tethered to a special star shaped landing dock, and...

Talking Travel with Pico Iyer and a book give-away

Talking Travel with Pico Iyer and a book give-away Mar 16th, 2009 at 11:00AM: When I first read Pico Iyer's book Video Night in Kathmandu, I was hooked. Reading Iyer's words is a trip down streets that you may have traveled before but have not found the words to describe. When you read his prose, the tendency is to say, "Yes, that's it." For places one hasn't been, he draws you into the scenes as if you are there looking at the world through his perceptive eyes. Seven...

Get a free ticket to a Disney theme park in 2009: Happy Birthday to you

Get a free ticket to a Disney theme park in 2009: Happy Birthday to you Sep 19th, 2008 at 10:30AM: If you head to Disneyland or Disney World on your birthday in 2009, you can get in for free. That is a sweet present indeed. What's the rub? There isn't one from what I can tell after reading the rules. There aren't any hidden tricks. To get the ticket, register your birthday on-line and a confirmation message will be sent. Then, show up on your birthday with the confirmation message, a proof...

A water park does well its first year out and Disney is pleased with its earnings

A water park does well its first year out and Disney is pleased with its earnings Aug 18th, 2008 at 1:00PM: First of all, the water park Zoombezi Bay and Disney have nothing to do with each other, but there is a common element in their stories--their businesses have done swimmingly well this summer. Zoombezi Bay, a new addition to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium opened on Memorial Day. When I was talking with the associate director last Thursday, he said that they are fiscally ahead of where they had...

Mickey Sets a Course for Shanghai

Mickey Sets a Course for Shanghai Aug 2nd, 2008 at 12:00PM: Mickey Mouse has been planning to bring Disneyland to Shanghai for some time now. Details have been sketchy and the project has been put on the shelf several times. But people in one village are banking on the billionaire rodent to eventually get things off the ground. According to Shanghaiist, business people and home owners in Jinjia have been building on to current structures and establishing...

Seven wonders of the United States: Utopia and baseball

Seven wonders of the United States: Utopia and baseball Apr 21st, 2008 at 9:00AM: The ABC's morning show, "Good Morning America" has a series in the works to get people to tune in May 5-13. Each day they will feature a "wonder" of the United States. A panel of travel experts are in charge of the picking. What seems daunting to me is figuring out the parameters, and then narrowing down the choices. In February, Gading ran a series on the 14 sites in the U.S. that may achieve...

Speed train from Disneyland to Vegas?

Speed train from Disneyland to Vegas? Feb 27th, 2008 at 8:40AM: The drive from Los Angeles to Las Vegas is one of those legendary road trips, made famous for me by Hunter S. Thompson and my own college road trip with my girlfriends. I was so excited when I could actually quote (and I paraphrase), "We were somewhere around Barstow when the drugs set in." But -- ahem -- I digress. That trip might become even more legendary, as the site of a 300 mph speed train...

Disneyland, a place to see stars

Disneyland, a place to see stars Feb 25th, 2008 at 4:20PM: Last week, somewhere, I saw a picture of Harrison Ford with his daughter on a ride at Disneyland. Turns out, according to Marla Matzer Rose who details in an article where to see stars in Los Angeles, Disneyland is a place to keep your eyes open. Here's a shot of Diane Keaton taken two years ago. Interestingly, the only celebrity I've seen in Los Angeles when I've gone there over the years is...

Disneyland: a popular place to spread ashes?

Disneyland: a popular place to spread ashes? Nov 13th, 2007 at 12:00PM: Here's a new one. Apparently, Disneyland is seeing an increasing number of incidents where park-goers are sneaking in the cremated remains of a loved one, and scattering them around the park. Seriously. "The Haunted Mansion is by far the most popular location for this," writes Miceage.com, "but you'd be surprised where else people are dumping cremated remains at Disneyland." The Haunted Mansion...

Disabled guests sue Disney on Segway ban

 Disabled guests sue Disney on Segway ban Nov 12th, 2007 at 2:00PM: A while back, Disney World made the decision to ban Segways from the park because "they can go faster than 12 mph" which is a danger to other guests. And now three disabled people are, of course, suing the company. "The suit filed Friday says they're among an estimated 4,000 to 7,000 similarly disabled people who have turned to Segways as mobility tools," according to an article by the AP. Okay, I...

It's not such a small world, after all

It's not such a small world, after all Nov 12th, 2007 at 10:30AM: Although the Disney company doesn't admit that plus-sized tourists are causing "It's a Small World" boats to bottom out, longtime Disney watcher Al Lutz notes that "heavier than anticipated" loads have caused boats to come to a standstill on more than one occasion. The problem has become common enough that Disneyland has built a platform next to one tricky area where boats commonly get stuck. ...

Expect a $1.1 Billion Facelift at Disney's California Adventure

Expect a $1.1 Billion Facelift at Disney's California Adventure Oct 17th, 2007 at 11:13PM: Disney's California Adventure in Anaheim is planning a renovation to the tune of $1.1 billion, which is more than they spent building the theme park just six years ago. On the agenda? They're going to add more shopping, focus on the connection to Walt Disney's life and develop a new area that will focus on cars, among many other things. For the complete low-down on all the changes that will happen...

Disney to Open Family Resort in Hawaii

Disney to Open Family Resort in Hawaii Oct 5th, 2007 at 10:30AM: Walt Disney Parks & Resorts announced Wednesday it has bought 21 acres of oceanfront property on the western side of Oahu that it will use to build an 800-room hotel complex. It won't be Disneyland Hawaii, but even without a theme park there will be plenty to entertain the family. Disney Parks & Resorts Chairman Jay Rasulo assures locals that the resort will emphasize Hawaiian culture....

A Peek into the Future of Dubai

A Peek into the Future of Dubai Jun 18th, 2007 at 8:40PM: Today, the city of Dubai announced it has purchased the Queen Elizabeth 2, "one of the world's most majestic cruise liners," to convert into a luxury hotel. The QE2 will be completely renovated and parked at the world's largest man-made island, Palm Jumeirah. The restoration process will stay true to the original design of the ship, and a museum will be built inside to educate visitors on the...

Saving Money at Amusement Parks

Saving Money at Amusement Parks Jun 9th, 2007 at 11:50AM: In the past two weeks my daughter has headed to Cedar Point (with the school percussion ensemble), Kings Island (with her track team) and Fort Rapids, an indoor amusement park (for an end of the 8th-grade bash) and my five-year-old son wants to know when it's his turn. He has a point, but there's the cost to consider. Because my daughter went on school trips, she didn't pay full price. Now, we're...

Pirates of the Caribbean Ride: Yo Ho, Yo Ho

Pirates of the Caribbean Ride: Yo Ho, Yo Ho May 26th, 2007 at 9:07PM: With Pirates of the Caribbean's huge success at the box office, it's no wonder Disneyland and Disney World revamped the Pirates of the Caribbean ride last summer. I do think this ride is still my favorite and certainly didn't mind seeing Johnny Depp several times throughout last time I was a rider. Before Johnny appears (smile), I mean Captain Jack, there's a huge image of Davy Jones projected...

Queens in the Kingdom

Queens in the Kingdom Apr 17th, 2007 at 7:39AM: USA Today recently interviewed the authors of a new gay-persons guide to the Disney Theme Parks, called Queens in the Kingdom. Jeffrey Epstein and Eddie Shapiro talk about Disney's recent announcement that they'll allow "Fairy Tale" weddings for same-sex couples. (Actually, since California and Florida don't allow actual weddings for same-sex couples, they'll be "commitment ceremonies.") They...

Come to America: We're Not So Bad

Come to America: We're Not So Bad Feb 1st, 2007 at 3:54PM: Let's not go into the matter of how America currently viewed around the world now, ok? That could lead to all sorts of lengthy diatribes from commenters, some of which, I would guess, even we American gadlingers could agree with. No, let's look instead and the shinier side of the coin, and how the United States Government and Mickey Mouse (indistinguishable to some pundits) are ramping up a...

Photo of the Day (9/30/06)

Photo of the Day (9/30/06) Sep 30th, 2006 at 3:56PM: This picture totally reminds me of My Favorite Martian for some very odd reason. Could it be all the three-eyed alien like figures? Hmm... Out of the Gadling Flickr pool - SunToad took this one almost a year ago at a Halloween celebration in Tokyo Disneyland. While it's still rather early to think about Halloween I thought the glowing eyes and lights and overall cuteness of the creatures deserved...

New Disney Program for Very Young Children

New Disney Program for Very Young Children May 2nd, 2006 at 9:04AM: From Yahoo!News:  In response to a study performed by the Yesawich, Pepperdine, Brown and Russell research firm, Disney Parks in Florida and California have initiated a program aimed at families with children aged 5 years old and younger.  The study indicated that 80% of families  believe the ideal age for children to experience their first major family vacation is under the age of...

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