As we reported on last Thursday's MousePlanetWatch Disney News episode of the MouseStation Podcast, 44-year-old Jeffery Chalmers Reeb (misidentified as "Reed" on the podcast as the Sheriff's Office did not correct their press release until after we had recorded the show) of Navarre, FL, died on Tuesday after riding Expedition Everest at Disney's Animal Kingdom. According to the Orange County Sheriff's Office, Reeb appeared to be conscious 50 seconds before the end of the ride as his photo was taken during the 80-foot, 50-mph drop. However, according to both the Sheriff's Office and Walt Disney World, he was unconscious and unresponsive when the steam donkey ride vehicle pulled into the unload area at around 11:30 a.m.
CPR was administered immediately and a call went out to Reedy Creek Emergency Services, who transported Reeb to Celebration Hospital where he was pronounced dead. Reeb reportedly had no pulse when the Reedy Creek paramedics arrived. The Orange Country Sheriff's Office responded at 12:50 p.m. and noted that they will continue to conduct a routine investigation to determine the cause of death. In a statement, Disney spokesman Jacob DiPietre said that "We offer the family our deepest sympathies and will provide assistance to them during this difficult time."
DiPietre told MousePlanet on Tuesday afternoon that "the ride is currently closed while we reconfirm proper operation of the ride." He further noted that "the State Bureau of Fair Rides Inspection was notified and will be advised of our findings." The attraction reopened later on Tuesday.
At the time, MousePlanet received an unconfirmed report that Reeb had a serious heart condition since age 18, and had been on medication to control the condition since then. Reportedly, he had said on Monday that he wasn't feeling well and had concerns about his condition. As it turned out, Reeb was in fact suffering from dilated cardiomyopathy (an enlarged heart), and did in fact have a history of cardiac arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat). The Orange County Medical Examiner's Office confirmed that Reeb died of natural causes.
In another story first reported on the podcast, a woman was reportedly assaulted at Disney's Pop Century Resort last Friday night just before 6 p.m. She was walking along a path when she was allegedly shoved to the ground in an area with 4-foot-tall bushes by a man who reached into the pocket of her shorts and grabbed her room key, then attempted to rape her.
There's no word on how the woman got away with her room key, but get away she did. She ran back to her room but was unable to open the door because her card key was bent in the attack. She pounded on the door and screamed until she woke her husband, who was napping inside. The husband called 911 and got a Disney cast member to stay with the woman while he ran out to the pool area to search for the assailant.
Neither the husband nor the Orange Country sheriff's deputies were able locate the attacker, described by the victim as a tall, light-skinned black man, 190 pounds, 40 to 50 years old, with short, clean-cut black or brown hair, and wearing a clean, short-sleeve white shirt with dark pants.
To help address the huge crowds expected during the holiday season, Disney has added more dining options inside the Magic Kingdom through New Year's Eve.
For breakfast, you can get waffles at Sleepy Hollow Refreshments starting at 7:00 a.m. The Plaza Ice Cream Parlor will start serving coffee, hot cocoa and pastries at 7:00 a.m. Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe will serve breakfast from 8:00-10:30 a.m.
The Tomorrowland Terrace Noodle Station will actually be open for lunch and dinner starting at 11:00 a.m., and will close at 10:30 p.m. through December 28, at midnight December 29-31, and at 9:00 p.m. January 1-5.
El Pirata y el Perico Restaurante will also be out for lunch daily from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. December 22-January 2, and will even be open for dinner through 8 p.m. December 28-31.
The Diamond Horseshoe Saloon will also serve quick service lunch from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. December 23-January 3, and will serve full-service turkey dinner nightly from 5-9 p.m. December 24-31.
There will also be some extra outdoor foods kiosks to soak up any extra crowds.
Get your MousePlanet gear!
The MousePlanet.com store is now open for business (link)! You can get shirts, mugs, hats and even a Teddy Bear! Check it out and show your MousePlanet pride!
The Atlanta Braves return to Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex this spring for the 11th time. Pitchers and catchers report to spring training on February 14, the position players following on February 19. Full-squad workouts begin the next day.
There's only a week to start getting in shape, as the team's first game, a traditional matchup against the University of Georgia, takes place on February 27. The Braves then have 15 home games during their stay, beginning February 29 against the Los Angeles Dodgers and wrapping up their pre-season on March 27 against the New York Mets. Season tickets, three- and five-game mini-packs and group tickets are all available now by calling 407-WDW-GAME (407-939-4263) or at disneysports.com . Individual game tickets go on sale on January 5 at 10 a.m. through Ticketmaster online or by phone at 407-839-3900 (or your local number). Tickets run from $14.50 (general admission lawn seats) to $23.50 (lower reserved).
The Braves' full home schedule is as follows:
Walt Disney World was selected as the world's leading theme park/attraction by the World Travel Awards, while the Orlando/Orange County Convention & Visitors Bureau won for the world's leading tourist & convention bureau. Orlando was chosen as North America's leading destination and the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin was chosen as both North America's leading conference hotel and North America's leading resort.
The World Travel Awards have been presented since 1994 to the best in the world's travel and tourism industry based on a vote of travel professionals from 167,000 travel and tourism organizations in over 160 countries.
Want to help MousePlanet upgrade our park guides? We're looking to add menu information for all restaurants to our Walt Disney World Park Guide (link). Send photos or scans of menus (no fair copying from other Web sites) to firstname.lastname@example.org (link). Please note that there is a 5MB limit on total attachments in a single email.
This week's listing of interesting items from paperwork filed with Orange County in the last week:
The special New Year's Eve edition of the Fantasy in the Sky fireworks will now be shown December 29-31, a night earlier than the previously-announced December 30 and 31 only.
We're hearing a rumor that the rumored expansion of the Pirate & Princess Party dates will be taking place, but have not yet seen it confirmed on the Disney web site yet. In addition to the previously-announced dates of January 21, 26, 29, February 2, 5, 9, 14, 22, 26, March 1, 6, 11, and 14, anticipated additional dates are April 1, 4, 6, 11, 16, 23, 29, May 2, 6, 9, 13, 16, 21, 26, 31, and June 4.
WDW web site now says "Disney's Hollywood Studios". The signage at the Animation archway and the Earffel Tower have lost their Disney-MGM logos, and the new name should start going up in another week or so.
The Gaylord Palms has a special offer for theme park passholders. Passholders for Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, SeaWorld, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay and Cypress Gardens can receive a free child's admission to ICE! for every adult admission purchased between now and January 3. The offer is only valid for admission before 2 p.m., and only at the box office. See gaylordpalms.com/passholders for more information.
Minnie's Country House has had its January 1February 1 refurbishment removed from the current schedule. Maybe Mickey did such a great job maintaining it for Minnie that it doesn't need major work after all?
Disney has named 11-year company veteran Ken Potrock as Senior Vice President of Global Sports Enterprises for Disney Parks & Resorts. Potrock will head Disney's worldwide sports operations, including Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex. Those responsibilities had previously been handled by Reggie Williams, who retired as Vice President for Sports Attractions at Thanksgiving to focus on rehabilitating a right leg that never recovered from a knee replacement in 2005. Potrock had serving as Senior Vice President of Global Marketing, in which capacity he held sway over marketing for Disneyland, Walt Disney World, the Disney Cruise Line, Disney Vacation Club and other businesses.
Recently, 28 International Program cast members from Spain and Germany visited Rollins College for a cultural exchange with students studying Spanish and German. The event, at the Rollins campus International House, let students studying Spanish and German to interact with natives from those countries while those foreign cast members got the opportunity to learn from English speakers, all in a social setting.
This week's question: In 1988, magician Doug Henning was a consultant for the creation of which Walt Disney World "attraction"? Stay tuned to next week's park update for the answer.
The answer to last week's question: "How many tractor-trailer truckloads of decorations does it take to decorate Walt Disney World?", is:
150 tractor-trailer truckloads of decorations adorning 22 resorts, 4 theme parks, 2 water parks, Downtown Disney and more.
Do you have a trivia question that you'd like to share? If we choose to use your question, we'll give you credit in the Update. Email us here.
MousePlanet sponsor Hotel Royal Plaza, in the Downtown Disney resort area, has enhanced its deal for MousePlanet readers. From now through the end of the year, anyone booking their stay through the MousePlanet Web site has been able to receive discounted rates up to 20 percent off on all room types. Now, for a limited time, you can get even more! The discounted rates now include free breakfast for two in the Giraffe Caf!. Plus children 10 and under always eat breakfast for free! (Two children 10 and under eat free from the kids menu when accompanied by an adult dining from the regular menu.)
The completely-remodeled 394-room resort is located on Hotel Plaza Boulevard, just a few minutes' walk from Downtown Disney. Bus service to all Walt Disney World theme parks is included with your stay. Their Giraffe Caf restaurant, Giraffe Tavern sports bar, Marketessen deli-style caf and Sips Pool Bar are ready to serve you.
We'd like to invite you to try their hospitality!
Disney has released discounted room rates for passholders and Florida residents for the end of September through md-December. Discounts are available for select resorts for most nights from September 30 through December 23. (The nights of November 21-24 and November 30-December 7 are excluded at non-DVC resorts, most likely due to Thanksgiving weekend and the Pop Warner Super Bowl invasion, while only the Thanksgiving dates are blocked at the DVC resorts.) There are two effective rate periods for this discount, with September 30-October 3, November 25-29, and December 8-19 carrying passholder rates of $59 per night in value resorts and $164 per night in a DVC studio. The remaining dates in the promotion period (except for the nights of November 21-24, which have no discounts due to Thanksgiving weekend) have nightly passholder rates starting at $79 for values and $194 for DVC studios. Florida resident rates are $5 higher than passholder rates.
Minimum stay requirements apply for Friday and Saturday arrivals. All rates can be booked up until the date of arrival. Passholders and Florida residents can book via your respective Web sites, by calling your travel agent (Small World Vacations is MousePlanet's preferred Disney travel provider) or by calling 407-560-7277 for passholders or 407-560-7722 for Florida residents.
Rooms available at these rates are very limited, and they're going quickly!
(Send an email to Mark Goldhaber)
Mark (@MPMark) is a veteran of dozens of trips to Walt Disney World starting in 1972, with a few Disneyland trips thrown in for good measure. As a Disney stockholder and a Disney Vacation Club member, Mark is always in touch with what's going on with The Mouse. Mark serves as MousePlanet's Walt Disney World content coordinator. Mark is a senior information technology manager working for the State of New York. He lives in the suburbs outside Albany, New York, with his wife and son.