Walt Disney World has decided to make some adjustments to the load/unload area of Primeval Whirl, even as the U.S. Occupational Safety and Healthy Administration (OSHA) continues its investigation of the accident on November 24 that killed cast member Karen Price. Price was reportedly working at the load station of the attraction at Disney's Animal Kingdom when she stepped into a restricted area and was struck by one of the ride vehicles, causing her to fall off of the platform and hit her head. She died five days later.
Sensor mats are being installed in the restricted area where Price was hit by the ride vehicle. The mats will cause an immediate ride stoppage. These are the same mats that exist along many ride tracks to stop those rides should guests leave their ride vehicle. Also, bold striping is being added to the concrete station floor to denote the loading and unloading zones.
Walt Disney World spokeswoman Kim Prunty told the Orlando Sentinel that the accident led Disney "to consider additional safety enhancements," adding, "We are always looking at ways to enhance safety."
The work will take a few weeks, as it is being done during the overnight shift in order not to disrupt operation of the attraction.
After an accident led to a cast member fatality, Disney is working to install intrusion sensor mats in restricted areas, and bold striping to denote the loading and unloading zones of Primeval Whirl in Animal Kingdom. Photo by Mark Goldhaber
MousePlanet had asked for additional safety information regarding cast member procedures and other issues at the time of the accident, but was told that no comment would be made until OSHA had completed its investigation. We have asked again for any information that may be available in light of the safety changes to the attraction's load/unload areas.
Walt Disney World and Siemens rededicated Spaceship Earth at Epcot on Tuesday with a ceremony on the stage behind the Fountain of Nations. Ken Cornelius, president of Siemens One, and Jim Hunt, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Walt Disney Parks & Resorts, made brief remarks, then launched some pyrotechnics to officially reopen the attraction as the park opened.
As mentioned in earlier reports, the attraction features amazing new animatronics, a new narration read by actor Dame Judi Dench and derided by some as being "dumbed down" (though guests can choose from six languages for their ride vehicle's seating row—English, French, German, Japanese, Portuguese and Spanish), a new score, and a love-it-or-hate-it touch-screen finalé. The latest point of interest regarding the finalé is that, upon exiting the ride vehicle at the end of the attraction, the animated characters featuring the guest's face is then projected on the giant globe at the exit, then moved to the guest's home location as indicated during the descent. Guests can now elect to send a virtual postcard with their cartoon image on it.
The attraction's new theme of invention throughout the ages building on the inventions of the previous generations ties in to the post-show exhibits showing how Siemens is reinventing the future.
You can see official video here.
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There's a new deal out for Disney Visa cardmembers for Sunday to Thursday nights between March 30 and April 12. The deal gets you a room at a moderate resort for $129 per night or a studio at the Old Key West or Saratoga Springs Resorts for $204 per night. There is a limited number of rooms available for this rate, and you must book by March 21 using a Disney Visa card and offer code FJT. The usual restrictions apply. Call Disney at 407-939-1303 or contact your travel agent. Small World Vacations is MousePlanet's preferred Disney travel provider.
We've got a bit more information about the Expedition Everest Challenge on September 27, and it looks like it's going to be an interesting variety of events wrapped up into one. The event begins with a standard 5-kilometer (3.1-mile) race through the park, starting and ending in the Disney's Animal Kingdom parking lot. Once you finish the run, you then have an unusual obstacle course to navigate with a partner before starting a scavenger hunt. The hunt will require a "passport" to complete.
Various divisions will be open to participants: or en's individual, women's individual, men's team, women's team and co-ed team. Registration costs $195 for a team, $100 for an individual. Participants receive a Champion-brand performance apparel shirt, a finisher medal, admission to the post-event party, and a one-day ticket to either Disney's Animal Kingdom or Epcot. We're not sure why the free ticket cannot be used at the Magic Kingdom or Disney's Hollywood Studios, but that's what Disney said.
The timing of the event is designed to coincide with apparel manufacturer Champion’s new “How To Play Weekend” at Walt Disney World, which includes Disney’s Mixed/Co-Ed Fall Festival adult slowpitch softball tournament September 28-30.
The new Year of a Million Dreams signage is going up around the property. The sign on the left, with the castle at the bottom, appears in the Magic Kingdom parking lots and on street lamps on Main Street, U.S.A. The sign on the right, with the Mickey Ears, appears at all of the other parks. Photos by MousePlanet reader Justin.
The long-expected refurbishment for the Illuminations globe—which had been scheduled and postponed several times—looks like it's a go, though it won't happen for a few months. Disney tested the show without the globe on February 27, cutting about three minutes from the audio and changing or moving some of the pyrotechnics within the show. Also, those accustomed to waiting an hour for the "blow-off" of the inferno barge will be able to see it occur during the finalé of the show. You can see a modified show in the video below.
Latest word is that the globe won't be leaving the show until at least early summer, though. We'll let you know if we receive more definitive information regarding the dates.
Thanks to MousePad members ahecht and WDW Monorail for the info.
This week's listing of interesting items from paperwork filed with Orange County in the last week:
…We apparently misstated the point figures for villas at the upcoming Kingdom Tower DVC Resort in a story last week. We categorized the numbers that we were comparing as the minimum daily cost for each accommodation. In fact, the chart is labaled "Maximum Reallocation Chart," and and the numbers are described as "With respect to each DVC Resort, each Club Member will always be eligible to reserve at least one (1) Use Day in the different Vacation Home types at his or her Home Resort, subject to availability, for the following number of Home Resort Vacation Points". We regret the confusion. Thanks to reader Richard Mercer for bringing this to our attention.
…While Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge has already been closed, the Half Marathon is about to join it. At press time, the Half Marathon was 97 percent full, and may well be sold out by the time that you check. If you want to hurry, register here. You've still got a little time on the Marathon, but that's filling fairly quickly as well, as it's already 50 percent full. [Read our WDW Marathon Guide.]
…The hybrid race car at the Tomorrowland Indy Speedway is just about ready for guests, and should be out on the track in the next month or so. The car will easily be spotted among the regular cars, as it has yellow-striped bumpers (like a NASCAR rookie's car), no outside pedal on the driver side, and a big red E-stop button behind the driver on the back. It's also got one of only three green race car bodies on it at the moment. Cast will be trained on the operation of the car in upcoming weeks as it readies to make its first appearance.
…One interesting item from the Disney shareholder meeting last Thursday was a question from Dwight Morgan from Pasadena, California, an Annual Passholder at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World, who asked whether there was a possibility of a worldwide annual pass. Both Chairman John Pepper and CEO Bob Iger thanked him for the idea, and—according to MousePlanet reader and MouseStation Podcast listeners Timbra & Kevin Peace—was the only item in the Question & Answer session that either man made a note to themselves about. So for those interested in a worldwide annual pass, you just might get your wish.
…Apparently, the new "Dream House" opening in the Innoventions building at Disneyland has a twin being designed for Florida. A rumor that we've received notes that it may targeted for the Carousel of Progress building as "they had to keep many design specifications the same between the parks because of the moving walls." We have no independent confirmation on this, so we'll have to wait to see if this rumor bears fruit.
…Another rumor states that the upcoming Jungle Cruise refurbishment will include the addition of a scene featuring a realistic jaguar, related to the Jungle Cruise movie that was announced in 2004 but has not yet started filming.
…The first few dates for Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party are leaking out, appearing on the DisneyLink Google Calendar. So far, the dates posted are September 5, 9, 12 and 16.
…Six Flags is the latest theme park operator to announce a new theme park to be built in the Arab Emirate of Dubai, joining Busch Entertainment (SeaWorld, Busch Gardens, Aquatica and Discovery Cove), Universal, Warner Brothers and other smaller operators. Will The Walt Disney Company follow? It's an interesting question, as there are many issues on both sides of the coin. We may examine this topic in the coming weeks in either a feature article or on the MouseStation Podcast.
…The Nanea Volcano Pool at the Polynesian Resort closed on February 11 for refurbishment and installation of a new chair lift and dual handrail. Guests are being asked to use either the East quiet pool or the 's beach pool. It's expected to reopen on Sunday. Thanks to MousePlanet readers Brian Kowalski and Howard Akers. Floridian
For a limited time, MousePlanet discount ticket partner Orlando Fun Tickets is currently offering a free upgrade to a 5-day Park Hopper pass when you purchase a 3-day Park Hopper. Check out the special offer or any of the other great prices on tickets at OrlandoFunTickets.com!
Annual Passholder and Florida Resident discounts have been announced for March through May. From March 30 through May 21, room-only discount rates are available, with Passholder rates being anywhere from $5 to $15 less than Florida resident rates. Passholders should use code FJC or FJD for Sunday-Thursday nights, while Florida residents should use FJK. The Passholder weekend rate code during that period is FJG.
In addition, the Disney Dining Plan will now be available to Annual Passholders, even on room-only reservations. To add the Dining Plan during the March 30 through May 21 AP discount period, Passholders should use code ANA, and the Deluxe Dining Plan requires code ANC. For other dates that do not have an effective Passholder discount, reservations for the Dining Plan should use code ADS and for the Deluxe Dining Plan should use code ADU.
As reported before, Magic Your Way package reservations for stays most Sunday-Thursday nights between March 30 and May 21 will get free upgrades on their base Magic Your Way tickets to include Park Hopper and Water Park Fun & More options. Codes are available for Magic Your Way packages with no dining (APV), basic Dining Plan (APF) and Deluxe Dining Plan (APH).
The number of packages available at these rates is limited. Those with existing reservations may be able to modify their reservation if space is still available that their resort for their dates.
(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.