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Disney builds stone wall at lake where alligator killed boy

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Workers are building a stone wall around a Walt Disney World lake where an alligator killed a toddler earlier this summer. Disney officials told the Orlando Sentinel for a story published Sunday that the barrier wall is part of the new security plan following the death of 2-year-old Lane Graves of Omaha, Nebraska. The boulder wall is going up along the beaches of the Seven Seas Lagoon where several resorts are located. Disney also put up warning signs and ropes after…

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Putting the sugar industry’s history of political contributions into some much-needed context

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Last week, the Miami Herald Mary Ellen Klas reported that Florida’s sugar industry has spent a “whopping” $57.8 million over the last 22 years on political campaign contributions. This number sounds huge. But to those actively involved in Florida’s political process, the number is not so whopping when you’re plying your trade as a health care, theme park/entertainment, utilities or telecommunications industry lobbyist. Here’s why: while Florida sugar companies have contributed significantly, their contributions are right in line or below what other…

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Orlando tourism: No mass cancellations now but future unsure

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Experts say it’s too soon to gauge whether a week of horrific news out of Orlando will hurt tourism there. But travel agents are not seeing widespread cancellations, and many travelers say they’re committed to visiting. “I had more people worrying last year about, ‘Should I postpone my trip because of Ebola?’” than are worried about going to Orlando, said Cindy Minor, owner of Small World Big Fun, a travel agency specializing in Disney vacations based in Little Rock, Arkansas.…

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Buddy Dyer announces OneOrlando fund to help city after shooting

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Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer has announced a campaign called OneOrlando to help respond to the needs of the community both now and in the future, after the Pulse nightclub tragedy over the weekend. The fund will support nonprofits helping victims and families, the LGBTQ, Hispanic, faith and other affected communities, finding the underlying causes of the shooting and any other needs, according to an email from Dyer on Tuesday afternoon. So far, several huge donations have already bolstered the fund: Walt…

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Report: Magic Kingdom world’s top theme park, drawing 20M

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Disney World’s Magic Kingdom continues to be the top amusement park draw in the world with 20.5 million visitors in 2015, according to a report released Wednesday. Disneyland in Anaheim, California, was No. 2 with an estimated 18.3 million visitors, followed by Tokyo Disneyland, which had an estimated 16 million, according to a report from AECOM and the Themed Entertainment Association. Disney World, Universal Orlando and SeaWorld all saw a jump in attendance in 2015 over the previous year, according to…

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Walt Disney cruise ship rescues fugitives off coast of Cuba

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A Walt Disney Co. cruise ship has rescued three fugitives off the coast of Cuba who were wanted in New Orleans. U.S. Marshal Amos Rojas Jr. said in a news release that last Thursday, the Disney Fantasy cruise ship found the fugitives clinging to a capsized boat. He says all three were wanted for violating their supervised release on federal credit card fraud charges in New Orleans. Twenty-six-year-old Luis Rivera-Garcia, 23-year-old Juliet Estrada-Perez and 23-year-old Enrique Gonzalez-Torres were turned over…

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Mickey Mouse-shaped solar facility unveiled at Disney World

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It’s only fitting that solar panels that will help with the power needs of Walt Disney World are shaped like the famous ears of the mouse that started the whole Disney enterprise. Officials with Disney World, Duke Energy and Disney’s private government on Tuesday flipped on the switch to a Mickey Mouse-shaped solar facility located on 22 acres near the Epcot theme park. The facility is made up of 48,000 solar panels and is operated by Duke Energy. Duke Energy…

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