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Disney, other parks add metal detectors for the holidays

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With the nation increasingly concerned about safety in public, three major theme parks announced Thursday that they are adding security measures including metal detectors ahead of the busy holiday season. Officials at Disney, Universal and SeaWorld’s Florida theme parks said all three parks will be using metal detector screening for guests as they enter. In addition, Disney is discontinuing the sale of toy guns at both its Florida and California parks and will no longer allow those items to be…

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SeaWorld to end orca shows by 2017 in San Diego

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The Latest from the announcement by SeaWorld that its orca shows at the company’s San Diego park will end by 2017. (all times local) A SeaWorld executive says orca shows at the company’s San Diego park will end by 2017. CEO Joel Manby cited customer feedback as the reason for the move in an anouncement Monday to investors. Manby said the park would offer a different kind of orca experience and focus on the animal’s natural setting and behaviors. The…

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SeaWorld ticket prices increase for single-day admission

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SeaWorld Orlando is increasing its single-day admission and parking prices. The Orlando Sentinel reports that adult prices for theme park admission rose by $2 to $99 on Monday. Tickets cost $94 for children younger than 10. Discounts are available when purchasing advance tickets online. The park also announced that parking costs will by $1 to $18. The increase comes several months after admission prices rose at Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando. SeaWorld’s annual passes remain unchanged at $156. The…

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Florida fires employee for scrubbing SeaWorld from website

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A tussle over the website used by the Florida Department of Education has resulted in the ouster of an agency employee and an animal rights group’s questioning whether state education officials are buckling under pressure from one of the state’s theme park operators. The department this month pushed out its deputy communications director after Jennifer Hartshorne approved removing references to SeaWorld from the agency website. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals in September asked the agency to remove SeaWorld…

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SeaWorld spends more on lobbying in face of bad publicity

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SeaWorld’s spending on federal lobbying has surged in the face of bad publicity and calls for tougher restrictions on marine parks and aquariums. The Orlando-based company spent nearly a half-million dollars lobbying the federal government from January through June, records show, up 68 percent over the same period last year. Meantime, SeaWorld has also started aggressively lobbying at the state level in California, where lawmakers briefly considered a bill that would have banned killer whale shows and breeding. The company…

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Guy Spearman’s shop takes home $630K in second-quarter lobbying fees

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With just two lobbyists in the Cocoa, Fla.-based shop, Spearman Management brought in an estimated $630,000 in governmental consulting fees between April 1 and June 30, according to recently submitted compensation reports. Lobbyist Erin Hellkemp joined firm owner Guy Spearman, III to earn some $370,000 in legislative lobbying fees and $260,000 in executive branch lobbying fees. Altria Client Services and Anheuser-Busch stood alone at the top of the firm’s balance sheets for Q2 — the companies spent between $60,000-$78,998 each for representation in both aspects…

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