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140-year-old zoo closing to give animals a better life

The Buenos Aires zoo is closing its doors after zoo officials felt that “keeping wild animals in captivity and on display is degrading,” according to The Guardian.

>> Read more trending stories  

Buenos Aires mayor Horacio Rodriguez Larreta said the 2,500 animals kept at the zoo would be moved to nature reserves around Argentina, which he hopes will provide a more suitable environment, with the old zoo grounds becoming an educational ecopark later this year, according to The Guardian.

“This situation of captivity is degrading for the animals; it’s not the way to take care of them,” Rodriguez Larreta said during a ceremony last Thursday.

According to The Guardian, the bird species at the zoo will be released into a riverside ecological reserve in Buenos Aires, and many of the older animals, and others too challenging to move, will stay at the new location. Rodriguez Larreta said the new ecopark “will be a place where children can learn how to take care of and relate with the different species.”

The BBC reports the zoo has been under fire with a recent controversy surrounding the treatment of the zoo’s polar bears having inadequate conditions during the hot summers. According to the site, the last polar bear, Winner, died three-and-a-half years ago during the hot season.

Read more at The Guardian.

Disney World cuts reptile jokes after gator attack

After the recent death of a 2-year-old who was pulled into a lagoon by an alligator on the beach of the Grand Floridian Resort, Walt Disney World officials have decided to cut out any jokes or references to crocodiles or similar reptiles on theme park attractions.

>> Read more trending stories  

The script for the Magic Kingdom’s Jungle Cruise attraction has been altered to exclude a line where parents are warned to “watch your children, or the crocodiles will,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.

WDW News Today originally reported that that officials "cut all jokes related to children and crocodiles from the Jungle Cruise." The attraction, which features animatronic animals and originally appeared at Disneyland in 1955, has been at the Magic Kingdom since it opened in 1971.

Guides on the Kilimanjaro Safaris attraction at Animal Kingdom have also stopped joking about visitors being dumped into a crocodile pit below a rickety bridge, The Daily Mail reported. Unlike the Magic Kingdom and the Jungle Cruise, Animal Kingdom features real reptiles.

Other Disney World attractions, including ones that show "Peter Pan" character Tick-Tock Crocodile or Louis the Alligator from "The Princess and the Frog," could also be cut, according to The Hollywood Reporter. 

After the fatal June 16 attack, Disney World erected fences around the beach behind the Magic Kingdom resorts and erected signs warning about potential alligator attacks.

Read more at The Hollywood Reporter and The Daily Mail.

Disney's new 'Frozen' attraction warrants 5-hour-long line

"Frozen" fever is taking over Orlando’s Disney World this week, but it may be quicker to visit Norway or watch the movie three times than it is getting on the attraction.

>> Read more trending stories  

The “Frozen Ever After” attraction opened at the Norway pavilion in Epcot on Tuesday with a wait time reaching five hours almost immediately. The boat ride replaced the previous Maelstrom attraction, which offered guests a brief tour of Norway and closed in 2014 to make room for the new experience based on the popular animated film.

The attraction has many of the same features as Maelstrom, but with “new special effects, lighting, and animatronic figures based on characters from 'Frozen,'” Entertainment Weekly reports.

The 300-minute wait time would allow guests to watch the movie 2.9 times while in line or take a flight from Orlando halfway to Norway, Yahoo News said. The line extended past Norway into China and nearly to Mexico in Epcot's World Showcase.

Disney World offered free water and ice cream to those waiting in line.

Read more at Yahoo News.

The wait for the new #Frozen Ever After ride in Epcot earlier! Still in line! #Epcot #FrozenEverAfter #WDW A photo posted by Disney Food Blog (@disneyfoodblog) on Jun 21, 2016 at 8:49am PDT<script async defer src="//"></script>

You may have free tickets waiting in your Ticketmaster account

Are you one of the 50 million people who bought tickets via from Oct. 21, 1999, to Feb. 27, 2013? If so, there should be some vouchers waiting for you when you log on.

The good news: According to, Ticketmaster has issued $2.25 discount codes and free vouchers – each for two tickets to a show – thanks to the Schlesinger v. Ticketmaster class-action settlement over the ticket seller's "order processing" fees and shipping overcharges. Customers who paid for UPS shipping also get one $5 UPS discount code per purchase.

>> Read more trending stories

The bad news: Each voucher, which must be used by June 18, 2020, comes with the following disclaimer: "Note that these codes can be used only against eligible events, which are still being finalized. Please keep checking the dedicated website at:" As of Sunday morning, no events were listed on the site

Want to find out if you received any freebies? Log in to Ticketmaster and visit the "Active Vouchers" section of the website. Your discount codes and vouchers will be listed there. 

Read more here.

Disney opens new Shanghai Disneyland, debuts tallest castle yet

Shanghai Disneyland is officially open for business as the House of Mouse tries to take advantage of the huge Chinese market.

>> Read more trending stories  

It's one of Disney's biggest projects to date, with grounds that span nearly a thousand acres. And the castle at the center of it all is its tallest yet at about 197 feet.

There's no iconic Main Street as you walk into Shanghai Disney, like there is in other Disney parks, but Shanghai Disney does have its own set of unique attractions, like the Tron: Lightcycle Power Run roller coaster.

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But the staples are there too like a state-the-art step into Pirates of the Caribbean where the likes of Jack Sparrow, sorry, CAPTAIN Jack Sparrow and Davy Jones go from a skeletal crew to "living" swashbucklers.

And thanks to a nearly month-long park soft opening, the rides can be experienced from the comfort of your home computer on YouTube.

Disney chief executive Bob Iger said this project is 17 years in the making for him as he lobbied with Chinese officials to make the park happen.

Disney wound up with only a 43 percent stake in the park, with a Chinese state-owned company holding the rest.

They company also has operating agreements for its parks in other parts of the world.

Tokyo Disneyland, which was the first Disney park built outside the U.S., opened in 1983. In 2001, DisneySea opened. Both are owned by Japan's Oriental Land Company, The Associated Press reported.

Disneyland Paris, originally called EuroDisney, opened in 1992. It is still operated under a publicly traded company called Euro Disney.

Hong Kong Disney opened in 2005. Hong Kong's government owns 53 percent of that park. It didn't turn a profit until 2012 and has since gone back into debt. An Iron Man expansion is set to open this year, The AP reported.

But there's still a lot to be had from Disney's investment there. The Guardian reports 330 million people live within a three-hour drive of the park, and an estimated 10 million people will visit each year. But some analysts say that number could be as high as 50 million.

The opening of the new park has been in a trial run since May, and Shanghai city officials issued a guide book for locals after they saw what officials called "uncivilized behaviors" inside the park, CNN reported.

Among the behavior that is frowned upon: littering, cutting line, damaging the landscape and vandalism.

When a nearby metro station opened in April, visitors went to the property and reportedly caused damage to the area outside of the park's gates, CNN reported.

And there's the added benefit of the park increasing interest for Disney's already monster-sized movie franchises.

Highlights at the park include a teahouse and what's called "Garden of the Twelve Friends" that includes characters like Remy from "Ratatouille" and Tigger as the animals of the Chinese Zodiac.

Another highlight of the new park is the premier of a new "Soarin' Around the World" film. The film is having its world-wide debut during Shanghai's grand opening, but will appear in Disney's California Adventure park in California and Epcot at Walt Disney World in Florida starting Friday, which just happens to be exactly one month before the 61st anniversary of Walt Disney's original theme park, Disneyland.

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Also opening next week, the long-awaited ride that features Elsa, Ana and Olaf. Frozen Ever After is scheduled to open its doors on June 21 in the Norway section of the park, replacing the Maelstrom ride.

And while it is a time of celebration for some aspects of the company, Disney has taken a public relations hit stateside.

A 2-year-old toddler was attacked and killed by an alligator this week at the Orlando resort's flagship hotel, The Grand Floridian.

The body of Lane Graves was found Wednesday. He had been playing in shallow water at the hotel Tuesday night. There are "no swimming" signs at the hotel's beach, but no warnings of alligators.

This video includes clips from Disney and Walt Disney Studios / "Finding Dory" and images from Getty Images.

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In wake of mass shooting, theme park workers say they 'heart' Orlando

Social media has exploded since a gunman entered Orlando's Pulse nightclub and opened fire, killing 50 and wounding an additional 53.

Posts express grief, anger, outrage, sorrow and so much more.

>> Read more about the Orlando nightclub shooting

But the vast majority of them offer solace, hope and support – sometimes through words, sometimes through a very different medium.

Facebook user Kevin O'Brien has compiled a number of pictures on his page showing employees from Disney, Universal, Sea World and numerous other theme parks in Central Florida, holding up their hands in the shape of a heart in support of Orlando.

>> RELATED STORY: Orlando nightclub shooting: What we know now

For O'Brien, the show of support from so many people for Orlando, the victims and their families, is proof "that there is love out there."

"This is family. We are one, strong band of people," he wrote on his Facebook page. "From entertainment, costuming, techs, attractions, merchandise, custodial and all other (departments)."

>> RELATED STORY: Victims of mass Orlando nightclub shooting identified

Support came from all over the world, and O'Brien pulled together dozens of photos showing hundreds, if not thousands, of people telling Orlando they "heart" the city.

The last post on his page was made just before midnight, and in it, O'Brien said how "overwhelmed" he was by the number of people who made photos and sent them to him.

>> Read more trending stories

"I love you for doing this and showing love conquers hate," he wrote.

>> Click here or scroll down to see some of the photos O'Brien posted on his Facebook page.

<iframe src="//;border=false" width="100%" height="750" frameborder="no" allowtransparency="true"></iframe><script src="//;border=false"></script>[View the story "In wake of mass shooting, theme park workers say they 'heart' Orlando" on Storify]

You can now have a fairy tale wedding by Cinderella's Castle at Disney's Magic Kingdom

Dreaming of a fairy tale wedding? 

A new offering at Disney World's Magic Kingdom can give you just that.

>> Read more trending stories  

Disney recently announced that happy couples can become newlyweds in a magical wedding at Disney's Fantasyland at the park's East Plaza Garden.

Brides can ride in Cinderella's horse-drawn carriage accompanied by royal coachmen as trumpeters announce her arrival at the wedding site, right in front of Cinderella's Castle. The park will remain open to regular guests during ceremonies. 

For their receptions, couples can choose among a variety of locations on the resort's property.

"Brides will be able to live out a fairy tale dream like no other," said Korri McFann, marketing and sales strategy for weddings and honeymoons at Disney. 

Disney's Fairy Tale Weddings package collections start at $2,500, and custom experiences begin at $12,000. A completely customized ceremony and reception for up to 100 guests at the Magic Kingdom starts at $75,000. 

See more here.

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Want to live at Disney World? Here's your chance

Trending on Facebook

More popular and trending stories

Homes located just four miles from Disney World's Magic Kingdom are now available for purchase.

>> Read more trending stories  

Disney's Golden Oak community is the first-ever area and resort that is so close to the Florida theme parks. 

Single-family, custom-built homes range from 3,800- to-12,000-sqaure-feet and start at $2 million.

Golden Oak will feature nearly 1,000 acres of residential and commercial areas. Once completed, the gated community will have four neighborhoods made up of close to 300 homes, all with different themes. 

Most of the homes will feature old-world Mediterranean and Caribbean architecture. Parks and green areas feature "enchanting sculptures of the classic Disney movie characters," including Snow White and the seven dwarfs. Golfing areas and serene and water views are also on-site.

What's more, homeowners can also enjoy the amenities of a luxe hotel, including access to the services at the neighboring Four Seasons Resort, Disney Parks tickets, Extra Magic Hours benefit, park transportation, private, group activities and events and access to a private 17,000-square-foot clubhouse that features a dining room, bar, gaming area and pool. 

Read more here.

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