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Disney pass holder displays pro-Trump signs at park, gets banned again

A man who was banned from Disney World several weeks ago for unfurling a giant Donald Trump banner in the Magic Kingdom has been banned again.

>> Watch the news report here

He said that after Disney officials took away his annual pass in September, they had a change of heart and let him back in.

>> On WFTV.com: WATCH: Disney passholder hangs Trump re-election banner in Magic Kingdom

The picture of Don Cini's latest antics last week show him riding down Splash Mountain with a "Trump 2020” sign, and on Expedition Everest, he held a “Keep America Great" sign.

WFTV in Orlando, Florida, spoke with him from New York on Monday via Facebook Messenger.

"They never mentioned the fact that there was some kind of safety issue on the ride. That I was holding up a sign and I shouldn't be doing that," Cini said. 

Disney revoked his annual pass, which he says he had for 24 years.

He said that a few weeks ago, Disney called and said he was no longer banned and he agreed not to hang any more flags.

Disney’s park rules state that "the usage of any flag, banner or sign to incite a crowd" is prohibited.

>> Read more trending news 

"And I wanted to actually abide by their rules, and not hold up a flag to incite a crowd, but I kind of wanted to test them," Cini said. "I just really wanted to find out whether or not it had to do with unfurling a flag, or what was written on the flag."

Cini shared pictures of deputies issuing him a trespass warning last week.

It says he's banned from all Walt Disney World properties, including theme parks, water parks, resorts and Disney Springs.

Cini says he now plans to unveil a much bigger 50-foot wide flag sometime next week and somewhere in the United States.

Universal Orlando: Elements of new Florida theme park revealed

New documents filed this week in Orange County, Florida, offer a first look at plans for Universal Orlando’s fourth theme park.

>> Watch the news report here

The plans will transform 540 acres of empty land near Lockheed Martin. That’s in addition to the construction of two hotels on the old Wet ‘n Wild property as part of the 4,000-room Endless Summer Resort.

“I see a very big easel for Universal Orlando and Comcast to paint through over the next few years,” said theme park analyst Rick Munarriz. “Universal now has the coloring book; now they just need to show us their crayons."

Documents filed with the county this week show plans for major infrastructure upgrades.

There will be 100 acres of new roads and more than 5,000 parking spots.

Munarriz said 5,000 parking spots seems like a conservative number.

“So I’m thinking there's going to be a transportation system to get people from the resort to the new resort,” Munarriz said.

>> Read more trending news 

The plans do not show exactly what's coming, but Universal has trademarked the name “Universal's Fantastic Worlds.”

The new Nintendo Land, including Mario Kart and a Donkey Kong roller coaster, was supposed to be built at the KidZone section of Universal Orlando. But analysts said those rides, which are already designed, will likely go into a new park.

“[Universal] really needs to step up its game if it's going to compete with what Disney has coming in three years. That is why we have this new playground coming,” Munarriz said.

National Public Lands Day 2018: Get free admission to national parks Saturday

Want to experience the great outdoors this weekend? You're in luck: Hundreds of parks across the country are offering free admission Saturday, Sept. 22, for National Public Lands Day.

According to the National Park Service, the event, held each year on September's fourth Saturday, "celebrates the connection between people and green space in their community, inspires environmental stewardship, and encourages use of open space for education, recreation and general health." The event is marking its 25th anniversary this year.

>> See a list of participating parks here

Although participating parks will waive admission fees Saturday, they may still charge for concessions, camping, tours or other services, KGUN reported.

Several parks also will be holding volunteer projects. If you'd like to participate, "you will receive a fee-free day coupon to be used on a future date," the National Park Service said.

>> Read more trending news 

Park-goers are encouraged to share photos on social media with the hashtags #NPLD, #FindYourPark and #NPSVolunteer.

Read more here or here.

Museum Day 2018: 1,500 museums offering free admission Saturday

Smithsonian magazine would like you to be their guest at a museum this weekend.

Museum Day is an annual “celebration of boundless curiosity,” according to Smithsonian.com. The organization will provide free admission for two people at nearly 1,500 museums across the country on Saturday, Sept. 22. 

>> Read more trending news 

Participating cultural institutions can be found on the website, and participants can download one ticket per email address.

For more information about Smithsonian magazine Museum Day, click here

Starflyer, world's tallest spinning ride, opens soon in Orlando

The world’s tallest spinning ride, the Starflyer, will be opening soon in Orlando, Florida.

>> Watch the news report here

>> Read more trending news 

The ride will be 450 feet tall and is set to open in June along International Drive.

Developer Chuck Whittall has spent a lot of money to swing business into I-Drive. He has invested nearly a billion dollars between the Coca Cola Orlando Eye and the I-Drive 360.

The Starflyer will be 50 feet taller than the Orlando Eye.

>> On WFTV.com: PHOTOS: Starflyer set to open in June

"To the very top, it's 450 foot. Riders will actually fly at 400 feet; slightly over 400 feet,” Whittall said. "We just finished the certifications on it, and we're just making sure it's working absolutely perfectly."

Whittal said he’s also working on a second phase of I-Drive 360. He is developing a new hotel and more retail space, and putting several hundred million dollars into building apartments to get people to live on I-Drive.

>> On icFlorida.com: Would you take a swing on the StarFlyer?

"I think I-Drive is the go-to destination for conventioneers and for half-day experiences,” Whittall said. "Once you get tired of the theme parks, you still want to have fun and do things. We offer all that here."

Developer Josh Wallack told WFTV’s Jamie Holmes that he’s also sinking hundreds of millions into I-Drive.

First came Mango's and the Hollywood Plaza Complex is next. It will be a rooftop restaurant with a 360-degree view of Orlando.

>> On WFTV.com: Read more Orlando theme park stories

The biggest hurdle remains traffic on I-Drive.

The restaurant is on top of a parking garage with 880 spots.

"This is now the I-Drive entertainment district, and we are looking to make this downtown Orange County,” Wallack said.

You'll soon be able to cruise Pittsburgh's three rivers on a Tiki boat

When you think of Tiki bars and exotic tropical drinks, you probably don’t think of Pittsburgh. But starting this spring, you’ll be able to cruise the three rivers – Tiki style.

>> Read more trending news 

Cruisin' Tikis Pittsburgh will offer two-hour sightseeing charters on the Monongahela, Allegheny and Ohio rivers starting in May. Each 16-foot boat fits six people. They’re BYOB and children are allowed.

According to a comment on its Facebook page, a two-hour tour will likely cost $400 or about $67 per person. That includes the cost of the boat, the captain and possibly a crew member.

Cruisin' Tikis already operates service out of the following locations:

  • Carolina Beach, North Carolina
  • Exhuma, Bahamas
  • Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
  • Islamorada, Florida
  • Key West, Florida
  • Lake George, New York
  • Madeira Beach, Florida
  • North Miami, Florida
  • Sarasota-Bradenton, Florida
  • Tampa Bay, Florida
  • Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina

If you plan on riding the three rivers, you'll get some great views of the city skyline and stadiums

Florida beach named nation's best in TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice awards

A Florida beach has been named the nation's best in TripAdvisor's annual Travelers' Choice awards.

>> See the full rankings here

The travel website announced Tuesday that Clearwater Beach was the best in the U.S. in 2018, climbing from No. 4 in 2017. The beach also topped the national list in 2016. 

>> Read more trending news 

Meanwhile, Grace Bay in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos, took the award for the best beach worldwide.

>> Click here or scroll down to see which other beaches made the lists

Must-see: Niagara Falls is a winter wonderland in these stunning photos

A cold wave is sweeping almost all of North America, and as temperatures have dwindled, we’ve seen some pretty bizarre things. But one of the coolest and most beautiful sights right now has to be Niagara Falls, where Jack Frost painted a spectacular scene that looks like something straight out of Narnia.

>> RELATED STORY: Could Niagara Falls completely freeze? 

>> Click here or scroll down for more

>> Read more trending news 

Christmas display in California sets world record

The executive director of a California holiday display said San Jose's Christmas in the Park has set a Guinness world record, KGO reported.

>> Read more trending news

Jason Minsky said the 600 illuminated Christmas trees in one location set the world record. The paperwork has been accepted by Guinness, KGO reported. It will become official after Christmas in the Park documents all of the trees on video.

According to the Guinness World Records website, the previous record was 559, held by the Hallmark Channel’s Christmas tree maze at Herald Square in New York City.

The official lighting of the 38th annual Christmas in the Park tree display in San Jose occurred Friday night. The display will remain open through Jan. 7, KGO reported.

Goodbye, Georgia Dome – thanks for the memories!

As we say goodbye to the Georgia Dome after a quarter-century, it’s only fitting we look back at some it its most memorable moments.

The Atlanta landmark was demolished at 7:30 a.m. Monday. The last event was held in the 25-year-old building in March, and the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium opened next door in August.

>> Watch a video of the implosion here

>> Head to WSBTV.com for complete coverage of the implosion 

From Super Bowls, to NCAA Men’s Final Fours, to the Summer Olympics, the dome has hosted some incredible sporting events

1996 Summer Olympics

The 70,000-seat Georgia Dome was basically divided into two separate arenas.

On one side, “The Magnificent Seven” captured America’s first victory ever in women’s team gymnastics.

The team – made up of Shannon Miller, Dominique Moceanu, Dominique Dawes, Kerri Strug, Amy Chow, Amanda Borden and Jaycie Phelps – is probably best known for Strug landing a vault on one foot to clinch the gold medal. She was famously helped off by coach Bela Karolyi.

>> On WSBTV.com: Crews make last-minute preps for Georgia Dome implosion

On the other side, “The Dream Team” won its second gold medal in men’s basketball.

The team – coached by Lenny Wilkens – defeated Yugoslavia 95-69 in the gold medal game.

Charles Barkley, Karl Malone, Scottie Pippen, John Stockton and David Robinson played on this team and the original 1992 Dream Team.

Super Bowl XXVIII

The Dallas Cowboys defeated the Buffalo Bills 30-13, earning their fourth Super Bowl in franchise history.

After trailing 13-6 at halftime, the Cowboys closed the game with 24 unanswered points. Emmitt Smith scored twice and was named the game’s MVP.

The crowd of 72,817 saw Natalie Cole sing the national anthem, Joe Namath do the coin toss and a halftime show featuring The Judds, Clint Black, Travis Tritt and Tanya Tucker.

Super Bowl XXXIV

The second Super Bowl hosted by the Georgia Dome was one of the most memorable in history.

The St. Louis Rams defeated the Tennessee Titans 23-16 when Mike Jones stopped Kevin Dyson just short of the goal-line on the game’s final play.Quarterback Kurt Warned threw for 414 yards and 2 touchdowns, and was named the game’s MVP.

>> Read more trending news 

The crowd of 72,625 saw Faith Hill sing the National Anthem and a halftime show featuring Phil Collins, Christina Aguilera, Enrique Iglesias, Toni Braxton and Edward James Olmos.

An ice storm hit Atlanta during the week of the game and many doubted the city’s ability to host the event. Despite the concerns, the Super Bowl will return to Atlanta in 2019.

Tornado hits downtown Atlanta

Thousands of basketball fans were inside the Georgia Dome when an EF-2 tornado ripped through downtown Atlanta in March 2008.

The 130 mph tornado killed one person near downtown, blew out dozens of windows from high-rise buildings, tossed trees and cars and damaged homes in the area.

Inside the Georgia Dome, fans were watching the Southeastern Conference college basketball tournament. The game between Mississippi State and Alabama was in overtime when the tornado struck around 9:40 p.m.

The storm ripped open a panel on the side of the dome, shearing bolts and causing insulation to fall into the arena.

The game was completed after the storm moved through. The rest of the tournament was postponed.

The dome, along with several other downtown buildings, underwent repairs while staying open for business in the years after the tornado.

Sugar Bowl moved to Georgia Dome

After Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, the Sugar Bowl between the Georgia Bulldogs and the West Virginia Mountaineers was played at the Georgia dome in January 2006. It was the first time the “South’s Biggest Bowl Game” was played outside of the state of Louisiana.

That week, within a four day period, the dome hosted three games. Along with the Sugar Bowl, the dome also hosted the Peach Bowl between LSU and Miami and an NFL game between the Falcons and the Panthers.

2012 NFC Championship game

The Georgia Dome has seen its share of Falcons successes and frustrations. The 2012 NFC Championship was one of the franchise's biggest accomplishments and toughest defeats. It was the first-ever NFC championship game in Atlanta. The Falcons jumped out to a 17-0 second-quarter lead over the San Francisco 49ers. The lead wouldn't last, and after failing to make a play at the end, the Falcons lost 28-24 and missed the Super Bowl. 

2017 NFC Championship game

In 2017, the Falcons would not squander a chance to return to the Super Bowl. In their final game at the Georgia Dome, the Falcons beat the Packers 44-21 to advance to their second Super Bowl in franchise history.

In this game, the Falcons again jumped out to a 17-0 lead, but this time they never looked back. They took a 24-0 at halftime and held on for a convincing win to close out their time at the Dome. 

NCAA Tournaments

Atlanta has hosted 85 NCAA men's tournament games, fifth most of any city. Thirty of those games were played at the Georgia Dome. Six NCAA Regionals, three men's Final Fours (2002, 2007 and 2013) and one women's Final Four were played at the Dome. The Dome's final tournament in 2013 set records. A crowd of 74,326 beat the record for the largest ever for a final game. 

State Championships

The Dome has been home to the finals since 2008, but the stadium's 25-year history with Georgia high school football dates back to the building's opening in 1992. On Sept. 5, 1992, the Corky Kell Classic matchup between Brookwood and McEachern was the first regular season football game in the Dome. Until then, Georgia high school football rarely was played on such a big stage. 

In the 25 seasons, 169 Georgia high schools have participated in the Dome's 298 high school football games, according to the Georgia High School Football Historians Association. 

Soccer at the dome

Eleven soccer games were played at the Georgia Dome since 2009. The first competitive soccer games were held during the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup. The U.S. men's national team made its first appearance in Atlanta since 1977 in the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup semifinals at the Dome. 

In all, the Dome hosted Mexico's "El Tri" four times, Mexico's Club America twice and the U.S. men's and women's national teams once each. Notable visitors also include European clubs A.C. Milan and Manchester City.

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