FROM BAD TO WORSE
What was already a bad month in a bad year for the Walt Disney World transportation system got even worse this week with TWO MORE bus accidents. The first happened when a ten-year-old boy was struck and killed by a bus at Fort Wilderness Resort. The boy was riding a bicycle at the time and was wearing a helmet, according to reports. In this case, the boy cycled into the side of the bus and was dragged under the wheels. It is not believed that the driver was at fault in the accident. Of course, that makes it no less tragic.
The second accident was a fender bender involving a Disney bus and two other cars. According to reports, the eighty-year-old (!!) Disney bus driver did not spot a traffic light in time, causing a chain reaction crash with the two other cars. Apparently this particular driver had been reported for careless and reckless driving in the past. Disney really needs a total overhaul of this transportation system, because this kind of stuff is unacceptable.
NEWS & NOTES
Hallelujah! It's an Easter miracle, as Southwest Airlines has finally joined up with Disney's Magical Express. Guests with current reservations can add their flight information and get the full benefit of the program. This is excellent news for a great many people traveling to Walt Disney World (specifically me.) Of course, they're still not a part of the resort airline check-in service...so it's not too much of a reason to rejoice.
It looks like the cruise line signature Animator's Palate restaurant is going to get a makeover for the Dream. The restaurant will be getting a Finding Nemo overlay. The restaurant will gradually transform from the usual animation studio into an underwater world, complete with fish swimming outside the "portholes" and a version of Turtle Talk with Crush, where the cartoon will talk to guests about their dinner and stuff. Aside from the fact that talking with a cartoon turtle sounds incredibly annoying, I also find humor in the idea of Finding Nemo being the subject of the Artist's Palate restaurant, considering the fact that no artists used any paintbrushes or palates in general to create that film. Oh well, it's the thought that counts.
Two refurbs are scheduled for the Studios in the coming months. Muppetvision will go down April 24-May 14 and Rockin Roller Coaster will be closed May 15-20.
The much maligned Luxo Jr. animatronic at Hollywood Studios appears to have gone dark for good. That's a damn shame.
A new store called D Street, specializing in Vinylmation, has begun soft opening in Downtown Disney. The grand opening is scheduled for April 16. Disney describes it as "chic, offbeat, popular, vintage, kickback, fashionable and fun – fusing urban art and Disney’s creative flair." OK then.
The lineups for the Eat to the Beat Concert Series are set. It'll be Sister Hazel (Oct. 13-15), 38 Special (Oct. 20-21), Night Ranger (Oct. 22-24), Starship featuring Mickey Thomas (Oct. 28-31), and Big Bad VooDoo Daddy (Nov. 12-14). I'd imagine that some more dates are to come.
Disney held a special send off for Atlanta Braves manager Bobby Cox this week. They presented him with a "Mousekar" award in a ceremony involving Mickey Mouse at ESPN's Wide World of Sports. The Braves hold spring training at the complex and Cox will be retiring this year after 13 seasons with the Braves.
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