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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]

Free places for mom to go on Mother’s Day in Atlanta

Mom has worked hard to raise us.

Now it’s time to give her a little something back.

Here are eight things to do on Mother’s Day that are free and one that’s considerably cheaper than usual.

Cherry Emerson Memorial Alumni Concert

Each year, graduates of Emory University perform this free concert in honor of benefactor Cherry Emerson.

This year, Emory welcomes clarinetist Jennifer Barlament, 1995 graduate and the new executive director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, in a program of music by Claude Debussy and César Franck. 1:30 p.m. Sunday, May 8, at the Miller-Ward Alumni House on campus, 815 Houston Mill Road, Atlanta; parking available. 404-727-5050,

College Football Hall of Fame

On Mother’s Day, moms will be admitted free with the purchase of a regular-priced ticket ($19.99 for adults, $16.99 for kids, ages 3-12), and can enjoy a mimosa while receiving a free manicure and chair massage from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. 404-880-4800,

Zoo Atlanta

On Sunday, May 8, mothers will be admitted free of charge with the purchase of any regular-priced child’s or adult’s general admission ticket ($25.99 and $17.99). Offer only available at the front gate, not available online. 9:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. 800 Cherokee Ave., Atlanta. 404-624-9453,

RELATED: 6 unique (and very local) Mother’s Day gifts

RELATED: Must-do Mother’s Day brunches this Sunday in metro Atlanta

Georgia Aquarium

Moms get half-price admission on Mother’s Day with the purchase of one adult, child or senior’s ticket ($39.95, $33.95, $35.95) from 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday, May 8. 225 Baker St., Atlanta. 404-581-4000,

Tour of Historic Homes in Roswell

Tours of three historic homes in Roswell — Barrington Hall (535 Barrington Drive), Bulloch Hall (180 Bulloch Ave.) and the Smith Plantation (935 Alpharetta St.) — will be free during a Mother’s Day Open House, 1-3 p.m. Sunday, May 8. (Tickets regularly $18 adults, $15 students.)

Visitors are asked to bring a nonperishable item or canned good, which will be donated to North Fulton Charities. Contact Bulloch Hall, 770-640-3855, or the Historic Roswell Convention and Visitors Bureau, 617 Atlanta St., Roswell, 770-640-3253.

Sweet Auburn Springfest

This three-day festival celebrates Sweet Auburn, the soul of downtown Atlanta and the birthplace of Martin Luther King Jr. Live entertainment, international cuisine and a 150-foot-long zip line. 5-9 p.m. Friday, May 6; 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday, May 7; 2-8 p.m. Sunday, May 8. Free admission. Historic Auburn Avenue District, 230 John Wesley Dobbs Ave., Atlanta.

Chastain Park Arts Festival

Chastain Park hosts an outdoor festival each spring and fall, with 185 artists and artisans, a children’s area and local acoustic musicians; food from the Williamson Bros. barbecue, Roly Poly, Happy Belly curbside kitchen and others. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, May 7, and Sunday, May 8. Free. Chastain Park, 4469 Stella Drive, Atlanta.

Dunwoody Art Festival

More than 40,000 people are expected to attend Dunwoody’s free festival to see handmade jewelry, sculpture, paintings and soaps and sample baked goods. Food trucks will offer homemade doughnuts and gourmet lobster rolls. 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday, May 7; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, May 8, rain or shine. Dunwoody Village Parkway; free parking for the shuttle at 5067 Chamblee Dunwoody Road.

Barefoot in the Park Fine Arts Festival

Music from the Gwinnett Symphony String Quartet, Taiwanese drums, ethnic dance companies, and dozens of exhibiting artists enliven this free festival in downtown Buford. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, May 7; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, May 8. Buford Town Park at the Buford Community Center and Theatre, 2200 Buford Drive.

MORE IDEAS  for Mother's Day in Atlanta

Great Sunday brunches in Atlanta (yeah, well, call first)

Lsst-minute gift ideas for Mother's Day: Quit putting it off

Annual Mother's Day Festival in Canton Ga

Sweet Auburn Springfest on Historic Sweet Auburn Avenue

Cirque du Soleil’s “Kurios” at Atlantic Station in Midtown

Write Mom a Letter: Here's a great model to get you started

Get in the Kitchen: Try cooking a favorite recipe from moms of Atlanta chefs

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