Share This!This week’s SATURDAY SIX is undoubtedly a special one as we once again dust off the blue blazer and step behind the SATURDAY SIX News Desk. It has been a whirlwind of theme park related news lately. Our long national nightmare is over as purple MagicBands are available for your WDW resort stay, Disney started a new subscription service themed to the Haunted Mansion for the low low price of just $200 (oh, and it has already sold out), the Orlando Eye did its first baby reveal, and a worker at Art of Animation was caught on video using a dirty mop to clean a table. That was just the tip of the iceberg.So – as usual – we took a page out of our old college playbook, chugged down a case of 5 Hour Energy, and pulled an all-nighter, cramming as much information as we could into our tiny brains so that we could report back to you, Dear Reader, with all the relevant facts (and before we forget it all tomorrow). So sit back, know that you are getting all the news that’s fit to print (and plenty more that’s not), and let’s begin our countdown starting with…–# 6 – That sound you hear? KONG IS COMING.As Donald Trump would say, it was a yuge week of King Kong news over at the Universal Orlando Resort. As theme park merchandise fanatics, we loved that a whole bunch of new merch arrived for the upcoming Skull Island: Reign of Kong attraction. Then, Universal dropped a bombshell with their reveal of the incredible ride vehicles along with a couple other tasty tidbits: This would be Universal’s first trackless ride system, and the vehicles would be “driven” by one of five characters. While Universal hasn’t released an official opening of the attraction yet, we have a sneaking suspicion we may hear something around the time the Syfy show Face Off features an entire episode (the season finale no less) dedicated to creating characters for the attraction. Stay tuned Wednesday, March 30th at 9PM EST on Syfy.Universal’s Kong is almost here, but Disney has Avatar and Star Wars in the near future…. (photo by Matt Cleary)–# 5 – SeaWorld Admits to Ordering Employees to Spy on Animal Rights GroupsReaders of the SATURDAY SIX may remember one of last year’s annual Turkeys of the Year awards went to a SeaWorld employee who was caught spying on the animal rights group PeTA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). At the time, SeaWorld management was shocked, SHOCKED at this behavior and put out the story that the employee had gone rogue. Fast forward to this month and during another disastrous investor’s conference, SeaWorld CEO Joel Manby admitted that employees did go undercover in animal rights groups and, more importantly, did so per order of the company.Believe it or not this was the most “wow” SeaWorld story of the week until the atomic bomb the company dropped Thursday morning announcing they were ending the breeding of Killer Whales and will also be ending all the theatrical shows featuring orcas (to be replaced by exhibits).Disguised as famous YouTube personality Tim Tracker, Shamu himself was able to go completely unnoticed within the PeTA ranks. (photo by Michael Sheehy)–# 4 – StoryMaker Debuts at It’s a Small World“Do you believe in miracles?” – Al MichaelsOriginally slated to debut with MyMagic+ several years ago, StoryMaker was probably the thing the majority of Disney guests were most excited for. By reading information off our MagicBands, this was the technology that was going to let meet and greet characters like Talking Mickey or the Disney Princesses know our names before they met us. It was also going to be used in attractions around the park, including It’s a Small World. Years ago, the idea was that guests would be able to design a IASW-like character at home, and then come to the Magic Kingdom to see it displayed on a screen at the end of the ride. As we all know, that didn’t happen, but just this past week – out of nowhere – screens at the end of IASW started to display the names of guests. Thankfully theme park bloggers, the real heroes, were immediately called into action and shared their story with the world.The bad news? The screens may already have been turned off. C’est la vie.One day you too, Dear Reader, may see your own name inside a Walt Disney World attraction…just pray it isn’t Stitch’s Great Escape. (photo by Banks Lee and Matt Cleary)Theme Park Bloggers, is there anything they can’t do?–# 3 – New Chocolate Based Restaurant to Debut in Universal CityWalkAbout a week ago, the wrestling world was buzzing that a WWE Hall of Fame was going to open at Universal CityWalk, replacing NBA City. This didn’t make too much sense for Universal, as WWE business ventures outside their core business of professional wrestling have been some of the biggest financial flops in modern times (including the XFL and The World restaurant in Times Square). There is also the elephant in the room of WWE’s biggest demographic, which traditionally do not have the type of household income that a family needs for a theme park resort vacation (which is one of the reasons why wrestling has a hard time getting – and keeping – big name advertisers despite great TV ratings).Well, turns out the “exclusive story” wasn’t true at all and Universal themselves unveiled what is actually coming to CityWalk: The Toothsome Chocolate Factory & Savory Feast Emporium. One part steampunk, one part Willy Wonka, and one part Cheesecake Factory, The Toothsome Chocolate Factory looks to continue Universal’s hot streak of great restaurants including Red Oven Pizza Bakery, Antojitos, and Vivo Italian Kitchen. The restaurant promises unique twists on your standard restaurant menu (steak, seafood, pasta, burgers, etc) but it also looks to debut the first ever E-Ticket milkshakes.The Toothsome Chocolate Factory & Savory Feast Emporium becomes the most unfriendly Twitter name for a restaurant EVER. (photo courtesy of the Universal Orlando Resort)Seriously, look at those shakes!Is that an actual cupcake on the top of a milkshake? Yes, yes it is. We are truly #blessed.Okay, who wants to get chocolate wasted?!Disney Springs will not be taking this news about Toothsome lying down. Look for exciting gastro counterpunches soon!–# 2 – 1 if by land, $2 if by RESORT FEE.The world of theme park social media was rocked earlier this week when word got that some Disney guests were receiving a survey that asked questions about resort fees. Now we all know – and despise – hidden resort fees. They’ve become so commonplace at hotels that it has become like baggage fees at the airlines, you know that, no matter what you are going to get screwed. Disney has always had their resort fees built into the cost of the room, so you pay one cost upfront and don’t have to be nickel and dimed over amenities such as parking, wi-fi, and even MagicBands.The survey threw out the number of $15 for a resort fee at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort or the BoardWalk. Included within this $15 fee would be: Disney’s Magical Express, MagicBands, Priority FP+ planning, WiFi, Extra Magic Hours, and parking at the resort and theme parks. Basically, everything you are getting now. Now many in the community – such as Pete Werner of the DisUnplugged podcast say that this is Disney just softening the blow for announcing resort fees that are surely coming. Others, such as Josh EasyWDW say resort fees are “absolutely 100% not coming to the WDW resorts.”While certainly not everything Disney puts into surveys comes to fruition, a similar survey came out last year tossing out the idea of tiered ticket pricing, something which Disney put into reality on February 28th.“How much is your penny candy?” “Surprisingly expensive.” – The Simpsons–# 1 – Walt Disney World Testing Preferred ParkingNot a good week for those hoping their Walt Disney Resort vacation would become cheaper. At both the Magic Kingdom and EPCOT, Disney tested premium parking for a fee. Many other theme parks, including Universal, already offer “up charge” parking that allows guests to park closer to the parks. This test by Disney rolls out a few months after testing paid parking at some of the WDW resorts. Unlike the resort fees mentioned above, this is an up charge that probably wouldn’t affect the average guest. Many people use Disney transportation to get to the parks, and for those that drive their own vehicles the actual distance between the regular parking areas ($20) and the premium parking ($35) is not all that big.Possible DHS parking on a peak day (photo by Michael Sheehy)–UPDATE: Early reports of preferred parking have guests not exactly lining up to pay for the shorter walk to the parks. We’ll see how this changes when more guests understand what preferred parking includes and if Disney cuts down on the amount of trams to “encourage” the upgrade.EPCOT preferred parking. (photo by Brandon Glover)EPCOT preferred parking. (photo by Brandon Glover) So there you have it: The SATURDAY SIX News Desk once again delivers all the news that is fit to print (and even more that isn’t). See you next weekend for the latest installment of the SATURDAY SIX, where we’ll look at something fun from the world of Disney and Universal. If you enjoyed yourself, be sure to check out The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! articles, or, for your listening pleasure, check out the E-Ticket Report podcast. You can also follow Your Humble Author on Twitter (@derekburgan)If you enjoyed this article, you will surely like the following:SATURDAY SIX News Desk: January 2016 (FP+ Line Starts Here!, Star Wars Land, Pizza Planet refurb and more)Six Things We Wish Theme Park Fans Would Stop Complaining AboutInaugural 2015 Theme Park Awards (AKA ” The Burgys”)Six Great Souvenirs From the Universal Orlando ResortSpecial Thanks to crack staff photographer Brandon Glover, master photo manipulator Matt Cleary, noted rabble rouser Michael Sheehy, the great Banks Lee, and blogger to the stars Megan Stump for their invaluable assistance with this article. Be sure to also check out Brandon on The Park Blogger podcast with co-hosts Aengus Mackenzie and Brian Carey.It truly takes a village.
“Creation of risk maps and identification and characterization of subsurface archaeology will facilitate the future protection, preservation and presentation of the Kathmandu Valley World Heritage Site, specifically, the severely damaged sites of Hanuman Dhoka, Patan and Bhaktapur” said Christian Manhart, Representative of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to Nepal in a press release issued today.The 7.8 magnitude earthquake which hit Nepal in April this year, caused over 8,000 fatalities, devastated large areas of county and neighbouring regions, including destruction of Nepal’s unique monuments within the UNESCO Kathmandu Valley World Heritage Site of Universal Outstanding Value.The monuments of the Kathmandu Valley were a major source of income and economic growth through national and international tourism for the local residents and a key source of foreign currency in Nepal. The severely damaged ornate temples of wood, brick and tile were not only of intangible value, but they also were places of worship for the residents who ‘reach out and commune with their guiding goddesses and gods’ through these temples.Prior to rebuilding the experts will undertake rescue and survey excavations in the damaged medieval city squares of Patan, Hanuman Dhoka and Bhaktapur.They will create Archaeological Risk Maps heritage within the three Darbar squares using Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR), which will provide a detailed layout of archaeological features such as walls and buildings below the surface. This will be critical in guiding the laying of new service infrastructure, protecting key elements of Kathmandu’s underground heritage for future generations.“This project offers archaeological expertise in the post-disaster recovery effort for Nepal, not only affording the opportunity of identifying earlier cultural phases of human activity in the Kathmandu Valley, of which there is a current paucity of evidence, but also mitigating the risk, and affording protection to subsurface heritage, prior to the post-disaster reconstruction of these World Heritage Sites,” said Professor Coningham, the UNESCO Chair in Archaeological Ethics and Practice in Cultural Heritage at Durham University in the United Kingdom.
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A more successful outreach to Bangladesh,By: PTI | New Delhi | Published: July 2 The company had challenged the trial court’s direction to pay over Rs 14 lakh with interest to another private firm. upsets Pakistanis The historical drama, which resonates with old and new generation, was critically acclaimed. both the actors are undergoing rigorous training for a year as the film will also showcase some thrilling action sequences. played by Samuthirakani, explains to him the importance and necessities of adversaries as the sign of one’s progress in life while giving his son, He incurred the first three points when he stumbled into Sri Lankan batsman Niroshan Dickwella at the non-striker’s end even after the latter had completed he single in an ODI in Cape Town.
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The Indian Premier League Governing Council that is slated to meet late Thursday evening here will deliberate on the next course of action based on the Madras High Court’s hearing on Chennai Super Kings’ petition due on the same day.”Everything now hinges on the High Court hearing. We’ll deliberate on the way forward after the order and the Board’s legal cell will work accordingly,” a GC member said.Two-time champions Chennai Super Kings, who have been slapped a two-year ban along with Rajasthan Royals because of their team owners involvement in 2013 IPL spot-fixing, had moved the Madras HC challenging the suspension.The first bench of the High Court had found the petition maintainable and issued notice to the BCCI as it will be up for hearing on Thursday.Also read: Michael Clarke likely to make an IPL comeback The BCCI’s last working committee meeting before the AGM due in September will be held on Friday and the IPL GC matter will be 12th in the list of agenda which will deal with various cricketing matters, including deliberating on the affiliation issues to Bihar and Uttarakhand.”There will be various cricketing matters on the agenda including NCA, umpires, women’s, finance, legal, marketing and affiliation committees,” a CAB official said.The annual report and accounts will also be submitted besides deciding on the date and venue of the upcoming AGM, he added.