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Disney World exec reveals more about new Epcot coaster, gondola system, 'stunt-atronics'
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Disney World exec reveals more about new Epcot coaster, gondola system, 'stunt-atronics'

Disney World exec reveals more about new Epcot coaster, gondola system, 'stunt-atronics'
Photo Credit: WDWNews.com
EPCOT is undergoing big changes including a new roller coaster themed to the "Guardians of the Galaxy" films and a gondola transportation system.

Disney World exec reveals more about new Epcot coaster, gondola system, 'stunt-atronics'

Walt Disney World is revealing more about some of its new attractions -- and showing off some of its newest technology -- that are coming soon to Central Florida.

“We’ve made the conscious decision to control our own destiny – to be the disruptor, not the disrupted,” Bob Chapek -- chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Consumer Products -- said at the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions conference in Orlando. 

At the conference, Chapek unveiled new animatronics called A1000s, which he said is Disney’s most innovative and expensive animatronics yet.

>> Read more trending news 

Disney is even developing new technology called stunt-tronics: Animatronics that can do stunts too dangerous for humans, like flying through the air and doing superhero-like moves.

Disney also revealed more about a much-anticipated attraction coming to Epcot: A new "Guardians of the Galaxy" ride being built at the former Universe of Energy pavilion. 

Chapek said it will be one of the longest enclosed roller coasters in the world. Just building the foundation was the largest concrete pour in Walt Disney World’s history. The building is so big, it can fit four Spaceship Earths inside, Chapek said.

WFTV.com
The new show building for EPCOT's "Guardians of the Galaxy" ride.
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Disney World exec reveals more about new Epcot coaster, gondola system, 'stunt-atronics'

Photo Credit: WFTV.com
The new show building for EPCOT's "Guardians of the Galaxy" ride.

The new roller coaster will spin as it moves, and will have a storyline that revolves around the plot and characters from the movie.

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

“Guests will be able to experience it when it opens in time for Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary in 2021,” Chapek said.

Disney also revealed more about the gondola system called Skyliner, which Disney now says will be operational in the fall of 2019. Crews have been building towers across the landscape of the property for months.

When it opens, Skyliner will connect Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and four resorts: Pop Century, Art of Animation, Caribbean Beach, and the new Rivera Resort, which is set to open in 2019.

>>Read: Up, up and away: WFTV gets exclusive look at Walt Disney World's Skyliner

What the actual gondolas look like remains a secret, though Disney has circulated artist renderings of the project.

WDWNews.com
A whole new transportation system called Disney Skyliner will give guests a birds-eye view of Walt Disney World Resort.
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Disney World exec reveals more about new Epcot coaster, gondola system, 'stunt-atronics'

Photo Credit: WDWNews.com
A whole new transportation system called Disney Skyliner will give guests a birds-eye view of Walt Disney World Resort.

One thing is clear, though: Mickey Mouse may be turning 90, but he and Disney aren’t slowing down.

“In this industry, complacency is the biggest threat,” Chapek said.

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Local News

  • A body found in an Athens river earlier this week has been positively identified.  From the ACCPD:  The Athens-Clarke County Coroner has positively identified the deceased individual located in the Middle Oconee River as 54-year-old Emory Odell Findley of Athens. Findley was reported missing on March 29, 2019. The ACCPD will continue investigating the circumstances surrounding Findley’s death. The ACCPD asks that anyone with information about this incident to contact Det. Johnson at 706-613-3330, ext. 522 or Paul.Johnson@accgov.com . 
  • The Atlanta Business Chronicle says Atlanta’s loss will be Jackson County’s gain: Shenandoah Growers is reportedly closing its operation in Atlanta and moving to Jefferson. The company has posted ads for several job openings, including packers, drivers, and office staffers.  Shenandoah Growers is headquartered in Harrisonburg Virginia. Shenandoah grows organic herbs in indoor greenhouses using bionic growing methods. It has locations around the country. There was no immediate word exactly how many jobs will be created in Jackson County. 
  • Channel 2 Action News is getting you ready for a strong storm system headed our way. Our Severe Weather Team 2 Meteorologists have been tracking this storm system for more than a week, as it moves across the country.  The system has already produced strong storms in Texas Thursday morning. Severe Weather Team 2 Meteorologist Brian Monahan said that the system, with possible severe storms, will move into north Georgia overnight.  Temperatures will drop after the storms move out Friday. High temperatures on Saturday will be in the upper 50s. Drier weather settles into the area next week. 
  • Samantha Joye, an internationally recognized University of Georgia marine scientist who studies the complex interplay between microbes and large-scale ecological processes in the oceans, has been named Regents’ Professor, effective July 1. The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia approved the title Tuesday at its meeting in Savannah. Joye is Athletic Association Professor of Arts and Sciences in the department of marine sciences, part of the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. Regents’ Professorships are bestowed by the Board of Regents on faculty members whose scholarship or creative activity is recognized nationally and internationally as innovative and pace-setting. “Dr. Joye combines a commitment to rigorous and innovative science with a passion for sharing research-based knowledge with the public,” said Interim Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Libby V. Morris. “She is an inspiration to students at the University of Georgia and to countless aspiring marine scientists across the nation and beyond.” Joye’s work explores the deep ocean and the impact of biogeochemical, ecological and environmental factors on microbes and other marine life. She has pioneered new methods of quantifying environmental factors such as microbial metabolism and geochemical signatures in extreme conditions by visiting the deepest parts of the ocean in manned submersible and remotely operated vehicles. With 160 peer-reviewed publications and 14 book chapters, Joye’s research has been cited more than 10,000 times, placing her among the top researchers in her field, and she has been awarded nearly 40 public and private research grants since 1997. Her current grants include funding from the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative, the Schmidt Ocean Institute, the National Science Foundation, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. “Joye is a force of nature, driven by insatiable curiosity and apparently endless energy. She holds herself, her students and colleagues to the highest standards of thoroughness, rigor and integrity. As a person, a professor and a scientist, she is a powerful role model for both men and women,” Bess Ward, William J. Sinclair Professor of Geosciences at Princeton University, wrote in a nomination letter. “She is a truly distinguished member of the faculty of the University of Georgia.” After the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion created the largest marine oil spill in history, Joye spearheaded the formation of a team of multidisciplinary researchers from across the nation to determine the environmental impacts of the hydrocarbon inputs on the Gulf of Mexico’s biome. The Ecosystem Impacts of Oil and Gas Inputs to the Gulf (ECOGIG) consortium, which brings together researchers from 16 institutions across the United States, continues its work today and has resulted thus far in 34 seagoing expeditions and more than 110 publications and 300 presentations. “Joye directs not only her own top-flight research program in marine sciences at UGA, but also a top-flight consortium … ECOGIG is truly transforming the way we think about the Gulf and its relationship to the myriad of hydrocarbon springs on its seafloor,” Jeffrey Chanton, Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Research Professor and John Widmer Winchester Professor of Oceanography at Florida State University, wrote in his nomination letter. “In addition to her impressive scientific contributions, she has made heroic efforts to communicate science to the general public while mentoring the next generation of scientists.” In addition to thousands of press interviews with media outlets from National Geographic to the New York Times, Joye has engaged in various projects with artists to translate science to the public, including a current partnership with painter Rebecca Rutstein that was featured at a recent Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities conference at UGA. Joye recently collaborated with artist Jim Toomey of the popular “Sherman’s Lagoon” comic strip to create an award-winning short film series entitled “The Adventures of Zack and Molly,” which highlights the importance of healthy oceans. In addition, Joye’s research has been featured in two documentaries, “Black and Blue: Beneath the Gulf Oil Disaster” and “Atlantis Revealed: Where the Oil Went,” and her work has been filmed for the BBC’s “Blue Planet” series.   Joye is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Geophysical Union and the American Academy of Microbiology and a Sustaining Fellow of the Association for Sciences for Limnology and Oceanography. She has testified before Congress numerous times on the impact of the oil spill and is a recipient of a Distinguished Service Award for Education and Outreach from the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Minerals Management Service. She received a Faculty Achievement Award from the Southeastern Conference in 2015 and a Creative Research Medal from the University of Georgia in 2008. The Regents’ Professorship includes a $10,000 salary increase and is granted for an initial period of three years, which may be renewed. No more than one Regents’ Professorship is given in any year at UGA.
  • Fresh off his first season as Georgia Bulldogs basketball coach, Tom Crean speaks this morning in Atlanta: Crean keynotes the Terry College Third Thursday breakfast session, taking place this morning at the Synovus Community Room in Atlanta.    Coach Crean will be back in Athens to speak tonight at the Classic Center, taking part in the annual Steak and Steak fundraiser hosted by the Boys and Girls Clubs of Athens. 

Bulldog News

  • ATHENS — Georgia coach Tom Crean gave an assist to the Bulldogs’ fans after landing the No. 7-ranked signing group in the 2019 class. McDonald’s All-American Anthony “Antman” Edwards, the nation’s No 1-ranked shooting guard coming out of Holy Spirit Prep School in Atlanta, chose UGA in part to stay close to his loved ones. RELATED: Georgia lands Fab Four in Top 100 class, Crean says ‘we’re not done’ But Edwards was also inspired by the Bulldogs’ 98-88 upset over eventual NIT champion Texas in the SEC-Big 12 Challenge, Crean revealed. Many viewed it as Crean getting Sugar Bowl revenge on the Longhorns’ program. But Edwards also attended the game that day, and the energy that the capacity crowd brought to Stegeman Coliseum played into the elite prospect’s decision making. RELATED: Georgia basketball rips Texas 98-88 amid electric environment “I think win or lose in that game, the atmosphere was incredible, and there was a lot of passion and juice,” Crean said at his spring signing day press conference on Thursday. “The fact we did win and score those kinds of points against a team like that was helpful. “But the atmosphere in this situation was probably one of the biggest determining things.” Georgia basketball set a single season attendance record despite an 11-21 finish, and the Texas game was one of seven sellouts. The Bulldogs’ top recruits, like the fans, took note of the grit and resiliency Crean was building in close losses to NCAA teams like Auburn (78-75), Ole Miss (72-71), LSU (83-79) and Mississippi State (68-67). “Building that level of resiliency, and building that level of toughness, and that level of belief and care, that’s the same thing you’re trying to get across to recruits,” Crean said. “The fact that people could see the way we were competing and coming back time and time again, when it didn’t go as well, they see this is a team that’s improving. “We try to get across to them that we’re not recruiting to try to get in the hunt — we’re not trying to recruit to get a little bit better — we’re recruiting to be all the way in.” The Georgia basketball fans did their part as Crean and his staff was doing theirs on the recruiting trail, and it helped lead to the highest ranked recruiting class in program history. Georgia basketball coach Tom Crean The post WATCH: Tom Crean credits Georgia basketball fans with assist for Top 10 class appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS —  I called James Banks Thursday morning. You’d have thought I was talking to a kid on Christmas morning about the awesome gift he’d just opened under the tree. “Oh, man, I’m excited. I’m ecstatic. I’m beyond ecstatic,” said Banks, star of Georgia’s 1983 Final Four basketball team. “I’m as excited as I was when we went to the Final Four, and I’m not being facetious about that.” Banks I’d barely gotten my question out of my mouth — what’d you think about the Bulldogs landing The Antman? — when Banks launched into this enlivened soliloquy. “Great player. Great kid. The real deal,” Banks said of the nation’s No. 2-rated overall prospect, also known as Anthony Edwards. “Can get to the rim anytime he wants to. He’s a pro for sure.” Banks went on. He said he wasn’t excited just about Antman. It was about the 2019 recruiting class overall. It was about second-year coach Tom Crean. “I really think he’s got this program heading in the right direction,” Banks said. It would appear so. Georgia’s 2019 class is currently ranked No. 7 nationally. Edwards, a 6-foot-4 guard who’s considered the No. 1 overall recruit in America by a 247Sports.com, is obviously cream of the crop. But the Bulldogs also signed three other Top 100 players. On Wednesday, the first day of the spring signing period for basketball, they added No. 62-ranked Christian Brown, a 6-foot-6 forward from Oak Hill Academy. They’re added to a list that already included Jaykwon Walton and Toumani Camara, who signed with the Bulldogs during the early signing period in November. Both 6-6 wings, they’re ranked 69th and 96th, respectively, in 247Sports’ composite. It’s sum total of that group that has Banks pumped. It reminds him of what the Bulldogs did in the early 1980s under coach Hugh Durham. Everybody remembers that Georgia signed Dominique Wilkins during that time. The man who would become known as “The Human Highlight Film remains the greatest recruit the Bulldogs have ever signed, Antman included (for now at least). But that was not the greatest recruiting class Georgia would sign. That would be the 1980 group that Durham landed the year after Wilkins’ arrival that catapulted the Bulldogs to that incredible run in 1983. “Derrick Floyd was an All-American; Lamar Heard was an All-American; Terry Fair was the No. 1 player in the state,” said Banks, who was also a McDonald’s All-American coming out of Atlanta that year. “So that was the nucleus of that team. Of course, Dominique had gotten there the year before us. But Coach Durham sold us on starting a tradition instead of being part of a tradition. We all bought into that, and that gave us a nucleus of good guys, good people first, but outstanding players. Coach Crean is following that same formula.” Banks said he’s trying not to get ahead himself, but he sees similar potential in this group. The Bulldogs expect to have 6-11 forward Nicolas Claxton back next year, as well as 6-8 Rayshaun Hammonds and 6-9 Amanze Ngumezi. Add this class of multi-skilled, outside-shooting, ball-handling, rim-rattling prospects led by Edwards, and Banks sees Georgia becoming immediately competitive on national level. And not just for a minute, mind you, but for a while. “I really like Coach Crean,” said Banks, a 14-year European pro who now coaches girls’ basketball at Athens Academy. “I really like what he’s doing and how he’s doing it. I like his spirit, his energy, his passion about what he’s doing. He’s just really doing things the right way. He’s doing a wonderful job of recruiting this state and recruiting period. You could say I’m a Tom Crean fan.” Banks said Crean has reached out to and embraced former lettermen like himself, past players who experienced great basketball success at Georgia. Crean is the keynote speaker tonight at The Classic Center for the annual Steak & Steak Dinner to benefit the Boys and Girls Club of Athens. Floyd, also of that ’83 team, is the director of operations for that organization. The event is sold out. Banks said he made an impromptu visit to one of the Bulldogs’ practices earlier this year. He said Crean stopped the workout and had the entire team come over to shake his hand and thank him for what he did for Georgia basketball. “That’s why I’m so excited, to be honest with you,” Banks said. “I think Coach Crean and his staff are committed to making this program great and embracing anything and everything he can to make that happen.” A collection of former high school All-Americans helped lift Georgia to its one and only Final Four appearance in 1983 in Albuquerque, N.M. (UGA file) Of course, that starts and ends with getting great players. And while Georgia has always signed talented basketball players, like Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Trey Thompkins and Jarvis Hayes, it’s the ability to land several at a time and get them to blend together and play well as a team that translates into winning on a high level and competing for championships That’s what Georgia has done whenever it has had its pockets of success over the years. The run to the Sweet 16 under Tubby Smith in 1996 started with the core group of Shandon Anderson, Terrell Bell, Pertha Robinson and Carlos Strong. Same for the 1990 SEC Championship team, led by Rod Cole, Litterial Green, Alec Kessler and Marshall Wilson. A cynic might point out that even the great Wilkins didn’t lift the Bulldogs to a championship. It was only the year after Wilkins left early for the pros that Georgia won the SEC Tournament and made the run to the Final Four. Edwards is, of course, the closest the Bulldogs have had to Wilkins in terms of can’t miss pro potential. Right now, before he has even stepped foot the UGA campus, Edwards projects to be an NBA lottery pick in 2020. Sometimes such expectations can overshadow a team and/or throw it out of balance. To some degree that happened with Wilkins, who might take 20 or 25 shots a game. But Banks said he has spent a lot of time studying and watching Edwards, and he thinks he different. “From everything I’ve seen, (Edwards is) a great team player,” Banks said. “He obviously can shoot and score, but he handles the ball so well and passes so well and can do a lot of other things to make everybody on the team better.” The biggest key to success, Banks said, is going to be the coaching and leadership of Crean. And in Crean, Banks believes. “That’s all about the coach, and Crean knows how to handle that,” Banks said. “He did a wonderful job with Dwayne Wade and Victor Oladipo. He’s coached guys who could flat out play the game. He knows how to coach them into being a great teammate and making their teammates better. That will help Antman become a great pro. I have the utmost confidence in coach Crean getting it done in that aspect. He’s done that before.” Meshing together is what Georgia did so well that magical season of 1982-83. With the point guard named Vern Fleming from New York City leading the way with 16.9 points per game, the Bulldogs had four players average in double figures and they pretty much beat all comers on the backboards. That got landed them an SEC Tournament championship and got them past the likes of St. Johns and North Carolina on the way to the 1983 Final Four in Albuquerque, N.M. With Antman out front and Crean on the sideline Banks thinks such heights are possible again. The key, he said, is in the blending. “Players in the locker room, they always know who’s that dude,” Banks said. “We were some dudes, but we knew who the dude really was. You practice with those guys every day, so there’s no mistaking that. Antman is that dude. But it’s got to be about the team and playing for one another and that’s where leadership comes in.” Banks said he thinks Georgia now has “the dude” and “the coach.” “So I can’t wait,” Banks said, almost giddy now. “I’m excited. I hope I don’t have to miss a game this year ’cause I really think this is gonna be a lot of fun.” Take a look at this “Day in the Life of Anthony Edwards” video below and you’ll get an idea of the kind of player Georgia is getting. The post James Banks, star of Georgia’s 1983 Final Four team, among the many with ‘Antman Fever’ appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — Georgia football will hold it’s annual G-Day Game, a spring intrasquad scrimmage. The Bulldogs are coming off an SEC East Division title and an 11-3 season. Georgia is among the favorites to win the national championship in 2019 with third-year quarterback Jake Fromm returning, along with a 1,000-yard rusher in D’Andre Swift. The Bulldogs also feature an offensive line that’s challenging to rank among the best in the nation, and perhaps recent modern era football history. RELATED: Georgia O-Line work in progress, but also, work of art Georgia has 14 early enrollees. Many of those players are competing for prominent roles this spring, including the No. 1 overall recruit in the 2019 class Nolan Smith (OLB), and the No. junior college signee in the class (Jermaine Johnson). What time is the Georgia G-Day Game? Time: The Georgia football G-Day Game is scheduled for 2 p.m. Location: The game is at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Ga. What TV Channel is the G-Day Game on? The game will be televised by the SEC Network. Who are the G-Day TV commentators? The  SEC Network commentators assigned are Maria Taylor, Matt Stinchcomb and Greg McElroy. Tom Hart will handle the play-by-play. How can I listen to the G-Day Game? The game will be broadcast on WSB 95.5 FM, 750 AM, WNGC 106.1 FM  along with other Georgia Bulldog Sport Network (IMG) radio affiliates. Scott Howard is on the play-by-play call, Eric Zeier is the color analyst, and Chuck Dowdle is the sideline reporter. Georgia G-Day Game live updates For live updates and information on the game via Twitter, follow  DawgNation writers: Chip Towers  @ChipTowersDN Jeff Sentell @JeffSentell Connor Riley @KConnorRiley Brandon Adams @DawgNationDaily Mike Griffith  @MikeGriffith32  Georgia football spring stories Defensive lineman Justin Young emerges from relative obscurity Kirby Smart looks for more out of safety Richard LeCounte Jake Fromm leads freshman QB D’Wan Mathis WATCH: Georgia lineman Ben Cleveland 100 percent after broken leg Receiver Demetris Robertson more comfortable in offense  Outland Trophy candidate Andrew Thomas all business Azeez Ojulari having strong spring at outside linebacker   The post Georgia football G-Day Game 2019: Time, TV channel, radio information appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — Georgia baseball looks to put the momentum gained from its historic 20-inning win over Clemson to use against Missouri. RELATED: Slap-happy Georgia outlasts Clemson, 3-2 The No. 5-ranked Bulldogs (30-8, 10-5) host the No. 21-ranked Tigers (26-12-1, 7-7-1) at 6 p.m. on Thursday (TV: ESPNU). “They just beat LSU in a series, and they are playing with some confidence,” UGA coach Scott Stricklin said. “So it’s going to be a tough one, for sure.” The Bulldogs will put Golden Spikes Award Award candidate Emerson Hancock (6-2, 1.18 ERA) in the circle against Missouri left-hander Jacob Cantleberry (3-2, 3.97 ERA) at Foley Field. Georgia enters the weekend tied with Mississippi State atop the SEC, enjoying their best season since the 2009 team was 31-7 at this stage of the season. UGA leads the SEC with a 2.67 ERA and .981 fielding percentage and is tops in the country in fewest hits allowed per nine innings (5.8). Georgia Baseball Notes • The Thursday night game against Missouri is one of only three remaining Georgia baseball home dates with tickets remaining. The other two are May 16 and May 17 for Alabama. • Georgia’s second game against Missouri at 7 p.m. on Friday is sold out, and the teams will conclude the series at noon on Saturday. Student admission is first come, first serve, until their held block is full. • The all-time series between Missouri and Georgia is tied 9-9, the Bulldogs sweeping the Tigers last season in Columbia. Georgia baseball Baseball Bulldogs look for sweep of Clemson Georgia back on track, tops Tennessee 7-1 Georgia baseball fights to avoid sweep in Knoxville Bulldogs suffer series opening crazy loss at Tennessee Georgia baseball puts No. 2 ranking on line at Rocky Top Miraculous recoveries spark Bulldogs baseball program Bulldogs sting Yellow Jackets in 12-2 blowout at Foley Field   The post No. 5 Georgia baseball braces for No. 21 Missouri: ‘going to be a tough one’ appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — Georgia softball needed a win desperately on Wednesday night at Jack Turner Stadium. Georgia Tech rolled into town at the perfect time. The No. 16-ranked Bulldogs (31-14) snapped a four-game losing streak with a 7-0 win over the Yellow Jackets (27-20). It was Georgia’s 12th straight win in the rivalry series dating back to 2012. “That’s pretty awesome for these seniors,” said UGA coach Lu Harris-Champer, who collected her 1,100th career win. “They went through their whole careers being successful in the series, and I’m proud of them for that.” Champer was also proud of junior pitcher Mary Wilson Avant (9-4), who tossed a one-hitter, and leadoff hitter Ciara Bryan who connected with her first career grand slam. Ciara Bryan hit a grand slam Wednesday night / Kristin M. Bradshaw Bryan’s blast highlighted a six-run fourth inning for Georgia, the Bulldogs batting around in the order. “I was attacking the zone,” said Bryan, who was 3-for-4 at the plate including her ninth home run of the season. “I was in my stride, and if the pitch was there, I was ready to hit it.” Senior Alyssa DiCarlo, arguably the best hitter in the nation with 20 home runs this season and a .413 batting average, sparked that inning with a lead-off single. It was also DiCarlo who drove in the first run of the night, lifting a sacrifice fly to right field to score Bryan from third in the first inning. “I was just trying to hit something into right field, either in the gap or in that area of the field,” DiCarlo said. “I just have to do my job, whatever I’m asked to do.” Georgia returns to action at 6 p.m. on Friday at Jack Turner Stadium for the first of a three-game series against No. 8-ranked Tennessee.   The post No. 16-ranked Georgia softball wins 12th straight over Georgia Tech, 7-0 appeared first on DawgNation.