New at Disney: Tower of Terror and Hoops Hotel
Just when you thought Walt Disney World couldn't possibly add anything else to its entertainment kingdom, it has. The new ride at the Disney-MGM Studios is the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, a high-rise, once-glamorous hotel now deserted, dark and ominous. Victims explore the hotel in an elevator car until lightning strikes, and the car takes a free-fall plunge from the 13th floor, crashing down in all of gravity's fury, smashing into . . . well, you get the idea. Parents, prepare to be accosted by a chorus of "One more time!" from your kiddies.
In the Magic Kingdom, the "Legend of the Lion King" live-action show combines puppeteering and special effects to bring to life characters in the film "The Lion King."
And if that isn't enough, Disney is also opening a new economy resort built around a sporting theme. The Hoops Hotel will showcase sports motifs from football, baseball, basketball, tennis and surfing, and also boasts the lowest-priced Disney room rates. The hotel sits just west of Disney World and complimentary transportation to all Disney attractions is provided.
For more information on any of Disney's theme parks in Orlando, Fla., and for reservations for any Disney resort, call your travel agent or Disney at (407) 934-7639
You can see the Hope Diamond at the National Museum of Natural History or Picasso's "Guernica" at the Museum of Modern Art only so many times. That's why every museum junkie needs "The Cockroach Hall of Fame and 101 Other Off-the-Wall Museums," by Sandra Gurvis. The book lists offbeat and oddball museums and memorials to just about everything.
You can visit the Potato Museum in Albuquerque, N.M., the Cookie Jar Museum in Lemont, Ill., or the Center for Foot Care and Foot Wear in Philadelphia. The Cockroach Hall of Fame, by the way, in Plano, Texas, showcases "roach art" and stuffed cockroach carcasses of varying sizes. It's a slice of life found only here in America. The paperback is $14.95 and available at bookstores.
Fly me to the moon . . . In celebration of the first lunar landing 25 years ago, the nation's space centers are launching, so to speak, special events to commemorate the landing of the Eagle. At Space Center Houston, "Celebration 25: Man and the Moon," an exhibition that runs through Labor Day will include laser shows and a video wall of news clips and documentary films. Call (800) 972-0369 for more information.
The Cape Canaveral area in central Florida will sponsor through early September a display of artifacts and memorabilia tracing space flight's history at the Brevard Museum of History and Natural Science in Cocoa. Call (407) 632-1830.
The U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala., has mounted a full-scale replica of the moon base and artifacts from the Apollo program, including a space capsule and a lunar rover. The exhibit runs through November. Call (205) 544-2121.
The grandest of canyons
This is the summer to visit the Grand Canyon, according to tourism officials. Projected attendance at the national park in Grand Canyon, Ariz., dropped 7 percent this May from figures one year ago, and local hotels and shops are reporting 10 to 35 percent drops in business.
According to park officials, some of the drop-off resulted from announcements by the National Park Service discouraging visitation. Build a park, and maybe they won't come. Those who just can't manage to stay away can call the Department of the Interior, (202) 208-4747 for park information, and (602) 635-4061 or (602) 774-4505 for accommodation information.