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Carnival announces 'heart-pounding' on-board roller coaster on new cruise ship

Carnival Cruise Line announced plans Thursday to launch the first cruise ship with an on-board roller coaster.

The BOLT: Ultimate Sea Coaster will circle the top of a new ship, Mardi Gras, when it sets sail in 2020. 

>> Read more trending news 

The cruise line boasts that BOLT will provide "an unforgettable and unique open-air thrill ride on the line’s newest and most innovative ship."

BOLT promises a heart-pounding rush of adrenaline, offering nearly 800 feet of exhilarating twists, turns and drops with riders reaching speeds of nearly 40 miles per hour, the company said.

The all-electric roller coaster will allow two riders in a motorcycle-like vehicle to race along a track 187 feet above sea level, enabling guests to experience the sea with breathtaking 360-degree views, a news release said.

BOLT is being built by Munich-based Maurer Rides.

“Mardi Gras will be our most innovative ship ever with some truly special features and attractions, highlighted by BOLT, the first roller coaster at sea,” president of Carnival Cruise Line Christine Duffy said. “We are so thrilled to introduce this one-of-a-kind, game-changing, exhilarating attraction – our guests are going to love it.”

Carnival said Mardi Gras will be based in a new state-of-the-art terminal at Port Canaveral. It will be the first ship in the new XL-class, the largest ever built for Carnival.

Delta bans puppies, other emotional support animals on long flights

Delta Air Lines said it will ban service and support animals under 4 months old, and will also ban emotional support animals on flights longer than eight hours.

The change, effective Dec. 18, is the latest tightening of policies on service animals and emotional support animals by the airline. 

>> Read more trending news 

The company said in a Monday announcement that it has seen an 84 percent increase in incidents reported involving service and support animals in 2016 and 2017, “including urination/defecation, biting” and a mauling by a 50-pound dog.

Delta said its new policy aligns with the CDC vaccination policy, and the limit on emotional support animals on long flights lines up with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Air Carrier Access Act.

“These updates support Delta’s commitment to safety and also protect the rights of customers with documented needs -- such as veterans with disabilities -- to travel with trained service and support animals,” John Laughter, Delta senior vice president of corporate safety, security and compliance, said in a statement.

Some of the airline’s policy changes earlier in the year have prompted criticism from groups representing people who use service animals, including those who use pit bulls. 

The new policy takes effect for tickets booked Dec. 18 or later. Regardless of booking date, it will also take effect for flights Feb. 1 or later. Delta said it will contact customers to adjust reservations if the policy affects them.

More information on the airline’s service and support animal policy is at Delta.com

Delta using facial recognition at Atlanta airport, plans to expand it to Detroit airport

Delta Air Lines has rolled out facial recognition for international travel at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport for what it calls the first biometric terminal in the United States. It’s now making plans to expand the technology in Detroit.

>> Read more trending news 

In September, the airline announced plans to make the international terminal at Hartsfield-Jackson into a biometric terminal, including facial recognition at check-in, at the security checkpoint, at gates and at Customs.

Passengers essentially show their faces to a camera instead of showing identification or a boarding pass.

During boarding, the use of facial recognition saves an average of two seconds per passenger, or a total of nine minutes for boarding of a wide-body plane, according to Delta.

The Detroit News reported that the airline plans to expand facial recognition to the international terminal in the Detroit Metropolitan Airport by mid-December. It will then roll out facial recognition throughout that airport in 2019.

Passengers chip in to pay for plane’s repairs

We know flying comes with extra costs. A pillow, blanket or even meal now come with price tags on top of your fare, but when did having to pay for repairs to the plane start being added to the tab?

A LOT Polish Airlines flight that was scheduled to take off from Beijing Capital Airport couldn’t get into the air when it needed a new pump for the hydraulic system, Metro reported

A Boeing repair person at the airport wouldn’t take the airline’s bank transfer and would only perform the work if they got the cash in hand.

An airline spokesperson said the two companies are supposed to have non-cash transactions only, RT reported.

Passengers were asked to pass the plate by a member of the airline staff, RT reported.

>> Read more trending news 

The effort collected almost $340 to pay for the repair and get the flight in the air.

One passenger on the flight to Warsaw told Metro, “We are at the international airport. I cannot believe that transactions take place here in cash under the table with the mechanic standing next to the plane. Incredible.”

A spokesperson with LOT Polish Airlines told Metro the employee at the Beijing airport refused all payment methods other than cash, leading to confusion. 

The passengers who chipped in got their money back when they landed in Warsaw. They were also given vouchers and may get compensated for the 10-hour wait they had as the repair was made.

As for the employee who asked the passengers for the donations, the company spokesperson said he or she will face disciplinary action, Metro reported.

“There are no circumstances that justify asking money from passengers,” Adrian Kubicki told Metro.

Boy, 11, slips through airport security, nearly boards plane without ticket

The Transportation Security Administration has confirmed that an 11-year-old boy got through a security checkpoint at Atlanta’s airport without having a boarding pass or ticket.

>> Read more trending news 

The child went through the main security checkpoint at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and was screened, according to WSB-TV. 

Officials said the boy then tried to board a flight by blending in with a family. The boy was caught when the family said he wasn't with them. 

“How is that even possible?” traveler Empress Love said. “He should have never been able to get past the security. From right there they should have stopped him.

The incident happened Friday afternoon. TSA representative Sari Koshetz said the child didn't have to show identification at the security checkpoint because he is a minor.

Koshetz had no comment when asked about the fact the boy didn't have a boarding pass. She said after he was screened an officer asked the boy where his parents were. That's when the child got away.

“It's hard to understand how something like that could happen,” one woman, who asked not to be identified, said. 

The boy got to a gate where he tried to blend in with a family and board a plane. When the family said they didn't know him, he took off before officers eventually found him.

The boy's mother refused to comment about the incident. When WSB told her they were to figure out how this happened she responded.

>> Related: 7 of 10 most stressed states in country are in the south; where do you rank?

“OK, well you should be at the airport asking them how that happened,” the boy’s mother said. 

The TSA isn't saying much about the incident.

“I can't understand how he would have gotten past the security piece because you have to show them your ticket and your ID,” a traveler said. 

The TSA said the incident wasn't a breach of security since agents screened the child.

The child is back home with his mother. WSB reported he took a bus to the airport and indicated he just wanted to get away.

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.

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.

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.

Royal Caribbean's largest cruise ship now at Port Canaveral

The biggest cruise ship in the world is now at Port Canaveral. 

Royal Caribbean's "Symphony of the Seas" arrived at about 4 a.m. Thursday. 

It's part of the port's push to get bigger ships and more passengers into the area. 

At Wednesday's State of the Port event, CEO John Murray talked about record revenue and the 4.5 million cruise passengers who moved through the port. 

>> Read more trending news 

"It's great for the port, great for Orlando, great for the theme parks, space center, local area, so that it all helps grow the local economy,” he said. “We're here to facilitate commerce between the ocean and the community, and that, to me, is first and foremost."

Symphony of the Seas is 1,184 feet long and can hold 6,680 passengers and 2,200 crew members. 

Carnival plans to bring its largest ship to Port Canaveral in 2020.

Universal Orlando: Elements of new Florida theme park revealed

New documents filed this week in Orange County, Florida, offer a first look at plans for Universal Orlando’s fourth theme park.

>> Watch the news report here

The plans will transform 540 acres of empty land near Lockheed Martin. That’s in addition to the construction of two hotels on the old Wet ‘n Wild property as part of the 4,000-room Endless Summer Resort.

“I see a very big easel for Universal Orlando and Comcast to paint through over the next few years,” said theme park analyst Rick Munarriz. “Universal now has the coloring book; now they just need to show us their crayons."

Documents filed with the county this week show plans for major infrastructure upgrades.

There will be 100 acres of new roads and more than 5,000 parking spots.

Munarriz said 5,000 parking spots seems like a conservative number.

“So I’m thinking there's going to be a transportation system to get people from the resort to the new resort,” Munarriz said.

>> Read more trending news 

The plans do not show exactly what's coming, but Universal has trademarked the name “Universal's Fantastic Worlds.”

The new Nintendo Land, including Mario Kart and a Donkey Kong roller coaster, was supposed to be built at the KidZone section of Universal Orlando. But analysts said those rides, which are already designed, will likely go into a new park.

“[Universal] really needs to step up its game if it's going to compete with what Disney has coming in three years. That is why we have this new playground coming,” Munarriz said.

Couple wants to hit 6 parks in Walt Disney World, Disneyland in one day

Your marathon trips to Disney are nothing compared to what one couple from Tennessee has planned. 

They want to hit six Disney parks on both coasts within 24 hours Wednesday, The Associated Press reported.

>> Read more trending news 

Clark and Heather Ensminger are planning to start their day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, have breakfast, then walk over to Epcot. After hitting that park, they’ll go to Magic Kingdom and finish their Florida day at Animal Kingdom. 

>>Read: Walt Disney World's new ticket pricing structure takes effect

Then they plan to leave Walt Disney World in Florida and grab a direct flight to Los Angeles at 4:30 p.m., the AP reported.

Using the time zones to their advantage, they will hopefully be in California Adventure by 8 p.m. and in Walt Disney’s first park Disneyland before it closes at midnight. 

So how do they plan to stay on schedule? The Ensmingers have a spreadsheet with all of their times mapped out for where and when they have to be, the AP reported

Walt Disney World's new ticket pricing structure takes effect

It could cost you more to visit Walt Disney World.

New ticket prices began Tuesday and the new pricing structure varies based on the date you're going. It also comes with a new online planning tool.

Disney World officials said in September that prices at the resort's four theme parks will be tweaked so they're the same. For some time, the Magic Kingdom had a higher price on any given day than Epcot, Hollywood Studios or Animal Kingdom.

>> Read more trending news 

Disney introduced flexible pricing at U.S. parks three years ago as an incentive for guests to visit during less busy times. Each month was divided into value, regular and peak days.

Single-day tickets now range from $109 to $129, depending on how popular the day is expected to be. Disney said the pricing structure could cost guests more or less than with the previous pricing structure.

Travel and Leisure reported that the price of annual passes and parking also increased. 

Visitors can find the lowest-priced days by clicking on a calendar on Walt Disney World's website.

Recently, Disney increased the cost of snacks and soda on the property, Travel and Leisure reported.

The Associated Press and the National Content Desk contributed to this report.

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