Haleakala National Park downhill
bicycle tours have been suspended.
The popular downhill bicycle tours in Maui’s Haleakala National Park were suspended on Oct. 10 for at least 60 days while officials determine whether or not they can operate safely. The announcement came after a 65-year-old woman died during a commercially guided ride from the mountain’s 10,000-foot summit, the third such death within a year.
“With three fatalities and several serious accidents within a year, it is important to stop and critically analyze this commercial activity,” said National Park superintendent Marilyn Parris, adding that the tours attract 90,000 clients annually.
Seven companies hold permits for the bike tours. Several are starting their trips outside park boundaries during the review.
A&K Named in Seventh Lawsuit
A seventh lawsuit has been filed in Los Angeles Superior Court against Abercrombie & Kent, on behalf of 56 former members of a now-defunct Abercrombie & Kent destination club. The suit charges the company with intentionally misrepresenting itself as the owner of Abercrombie & Kent Destination Clubs, when in fact, the club was operated by a third party that used the Abercrombie & Kent name after agreeing to pay Abercrombie & Kent a $25 million licensing fee.
The lawsuits allege that the club eventually became worthless and approximately 900 members lost more than $330 million in membership fees.
Thus far, a total of 573 former members have sued Abercrombie & Kent, representing roughly two-thirds of the membership. More suits may yet be filed, said Brian Kabateck, one of the attorneys representing the plaintiffs in the cases.
“Members, who thought they were buying an Abercrombie & Kent product, lost everything they had invested. They were misled,” said Kabateck.
In a written statement, Abercrombie & Kent responded that the third party licensing agreements in question terminated more than two years ago. Moreover, the terms of the licensing agreements required that all prospective members be informed that Abercrombie & Kent was “not involved in the management nor the operations of the Preferred Retreats or Distinctive Retreats clubs.” Abercrombie & Kent’s statement added:
“We remain focused on our core business, growing our strong leadership position in luxury adventure travel worldwide.”
The NOKIA Theatre has opened in downtown Los Angeles across from Staples Center. The 7,100-seat, state-of-the-art facility will host live entertainment, TV broadcasts and awards shows.
Disneyland Resort to Expand
The Walt Disney Company has announced a multi-year expansion plan for the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim. The expansion will bring new entertainment and major attractions to Disney’s California Adventure, including an entirely new Cars Land inspired by the hit Disney Pixar animated film “Cars.”
Disney Imagineers will bring more of Walt Disney into Disney’s California Adventure, celebrating the California of the 1920s that first attracted Walt to the Golden State. A new, interactive Walt Disney Story attraction will set the stage for the unfolding story of Walt that will permeate the park.
Additional changes include a new “Little Mermaid” attraction, a new nighttime light and water spectacular titled “Disney’s World of Color” and a 12-acre Cars Land. Extensive landscaping, new retail and dining are also planned.
“This expansion builds on a commitment we made more than a decade ago to create and grow the Anaheim Resort area as a world-class tourist destination where guests would want to stay for more than one day,” said Disneyland Resort president Ed Grier. “That investment has become a success for Disney, the Anaheim community and for the economy of Southern California.”
A Preview Center giving guests a sneak peak at the upcoming enhancements is scheduled to open at Disney’s California Adventure in late 2008.