With the New Year’s holiday behind us, let’s catch up on some bigger theme park stories that happened over the last few days. 

Orange County, Florida has released a drone video to WKMG and other local news outlets showing the rescue operation that safely saved 62 people stranded on The Wheel at Icon Park in Orlando after a power outage. 

The 400-foot-tall observation wheel lost power on New Year’s Eve. Videos shared from the scene showing sparks flying from the part of the attraction. 

The 62 people on the ride at the time that it broke down. Orange County Fire Rescue had to climb up the structure to each cabin and check if riders were safe, and then the wheel was manually rotated to evacuate each cabin, which took several hours. 

Icon Park has not said what caused the power outage, but said The Wheel will be closed until it is cleared by a state inspection. It was the second major safety incident for the International Drive attraction hub in 2022, after a 14-year-old fell to his death on a drop tower ride. 

RunDisney events returning to Disneyland

Disney has announced new 2023 and 2024 RunDisney events, including the first to be held at the Disneyland Resort since 2017. 

While Disney is maintaining a virtual RunDisney series for the summer of 2023, in-person events will include:

  • Nov. 2-5: 2023 Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend at Disney World (registration opens March 21)
  • Jan. 3-7, 2024: 2024 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend (registration opens April 11)
  • Jan. 11-14, 2024: Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend (registration opens Feb. 14)
  • Feb. 22-25, 2024: 2024 Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend at Disney World (registration opens June 20)
  • April 18-21, 2024: 2024 runDisney Springtime Surprise Weekend at Disney World (registration opens Aug. 22)

Universal Orlando reduces smoking areas to one in each park

Smokers won’t have as many options to light up at Universal Orlando’s two theme parks. 

As announced on the resort’s official website, the in-park smoking areas have been reduced to one in each park. In Universal Studios Florida, smoking is allowed in Gramercy Park, near Revenge of the Mummy. At Islands of Adventure, the smoking area is the lower landing of the Port of Entry waterfront. 

The Volcano Bay water park has a smoking section in its Wave Village area. Smoking is allowed in CityWalk just outside each theme park’s exit, in front of Hard Rock Cafe and outside of the Universal Cinemark theaters. 

News of the change was first reported by WDW News Today

Disney’s U.S. theme parks eliminated smoking sections entirely in 2019, forcing smokers to new spots just outside park entrances.