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15-acre crystal-clear lagoon to be built in Orlando

A resort and 15-acre crystal-clear lagoon is being planned for Orlando's Lake Nona development, officials with the Tavistock Development Company said Wednesday.

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Company officials said crews will break ground on the Lake Nona Resort on Lake Nona's southern shore next year. It's expected to open in 2020.

The eight-story resort will feature 250 rooms, 80 condominium units, a spa and a beach volleyball venue.

The resort's lagoon -- one the nation’s largest man-made crystal-clear lagoons -- will be lined with sandy beaches and have the potential to be expanded to more than 20 acres. Visitors will be able to enjoy swimming, sailing and paddle boarding.

The lagoon will be accessible by resort guests and members of the Lake Nona Golf and Country Club, company officials said.

Expansion plans include luxury condominiums, single-family homes and a beach club along the lagoon, officials said.

The wellness resort will also feature an expansive rooftop lounge and ballroom and several restaurants.

Company officials announced Monday that a water sports park will be built near the Orlando VA Medical Center.

Read more here.

>> Related: Amazon to build mega warehouse in Orlando

Disneyland Legionnaires' disease outbreak: 5 things to know

The unfortunate common thread between people experiencing an outbreak of a bacterial illness called Legionnaires’ disease in Anaheim, California, is that nine of the 12 visited Disneyland in September, The Associated Press reports. The remaining three live in or traveled to Anaheim.

Here's what you need to know about the disease and the latest outbreak:

>> Disneyland shuts cooling towers after Legionnaires’ outbreak

When were the cases discovered? The Orange County Health Care Agency said the cases of the bacterial illness were discovered about three weeks ago.

One patient, who hadn’t visited the park, has died.

The health agency said there haven’t been any new cases reported.

>> On Rare.us: School cracks down after skin condition infects more than 20 students

How did Disneyland respond? Disneyland said it learned about the Legionnaires’ cases on Oct. 27 and shut down and disinfected two cooling towers that had high levels of the bacteria. The towers will reopen after it’s confirmed they are no longer contaminated.

>> Read more trending news 

What is Legionnaires' disease? The Mayo Clinic describes the illness as “a severe form of pneumonia” caused by a bacterium known as legionella. 

How did it get its name? Legionnaires' disease got its name in 1976 from an outbreak that caused 182 people attending an American Legion convention in Philadelphia to fall ill, Deadline reported. Twenty-nine people died.

“The outbreak was traced to the convention hotel’s air conditioning system, and Legionnaires’ disease has since been sourced to contaminated water or mist,” Deadline added.

What causes it and how does it spread? Legionnaires’ is spread by mist from contaminated water. While Legionnaires’ does not spread person to person, it does spread easily by inhalation. 

The Mayo Clinic also lists the following common sources of outbreak:

  • Hot tubs and whirlpools on cruise ships
  • Grocery store mist machines
  • Cooling towers in air conditioning systems
  • Decorative fountains
  • Swimming pools
  • Physical therapy equipment
  • Water systems in hotels, hospitals and nursing homes

>> On Rare.us: A puppy-borne illness has made almost 40 people seriously ill

– The Associated Press and the Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.

Biltmore Estate owner dies at his North Carolina home

The owner of the iconic Biltmore Estate in North Carolina has died at his home.

>> Watch the news report here

Officials at the Biltmore Co. said William Amherst Vanderbilt Cecil died Tuesday in Asheville. He was 89.

Cecil had a career in finance before returning to Asheville in 1960 in hopes of preserving his childhood home, which was the private estate of his grandfather, George Washington Vanderbilt III.

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Local media outlets reported that Cecil's parents opened the Biltmore house to the public in 1930, but it didn't make a profit until 1969, and then it was only $17. Cecil said, "My dad was very proud of that."

Today, the 8,000-acre (3,238-hectare) estate, French-style chateau and attractions draw more than 1.4 million people annually.

Are these the 31 most haunted places in America?

Thanks to Google Maps, you can start planning the ultimate Halloween road trip to America’s 31 most haunted places, each with its own spooky history of ghosts, spirits and the inexplicable.

>> Read more trending news 

A Google spokesperson told Thrillist that the creator of the map is a random Maps user who has chosen to remain anonymous.

The list features the Villisca Ax Murder House in Villisca, Iowa, a place with a name as frightening as its bloody history.

» RELATED: The 15 hottest Halloween costumes of 2017, according to Google

According to the site’s website, “the walls still protect the identity of the murderer or murderers who bludgeoned to death the entire family of Josiah Moore and two overnight guests on June 10, 1912.”

Nearly 97 years later, guests still say they can hear the spirits of the murderers and have even provided audio, video and photographic proof of paranormal activity, according to the website.

Other notably spooky sites include Salem, Massachusetts, home to the infamous Salem Witch Trials; the haunted Stanley Hotel that inspired Stephen King’s “The Shining;” the cursed haunted Lemp Mansion hotel in Missouri; and the first prison in the country to implement solitary confinement, the Eastern State Penitentiary.

Though it doesn’t really fit the bill of frights and scares, the Google Maps user also included the White House on the list of 31 most haunted places in the nation.

» RELATED: The spooky history of Halloween: 7 things you never knew

Check out the map for yourself:

Bob Marley's Hollywood Walk of Fame star vandalized

Bob Marley’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame was found vandalized Monday, to the dismay of fans and Walk of Fame workers. 

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Ana Martinez, of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, posted a photo of the vandalized star on Twitter. 

Martinez called the vandalism disrespectful, writing, “Why would anyone do this to Bob Marley’s star? Help me understand.”

Martinez said Marley’s star appeared to have been pounded with a sledgehammer or something heavy, “totally destroying it,” according to NBC Los Angeles.

Martinez said Walk of Fame stars are state-registered historic landmarks and repairs to the star would cost about $3,000.

The star is expected to be repaired sometime Wednesday.

Marley, known for hits like “Three Little Birds” and “One Love,” died in 1981 at the age of 36 after battling cancer. He was honored with a star on the Walk of Fame in 2001.

There’s now a Harry Potter wizarding school in Central Texas

Feeling bummed about never receiving your Hogwarts letter?

Well, you may be able to live out your Harry Potter dreams after all.

>> Read more trending news

Worthwich School’s annual Worthwich Wizarding Weekend, described as a “3-day magical retreat to Worthwich School of Witchcraft and Wizardry,” is taking place in Killeen, Texas, Oct. 27-29.

And yes, it’s eerily similar to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

The retreat is for adults 21 and up and lasts three days, with a curriculum of classes including potions, charms, defensive magic, divination, astronomy, herbology, magical creatures and flying lessons. First-year students even get sorted into their houses, just like at Hogwarts (no word on if there’s a magical Sorting Hat, though). 

The weekend kicks off with wand-making classes, pumpkin carving and magical shopping, followed by a sorting ceremony. There will be screenings each night, magical sporting games and classes throughout the weekend. Tickets, which are $400 per person for the entire weekend, include lodging, food and drinks. 

You can buy tickets and get more information here.

Worthwich also offers regular wand making classes in Austin and across Texas, as well as Harry Potter trivia nights. 

Critics say Museum of Ice Cream’s plastic sprinkles pose environmental risks 

Environmentalists in San Francisco and Los Angeles are concerned about the effects of one feature at local Museum of Ice Cream locations: sprinkles. 

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Critics say the plastic pieces are littering California streets blocks from the pop-up museums as they’re carried out on the clothes of museum visitors. The plastic material becomes litter and has the potential to end up in the water, a danger to marine life, KABC reported. 

“My concern is that they go down the drains and into the bay, where they will be bite-sized for most fish,” San Francisco resident Johanna Sanders told the San Francisco Gate.

The Museum of Ice Cream, which opened in Los Angeles in April and San Francisco in September, is known for its colorful displays, tasty treats and Instagram-worthy photo backdrops. 

According to a Forbes description of the LA location, there’s a “gallery of suspended bananas, ... rooms of giant melted popsicles, big-as-you gummy bears and a swimming pool full of sprinkles.” The San Francisco Gate describes its local pop-up as including “a candy garden, psychedelic rainbow unicorns, a pink rock climbing wall, banana swings, an all-pink diner with a jukebox and a sprinkle pool filled with more than 100 million plastic imitation sprinkles. A circular swimming space even has pink floats and a diving board.”

Both locations feature bright pink walls and interactive exhibits.

“All of the rooms in the museum have things you can eat or smell,” KABC reported.

The museums use plastic for the sprinkles in the pools instead of real, edible ones for sanitary reasons. A spokesperson for the Museum of Ice Cream told the Gate the sprinkles are coated in “antimicrobial germ bloc.”

Museum officials said they’re working to address people’s concerns. They’re working with an environmental specialist and also instructing exiting visitors to shake off excess sprinkles at an “air shower” at the San Francisco location, according to the Gate

But even still, “guests have been putting sprinkles in their pocket(s) as a memento of their experience in the sprinkle pool,” spokeswoman Shelley Reinstein said.

Eva Holman, with the Surfrider Foundation, a nonprofit environmental organization, said the plastic sprinkles pose risks that need to be taken more seriously. 

“If it's on the sidewalk it most likely goes into storm drains and then into the ocean,” Holman told the Gate. “(And) my 5-year-old would think it’s candy. Why wouldn’t a bird on the street think it’s something to consume?”

“Most plastic has a purpose, like bottle caps and food wrappers,” Holman said. “What is the purpose of this tiny piece of plastic other than a selfie moment?”

The Museum of Ice Cream’s Los Angeles location, originally slated to close in May, has had its close date pushed back five times due to popularity. It’s scheduled now to close in December. The San Francisco location will be open until Feb. 13, just in time for lovebirds to take their sweet someone before Valentine’s day. The museum was set to close in October, but officials extended the schedule after tickets sold out in just 18 minutes.

Read more at the San Francisco Gate.

Report: Disney World to reopen Tuesday after Irma sweeps through Florida

Walt Disney World will reopen Tuesday, according to a report from CNN.

>> Read more trending news 

Disney was shut down Sunday as former Hurricane Irma was approaching the Orlando area.

Related: Magic Kingdom scarce ahead of closure for Hurricane Irma

Online videos and pictures showed some flooding at Disney’s Epcot and at the Grand Floridian Resort.

Trees were also knocked down at Animal Kingdom.

A Disney representative told CNN that the damage assessment is still in initial stages, but he said Disney World does not expect to see significant damage to its properties.

It was only the sixth time in the resort's 45-year history that severe weather has forced the theme park to close.

Man dies after running into flaming effigy at Burning Man festival

A man who tried to run through the Burning Man festival’s towering effigy died Sunday, Fox News reported.

>> Read more trending news

Aaron Joel Mitchell, 41, ran into the fire at around 10:30 p.m. Saturday, festival organizers said. Pershing County Sheriff Jerry Allen said the man ran through a human chain of security officers and into the fire.

Black Rock City firefighters rescued Mitchell, who was airlifted to a burn treatment center in Sacramento, California, CNN reported.

Mitchell was a U.S. citizen who lived in Switzerland with his wife, CNN reported.

In a statement on the company website, festival organizers said they were working to make resources available to people who witnessed the incident.

“We’re aware this incident has affected not only those who responded immediately on the scene, but also those who witnessed it, and our Black Rock City community more broadly,” the statement read.

The nine-day festival attracts more than 100,000 people annually to the Black Rock Desert, located 120 miles north of Reno, Nevada. It is scheduled to end on Monday.

Disney workers' union calls for 37 percent pay increase; company offers 2.5 percent

Nearly 40,000 unionized Disney workers have called for a massive 37 percent increase in pay just to make ends meet – what they’re calling a “living wage.”

>> Watch the news report here

Disney, Orlando’s largest employer with about 74,000 employees, has offered a much smaller 2.5 percent wage increase.

“The average wage under our proposal will increase from $11.28 to $15.71,” said Unite Here Local 737 President Jeremy Haicken. 

>> Disney Hollywood Studios could be getting a name change

Disney representatives say the average employee already makes more than $13 an hour when overtime and premiums are taken into account.

Entry-level employees also make nearly $2 an hour more than the Florida minimum wage, the company argued.

Disney cast members were not thrilled with the company’s 2.5 percent offer.

“It’s disappointing,” Magic Kingdom parking hostess Susie Easton said. “And I speak on behalf of all my fellow cast members when I say we deserve more.”

>> Read more trending news

Bus driver Steven Brainard argued that Disney makes enough money to give employees a sizable bump in pay.

“It’s sickening how they make millions and they give us little pennies here and there,” he said.

Disney spokeswoman Andrea Finger said she was confident that the two sides can find common ground when negotiations continue on Sept. 19.

“We’re going to continue to negotiate in good faith with the union to reach a fair and reasonable agreement,” she said.

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