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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.

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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.

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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.

The top 7 rides you must try at Six Flags Over Georgia

Six Flags Over Georgia turned 50 in June 2017, but the only talk about being over the hill involves screaming along at 70 mph with your stomach floating in your chest.

Georgia’s best-known amusement park, sits west of Atlanta in Cobb County and spans 290 acres. It features 40 rides and attractions and 12 roller coasters, including two top-ranked rides, Mind Bender and Goliath, which have been recognized by Amusement Today magazine. 

For more on Six Flags Over Georgia tickets, hours and schedule, click here.

More on Six Flags Over Georgia rides and more: Photos: Six Flags Over Georgia through the years Six Flags Over Georgia: Decades of thrills 7 things you didn't know about Six Flags Over Georgia

The park's theme is based on Warner Bros. characters like Batman and animated series such as Looney Tunes and DC Comics.

In that DC Comics’ spirit, the park opened JUSTICE LEAGUE: Battle for Metropolis this year. The fully immersive, 4D ride puts you to work in a 22,000-square foot Hall of Justice, partnering with Batman, Wonder Woman and the rest of the Justice League to defeat Lex Luthor, the Joker and the villains' henchmen.

 It opened May 26.

MORE: Want to shoot giant fake mutant spiders? New Six Flags ride is for you

But the old rides are good, too. The experts on staff recommend these 7 must-try rides for 2017 (in alphabetical order):

1. Acrophobia

Park location: Peachtree Square

Why it's a must: Strap into a special harness that looks a bit like a bicycle seat, let your feet dangle and shoot 20 stories up. And that's just the beginning of the ride named for the abnormal fear of heights. Once you're at the peak, every seat tilts 15 degrees – giving you no choice but to look straight down. Take a second to catch your breath if you want to holler as you plummet back to the ground in a pure free-fall.

2. Batman: The Ride.

Park location: Gotham City

Why it's a must: Any roller coaster based on a trip from an eccentric billionaire's underground cave is bound to be a twisted experience. Batman delivers the goods, with furious loops, twists and drops – all from your seat hanging from an overhead track. An inverted steel coaster, Batman reaches speeds of 50 mph, and before that zero-G roll, it rises 10 stories above the park.

3. Dare Devil Dive

Park location: USA

Why it's a must: You can feel like a top gun in this fighter-jet themed coaster that starts out with a straight-up 95-foot climb to the sky. From there, it's a free fall back down through a ring of fire, multiple banks, dives and inversions (including a half loop followed by a half twist) and one 360-degree roll, all before you come back in for landing.

4.Goliath

Park location: USA

Why it's a must: This steel hyper coaster reaches speeds of 70 mph as it plunges you up and down a series of camelback hills – including one 175-foot drop. Over the course of three minutes you hit a 540-degree downward helix, essentially a spiral in the middle of all those hills, and pulls a whopping 4Gs – that's four times the force of gravity.

5. Mind Bender

Park location: Gotham City

Why it's a must: Ranked the 15th best coaster by Amusement Today for its 30th anniversary in 2008, Mind Bender is a true classic. To the uninitiated, it appears a simple triple loop ride. Climb on board, though, and you'll learn how lowering one side of the rail more steeply than the other creates sideways loops – and how those G-forces keep you in your seat with nothing else holding you but a lap bar.

6. Superman: Ultimate Fight

Park location: Gotham City

Why it's a must: Parallel to the track, facing the track and zipping along at 60 mph? Only Lois Lane before you has known what it's like to fly like Superman. Or, at least what it would be like on a head-first adventure with the Man of Steel as he swoops down 10 stories and pivots into a pretzel loop (yes, that means two inversions in one) on a surprisingly silky flight.

7. Tsunami Surge

Park location: Hurricane Harbor

Why it's a must: Rollercoasters aren't the only way to go weightless. Billed as the world's first "Hybrid Zero-Gravity Slide," the Tsunami Surge shoots you and three other riders on a raft down an enclosed five-story drop. The watery mayhem with a 360-degree spill in a whirlpool and down a 45-foot wave wall that gives you a moment of zero-gravity excitement, just before you barrel down into the waiting splash pool.

Six Flags Over Georgia hours and tickets:

Six Flags Over Georgia opens on weekends starting March 11. Hours are from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturdays and 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sundays. The park will be open daily on April 1 to April 9 for Spring Break, and will open daily for the season on May 20. The park will be open daily for summer hours between May 20 and Aug. 6, when it returns to weekend hours. Weekend hours last through the rest of the year, then the park hibernates from early January til March rolls around again. Here’s the calendar.

Daily tickets are $68.99 for adults and $48.99 for children. Buy in advance and you can get adult tickets for a kids' ticket price. The park also offers season passes and memberships with a variety of bonus benefits.

How to get there

Six Flags Over Georgia is located at 275 Riverside Pkwy, SW, Austell, Georgia 30168.

By car: Take exit 46A or 47 to reach the park just off Interstate 20 west of Atlanta from.

On MARTA: Take MARTA rail to H.E. Holmes station on the Blue Line. From there, it's a 12-minute bus ride on a shuttle that runs on weekends starting in March and daily in the summer.

Other public transportation: Cobb County Transit (CCT) offers a shuttle service to the park. For a detailed, up-to-date route schedule, please visit the CobbLinc section of the Cobb County’s website. Route 30 serves the park Monday through Saturday, NOT Sunday.

More places to visit in and near Atlanta

RECOMMENDED VIDEO: The 4 most thrilling rides at Six Flags Over Georgia

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

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

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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.

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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.

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