Disney News #2

Here is a wrap-up of some of the high ranked news articles from the world.

Boyfriend arrested after woman plunged 16 stories to her death
Willoughby Mariano | Sentinel Staff Writer
January 24, 2009
The boyfriend of a St. Cloud woman who plummeted 16 stories to her death from a west Orange County hotel balcony was arrested Friday on a first-degree murder charge.

Jonathan Justin Speegle, 27, was found in Lawton, Okla., about 3:30 p.m., sheriff’s spokesman Jeff Williamson said. He was wanted in the death of Nichole Hammond, 30, who fell Dec. 31 from the balcony of her room at the Marriott World Center on World Center Drive near Walt Disney World.

Hammond had been sharing the room with Speegle. He told investigators he was in the room about 12:30 a.m. and heard Hammond scream before she fell.

At first, Orange deputies did not publicly call the death suspicious. But they said Hammond was the mother of an 8-year-old girl, and they had no reason to think she deliberately ended her life.

On Jan. 6, they asked people who saw the couple at the crowded hotel to come forward and provide details on their demeanor and whether they seemed to be getting along.

Lawton is more than 80 miles southwest of Oklahoma City. Speegle was in Oklahoma because his family has property there, Williamson said.

Speegle is listed as head of Efficient Appraisals Corp. on Kentucky Avenue in St. Cloud.

He pleaded guilty to a charge of driving under the influence in 2006 and was sentenced to one year of county probation and one day in the county jail, and his drivers license was revoked for six months.

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It’s a Downsized World After All
Friday January 23, 2009
The Disney parks may feature Fantasyland, but they are not immune to the reality of the economic downturn. According to the Orlando Sentinel, Disney plans to trim its theme park payroll by offering buyouts to 619 executives. If enough don’t voluntarily accept the offers, the company said that it would lay off some of the employees–and likely offer them less attractive severance packages.
Disney says that it is focusing its cuts on high-level directors rather than front-line employees. The massive Walt Disney World is bearing the brunt of the cuts with 313 buyout offers. 91 executives at the smaller Disneyland Resort are targeted along with another 22 at the Mouse’s corporate headquarters. Compared to Disney’s other park divisions, it’s surprising to note that 193 employees at its Imagineering headquarters in California are on the chopping block. One of the country’s largest single-site employers, Walt Disney World has over 50,000 people on its payroll. Considerably less than that work at Imagineering to design the attractions, and it’s presumed that it will need all hands on deck to begin developing the planned sixth Disney resort in Shanghai.

In another ominous sign for this year’s theme park outlook, Universal Orlando let 70 of its employees go yesterday. What will the layoffs mean for visitors to the parks? Disney has already closed and trimmed back the schedules of some of its shows. If attendance and spending continue to slump, it’s likely that more changes–and layoffs–might occur. What are your thoughts? Weigh in by clicking on “Comments” below.

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