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Holiday

WATCH: Walt Disney World Continues Flag Ceremony at Magic Kingdom

While Walt Disney World Resort is currently closed until further notice due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the security team remains on-site and is helping keep an important tradition alive.

Despite the lack of guests, the essential team members continue to raise and lower American flags throughout the park, like the one at Town Square in Magic Kingdom, each and every day.

“Continuing that tradition is a reminder to never forget the debt of gratitude that Americans owe to veterans and active-duty military service members around the world,” Walt Disney World News said in a statement, calling it “a reminder of how we’ve overcome adversity throughout history and we’ll do so again in the weeks ahead.”

“While our world looks very different today, one thing endures…the American flag still flies over Walt Disney World. I’m inspired how our Security Cast Members continue to raise it each and every morning at Magic Kingdom while they are on duty protecting the magic,” added Walt Disney World Resort President Josh D’Amaro in an Instagram post on Wednesday. “It’s a symbol that we’re still here and will not falter. I hope this inspires you as well. We will be back. Thanks to all our incredible Cast Members who continue to maintain the magic until that day. Until then, please take care of yourselves and your families. We will see you soon.”

Disney temporarily shut down theme parks and its cruise line last month in response to the global impact of COVID-19 and recently informed travel agents that bookings will only be accepted for dates after June 1, 2020.

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Holiday

WATCH: Family Recreates Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean Ride at Home

A Utah family is going viral after hilariously recreating Disney’s iconic Pirates of the Caribbean Ride at home while the theme parks remain closed as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Inspired by a homemade Splash Mountain video posted to Facebook by Chip and Co. last week, the Thornock family went to work while practicing responsible self-isolation, using costumes, props and even the family dog to recreate their favorite ride.

“We already had some pirate stuff from Halloween and such. We are very familiar with the ride, so we picked out some of the key parts and brought it to life using items lying around the house,” the family’s second-oldest daughter, Brin Thornock told SYFY WIRE.

“It only took us about an hour-and-a-half to put everything together. We shot it on our phones and I edited in my phone as well,” she added. “The hardest thing was trying not to break character and laugh.”

As of Monday morning, the Thornocks’ video has been viewed more than 1.7 million times on Twitter, racking up more than 92,000 likes and nearly 31,000 retweets.

California’s Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and other Disney parks around the world have been temporarily shut down as officials aim to slow the spread of COVID-19. In the meantime, all you need is a bit of ingenuity to bring your favorite rides to your doorstep.

“Just enjoy your time together as a family. Get creative,” Thornock told SYFY WIRE.

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Travel

WATCH: Travel Expert Mark Murphy on COVID-19's Impact on the Industry

Travel expert Mark Murphy recently appeared on Fox Business to break down the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak’s impact on travel in the wake of the U.S. State Department’s latest advisory warning Americans of “increased risk of infection of COVID-19 in a cruise ship environment.”

“Originally over the weekend when cruise executives met with administration officials it wasn’t ‘don’t take a cruise,’ it was ‘if you’re elderly, your immune system is at risk or you have underlying health issues, avoid it.’ That makes sense,” said Murphy. “For everybody else, feel free to travel.”

“But it’s worded differently today. So we see a disconnect,” he added, referring to the sometimes inconsistent information coming from government agencies and health officials.

Murphy, who predicted that the coronavirus will no longer be a news story in 60 days’ time, noted that the industry can take comfort in its long record of overcoming health threats and encouraged travelers to maintain a proper perspective.

“There are people making a ton of money right now based on this hysteria. And I call it hysteria because we in the travel space have gone through everything from Ebola to Zika to H1N1. You go down the line, we’ve never seen this kind of action as a result,” he said. “Put the numbers in perspective. We’re talking a couple of million people got off a cruise ship last month and we had two ships that had an issue. The metrics are very minimal. I’m not saying go jump on a cruise but apply logic to your decision making.”

The travel expert also pointed out that many travelers stand to benefit amid the outbreak “because the folks in the industry want to encourage people to travel. They’re giving you the opportunity to book way out and have a cancellation up to 48 hours prior to your trip in most cases.”

See below to view Murphy’s appearance on Fox Business in its entirety.

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