Celebrites as Tourist Attractions: Jackie Chan, Britney Spears, and More

Millions of tourists visit Los Angeles every year in hopes of spotting a celebrity, but rarely see anything more than gated homes and unemployed actors in character costumes on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Some enterprising celebrities are finding ways to become tourist attractions in their own right, with live performances and theme parks for fans to see their favorites (or at least their stuff) live in person.

-Britney Spears just announced a two-year residency at Las Vegas‘ Planet Hollywood starting in December. Over 1,000 fans gathered in the Nevada desert for her helicopter arrival and performance on GMA. Tickets for the pop star’s first 16 shows this winter go on sale tomorrow.

Action star Jackie Chan is opening his collection of historic sandalwood houses to the public in Beijing with a new theme park. The proposed park will show different cultural experiences with no admission, with some ticketed attractions to help maintain the antique buildings.

Film and TV actors on Broadway have become de rigueur in recent years, a way to prove their serious talent and break away from roles they’ve become famous for. This season, you can catch Orlando Bloom, Daniel Craig and Patrick Stewart on stage in New York City.

-Fans of Michael Jackson have been hoping that his Neverland Ranch in California might be turned into a park or pilgrimage spot like Elvis Presley’s Graceland, but part of the property was sold off in 2008 and has since fallen into disrepair. Hearing that his children would like to buy it back, Lady Gaga was rumored to offer to help with costs or open it to the public.

Video Of The Day: Disneyland, A Whirlwind Tour

If someone says “Disneyland” or “Disney World,” the words “quick trip” rarely come to mind as a follow-up. Yet two filmmakers have managed to provide a desktop Disneyland experience, showcasing Disneyland, Disney California Adventure and Downtown Disney in about a minute and a half. So now, sit back, relax and enjoy a quick journey to Anaheim.

We’d love to feature your photos and videos on Gadling, so please add them to our Flickr Pool (with Creative Commons licensing!), tag @GadlingTravel on Instagram or email us at OfTheDay@gadling.com.

Six Flags Ride Still Closed Following Roller Coaster Death

Rosy Esparza was apparently concerned that she wasn’t properly fastened into her seat before her ride began on a Six Flags roller coaster Friday. That ride led to her tragic death when she fell out of her seat on the Texas Giant, which reaches a height of 153 feet. The Arlington, Texas Six Flags announced on Saturday that the ride will remain closed until the end of an investigation into the death, which they are conducting themselves.

This tragedy is now added to the list of other deadly roller coaster accidents in the United States, including:

  • 2011, Ride of Steel, Darien Lake, New York: Sgt. James Hackemer, 29, came back from the Gulf War as a double amputee. When asked employees of Darien Lake for a list of rides that would be safe for him, the Ride of Steel was included in that list. He bounced out of the restraints to his death toward the end of the ride.
  • 1930, Big Dipper, Krug Park, Nebraska: A loose bolt on this ride caused four cars to plummet to the ground, killing four people.
  • 2011, Python Pit, Go Bananas, Illinois: A three year old boy fell out of the little roller coaster to his death.
  • 2004, Ride of Steel, Six Flags, Massachusetts: After being ejected mid-ride, a 55-year-old man died after sustaining serious injuries.
  • 2002, Rainbow Ride, Six Flags, Colorado: After unfastening his seat belt, a man fell to his death.

See Live Rocket Blast This Summer, Before Anti-Gravity Takes Over

Visitors to Florida’s Kennedy Space Center have been lining up to see Space Shuttle Atlantis in a new $200 million exhibit that opened in June. But while traveling over 26 million miles, Atlantis’ glory days are over and the circa-1976 space ship will never fly again. Still, live launch viewing opportunities are available and this summer is host to one of the most exciting.

On Friday, July 19, NASA will launch a 191-foot Atlas V rocket, allowing visitors to view the launch from the Apollo/Saturn V Center, the closest possible public viewing area. That Atlas 5 rocket is launching the second Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) satellite for the U.S. Navy, part of a new system that is providing improved ground communications for U.S. forces on the move.

A limited number of tickets for the Apollo/Saturn V Center launch, also viewable from a special area at the Visitors Complex with live commentary during the event, are available for an additional $20 plus tax on top of normal admission.

Blasting off from Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, the launch window is tight. To maximize the success of the mission, launch must occur between 8:51 and 9:35 a.m. ET.How many more rocket missions there will be is unknown. But in this video a former NASA engineer suggests that technology may already be available to build and use an anti-gravity drive, rendering rockets obsolete.

French Vintage Carnival Rides Come To NYC

If you are a fan of carnival rides, history, or just good old-fashioned summer fun, take a ferry out to NYC’s Governor’s Island this summer for a festival of vintage Parisian rides and carousels. Billed as a museum meets amusement park, Fete Paradiso will open on July 13 and run until September 29, and feature 19th- and 20th-century attractions such as a pipe organ, flying swings and a bicycle carousel like the one featured in “Midnight in Paris.” To add to the vintage French feel, there will be food from bistro Le Gamin and a beer hall and event space converted from a 1900 bumper car pavilion, along with special events opening weekend for Bastille Day.

Admission to Fete Paradiso is free and rides are $3 a pop. The free ferry to Governor’s Island from Manhattan‘s Battery Maritime building or Brooklyn‘s Pier 6 runs half-hourly until 7 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday. Learn more about Governor’s Island on their website, and follow the carnival set up on Instagram here.