Disney World Fans Demand Justice for Animatronic Robot Robbed of His Hands and Clothes

Many hardcore Walt Disney World fans were heartbroken over the holiday season as reports spread about the theft of a retired audio-animatronic character who once brought joy to millions as a part of an Epcot attraction.

“Buzzy” was the star of Cranium Command, in which he guided a boy though life from a control center inside the child’s brain. The attraction opened in the Wonders of Life pavilion in 1989 and closed on January 1, 2007. Since then, the attraction has been left vacant—for the most part.

On December 21, an active member of DisTwitter (Twitter’s Disney fan community) who goes by the handle DreamFinderGuy was among the first to report that something had happened to Buzzy.

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Initial rumors suggested that the entire Buzzy robot had been kidnapped. But an incident report from August soon surfaced, stating that an “unknown subject entered the backstage area of the Wonders of Life” exhibit between August 1 and August 8, 2018, and “removed custom clothing that adorned the retired character ‘Buzzy’.”

But it apparently wasn’t just clothing. In addition to “a green military style cape” and “a red bomber jacket” the person allegedly also stole “a pair of custom made rubbers hands,” like a true monster.

The narrative written by then-Walt Disney Detective Dante Candelaria, says that Walt Disney World did not give anyone permission to take the items and that the building is often used by third-party vendors. Candelaria did not respond to a Gizmodo request for comment.

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The report also points out that “the items are a part of Walt Disney World history and hold a value on the black market for collectors.”

“There’s a huge market for Disney collectors to get props or items from any attraction,” DreamFinderGuy told Gizmodo. “Some people would want to steal such things in order to flip them for a profit, ignoring the whole legal issue. Other collectors would be fine with paying a premium for the stolen goods just to say they own a piece of history.”

After DreamFinderGuy first shared the sad news with DisTwitter, the community launched a #FindBuzzy hashtag campaign, resulting in hundreds of tweets bringing attention to the mystery.

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Why so much hand-wringing over this D-list Disney audio-animatronic celebrity?

“Many people, including myself, have been fans of the attraction for a long while, and have followed the story of its history as it has developed,” DreamFinderGuy explained to Gizmodo. “The sudden news of a major piece of the show being removed comes as a shock to many, especially with the added piece of information that he might’ve been stolen. Others view it as a major flaw in Disney’s security, thinking that if someone could get in with the tools necessary to take him out, as well as being able to successfully remove him from the building without anyone noticing, anyone could do anything back there. The story has spread and continued to develop, with rumors flying everywhere.”

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Walt Disney World did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the reported theft or their security.

A second related Orange County Sheriff’s Office incident report from late December states that a suspect in the grand theft case voluntarily met with law enforcement officers. When the man tried to leave, an officer said he would keep the suspect’s phone. The suspect then reportedly grabbed his phone and was soon detained and charged with resisting arrest. He has not been charged with theft.

A representative for the Sheriff’s Office told Gizmodo that the investigation remains active and open.

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If you have any information about Buzzy or other Walt Disney World audio-animatronic thefts you’d like to share with us, email us at jennings.brown@gizmodo.com.

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Samsung's first Exynos Auto chip is coming to future Audi cars


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Samsung’s first Exynos chip for cars will power Audi‘s upgraded in-vehicle infotainment system starting in 2021, the company announced today. The Exynos Auto V9 is based on 8-nanometer (nm) process tech and comes complete with eight ARM Cortex-A76 cores, offering a max speed of 2.1 GHz. As a result, Samsung is promising premium audio features, multi-screen capabilities (with support for up to six displays and 12 camera connections). In addition, the Exynos Auto packs an ARM Mali G76 GPU, HiFi 4 audio digital signal processor and an intelligent neural processing unit.

We knew the chip was inbound following Samsung’s announcement in 2017 confirming its partnership with Audi. Relations between the two companies actually date back to 2015, when Samsung became the first memory supplier to join the German auto-maker’s Progressive SemiConductor Program. In October of last year, Samsung also revealed that it will supply an OLED display for Audi’s first all-electric vehicle, the E-Tron. In addition, the Korean tech giant is building two auto chips for smart cars.

But Samsung isn’t the only tech company chasing the hundreds of billions of dollars up for grabs in the automotive electrical parts industry. Qualcomm’s processor, for instance, is a the heart of Panasonic‘s Android-powered vehicle infotainment system. Meanwhile, BlackBerry boasts the QNX car infotainment system, utilized by Volkswagen. NVIDIA is also making bank from its AI-powered infotainment system, thanks to big-name partnerships with Mercedes and (previously) Tesla, before the EV-maker switched to Intel.

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Amazon Echo Plus owners: Tell us what you think!


When we reviewed Amazon’s updated Echo Plus, we concluded that the $120 device was a solid improvement with “some noticeable thump” and “crisper and more detailed” music tracks. But as a gadget that doubles as a smart home hub, it’s less impressive. In particular, we were disappointed by the lack of support for Z-Wave or Lutron Clear Connect protocols, especially since the control over smart devices like the Hue bulbs felt basic and underwhelming for a smart home hub. While the audio and the price caught our attention, we ultimately didn’t feel it was a necessary upgrade over the first-gen Echo.

But that’s just our take — now we’d like to hear yours. Did you also encounter snags in syncing your smart home devices? Maybe you thought the bass is actually too heavy? When it came to grouping different smart home actions, how did you like Routines for Alexa? Submit your stories, thoughts and reviews on our Echo Plus product page so that other readers can gain from your hands-on time with the product.

Note: Comments have been turned off for this post, to leave a review please go to our Amazon Echo Plus product page!

All products recommended by Engadget were selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company, Oath. If you buy something through one of our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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Comment: This may be crunch time for AAPL on iPhone pricing – and revive hope of an iPhone SE 2

I argued almost exactly two years ago that we were approaching the point at which Apple might have to think the unthinkable on iPhone pricing.

Apple cannot afford to have anything resembling a sense of entitlement when it comes to customers at the premium end of the market. Leaving aside those geeks who have their own technical or philosophical reasons for favoring Android, it’s largely been the case to date that anyone who can afford to buy an iPhone does so almost automatically. That fact is testament to Apple’s extraordinary marketing prowess.

But players like Google, Huawei, Xiaomi, Lenovo and OnePlus are learning fast […] So while Apple’s current dominance of the premium end of the market gives it a massive head-start, it can’t count on forever remaining the automatic choice. It will need to learn to compete on a slightly more level playing field as its competitors continue to up their game.

Yesterday’s news suggests that crunch time may now have arrived …

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The post Comment: This may be crunch time for AAPL on iPhone pricing – and revive hope of an iPhone SE 2 appeared first on 9to5Mac.

Chance the Rapper saved a man's life

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The 25-year-old hip-hop star was reflecting on his memories from 2018 and opened up about his own heroics on Instagram Stories. Read more…

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