Last week I had the chance to soar over Orlando as part of the MAUIVA sightseeing flight. “Sightseeing from the clouds” is a great marketing line, but my favorite part is how personal the experience is. In a way you get to see what it’s like to be a pilot. You are at an airport with no security at all – head to the hanger and then step onto a plane with the pilot. Put the headset one, hear the air traffic controllers and other pilots calling each other in the lingo I don’t understand.
When you are up in the air over the parks and celebrity houses you get the pilots full attention (except for his focus on actually flying the plane). You can ask him what is that? What are they building there? And he points out Harry Potter or the tree of life.
I actually flew the plane which was pretty crazy – I think I stared so hard at the controls to ensure “the line was between this number and that number” that I didn’t even look out the windshield the entire time I was flying the plane.
The landing is my favorite – soooo smooth. And the runway is so close you feel like you can reach out and touch it as you are landing. I can definitely recommend that you check out MAUIVA for your next trip to Orlando.
How many times have you been asked that question over your life? Well now you can answer yes as the Stratosphere Skyjump attraction is open for business. The attraction has been awarded the record for world’s longest commercial decelerator jump for its 829 foot fall. The only other SkyJump in the world is on Auckland New Zealand’s Sky Tower, where the fall is ‘only’ 627 feet.
Video of some of the first jumps:
Plus this one from CBS really captures the feel (via Facebook).
Thinking of making the jump yourself? Reward yourself with a stay at one of Last Minute Travel’s Las Vegas hotels. Special deals right now include 4-Star rates for under $40 and 3-Star resort for 30% off.
The Indoor Ski Resort is located in the Dubai Emirates Mall, one of the largest shopping malls in the world. Ski Dubai was built in December of 2005 and it is the world’s third largest indoor ski slope. How large? It measures 400 meters and uses 6000 tons of snow. The temperature of -1 degrees C during the day and -6 degrees during the night when the snow is produced is monitored by a very efficient insulation system. See the video below for a tour of inside the resort.
The Blue Hole is a great scuba diving spot in Belize. This geographical phenomena is located approximately 60 miles off the coast of Belize City. The Blue Hole was formed during past ice ages and is now part of the Lighthouse Reef System. There are quite a few other blue holes in the world as well. Here are some pictures of the marine life that thrives in The Blue Hole in Belize: http://www.news-world.us/pics/2009/03/24/the-great-blue-hole-in-belize/
In the 17th century, the Canal Ring became a very wealthy place. Famous merchants, extremely wealthy bankers and other very wealthy business owners built their magnificent homes here. The most prestigious residents built their homes on the Golden Bend or the Gouden Bocht. This area is located where all three canals intersect with Nieuwe Spiegelstraat. The Canal Ring is located Soutwest of the city center of Amsterdam. Also know as Grachtengordel, there are three main canals that make up this ring of canals:
The Princes’ Canal (Prinsengracht)
The Emporer’s Canal (Keizersgracht)
The Gentlemen’s Canal (Herengracht)
The Canal Ring offers shopping, dining, museums and many other attractions.
Tips for visiting Canal Ring in Amsterdam
Bring an umbrella and a wind proof jacket as the weather in Amsterdam is known for changing often and very quickly.
Wear a good pair of walking shoes that will withstand the cobblestone streets.
There are a lot of people on bicycles, watch out for them when crossing the street.
Use a good map. Below is an interactive map of the Canal Ring by Google Maps:
The Van Gogh Museum is located on Paulus Potterstraat 7 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The museum is home to more than 200 of Vincent van Gogh’s paintings. In fact, it is the largest collection of Van Gogh’s paintings in the world! Drawings and letters from the famous artist are also on display. Guided and audio tours are available through the museum.
Tips for getting the most out of your visit
Go to the information desk and pick up a free leaflet (available in 8 languages: Dutch, English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Japanese and Russian). The leaflet contains a biography of Van Gogh’s life and can be used while watching the presentation on the first floor of Van Gogh’s life in chronological order. The leaflet also contains a map of the entire museum by floor.
The audio tour is offered in 9 languages including Dutch, English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Russian and Mandarin. If you are going to be visiting in a group you will need to make reservations in advance. If you are visiting with children ask about the Children’s Audio Tour (for children ages 7 to 12).
The Van Gogh multimedia tour uses PDA technology to take visitors on a tour through the museum featuring reproductions, stories, photos, letters, drawings, interviews, film clips, music and games. This tour is available in English and Dutch.
Don’t forget to stop by the Van Gogh Museum Shop. They have tons of informative books and magazines about Van Gogh and other artists from the 19th century.
The museum is accessible for disabled visitors.
To get to the museum take tram number 2 and 5 from the Central Station. Here is a map of the location below:
The Museum Het Rembrandt is actually the artist’s 17th century house. Rembrandt lived and worked in the house from 1639 to 1658. The house has been recreated and very little of the original home remains but his artwork in displayed along with other artists from the 17th century on the upper levels of the home. The home has 10 rooms and is a sight to see itself.
Tips for getting the most out of your visit
But sure to check out the demonstrations of how Rembrandt created his sketch art.
Sketches are located in the new building attached to the old house
You can purchase reproductions of Rembrandt’s work as full sized prints or postcards in the museum’s gift shop
The Anne Frank House is located at #263 Prinsengracht in the center of Amsterdam. This is the infamous house where Anne Frank and 8 others hid during Nazi Germany. Their story was captured by Anne Frank and later discovered in the dairies she kept. On May 3rd 1960 the Anne Frank House officially opened as a museum. The museum is well preserved and contains many original objects on display including Anne Frank’s diary. Guests can walk through the house where there are different rooms with exhibits, including the actual hiding place behind the bookshelf door.