Archive for the ‘News’ Category

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This Week in Travel

September 15th, 2010

Here’s a short list of travel related stories I wasn’t able to write posts about this week. I hope you’ll explore the links on your own:

The San Diego Wild Animal Park is being renamed the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Safari is Swahili for “Journey of Mind and Soul” which the park claims better represents the current mission of the park.

The Oregonian has a beautiful guide to the state’s wineries. Make sure to take advantage of the ‘driving tour’ application. There is also a beautiful photo gallery of Crater Lake, one of the state’s best kept travel secrets and its only National Park.  (See also this description of a day at Crater Lake on

Didn’t get to take a vacation this summer? NPR has a list of books to read that might put you in vacation mode even if you’re just in the living room.

Here’s a link I meant to include in my recent story on Las Vegas room nights increasing, the closure of the Liberace Museum. Even though the museum experienced an upgrade less than 10 years ago, today’s visitor numbers are less than a 10th of its peak attendance. Fame passes, even for someone as legendary as Liberace.  The Museum’s final day is October 18th.

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Cedar Point named Best Amusement Park

September 13th, 2010

As Academy Award winners often say, it’s an honor to be nominated by one’s peers and to win is just the icing on the cake. The same goes for the Amusement Park industry awards known as the Golden Ticket Awards. These are the destinations that industry insiders consider to be the top of the top.

Calculated from an international poll conducted by Amusement Today, the Golden Ticket Awards are the results of a detailed survey that is sent to a database of experienced and well-traveled amusement park fans around the world – in balanced geographical regions – asking them to rate the “bests” in 25 categories such as “amusement parks,” “roller coasters,” “shows,” “landscaping” and “water rides.”

The 2010 winners are …

Best Amusement Park
Cedar Point, Sandusky, Ohio

Best Waterpark

Schlitterbahn Waterpark Resort, New Braunfels, Texas

Best Children’s Park
Idlewild and SoakZone, Ligonier, Pa.

Best Marine Life Park
SeaWorld Orlando, Orlando, Fla.

Best Seaside Park
Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Santa Cruz, Calif.

Best Wooden Coaster
The Voyage at Holiday World, Santa Claus, Ind.

Best Steel Coaster
Millennium Force at Cedar Point, Sandusky, Ohio

Best Kids’ Area
Kings Island, Kings Mills, Ohio

Friendliest Staff
Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari, Santa Claus, Ind.

Cleanest Park
Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari, Santa Claus, Ind.

Best Halloween Event
Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando, Orlando, Fla..

Best Landscaping
Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Williamsburg, Va.

Best Christmas Event
Smoky Mountain Christmas at Dollywood, Pigeon Forge, Tenn.

Best Food
Knoebels Amusement Resort, Elysburg, Pa.

Best Shows
Dollywood, Pigeon Forge, Tenn.

Best Outdoor Night Show Production
IllumiNations: Reflections of the Earth at Walt Disney World’s Epcot Center, Orlando, Fla.

Best Water Ride
Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls at Universal’s Islands of Adventure, Orlando, Fla.

Best Waterpark Ride
Wildebeest at Splashin’ Safari, Santa Claus, Ind.

Best Dark Ride
Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man at Universal’s Islands of Adventure, Orlando, Fla.

Best Indoor Waterpark
Schlitterbahn Galveston Island, Galveston, Texas

Best Funhouse/Walk-Through Attraction
Noah’s Ark at Kennywood, West Mifflin, Pa.

Best Carousel
Grand Carousel at Knoebels Amusement Resort, Elysburg, Pa.

Best Indoor Roller Coaster
Revenge of the Mummy at Universal Orlando, Orlando, Fla.

Best New Ride of 2010 - Amusement Park
Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey at Universal’s Islands of Adventure, Orlando, Fla.

Best New Ride of 2010 - Waterpark
Wildebeest at Splashin’ Safari, Santa Claus, Ind.

This is the 13th annual year for Amusement Today’s coveted Golden Ticket Awards, which are the most sought-after awards in the business of amusements and attractions. This year’s host park, Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, has won the Best Landscaping title every year since the poll has been in place.

“We are very proud of the men and women who maintain Busch Gardens’ landscaping. The park’s landscaping complements the park experience for our guests. It’s something we take great pride in, so this award is especially meaningful,” says John Reilly, president of Busch Gardens in Williamsburg. “We are thrilled to host this year’s Golden Ticket Awards and welcome the industry to our park.”

Personally chosen by Gary Slade, publisher and editor-in-chief of Amusement Today, the Publisher’s Pick Awards are presented in three categories: Park, Individual and Supplier. Respectively, the 2010 recipients are Beech Bend in Bowling Green, Ky., for its perseverance in overcoming unexpected health and flooding challenges; Jeff Novotny of Larson International in Plainview, Texas, for his donation of land and labor to make the National Roller Coaster Museum and Archives a reality; and Environs in Jacksonville, Fla., for its generous $650,000 gift of a scenic ship to Give Kids The World Village in Kissimmee, Fla.

Read more…

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This Week In Travel

August 10th, 2010

NomadicMatt has penned a great column on Huffington Post about Why We Travel.

MSNBC has a list of America’s strangest Roadside Attractions. How many have you visited?

The NY Times visits the revived Brixton Market in London.

The LA Times suggests some alternate beach destinations for those tired of the sands of Southern California.

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This week in Travel

July 26th, 2010

The LA Times covers the “Swimming of the Ponies“, which is not a Virginia take on the running of the bulls; the best ice cream treats in Las Vegas; and New York’s club and bar scene is going up, way up, to the roof.

The NY Times visits the picturesque Paris waterside from hotel barges to floating bars; staying with the water theme, they travel on a houseboat near Sacremento, CA; and why Spongebob Squarepants may be greeting you at your next destination.

The Traveling Mom has a hard hat tour of the next major themed hotel from Disney… it’s in Hawaii.

Finally, WalletPop has six mistakes to avoid when on travel booking websites. This story includes quotes from Last Minute Travel’s own Lauren Volcheff. Go Lauren!

JFrost News , , , , Survey Reveals it’s All Work and No Play for Americans

June 28th, 2010

It’s Summer and if you’re looking at your vacation days account at work and seeing a surplus, you’re not alone. As it turns out, Americans are terrible at actually taking a vacation. Here at Last Minute Travel, the premier online travel booking site, we are encouraging Americans to break the habit of not using all of their hard-earned vacations days and have some fun.

A new survey by finds that close to half (45%) of working Americans did not maximize their vacation days in 2009; in fact, 39 percent admitted to losing 10 or more of those days. As we reach the halfway point of 2010, the survey finds that more than three-quarters (78%) of Americans plan to repeat this trend by leaving their paid vacation days on the table.

Vacation Days Survey

According to the survey, reasons for lost vacation days is that many find it difficult to take time away from work, coordinate family schedules or they cannot afford a “real vacation.” Nonetheless, working Americans yearn for time off and fantasize about the type of vacation they would take, time and money permitting: close to four in ten (35%) would choose a beach destination where they can relax and unwind; 19 percent would opt for an all-inclusive cruise; 16 percent would go to a family (theme-park) destination; and 15 percent would take a road trip across the country.

Life shouldn’t be all work and no play. When it comes to vacation days, you’ve got to use them or lose them. And we’re here to help. We’ve compiled the top five beach destinations, top five affordable vacations, and five of our most popular activities to help you plan how to spend those vacation days.

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Pets on your Disney Vacation? Sure!

June 25th, 2010

Disney Pet Resort

Can’t bear to leave your pet at home while you travel to Central Florida with your family? Don’t worry. A new luxury pet resort to open at Walt Disney World Resort will provide the best care while you’re enjoying the local theme parks.

Reservations are being accepted for pet boarding stays beginning Aug. 27, 2010, for the new Best Friends Pet Care Resort. After it opens, it will be the new central location for all pet boarding at the Walt Disney World Resort.

The one-of-a-kind resort comprises more than 50,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor space, including 17,000 square feet of air-conditioned indoor space, 10,000 square feet of covered outdoor runs and play areas, and an expansive private dog park exclusively for the use of pet resort clients and their dogs.

Read more…

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No impact on Florida Tourism from Oil Spill

May 6th, 2010

The folks at the Florida tourism board want everyone to know that the Deep Water Horizon oil spill has not affected Florida’s waters or beaches. It’s not forecast to for at least the next 72 hours either.

Currently, there are no impacts to Florida’s 2,276 miles of tidal shoreline and 663 miles of beaches. Our shores are clear and open for business.

If you are planning a trip to the Sunshine State and are concerned about any potential impact from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, VISIT FLORIDA encourages you to check with local destinations in order to get the most up-to-date information.

Florida officials have taken the offensive in getting information out due to what they’re calling a “horrible problem with rumor control.” So far, Florida has actually seen a slight uptick in visits from people who have decided to visit a Florida beach instead of one of the other gulf coast states. This trend is expected to continue.

For more on Florida’s response to the oil spill visit

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Have you developed new travel habits?

April 27th, 2010

Many, many studies have shown that a recession can cause travelers to modify their travel plans. But it’s generally expected that after the economy recovers, that business and leisure travel will return to previous levels.

The trouble caused by the volcanic ash cloud appears to have more long term affects on travel habits. Articles, like this column in the UK Times suggests, that people will think twice before jetting away for a weekend and may opt for destinations that can be reached by ground transportation. Particularly if another eruption appears likely.

What do you think? Have your travel habits changed over the last few years? Will the threat of another ash cloud in the air keeping you grounded cause you to vacation closer to home? Or is the unknown unavoidable and therefore not worth changing your plans for?

On a lighter note, did you know that ash clouds could twitter? Well it appears as if they can. Follow @TheAshCloud.

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If someone told you to jump, would you?

April 26th, 2010

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.

Previously: Skyjump to open in Las Vegas.

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