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A Travel Blog from the Editors of T+L

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A Year of Weeklong Surprises at Disney in 2013

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Yesterday, Disney announced Limited Time Magic—a year’s worth of weeklong celebrations for visitors to its Disney World and Disneyland resorts in 2013.

The announcement was made at a press event laden with the happy Disney touches (a barbershop quartet cheerily singing boy-band hits, a Mickey appearance, and a castle carved from 45,000 pounds of ice) but also a dark taste of the queen’s poisoned apple—a panel of marketing experts and psychologists placed surprisingly grim emphasis on the fleeting nature of childhood and the parents’ limited and precious time with their kids.

The 52 weeklong celebrations will feature limited-time elements—themed souvenirs that won’t be offered again, entertainment that will be performed only that week, special menu.

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$100 for a Carry-On Item?! Ship Your Luggage Instead

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Spirit Airlines announced last week that beginning November 6, passengers arriving at their departure gate with a carry-on bag would be charged $100. If the passenger paid for the carry-on when they booked the ticket, the fee would drop to a who-could-possibly-object $30. For a carry-on bag!

New fees like these continue to be tacked on to airfares—and not just by cut-rate airlines like Spirit—plus travelers who actually pay for and check suitcases have to suffer through the vile rugby scrum at the baggage carousel. Options, like the ScotteVest, the jacket that conceals a Radio-Shack’s worth of gadgets, exist, but, um, our international editor Mark Orwoll looks better in it than I would.

LuggageForward.com, a baggage expeditor that uses UPS, FedEx, and DHL, offers prices that are (still) attractively competitive. Pay them $99 to pick up a 50-lb. suitcase a few days before your flight and it’ll be waiting at your domestic destination when you arrive. If Luggage Forward doesn’t get it there on time, they pay you up to $200.00 per day per item, up to $500. (The company also serves international destinations. And can transport awkward items like skis, bikes, surfboards, and golf bags.)  

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Is Mickey Mouse Moving to Yellowstone?

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I just got back from the classic American family vacation in Yellowstone National Park and, honestly, I can’t wait to go again. In just a few days, we saw wolves, egrets, elk, mule deer, golden and bald eagles, and at least a thousand bison.

But, enough about the wildlife. Let’s talk about Mickey.

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Escape Aunt Annie: Airport Food Takes Off

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As predicted by T+L’s editors this January, things just got a little better for frequent-flying gourmands.

Jamie Oliver recently opened a restaurant area (a bakery, a bar, and an Italian eatery) at London Gatwick, joining the growing ranks of chefs extending their empire into airports (Gordon Ramsay’s 4-year-old Heathrow cafe, Plane Food, offers both sit-down meals—timed menus and leisurely menus—and takeout “picnics” to enjoy on the plane. A host of haute cuisine celebs, including chefs Michael White, Anne Burrell, Andrew Carmellini, have created menus for new cafes in Delta’s Terminals C+ D at New York’s LaGuardia. Terminal 2 at San Francisco International features restaurants from Chefs Cat Coura and Tyler Florence, as well as a room dedicated to yoga for those craving spiritual food.)

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Which Keeps You Drier in the Rain, Walking or Running?

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Walking umbrella-free in the rain may be romantic when the temperature is warm and you’re not headed to a job interview or fancy restaurant. But how should you respond if you’re caught in a shower and want to stay as dry as possible?  Common sense may tell you to run, but how can you be absolutely sure?

The BBC (bless them) dumbs down an article from the European Journal of Physics about whether or not to run in a downpour. The physicist who conducted a recent study, Dr. Franco Bocci, concludes that running as fast as you can is best in most situations. 

However, it gets complicated if you want to be exacting, as physicists often do.

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Lonesome Rich Guy Seeks Hot Travel Companion?

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Hey, beautiful people, does the world owe you a free ride based on your good looks? Hooray, there’s a new website for you.

Or maybe you’re tired of being a lonely rich guy. Maybe you feel like the beautiful people of the world owe YOU a favor. Good news, you can use that same website.

MissTravel.com, a travel dating social network, will facilitate matches between its two types of members: the “attractive” members and the “generous” members. (Are you squirming yet?) How this differs from a high-flying escort service, except for the admonition “Escorts Are Not Allowed,” is unclear.

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Twitter-Based Maps, Cake, a Gherkin, and More Travel News

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- Batter up? Los Angeles’ Cake Museum threatened by budget cuts.
L.A. Times 

- Dangerous looking French sundial casts pretty cool shadow four times a year.
NASA 

- Eye-popping, gorgeous, 20-gigapixel navigable view of London’s skyline.  The details are so crisp that you can zoom in to check out footwear choices on the opposite bank of the Thames. 
Life in Megapixels 

- Mapping your summer drive? NOAA published 56 years worth of weather data and this awesome guy created a map of tornado tracks.
IDV User Experience 

- The same genius, John Nelson, also mapped NYC-based Twitter feeds that contain the words “love” and “hate” to create what he calls Constellations of Love and Hate, pictured above. Not surprisingly, LaGuardia Airport is a nexus of negativity.
IDV User Experience  

Ann Shields is a senior digital editor at Travel + Leisure.

Image courtesy of John Nelson and IDV Solutions. 

Sleep Under the Stars in NYC

20120606_akablogjpgOpportunities to sleep outside in NYC, safely removed from traffic and filth, are few: The Bronx Zoo offers summer overnight family safaris with a sea lion wake-up call. On select summer nights, families can sleep out in the city parks, watched over by rangers. But for the most part, unless you drag a mattress onto your fire escape like the Kramdens, you’ll probably be sleeping inside.

Except if you go five-star. AKA Central Park, a luxury residence/hotel combo, is offering a night out on the 1,000-square-foot wrap-around terrace of its 17th-floor penthouse suite. You’ll get cocktails, s’mores (ingredients from Jacques Torres) to toast in front of the fireplace, champagne, a Nook e-reader loaded with campfire stories, a telescope, a TV (really?), and a bed under the stars.

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JetBlue One-Day Sale: Fares to Nantucket from $39

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JetBlue is holding one of its short-term, big-savings sales. Book today and you can fly between NYC and Nantucket for just $39. The sale covers travel between May 22 through June 21, 2012 and there are some blackout dates. The airline flies to all sorts of delightful destinations—St. Thomas, Turks and Caicos, New Orleans, Martha’s Vineyard—just looking at the list of places could launch an impromptu late spring/early summer vacation plan.

(By the way, have you signed up for our free Hot Deals newsletter?)

Ann Shields is a senior digital editor at Travel + Leisure.

Photo courtesy of JetBlue.

Close Your Eyes and Think of England: Royal-Themed B&B in London

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A nice lady in the northwest London suburb of Wembley has created a guestroom for a very particular traveler: one who cannot get enough of the royal family, even in this Windsor-giddy period between Kate and Will's wedding and the Queen's Jubilee.

The Sandringham Suite, a visual explosion of Union Jacks and Diana portraits, is available to rent for rates from $121 per night from rental site Wimdu.com. If sleeping amidst more than 10,000 artifacts is not enough, you can supplement the experience by renting a corgi for the day.

Via the Daily Mail.

Ann Shields is a senior digital editor at Travel + Leisure.

Image courtesy of Wimdu.

 

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