I’m usually cynical about most travel marketing, which often emphasizes self-indulgence and cheap prices. Can’t it ever be uplifting, meaningful, and warm-hearted without being maudlin? Apparently, the answer is yes, it can. The new ad campaign for Colonial Williamsburg, the well-known historical restoration in Virginia, is all that and more. It just launched last week, and although I’ve seen only two of their commercials, if the rest of the campaign is up to that same quality level, it should win not only some awards, but some new visitors as well.
New hotel clubs and programs for kids and families seem to be popping up everywhere. Fairmont properties in Miami, Hawaii, Bermuda, Singapore and other cities around the world have introduced the R.U. Ready? series, motivating kids to make friends and keep in shape through outdoor relays and competitions and active indoor video and computer games.
Mickey’s ears must be burning; Universal has unveiled new details about a brand new section inside its Islands of Adventure theme park. Working closely with gazillionaire author J.K. Rowling and Warner Bros., the theme park giant will soon help the fantasy world of Harry Potter come to life.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, set to open in spring 2010, will make Hogwarts and the magical town of Hogsmeade a reality for countless fans around the world. So what can you expect when the park opens? Here are just a few of the many attractions to look forward to:
Consider it Fresh Direct for the still-in-diapers set. Since 2004, Babies Travel Lite, an e-tailor of baby supplies, has been delivering goods to home addresses as well as hotels worldwide—taking the excess baggage out of traveling with an infant in tow.
The site has already partnered with Hyatt, giving guests who stay at a property within the brand a reduced service fee discount and streamlined ordering process. Disney Cruise Line recently joined the club—which means travel potties, bottle warmers, diapers, formula, and more can be shipped right to your stateroom on any of DCL’s liners.
At the new Walt Disney Family Museum, opening in San Francisco on October 1, you can catch a glimpse of Walt Disney, the man, before there was an empire. Before his animation career took off, Walt spent his childhood in rural Missouri and Kansas City, and worked a newspaper route and drove an ambulance in World War I.
Earlier this year St. Louis’s Magic House children’s museum unveiled a 25,000-square-foot expansion. A major part of the new space—which nearly doubled the museum’s size—is the Star-Spangled Center, an interactive exhibit that schools youngsters in presidential practices.
Can’t afford to take your kids on an African safari? Or maybe you're just looking for a fun way for them to learn about different parts of the world so they have a greater appreciation when you do book that trip. Well, last week I was introduced to a new website that solves either problem: Wonder Rotunda.
The website is an interactive educational tool for kids. After signing up—a year’s pass to the site is $45—kids create a personalized character and are given a brief tutorial by Mr. Wonder, who remains their tour guide throughout the rest of their animated “travels.”
Last week I checked in with Shaun White (above), the red-headed snowboarder of winter Olympic fame. The 22-year-old athlete, who also happens to be a pro skateboarder, has signed on to make appearances at Skate Cayman, a summer-long skateboarding camp on Grand Cayman (a fine locale for the world’s second largest skatepark).
Ever think your kids would be more interested in a museum if they weren’t confined to its walls and rules?So does San Francisco’s Exploratorium. Now open along the Fort Mason waterfront (between the Marina District and Aquatic Park) is series of free outdoor interactive exhibits that put existing structures like pier pilings and parking lots to scientific use.
Each one will “explore the natural phenomena of the immediate environment. Water, wind, sound, and light, in all their complex behaviors, will be foci of investigation.” Translation: the Golden Gate Bridge is now a thermometer, and flags placed at different heights along the city skyline serve as a wind observatory. Kids can also measure the salinity of bay’s water and track tides. How cool is that?