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.
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.)
The Reserve Channel’s new series on YouTube, EX-PATS, is off to a great start. As the name suggests, the show profiles people who’ve traded in their lives in the mainland U.S. for a more fulfilling existence elsewhere—they’ve followed the road less traveled, found happiness, and want to share their stories.
Created in cooperation with Travel + Leisure, the third episode returns to St. John to meet a wooden boat builder from Vermont, Jamison Whitbek, whose love of the open water and island life inspired him, and his family, to move to St. John fulltime. Today, he owns and operates a sailing charter; his hand-crafted 55-foot catamaran, KEKOA, is staffed by women—and occasionally his three kids. Watch for a peek into a dreamy life that many think about, but only a few pursue.
When I began to plan a trip to Kenya, I knew my elegant “Out of Africa” fantasies would have to wait. We were going to Kenya as a family, and traveling with two boys, ages seven and eleven, pretty much precludes “elegant” anything. Still, I had hopes for close encounters with big cats, and sundowners with my husband while we gazed over vast expanses of savannah, perhaps with a picturesque giraffe in the distance.
And in fact while we did not attain Baroness Von Blixen levels of sophistication, we did manage something almost as wonderful: our family safari bridged that sometimes painful gap between “family trip” and “vacation,” and resulted in what our older son described as “the most epic vacation ever.”
If you wanted to entice a Hollywood actor, you wouldn’t feed him a slice of wheat bread, would you? The Olympic Game Farm’s actors, however, will wave to you for all manner of carbs. But these retired Hollywood actors aren’t ordinary stars—they’re furry, 1,800-pound Alaskan Brown Bears.
August marks 40 years of business for the Olympic Game Farm. Located in Sequim, Washington, the Olympic Game Farm opened to the public in 1972, when it began offering tours—both walking and driving—for people interested in viewing and feeding rescue animals, and retired Hollywood stars, along with their offspring.
Come summer, or fall, there’s no better place to be than Maine. I grew up in Vacationland, so perhaps I’m biased, but, it’s hard to argue with warm salt air breezes, overstuffed lobster rolls, and coastal scenery that makes you feel as if you’ve stepped into a postcard. And while there are some great seaside spots to stay in the Pine Tree State, few come close to offering what Inn by the Sea does—especially for families.
I recently checked into the Cape Elizabeth property with my husband and almost-two-year-old daughter as a way to decompress from a larger family gathering, get in some rare beach time, nose around Portland (just 7 miles away), and see first-hand what may be Maine’s first luxury suites designed with families in mind.
Darling cottages decorated with private art collections, bicycle trails through wildflow-strewn meadows, farm-to-table dinners of grilled halibut and prawn gnocchi in saffron broth are all part of the experience at Twin Farms, a luxury resort and spa in Barnard, Vermont.
Though this all-inclusive retreat has traditionally only opened its doors to families for select days throughout the year, they're now expanding their dates so that families can enjoy all the resort has to offer (2012 family days include July 29-August 3, August 31-September 4, November 19-25, December 7-10, and December 14-19). After all, Twin Farms has 300 acres of forests, streams, and fields—who else has enough energy to take advantage of it all besides kids?
Corinne White is an editorial intern at Travel + Leisure.
Traveling with the kids in tow can be quite the challenge. Where should you go? How do you guarantee a smooth flight? Can you make everyone happy? What about the adults? Is there something for them to do? It can be exhausting just planning the trip. That being said, there are myriad ways to smooth out the process and help guarantee a memorable trip for everyone involved. How? Well, just join us for a live tweet-up tomorrow, from 2–3 p.m. ET, hosted by T+L Senior Digital Editor (and mom of two) Ann Shields. (Or, as she’s known in the Twittersphere: @aegisnyc.) Joining her will be a panel of experts to help give you some essential tips to help you plan your next family getaway.
Chef Andy Nusser of Tarry Lodge, and host of first Family Dinner on July 15.
Most New Yorkers would be happy to dine at one of Mario Batali's famous restaurants. And though Batali's dishes, like a 100-layer lasagne, are delicious to most palates, a white-tablecloth restaurant like Del Posto might not be the ideal place to take your six-year-old. Enter Family Dinners with Mario Batali's Chefs, a highlight of the The Edible Garden at The New York Botanical Garden. Geared for kids aged 4-12, this nearly 3 hour event includes hands-on gardening and craft activities, live cooking demonstrations by Mario's top chefs, and of course, hearty tastings of all the delicious creations. Four events are currently scheduled (July 15, July 26, August 2, and August 12). Tickets: $60 for adults and $30 for children at PRICELESSNY.com.
Corinne White is an editorial intern at Travel + Leisure.
Photo courtesy of Ivo Vermeulen and The New York Botanical Garden
Traveling with kids doesn’t always feel like a vacation, but these tips for summer flights and road trips will make things easier for your family.
When/What To Book: To pick the best seats for your family consult a site like SeatGuru.com. Planes will be more full this summer than before, so book your flight early—six weeks or more is a good rule of thumb—to improve your odds of getting seats together. If you use social media, follow @airfarewatchdog and @smartertravel on Twitter to learn about last-minute deals. Both carefully vet price drops and unadvertised sales. As for flying, Saturday mornings at airports are more quiet and flights can often be cheaper. Plus, the first flight out in the morning usually takes off on time.