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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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County in China Boasts Hot Tourist Attraction: Really Old Folks

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The terms "centenarian" and "cashing in" are rarely used in the same breath among tourism officials, but that may be changing—at least in a remote county in the Guangxi Zhuang region of China.

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Art as Take-Home Amenity: Man Tries to Lift Painting From Cruise Ship

Norwegian Star

We all know it's fine if you take home the soap or shampoo that you find in your hotel room or cruise-ship cabin. But what about that coffee mug? The bathrobe? Or...the decor in the lobby?

A Kentucky man has been fined $500 after he tried to disembark from the Norwegian Star with a giant painting that—well, was part of the permanent decor of the Norwegian Star.

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Wanna Lose Weight on Vacation? Try ... Germany?

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Memo to our friends in the UK: Maybe lay off the jokes about how we Yanks SuperSize all our meals, or walk around cradling two-liter bottles of soda.

In a recent Thomas Cook survey of British travelers, the good ol' U.S.A.—land of the deep-fried Twinkie—ranked only No. 4 as the most likely destination to make you gain weight. (Sure, we're still in the Top 5, but we'll take what we can get.)

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One Tepid Club Soda, Please: Woman Sues Southwest Over Hot Tea

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Southwest Airlines—which once upon a time, sprang earnestly from a place called Love Field—is inspiring more ill will again.

A Tennessee woman has filed an $800,000 suit against the airline—$300,000 for medical damages, and $500,000 in punitive damages—after she says she was scalded by hot water during a flight from Nashville to Houston.

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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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Forest Friends Help Kangaroos Hightail It Out of German Zoo

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Kangaroos are desperate to flee Europe, and their freedom-loving woodland well-wishers are determined to aid and abet in any way they can. In the latest incident, on Saturday, three incarcerated marsupials, Skippy, Jack, and Mick (last names unknown), bolted from the confines of the Hochwildschutzpark Hunsrueck, an animal park near Frankfurt, Germany, with the help of animal accomplices. According to the Associated Press, the jailed joeys, using a tunnel dug by a local fox, made a breakout reminiscent of Steve McQueen in The Great Escape. Continuing their quest for liberty, the 'roos-on-the-run headed for a hole under a secondary fence--this one dug by a boar--where one of the kangaroos was forced to abandon his bid for independence. Of the remaining two absconders, one was soon captured and the other, a "super friendly, super nice" male, according to a zookeeper, remains at large.

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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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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. 

Hotel Renovation: The Algonquin

Algonquin Hotel exterior

When does a hotel renovation become personal? Well, when you’ve stayed at a property so many times you recognize every changed detail. Or when the hotel is also the view from your office window.

That’s why we at Travel + Leisure have been so interested in the recent renovation of New York’s Algonquin Hotel. It sits directly across the street from our offices, and some editors (including me) look out the window directly to the hotel’s top four floors. So when we heard that the famous hotel was re-opening recently after a five-month renovation, we asked for a peek.

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