Gary Travel Guide
MJ's Neverland Ranch, which will inspire the park
Some shocking news from the LA Times today, something which we oddly expected but truly hoped would never happen. That's rightsomeone is building a Michael Jackson Theme Park.
Although the obvious location for the King of Pop's playland would be his already theme park-ish Neverland Rand in Santa Barbara County, California. But no...this whole new development is landing in the singer's hometown of Gary, Indiana. They expect to break ground this year, and plan for a full decade-long buildout, to cost approximately $1 billion. Apparently they think that we'll be more ready for an MJ theme park in ten years, but they are wrong.
After the jump, more on a 'Thriller' roller coaster...
And the airport director says they aren't just filming inside:
I think they're using one of the repossessed planes we have out there, I think an older 737, for their shoot.
Luckily Swayze won't have to deal with passengers begging for autographs: GYY hasn't had commercial service since Skybus went bust back in April.
GYY / Airports / Skybus / Viva Aerobus / → All Tags
Just a couple months ago, Gary/Chicago International was hyping Skybus as the spark that would turn the airport into the region's third air traffic hub. But the ultra-LCC only managed 23 days at GYY before flaming out, leaving the airport without a commercial carrier yet again.
Despite the setback, the airport is moving forward with a plan to link the South Shore Line commuter rail to the terminal, providing a seamless connection between GYY and downtown Chicago. That sort of easy-to-use public transportation is exactly what would make the airport a marketable alternative to O'Hare and Midway--if only passengers had the chance to use it.
The new Mexican LCC Viva Aerobus has applied to fly to Gary but can't start service to Monterrey until the DOT gives the OK. If and when that happens, maybe the combo of low fares and easy airport access will finally end the curse of the LCC at GYY. Or maybe not.
· Airport Authority Outlines Train Station Plans [NWI Times]
· Skybus Travel: "Significant News Event" in Gary, Indiana Today [Jaunted]
· Bill Diffenderffer Says Skybus Is No Hooters Air [Jaunted]
[Photo: Google Maps]
Chicago Tribune reporter John Hilkevitch recently
braved sampled Skybus' service--now once-daily to Greensboro, NC--from Gary Airport "outside of Chicago" (in Gary, IN). The Trib's got two of his videos up, plus a written review. Just like Skybus itself, Hilkevitch's praise is simple and to-the-point.
He knows that the shilling onboard is, in fact, ridiculous (though he has a "soft spot for the beef jerky"), but was pleased enough, given the low fare and early arrivals:
On the day I booked the airfare on the Internet, the same non-stop itinerary to Greensboro from O'Hare International Airport was $756.48 on United Airlines and $1,118.97 on US Airways. And neither of those serves beef jerky.
It also didn't hurt that both my outbound and inbound flights landed 20 minutes early—and the two United flights to O'Hare were listed as delayed.
So what's in the trip to Greensboro for tourists from the Chicago area? Sayeth the report: "There are some connecting flights [in Greensboro] to places that people may actually want to go..." Hee. (He does later call Greensboro "beautiful.")
Skybus / New Routes / GYY / GSO / Low Cost Carriers / LCCs / → All Tags
Airport officials at Gary/Chicago International are hosting a press conference this morning at 10 am for "a significant news event." State Representative Charlie Brown (real name!) told The Times of Northwest Indiana that the airport will be announcing a deal with Skybus to start flights between GYY and Greensboro, North Carolina.
If the announcement comes through, this will be quite a move for Skybus. Gary airport is only a 27-mile drive from the very heart of Chicago, much closer to the city than say Stewart International is to New York. This will also be yet another route out of Skybus' new hub in North Carolina, probably to be operated with a newly delivered aircraft.
Skybus is certainly staying true to its new strategy of shorter flights, which don't burn tons of pricey fuel. But as a point-to-point airline still in the start-up stage, the 'bus is still hindered by limited destinations. To wit: For now, low fare fans in Chicagoland won't be flying direct to sunny Florida.
UPDATE: Skybus has officially announced Gary-Greensboro service. The airline has also confirmed what we expected: flights to Niagara Falls, New York and Wilmington, Delaware.