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Magic is seriously in the air this month, as we've been in Orlando for an early preview of the newest addition to Universal Orlando: Diagon Alley at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Last week was the official Grand Opening, but here you'll find all the juiciest tips for enjoying the most exciting amusement park debut of the year.
Thinking of heading to the new Diagon Alley at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter park at Universal Studios Orlando? You better be ready to sweat, wait in long lines, and yet enjoy it all along. But still, it's a good idea to do your homework for something like this, which will see record visitors for the next few months (at least!) and which will try your spending power to the max.
Jaunted's Quick and Dirty Survival Guide for Diagon Alley:
New Airplanes / Photo Gallery / Air New Zealand / Boeing / 787 / Dreamliner / 787-9 / Boeing 787 Dreamliner / Star Alliance / Skycouch / Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner / 787 Dreamliner / 787-9 Dreamliner / New Zealand Travel / Auckland Travel / AKL / Perth Travel / PER / Airplanes / Jaunted Reporting Live / Airplane News / → All Tags
New airplane alert!
163 Boeing 787 Dreamliners are flying the skies right now, a number current as of this week. That includes 162 787-8s and 1 lonely 787-9 for Air New Zealand, which only headed from Boeing's headquarters in Everett, WA to its new home of Auckland, New Zealand at dawn this morning.
That 787-9 won't be lonely for long, however; over 25 airlines have placed orders for more than 400 of the sleek and efficient jets. So why are we getting excited for yet another Dreamliner? The answer is shockingly simple: it's awesomer. Sure, the original flavor 787-8 is great and Boeing will continue to roll them out, but the 787-9 is, as Daft Punk would sing, "harder, better, faster, stronger."
Photo Gallery / Amusement Park Travel / Theme Park Travel / The Wizarding World of Harry Potter / Diagon Alley / Hogsmeade / Harry Potter / Universal Studios Orlando / Universal Studios / Travel News / Traveling with Children / Florida Travel / Orlando Travel / Lists / → All Tags
Magic is seriously in the air this month, as we've been in Orlando for an early preview of the newest addition to Universal Orlando: Diagon Alley at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Yesterday was the official Grand Opening, but here you'll find all the juicy photos of the most exciting amusement park debut of the year.
Seven hours was the average wait time to experience all Universal Orlando's new park had to offer yesterday, during The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley's Grand Opening. That's actually not much of a surprise considering the wait was closer to 8 hours during the 2010 debut of the sister park, Hogsmeade, which now joins Diagon Alley to form a Potter powerhouse of experiences, shopping, rides, and refreshment at Universal Orlando and Islands of Adventure.
Don't let the 7 hours intimidate, however; that's just first day frenzy. Although what Universal has created with Diagon Alley is a stupefyingly tremendous world straight from the JK Rowling novels and resulting films which everyone should see, waits for the Gringotts ride and more should settle to a manageable 2 hours-ish as the summer progresses.
What you won't have to wait for are photos of the new park, as we've got full, original photo galleries of over 75 images from our own visit. Enjoy:
Photo Gallery / Fashion Travel / Flight Attendants / Pilots / Virgin Atlantic / Virgin / Airline Uniforms / Vivienne Westwood / Vivienne Westwood for Virgin Atlantic / Richard Branson / Travel News / London Travel / Britain Travel / Beauty Travel / → All Tags
The Virgin Atlantic look is sharp, iconic, sizzling; there’s no denying the head-turning appeal of a crisp white blouse tucked into a scorching red pencil skirt, topped off with red heels. But, with the celebration of the airline’s 30th Anniversary this year, it’s about that time for a snazzy refresh so as to continue “flying in the face of ordinary,” as the airline’s slogan goes. For this, Virgin Atlantic paired with UK designer and punk powerhouse Vivienne Westwood. The new uniforms were just unveiled July 1 in London, and will roll out for all Virgin Atlantic staff, from cabin crew to flight crew, and desk agents to Clubhouse hospitality.
Alas, a flash of the new uniform as it swishes down the airplane aisle isn't enough to appreciate the detail. Aside from the fact that it’s now easier to care for with a new tech “nano finish" (the earlier uniform was dry clean only) and yarn made from recycled plastic bottles, there are small secrets hidden in every dart and under each lapel, telling the story of the collaboration between England’s flag-carrying airline and one of the country's most iconic fashion influences.
Although the uniforms don’t officially take flight for the entire Virgin Atlantic fleet until September 1, keep an eye out for a preview on your next VS flight; crew have been heading to the airline’s Base near Gatwick Airport to pick up their full looks since this past weekend. Here's what to look for:
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Havasu Falls at the end of the Havasupai Trail in the Grand Canyon
Most people only see the Grand Canyon from above, looking out from a viewing platform on the South Rim near the visitor center. But getting down into this Wonder of the World provides an incredible perspective on its size and scope, not to mention its beauty.
Adventure travelers have been immersing themselves in the Canyon for centuries, backpacking rim to rim or rafting their way along the Colorado River. Last week, we took one of the easier routes of submersion, hiking the 11-mile Havasupai Trail to what we consider to be the Canyon's, and perhaps North America's, best oasis.
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After many months of coy reveals and growing anticipation, JetBlue>'s first premium seats have hit the skies. Named Mint, the cabin is now available on flights between JFK and LAX, and coming to JFK-SFO in October.
Ahead of the inaugural flight yesterday, JetBlue hosted a trial run on the ground at JFK. For this, we sent a JetBlue flyer who'd never seen the seats before and had an "empty slate" for first impressions.
There's a new plane on the tarmac at New York-JFK Airport, and it's shiny inside as well as out. We're talking about the brand-spankin-new Airbus A321s coming to JetBlue, and their "Mint" cabin of fully flat leather seating. The first of them, appropriately named It’s Mint to Be, is one of the 11 Mint-configured A321s due to be delivered to JetBlue in 2014.
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It's been a long flight; as you step out into the aisle for a quick trip to the lavatory and a stretch, you spot a glowing blue cabinet up ahead. Other passengers have been taking something from there all flight long, and now you're curious to see what all the fuss is about. The answer? A nook of free snacks!
This in-flight delight is brand new to JetBlue's Mint-equipped Airbus A321s. Why not a second Diet Coke while you're up there? It's all good, because these convenient treats are still part of JetBlue's generous complimentary snacks for customers in Economy.
The position of the cabinet at the front of the cabin is an extra perk for passengers purchasing the "Even More Space" seats; it's a far shorter trip up the aisle for another bag of Blue Chips or Popcorners, without the impatience of waiting for the flight attendants to pass them out.
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London’s smallest airport, London City-LCY, does a lot of things right; it’s close to the city and easily accessible by public transport, its size means passing through is quick and easy, and it manages to do the tiny things that make travel so much better well.
Having overhauled the pre-security area you find when you go up the single escalator to departures a little while ago, we saw some major changes to the pre-gate waiting area when we took a flight from City airport last week. Since you only make your way to your gate when it’s announced on the screen right before boarding, this is where you will spend most of your time before your flight. Above what it looks like today; a shot from a few months ago after the jump to compare.
Airline Lounges / Hong Kong Travel / HKG / Qantas / First Class Travel / Business Class Travel / Oneworld / Photo Gallery / → All Tags
Hong Kong’s Chek Lap Kok airport is not a bad place to spend a few hours pre-departure. In fact, it’s high on our list of favorite airports around, especially if you’re flying in a premium cabin on Cathay Pacific or another oneworld airline for the excellent airline lounge options. We just took you inside a private Cabana in the flagship “The Wing” First Class lounge and the latest Cathay addition “The Bridge,” and are finishing up with the even newer Qantas lounge, which arrived in April.
Located on level 7, but at the opposite end of Cathay Pacific’s The Wing Lounge, the new Qantas Hong Kong Lounge brings the previous underground Business Class Lounge up to where its separate First Class Lounge used to be, redesigning the whole space in the process. It's huge for a dedicated airline lounge at an airport where there already are a range of oneworld alliance lounge options, and it seats up to 300 passengers at a time.
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Know what sounds nice? A long weekend in Iceland. While most Americans would chose to fly Icelandair or seasonal non stops from the US on other major carriers, we managed to fit an Iceland trip into a visit to London, all because of the availability of cheap one-ways on Easyjet. What proved to be most notable about the entire EasyJet travel experience is the time spent at the airport, and not actually on the flight.
For the 7.35am departure from London's Luton Airport (LTN), we reserved a £12 4.15am National Express coach bus from Victoria Station, which arrived to LTN at 5.25am. From there, we clutched our print-at-home boarding pass and, with no luggage to check, we headed straight through to airport security. Luton seems better equipped than Heathrow to handle crowds of passengers at security as, despite the morning rush, we were through security and handled (not manhandled!) in under 10 minutes. So far, so good.
Airside, Luton is a massive food court, with the boarding gates located down hallways. Passengers find seats only in the main central area, and then stand to rush and line up at the gate the minute info screens announce their flight. This early in the morning, when budget airlines love to sell their seats cheapest, the terminal resembled a safe house during an evacuation drill. Every available seat was taken, and passengers clutched their luggage on their laps as there simply wasn't room to spread out.
We have many tales to tell about our trek through the safari camps of Kenya, but what better way to start than to show you the final product right off the bat. A trip to the game reserves of Africa is, after all, all about the interaction and insight you get with one of the world's most dramatic ecosystems.
The photos below were all taken in the Masai Mara, Kenya's most infamous and iconic national reserve. This week, we'll highlight it in more detail and compare it to other regions throughout the country, giving you the rundown on how they differ in terms of landscape, culture, wildlife, and appeal. For now, enjoy these photos we took on our game drive last weekgetting up close and personal with lions, elephants, buffalo, and giraffeand look for more within the stories to come.
History Travel / Historical Travel / Germany Travel / Throwback Thursday / Zeppelins / Tours / AvGeek / Friedrichshafen Travel / FDH / Photo Gallery / → All Tags
Last week, we shared the story of the time we traveled just to visit Southern Germany's Zeppelin Museum. Today, that tale continues as we switch back to first person and head inside Zeppelin HQ.
Part 1: Checking off the Zeppelin Museum
Part 2: Heading into the Zeppelin HQ and hangar
Part 3: Maybe never leaving?
My great-grandmother was born in 1900. She lived long enough that I actually got to know her well, and her presence in my life made 1900 seem like not so very long ago. Of course it most definitely is, as humanity has managed in the last 114 years to progress from the first flight of a Zeppelin (1900) to that of an airplane (1903), and from the dawn of the jet age (1958) to that of Mars exploration (2004).
What brought me to southern Germany was the temptation to experience a bit of that extremely early aviation magic, thanks to what lives in a massive hangar near Friedrichshafen Airport.
You see, Zeppelins do still exist...and they still fly passengers.