Travel and Leisure - Msn Feeds
Updated: 1 hour 56 min ago

The Best Souvenir at Pixar Pier Is Free

Fri, 06/29/2018 - 07:17
<p>Shaped like a cardboard kid’s meal box, it would be tough to miss Disney California Adventure’s Poultry Palace kiosk even if you tried.</p><p>The fast-food eatery, based on the “Toy Story Toons: Small Fry” short film, sells corn on the cob and turkey legs at <a href="" target="_blank">the theme park’s new Pixar Pier</a>, but it’s the chicken drumsticks that will have you rushing towards the comical purple-and-yellow window. The spice-rubbed trio will set you back $10, but the themed take-out box shaped like the building they’re served in is, quite literally, priceless.</p><p>Visually striking and cartoonish in the most delightful of ways, Pixar Pier’s impossibly cute food carrier also happens to be extremely accurate. The ample snack is served in nearly identical packaging as in the short film, making Poultry Palace as close as West Coast Pixar fans can get to dining within one of the studio’s movies.</p><p>Unlike character popcorn buckets, the Poultry Palace to-go box is a keepsake straight from the screen that just happens to come complimentary. It’s not the only themed item served in Disney California Adventure’s brand new character-packed land — spicy hot dogs “heated” by Inside Out’s Anger come wrapped in tinfoil sporting his face and Jack-Jack’s Cookie Num-Nums are sold in honor of the unpredictable baby’s subduing sweet in “Incredibles 2” — but it’s the one fans are likely to keep long after their visit.</p><p>Hungry for more Pixar-themed eats? Disneyland has transformed one of its eateries into Alien Pizza Planet for the summer, which will sell character-shaped macarons and kooky cheeseburger pizza slices through September 3, and Disney California Adventure just opened Lamplight Lounge, a permanent restaurant dedicated to the studio’s award-winning films.</p><p>With bathroom and capacity signs themed to characters from “The Incredibles” and “Monsters, Inc.” and framed t-shirts taken quite literally off the backs of animators — they were donated from in-house artists — it’s a tasty homage to the creatives behind each movie.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">How Disneyland Tears Down and Rebuilds Rides Right Under Your Nose</a></p><p>Stay for sharable bites like gussied-up potato skins or full dinner (they serve ratatouille, of course) and don’t miss the drink menu, filled with fizzy and colorful sips, which doubles as a sketchbook featuring doodles from the best. No matter which beverage you order, you’re in for a treat, because the coasters each have sketches from the animators of “Bao,” “Up,” “Toy Story” and more — making for yet another can’t-miss complimentary souvenir.</p>
Categories: Travel

JetBlue Flight Sends Out False Hijack Alert, Is Stormed by SWAT Team

Thu, 06/28/2018 - 17:57
<p>Police at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport stormed a <a href="" target="_blank">JetBlue</a> flight Tuesday after a radio glitch caused the plane to send out a false hijack alert.</p><p>At about 8 p.m., JetBlue Flight 1623 lost contact with air traffic control as it was on the runway, about to take off for <a href="" target="_blank">Los Angeles</a>. The Airbus A321 sent out a code used to indicate that a hijacker or security threat is onboard the aircraft. After air traffic controllers couldn’t reach the cockpit, police swarmed around the aircraft on the runway.</p><p>A SWAT team stormed the plane and “told us to pull our phones away and leave (our) hands up,” <a href="" target="_blank">a passenger told CNN</a>.</p><p>At one point, the pilot wrote his cell phone number on a sheet of paper and stuck it against the windshield so police could make contact, <a href="" target="_blank">the <em>New York Daily News</em> reported</a>. A JetBlue spokesperson said that “while communication was reestablished via alternate channels, authorities responded out of an abundance of caution.”</p><p>Police inspected the aircraft and determined that there was no emergency, however the plane still returned to the gate. Passengers boarded a new aircraft and <a href="" target="_blank">left about four hours after the original scheduled departure</a>.</p><p>The Federal Aviation Administration and the airline are investigating the incident.</p>
Categories: Travel

How Disneyland Tears Down and Rebuilds Rides Right Under Your Nose

Thu, 06/28/2018 - 17:10
<p>When Disney California Adventure began working on Pixar Pier, the delightful cinematic land unveiled <a href="" target="_blank">this past weekend</a>, it didn’t build from the ground up.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">Why You’ll Want to Ride Disney’s New Incredicoaster</a></p><p>Instead, it followed in the footsteps of last year’s Guardians of the Galaxy — Mission: BREAKOUT! opening, elaborating upon what was already there. In only five months time, the Marvel-inspired replacement for The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror successfully filled its queue with <a href="" target="_blank">hidden comic references</a> and retooled its formerly spooky experience, quickly becoming <a href="" target="_blank">the most popular attraction</a> across both Disneyland Resort parks.</p><p>Now, California Adventure is hoping lightning will strike twice. This summer’s biggest draw, a waterfront homage to Pixar Animation Studio touting Buzz Lightyear churros, Edna Mode wigs, and hugs from Mike Wazowski, adds a familiar thematic layer to the loosely tied-together Paradise Pier that debuted with the park’s 2001 opening.</p><p>Pixar Pier shows how Walt Disney Company wants to insert more of its intellectual property into park experiences, but introducing new experiences frequently rather than hold on to sentimentality isn’t a move to meet annual numbers. It’s what will make Disneyland and Disney California Adventure attractive to visitors for years to come.</p><p>When California Adventure builds something from scratch — 2012’s Cars Land being the foremost example — it’s generally spectacular, but when you factor in the stringent timelines and design limitations involved in retrofitting a ride from the park’s early days, Disney’s recent feats almost prove more impressive.</p><p>Incredicoaster’s special effects and show scenes provide a more exciting experience than its seaside-inspired predecessor, and while these rethemes might not be done under ideal circumstances, their outcomes continue to exceed expectations. Mission: BREAKOUT! saw The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror’s ride system pushed to the limit, reinventing itself as a frenetic journey that doubled down on thrills. The Incredicoaster feeds context and an action-packed storyline into an attraction that essentially never had one, upgrading the coaster from its amusement park roots while leaving the original structure intact.</p><p>Vocal fans often lament the introduction of film characters into longstanding attractions, but these integrations go beyond an inevitable future from a company also creating the world’s biggest blockbusters. The ability for guests, particularly young ones, to grow up watching Star-Lord, Tow Mater or Elastigirl on screen — and then join them on high stakes adventures within the parks is the imaginative core that sets Disney’s properties apart.</p><p>Locals may have grown to love the disjointed theming of Disney California Adventure, but packing a park with familiar characters from children's films, comic books or captivating movies only heightens the experience of vacationing guests.</p><p>These recent retrofits aren’t seamless processes, however, especially when it comes to deadlines. Tower of Terror’s transition was so tight that it operated elevators to the “fifth dimension” as The Collector’s facade covered the building exterior, and Paradise Pier’s overhaul was allotted just six months for the redevelopment of multiple rides, a table-service restaurant, carnival games, food stands, and outdoor spaces. Pixar Pier made its deadline ... mostly: An Inside Out candy shop is delayed until late summer and two smaller rides will open in 2019.</p><p>Creating attractions set to Pixar’s plentiful characters without creative limitations or time constraints is ideal, but in Anaheim, it's next to impossible. Disneyland and California Adventure are surrounded by other businesses (and highways), and it’s immensely difficult to expand. Often, the only way to bring beloved franchises in is by taking other storylines out, a process that appears to mark the direction in which California Adventure is heading.</p><p>With A Bug’s Land shuttering four attractions this fall to make room for <a href="" target="_blank">a Marvel-themed expansion</a>, quickly repurposing attractions while developing longer, in-depth projects may just be the key to perfecting the park's offerings. On the heels of multiple immersive franchise-led experiences coming to Disneyland in next few years — and crowds continuing to reach record-breaking numbers — there’s no time to shutter multiple areas of the park for lengthy reinventions.</p><p>It’s why Flik’s Flyers, currently residing in A Bug’s Land, is almost certainly being transformed into Pixar Pier’s forthcoming Inside Out <a href="" target="_blank">Emotional Whirlwind ride</a>. Flipping attractions into something refreshed and renewed that still fits within its surroundings is the ticket to long-term success not only in real estate, but here, too. Pixar Pier may not have a budget as vast as <a href="" target="_blank">Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge</a> or Cars Land, but it stands on its own, providing more robust entertainment, dining, souvenirs and attractions than the coastally inclined boardwalk ever did.</p>
Categories: Travel

Google Duplex Will Make Reservations for You So You Never Have to Pick Up the Phone Again

Thu, 06/28/2018 - 14:01
<p>After first unveiling the <a href="" target="_blank">controversial technology</a> at its annual developer conference, Google is ready to start rolling out Google Duplex this summer.</p><p>First, what it is: Google Duplex is artificial intelligence designed to make phone calls for specific purposes, like making a restaurant reservation or scheduling a hair appointment.</p><p>Second, how it works: Using Google Assistant (for those unfamiliar, it's comparable to Siri or Alexa) through an Android phone or Google Home, a user — let's say you — can request a reservation for a specific restaurant, date and time, and number of people. From there, the artificial intelligence takes over, initiating a phone call to the restaurant and having a conversation with the person who answers the phone. In the case of restaurants, Google Duplex has been programmed to handle the typical details that would come up in that kind of conversation. After confirming, Google then sends you a message that the reservation is made, and automatically adds it to your Google Calendar. This video provides a demo:</p><p>This summer, Google Duplex will be rolled out to make restaurant reservations and hair appointments, and to check holiday hours at businesses. (Future tasks are yet to be determined, according to a company representative.) <a href="" target="_blank">According to Google</a>, the primary use case is for businesses that rely on appointment bookings but that are not set up with an online system, like <a href="" target="_blank">OpenTable</a> or <a href="" target="_blank">Booker</a>.</p><p>As of now, there are several limitations to the technology. Google reports that 4 out of 5 calls can be completely automated, but that in those 20% of cases where a misunderstanding arises, a human operator would need to step in (or Google Assistant would say it couldn't complete the reservation and you'd have to make that call yourself). Additionally, this AI is being developed for very specific purposes. For example the programming that makes a restaurant reservation would not be able to make you a hotel reservation (yet), and the hair appointment maker can't book you on a cruise. Google Duplex can make a reservation within a block of time on a specific day, and it can cancel it, but can't perform more complicated tasks like checking the next available reservation at the most popular restaurant in town.</p><p>But even in a simple demonstration, Google Duplex brings to mind a lot of questions. Why are two people talking to an AI-powered computer assistant rather than each other? Is this really easier than making a call? Have we collectively become this phone call-averse? Why is the computer programmed to say “uh” and “mmhmm”? What is this like for the person answering the phone? Is this a billboard along the highway to an anti-social dystopian future?</p><p>To answer the first two questions, try to think beyond the simplified demo. If the restaurant line were busy or went unanswered, or if there was a long hold time, Google Duplex could wait on your behalf or try back later, saving you time. Additionally, someone who does not speak English could have Duplex make the call instead of struggling through the conversation themselves. The technology could also improve accessibility for anyone with a disability or other communication challenges.</p><p>On to the next question. For those who are able to make the call themselves, are they so phone call averse that they can't handle a 30-second reservation? It's certainly possible. A <a href="" target="_blank">survey done last year by LivePerson</a> found that, globally, 69% of people prefer text messages for communication. In the U.S., the number was higher, at 73%.</p><p>But even though we apparently hate phone calls, those who do have to take them — the restaurant and hair salon staff, in this case — might dislike a robotic voice even more. That's partly why Duplex has some of the “natural” speech patterns that humans do. <a href="" target="_blank">According to Google</a>, the “uh”s and “mmhmm”s help with the flow of the conversation, and therefore help with getting the message across. Without them, you might imagine the demo conversation going more like what you experience with an automated voice phone tree menu. (“I'd like to speak to an operator.” [pause] <em>“I didn't understand that, can you repeat your request? You can say ‘Reserva—”</em> “Operator!” [pause] <em>“I didn't understand that...”</em>)</p><p>As for the humans who will indeed have to answer the phone, it's worth noting that businesses will enable this feature with Google. While the psychological effects of taking AI phone calls throughout the day has yet to be researched (as far as I'm aware), Google is working closely with the establishments interacting with Duplex. If they're not satisfied, this rollout is unlikely to go well.</p><p>And finally to address that dystopian future. After seeing a demo and discussing Duplex with some of the key project leaders, Google is clearly working with good intentions. At the same time, this technology — as all technology — is a work in progress. The AI being developed to make restaurant reservations could have as-yet-unforeseeable uses down the line.</p>
Categories: Travel

Saturn and the Strawberry Moon Are Teaming up for a Must-see Show Tonight

Thu, 06/28/2018 - 12:00
<p>As you may already know, the United States will experience the Strawberry Moon on June 27 and 28 — but that's not the only reason to look up at the sky tonight.</p><p>The <a href="" target="_blank">Strawberry Moon</a>, the first full moon that falls during strawberry season, will hit its peak fullness on Wednesday, June 27 at 9:53 p.m PT and on Thursday, June 28 at 12:53 a.m. ET. </p><p>According to <em><a href="" target="_blank">Inverse</a></em>, the Strawberry Moon will come with an intergalactic tagalong, Saturn, which will also be hitting its opposition on Wednesday night. That means Saturn will be at its brightest and closest point to Earth this year.</p><p>Tonight, <i>Inverse</i> explained, “Earth’s orbit will bring the planet in between Saturn and the sun, which will place Saturn opposite the sun in Earth’s sky and create a rare opportunity to observe the ringed planet throughout the night.” The planet, it added, will rise in the southeast sky around sunset before setting in the west around sunrise.</p><p>And if that's not enough celestial excitement for you, in late July stargazers will also get an unparalleled view of Mars as the red planet makes its closest approach to Earth in 15 years. According to <em><a href="" target="_blank">The Weather Channel</a></em>, on July 31, Mars will move within 35.8 million miles of Earth. At that time, anyone with even a small telescope will be able to check out some of the planet’s unique features. </p><p>"This Martian pass in July will be almost as good as the ultra-close opposition on 2003," Dean Regas, an astronomer for the Cincinnati Observatory, explained to <a href="" target="_blank"><i>Mother Nature Network</i></a>. "Mars will easily be visible to the naked eye. In fact, you will be hard pressed to miss it. It will look like a glowing orange beacon of light rising in the southeast after sunset. It'll be much brighter than any star, brighter than Jupiter, nearly as bright as Venus. And you'll see it every night for the next several months."</p><p>To help you get the best view of the Strawberry Moon, Saturn, and Mars, try <a href="" target="_blank">planning a trip to one of the darkest places in the country</a>. Just make sure to pack a blanket, a few late-night snacks, and maybe some <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">binoculars</a>. </p>
Categories: Travel

Australia’s Oldest Wine Region Is One of Its Best-kept Secrets

Thu, 06/28/2018 - 11:31
<p><a href="" target="_blank">Australia</a>’s oldest wine region also happens to be its easiest to visit. A two-hour drive north of <a href="" target="_blank">Sydney</a>, Hunter Valley is home to some 150 wineries, many of which trace their roots to the 19th century. Vineyards stream down from the foothills of the Brokenback Range, sharing space with grazing land for cattle. While the winemakers produce Shiraz, as they do in the rest of Australia, Semillon is the benchmark variety here. These featherweight white wines are thrillingly vibrant and citrusy when young, but as they age, they take on richness and depth—think of toast topped with tart marmalade, but without any sweetness.</p><p>A standout food scene and activities such as hot-air ballooning give travelers even more reason to make the drive. The weather is mild and the cellar doors (as the winemakers refer to their tasting rooms) are open year-round. Sit back with a glass of cold Semillon as you look out over a vineyard to the Brokenbacks turning blue in the twilight, and you won’t regret your detour from the city.</p><h2>Friday</h2><p>The drive from Sydney is a straight shot up arrived. From there it’s 10 minutes to <a href="" target="_blank"><b>Lake’s Folly</b></a><i>,</i> where a ramshackle tasting room belies the cult status of the winery’s world-class Cabernet. The currant- and tobacco-scented 2016 is gorgeous. <a href="" target="_blank"><b>Bistro Molines</b></a> <i>(entrées $32</i>–<i>$34),</i> in the tiny town of Mount View, is a must for lunch, not just for chef Robert Molines’s excellent French country cuisine (don’t miss the rich pâté) but also for the bright, flower-filled dining room and its views of the vineyards.</p><p>From there, a 15-minute drive will bring you to <a href="" target="_blank"><b>Brokenwood</b></a><i>,</i> which was founded in 1970 and remains one of the valley’s standout producers. A $5 fee allows you to taste a dozen or so vintages. Make sure to try the 2016 Hunter Valley Shiraz, which in this vintage incorporates grapes from the winery’s famed Graveyard Vineyard.</p><img alt="Kirkton Park resort in the Hunter Valley wine region of Australia "src=""><p>After your tasting, check in to <strong><a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">Kirkton Park Hunter Valley</a></strong><i> (doubles from $161),</i> a hotel tucked away on 70 acres of rolling countryside that’s a great base for the weekend. The blue and white décor and manicured gardens—not to mention the high tea served every day—suggest an <a href="" target="_blank">English country estate</a>, albeit with an Aussie slant. If you’re in search of exercise, there are tennis courts and a vast indoor pool. Kirkton’s own restaurant is very good, but for dinner I booked the two-person chef’s table at <a href="" target="_blank"><b>Emerson’s</b></a> <i> (entrées $30</i>–<i>$32),</i> in Lovedale. This put me smack in the kitchen itself, where I got to watch the über-talented Emerson Rodriguez at work creating dishes like pan-fried local snapper with clam velouté and parsley oil.</p><img alt="Wine and hot air balloons in Hunter Valley region, NSW, Australia "src=""><h2>Saturday</h2><p>Get up early, because the best way to appreciate the sweep and beauty of Hunter Valley is by hot-air balloon, and trips lift off before sunrise. <a href="" target="_blank"><b>Balloon Aloft</b></a> has an impeccable safety record, and its guides are a wisecracking but thoroughly professional crew. I watched dawn spread over the valley from 2,000 feet up before we descended to float above vineyards and more than a few startled kangaroos.</p><p>After your balloon ride, enjoy a leisurely breakfast and plenty of coffee at <a href="" target="_blank"><b>Peterson House</b></a><i>,</i> the meeting point for the excursion. Then move on to <a href="" target="_blank"><b>Tyrrell’s Wines</b></a><i>,</i> owned by the same family since it was established in 1858. Take the tour of the original dirt-floored winery, then sample current releases like the 2012 Vat 1 Hunter Semillon in the intimate cellar door.</p><p>Have a light(ish) lunch of charcuterie and cheese at <a href="" target="_blank"><b>Usher Tinkler Wines</b></a><i>,</i> paired with a glass of its complex Reserve Chardonnay. The sleek cellar door at nearby <a href="" target="_blank"><b>Thomas Wines</b></a><i> </i>is where you’ll find the brilliant and outspoken vintner Andrew Thomas. My favorite of his offerings is what he refers to as his “grand cru” Semillon, from the Braemore Vineyard. Thomas firmly believes in this grape: “You pair Hunter Semillons with some freshly shucked oysters, a bucket of prawns, some sashimi—that just takes everything to the next level.” I tested out his theory at chef Frank Fawkner’s inventive <a href="" target="_blank"><b>Exp</b></a> <i>(tasting menus from $65)</i>. Barramundi with spiced oil and heirloom lettuce, together with an aged Brokenwood Semillon? The man was right.</p><img alt="Food in Australia's Hunter Valley wine region "src=""><h2>Sunday</h2><p>Head up the valley to the town of Broke, home of the winery <a href="" target="_blank"><b>Margan</b></a><i>.</i> Andrew Margan’s wines aren’t exported to the U.S. market, which typically favors bolder <a href="" target="_blank">Aussie reds</a>, so take this opportunity to taste them. “It’s always been a dilemma,” Margan says. “We make lighter, less power-driven Shiraz in a world that thinks power equals quality.” I enjoyed the peppery White Label Shiraz, then had lunch on the sunlit patio at Margan’s acclaimed restaurant, which draws ingredients from the winery’s own gardens, orchards, olive trees, chickens, lambs, get the idea. From Margan it’s a 10-minute drive to <a href="" target="_blank"><b>Krinklewood</b></a><i>,</i> owned by the charming Windrim family and one of the Hunter’s few biodynamic estates. Try the lively Sparkling Shiraz while you watch the farm’s Limousin cattle, pigs, and peacocks wander about.</p>
Categories: Travel

'A Year in Provence' Author's Final Book Is Your Passport to the South of France

Thu, 06/28/2018 - 10:00
<p>If you've ever dreamed of escaping to the <a href="" target="_blank">South of France</a>, you'll find a kindred spirit in British author Peter Mayle — whose move to Ménerbes decades ago inspired his 1989 memoir, <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">“A Year in Provence.”</a> </p><p>That book quickly became a bestseller, cementing the region’s place in the public imagination and kicking off Mayle’s fruitful new career as a chronicler of the personalities and particularities of southern France. His later works include two more Provençal memoirs — <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">“Toujours Provence”</a> and <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">“Encore Provence”</a> — and <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">“A Good Year,”</a> a novel which was adapted into a 2006 film of the same name starring Russell Crowe and Marion Cotillard.</p><p>Mayle passed away in January, but not before completing one last book: <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">“My Twenty-Five Years in Provence,”</a> out now from Knopf. His final work is a warm, nostalgia-soaked look at the place he loved so dearly, packed with fond recollections of the pleasures of life in the region, from <em>pastis</em> to <em>Pétanque</em>.</p><p>One entire chapter is dedicated to Mayle’s favorite meals: <a href="" target="_blank">springtime asparagus</a> at <a href="" target="_blank">La Closerie</a> in Ansouis; <a href="" target="_blank">bouillabaisse</a> at <a href="" target="_blank">Peron</a>, in Marseilles; bresaola and <em>fiadone</em>, a Corsican cheesecake, at <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">Le Comptoir</a>, in Lourmarin.</p><p>It’s an ideal summertime read — one so lively and vivid it’s enough to make you second guess your own warm-weather vacation. Pick this up, and you'll be tempted to spend the whole of <a href="" target="_blank">July</a> sipping rosé on the terrace of some neighborhood bistro on the outskirts of <a href="" target="_blank">Aix</a>.</p><p>But as Mayle will tell you, that’d be foolish — any Provençal native knows the region is at its best in September.</p><img alt="cover of My Twenty-Five Years in Provence by Peter Mayle "src=""><p><strong>“My Twenty-Five Years in Provence: Reflections on Then and Now” by Peter Mayle</strong></p><p>To buy: <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank"></a>, $22.50</p><p><em>Our series Reasons to Travel Now highlights the news, events, and openings that have us scoping out plane tickets each day.</em></p>
Categories: Travel

You Need 20,000 Followers to Even Look at This Instagrammable Mural in L.A.

Thu, 06/28/2018 - 09:00
<p>If you’ve been looking for yet another reminder that <a href="" target="_blank">Insta-fame</a> (<i>noun</i>, the condition of being known by many people on the popular social media platform Instagram) is an actual thing, then just head to <a data-ecommerce="true" href="" target="_blank">Los Angeles</a> for a trendy wall mural that’s open only to social media “influencers” with either verified Twitter accounts or 20,000+ Instagram followers.</p><p>Welcome to 2018; this is our world now.</p><p>The social media elite (eye roll) can visit the art wall located at 7753 Melrose Ave., flash their Instagram or Twitter accounts to the security guard on site (yes, actually), weave their way into an uber-private tent (like Coachella VIP), and pose in front of a pair of painted angel wings that are so vibrant and Insta-worthy, you’ll want to hashtag and post it to your thriving social media platforms ASAP. #Content.</p><p><strong>Related: </strong><a href="" target="_blank">How to Use Instagram Travel Hashtags to Get More Followers</a></p><p>If you’re asking why this “private mural” exists, well, we don’t really know yet. Let’s review the evidence: a sign posted outside the tent says "FOR VERIFIED INFLUENCERS AND PEOPLE WITH 20,000 FOLLOWERS ONLY." Below that there’s a invite to connect with the makers of this exclusive opportunity that reads, “INFLUENCERS: PLEASE TAG US ON SOCIAL MEDIA!” with their associated Instagram and Twitter accounts on display.</p><p>Never mind if the accounts are suspiciously named @LikeAndSubscribe (Instagram) and @LikeAndSub (Twitter), never mind if neither one of their profiles actually has the blue checkmark or (as of Wednesday afternoon) 20,000 followers — the makers want you to tag them and prepare for whatever is “coming July 9th 2018.”</p><p>Scammy? Perhaps. A marketing stunt? Most definitely perhaps. But guess we’ll have to wait another two weeks to find out for sure. In the meantime though, you can pose for a pic in front of <a href="" target="_blank">Colette Miller</a> or <a href="" target="_blank">Kelsey Montague</a>’s angel wings murals located around the globe — regardless of your follower count.</p>
Categories: Travel

Icelandair Has Super Cheap Flights to Europe From Across the U.S. Right Now

Thu, 06/28/2018 - 08:31
<p>It may only be June, but Icelandair wants you to plan out your winter travel now. And to sweeten the idea of dropping temperatures, the airline is also seriously dropping its prices on round-trip tickets to several destinations across Europe for November and December travel.</p><p>According to <a href="" target="_blank">Scott’s Cheap Flights</a>, the routes may even include layovers of 24 hours or more in <a href="" target="_blank">Iceland</a>, meaning you can turn your trip into a multinational journey, first checking out Iceland and then continuing to your final destination.</p><p><strong>Related:</strong> <a href="" target="_blank">The Single Best Way to Save Money on Airfare</a></p><p>One caveat, Scott’s Cheap Flights noted, is that these are Economy Light fares. That means passengers will still get to bring one carry-on with them that is no heavier than 22 pounds and no larger than 45 inches, plus one personal item. However, checked baggage will set you back a whopping $95 in each direction, so if you can’t pack light it’s key to think about the additional charge.</p><p>But at around $300 a pop these tickets are a major steal, especially when you consider the same tickets typically hover somewhere in the $850 range.</p><p>From Boston, passengers can fly to Amsterdam and Copenhagen for just $355 round-trip. Or, they could head to Dublin for $341, Helsinki for $336, London for $380, <a href="" target="_blank">Paris</a> for $374, or Stockholm for $381.</p><p>Those flying from New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport will find even better deals with flights to and from Amsterdam for $315, Copenhagen for $369, Dublin for $310, Helsinki for $318, Paris for $328, Stockholm for $358, and Zurich for $357.</p><p>Additional hubs include Philadelphia, where passengers will get similar flight deals including a flight to Manchester for $347, along with San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, DC.</p><p>Though if you want in on these flight deals for travel between November and December you better act fast as they aren’t expected to last more than a few days. <a href="" target="_blank">Check out the airline’s site now</a> and good luck hunting down the lowest fare.</p>
Categories: Travel

You Can Still Book a July 4th Flight This Week for As Cheap As $121 Round-trip

Thu, 06/28/2018 - 07:42
<p><a href="" target="_blank">July 4th</a> is right around the corner, and while you might think it’s too late to take a last minute getaway, you can still book a getaway at a reasonable price.</p><p>Skyscanner found deals for trips from Monday, July 2 through Friday, July 6 for as little as $121 round-trip, and destinations including Chicago, New Orleans, Las Vegas, Miami, and Charleston are available for under $350.</p><p>Deals out of New York City include flights to <a href=";childrenv2=&amp;cabinclass=economy&amp;rtn=1&amp;preferdirects=false&amp;outboundaltsenabled=false&amp;inboundaltsenabled=false&amp;qp_prevProvider=ins_browse&amp;qp_prevCurrency=USD&amp;priceSourceId=b3ms-UK1-4&amp;qp_prevPrice=222#results" target="_blank">Fort Lauderdale</a> starting at $268 round-trip, or to <a href=";childrenv2=&amp;cabinclass=economy&amp;rtn=1&amp;preferdirects=false&amp;outboundaltsenabled=false&amp;inboundaltsenabled=false&amp;qp_prevProvider=ins_browse&amp;qp_prevCurrency=USD&amp;priceSourceId=b3ms-UK1-4&amp;qp_prevPrice=196#results" target="_blank">Chicago</a> starting at $239 round-trip. Book a trip to <a href=";childrenv2=&amp;cabinclass=economy&amp;rtn=1&amp;preferdirects=false&amp;outboundaltsenabled=false&amp;inboundaltsenabled=false&amp;qp_prevProvider=ins_browse&amp;qp_prevCurrency=USD&amp;priceSourceId=b3ms-UK1-4&amp;qp_prevPrice=240#results" target="_blank">Portland, Maine,</a> for $248 or to <a href=";childrenv2=&amp;cabinclass=economy&amp;rtn=1&amp;preferdirects=false&amp;outboundaltsenabled=false&amp;inboundaltsenabled=false&amp;qp_prevProvider=ins_browse&amp;qp_prevCurrency=USD&amp;priceSourceId=b3ms-UK1-4&amp;qp_prevPrice=240#results" target="_blank">Savannah</a> for $239.</p><p>Travelers in Washington, D.C. can head to <a href=";childrenv2=&amp;cabinclass=economy&amp;rtn=1&amp;preferdirects=false&amp;outboundaltsenabled=false&amp;inboundaltsenabled=false&amp;qp_prevProvider=ins_browse&amp;qp_prevCurrency=USD&amp;priceSourceId=b3ms-UK1-5&amp;qp_prevPrice=217#results" target="_blank">New Orleans</a> starting at $220, to <a href=";childrenv2=&amp;cabinclass=economy&amp;rtn=1&amp;preferdirects=false&amp;outboundaltsenabled=false&amp;inboundaltsenabled=false&amp;qp_prevProvider=ins_browse&amp;qp_prevCurrency=USD&amp;priceSourceId=b3ms-UK1-5&amp;qp_prevPrice=193#results" target="_blank">Orlando</a> starting at $182, and to <a href=";childrenv2=&amp;cabinclass=economy&amp;rtn=1&amp;preferdirects=false&amp;outboundaltsenabled=false&amp;inboundaltsenabled=false&amp;qp_prevProvider=ins_browse&amp;qp_prevCurrency=USD&amp;priceSourceId=b3ms-UK1-5&amp;qp_prevPrice=274#results" target="_blank">Las Vegas</a> starting at $303.</p><p>From Chicago, round-trip flights start at $306 to <a href=";childrenv2=&amp;cabinclass=economy&amp;rtn=1&amp;preferdirects=false&amp;outboundaltsenabled=false&amp;inboundaltsenabled=false&amp;qp_prevProvider=ins_browse&amp;qp_prevCurrency=USD&amp;priceSourceId=b3ms-UK1-5&amp;qp_prevPrice=258#results" target="_blank">Seattle</a>, $296 to <a href=";childrenv2=&amp;cabinclass=economy&amp;rtn=1&amp;preferdirects=false&amp;outboundaltsenabled=false&amp;inboundaltsenabled=false&amp;qp_prevProvider=ins_browse&amp;qp_prevCurrency=USD&amp;priceSourceId=b3ms-UK1-5&amp;qp_prevPrice=280#results" target="_blank">Miami</a>, $189 to <a href=";childrenv2=&amp;cabinclass=economy&amp;rtn=1&amp;preferdirects=false&amp;outboundaltsenabled=false&amp;inboundaltsenabled=false&amp;qp_prevProvider=ins_browse&amp;qp_prevCurrency=USD&amp;priceSourceId=b3ms-UK1-5&amp;qp_prevPrice=167#results" target="_blank">Charleston</a>, and $277 to <a href=";childrenv2=&amp;cabinclass=economy&amp;rtn=1&amp;preferdirects=false&amp;outboundaltsenabled=false&amp;inboundaltsenabled=false&amp;qp_prevProvider=ins_browse&amp;qp_prevCurrency=USD&amp;priceSourceId=b3ms-UK1-5&amp;qp_prevPrice=239#results" target="_blank">Philadelphia</a>.</p><p>Those on the West Coast can book flights from Los Angeles to <a href=";childrenv2=&amp;cabinclass=economy&amp;rtn=1&amp;preferdirects=false&amp;outboundaltsenabled=false&amp;inboundaltsenabled=false&amp;qp_prevProvider=ins_browse&amp;qp_prevCurrency=USD&amp;priceSourceId=b3ms-UK1-1&amp;qp_prevPrice=209#results" target="_blank">Provo</a>, Utah, for $241 round-trip, or to <a href=";childrenv2=&amp;cabinclass=economy&amp;rtn=1&amp;preferdirects=false&amp;outboundaltsenabled=false&amp;inboundaltsenabled=false&amp;qp_prevProvider=ins_browse&amp;qp_prevCurrency=USD&amp;priceSourceId=b3ms-UK1-1&amp;qp_prevPrice=244#results" target="_blank">Dallas</a> for $312.</p><p>There are also deals from Houston starting at $237 round-trip to <a href=";childrenv2=&amp;cabinclass=economy&amp;rtn=1&amp;preferdirects=false&amp;outboundaltsenabled=false&amp;inboundaltsenabled=false&amp;qp_prevProvider=ins_browse&amp;qp_prevCurrency=USD&amp;priceSourceId=b3ms-UK1-1&amp;qp_prevPrice=207#results" target="_blank">Tampa</a> and $292 round-trip to <a href=";childrenv2=&amp;cabinclass=economy&amp;rtn=1&amp;preferdirects=false&amp;outboundaltsenabled=false&amp;inboundaltsenabled=false&amp;qp_prevProvider=ins_browse&amp;qp_prevCurrency=USD&amp;priceSourceId=b3ms-UK1-1&amp;qp_prevPrice=241#results" target="_blank">Denver</a>.</p><p>And flights out of Orlando start at $121 round-trip to <a href=";childrenv2=&amp;cabinclass=economy&amp;rtn=1&amp;preferdirects=false&amp;outboundaltsenabled=false&amp;inboundaltsenabled=false&amp;qp_prevProvider=ins_browse&amp;qp_prevCurrency=USD&amp;priceSourceId=b3ms-UK1-1&amp;qp_prevPrice=153#results" target="_blank">Atlantic City</a>, at $237 round-trip to <a href=";childrenv2=&amp;cabinclass=economy&amp;rtn=1&amp;preferdirects=false&amp;outboundaltsenabled=false&amp;inboundaltsenabled=false&amp;qp_prevProvider=ins_browse&amp;qp_prevCurrency=USD&amp;priceSourceId=b3ms-UK1-1&amp;qp_prevPrice=164#results" target="_blank">New York City</a>, at $212 round-trip to <a href=";childrenv2=&amp;cabinclass=economy&amp;rtn=1&amp;preferdirects=false&amp;outboundaltsenabled=false&amp;inboundaltsenabled=false&amp;qp_prevProvider=ins_browse&amp;qp_prevCurrency=USD&amp;priceSourceId=b3ms-UK1-1&amp;qp_prevPrice=180#results" target="_blank">Providence</a>, and at $252 round-trip to <a href=";childrenv2=&amp;cabinclass=economy&amp;rtn=1&amp;preferdirects=false&amp;outboundaltsenabled=false&amp;inboundaltsenabled=false&amp;qp_prevProvider=ins_browse&amp;qp_prevCurrency=USD&amp;priceSourceId=b3ms-UK1-1&amp;qp_prevPrice=235#results" target="_blank">Boston</a>.</p><p>It's also not too late to plan a road trip for July 4th, but you'll want to plan to leave early: <a href="" target="_blank">39.7 million people</a> will be hitting the road for the holiday.</p>
Categories: Travel

The Queen Quietly Gushing Over David Beckham Is the Video You Need to See Today (Video)

Thu, 06/28/2018 - 07:26
<p>Queen Elizabeth has met more than her fair share of celebrities during her tenure as the reigning monarch of the United Kingdom, and surely she’s enjoyed spending time with them all. But, on Tuesday, her majesty beamed with joy as she shook hands with who appeared to be her favorite person ever — David Beckham.</p><p>Yes, forget other kings, queens, <a href="" target="_blank">presidents</a>, and <a href="">world leaders</a>. It seems the Queen is just like the rest of the world and turns into a giddy little kid at the first sight of the soccer superstar.</p><p>According to <a href="" target="_blank"><i>People</i></a>, Beckham joined the queen, along with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, for Tuesday’s celebration of the Queen’s Young Leaders event. There, the royal group celebrated young change-makers from across the Commonwealth.</p><p>“They are incredible people,” Beckham told <i>People</i> about the young honorees. “It’s a great thing to be part of — to be around young kids and young people that have got really bright futures and aspirations to become great leaders.”</p><p>As <i>People</i> also noted, this isn’t the first time the Queen and Beckham have spent time together. In fact, he was on hand during the same event in both 2015 and 2016 to personally hand out awards.</p><p>It appears Beckham and his entire family — wife Victoria and kids Brooklyn, 19, Romeo, 15, Cruz, 13, and Harper, 6 — are all rather friendly with the Windsor family. And the Queen, for one, has never looked less than thrilled to greet him.</p><img alt="Britain's Queen Elizabeth II shakes hands with former England footballer David Beckham as in London on June 22, 2015 "src=""><img alt="Britain's Queen Elizabeth II greets England's former football player David Beckham (R) as he attends the Queen's Young Leaders Awards at Buckingham Palace in London on June 23, 2016. "src=""><img alt="Queen Elizabeth II meets England soccer captain David Beckham on November 19th 2002 "src=""><p>In 2015, the kids all spent some quality time with Prince Harry while their dad participated in a <a href="" target="_blank">charity soccer match</a> for UNICEF. The Beckhams also attended the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton in 2011 and last month’s nuptials between <a href="" target="_blank">Prince Harry and Meghan Markle</a>.</p><p>So really, it’s no surprise the Queen was delighted to see him. After all, he is kind of the king of soccer.</p>
Categories: Travel

Why You’ll Want to Ride Disney’s New Incredicoaster (Even If You’ve Already Been on California Screamin’)

Wed, 06/27/2018 - 16:42
<p>Disney California Adventure’s former Paradise Pier has officially been <a href="" target="_blank">transformed into an animation wonderland</a>. The now-open Pixar Pier boasts cheerful decor, character appearances and must-have eats, but the award-winning film studio’s biggest task was to reinvent California Screamin’, the only coaster at Disneyland Resort with an inversion loop, as an “Incredibles”-themed ride.</p><p>The new Incredicoaster’s mechanics remain unchanged from its predecessor — same loop, same drops, same ride vehicles — but by extending the “scream tubes” previously used to keep noise levels down in the surrounding city, Walt Disney Imagineering was able to tell a story about the extraordinary family, all at 55 miles per hour.</p><p>“Incredibles 2” put Jack-Jack’s “special skills” on display, and the youngest member of the Parr family’s fiery personality, disappearing act and often gooey disposition can be seen throughout the attraction, bringing a level of immersion to the fan favorite.</p><p>In the improved ride, guests arrive to see the Incredicoaster being “rededicated” to the Parr family in celebration of their heroism. Baby Jack-Jack, due to his size, cannot participate and remains under Aunt Edna’s care until he inevitably becomes lost, leaving the rest of the Incredibles to chase him for the duration of the journey.</p><p>Dialogue voiced by the original movie cast, a reimagined vehicle launch timed to Dash’s countdown and film composer Michael Giacchino’s score keep the search for Jack-Jack moving forward, but it’s the newly enclosed spaces that aid the adventure best.</p><p>Whether Elastigirl is stretching over 50 feet to retrieve her gooey baby, rings of purple light flash within Violet’s force field, or Dash tries to retrieve the tot while avoiding his laser eyes, the Incredibles’ powers and Jack-Jack’s unpredictable talents are on full display, a feat that would have been impossible without the ingenious move to repurpose former scream shields into fully covered scenes.</p><p>Previously half-open to the surrounding Paradise Pier, the modified enclosures allow for more action, like Mr. Incredible bursting inside to entice Jack-Jack with a “Cookie Num-Num” as a chocolatey smell wafts past riders plunging down a drop. (If you still smell cookies upon exiting, it’s no coincidence; a new stand sells <a href="" target="_blank">the freshly warmed irresistible delights</a>.) The bold red tubes, which glow at night and necessitate an evening ride, honor Jack-Jack’s many forms as well, engulfing passengers in a flame-filled effect that rivals only his final appearance, best left as a surprise.</p><p>That said, Incredicoaster is not perfect. An outdoor sequence where Jack-Jack flexes his multiplicity doesn’t play well amidst electrical equipment and roofing and it’s no easy task to enforce characters, action and plot on an outdoor coaster, let alone one whose footprint couldn’t be physically altered. Still, Disney California Adventure managed to make something out of nothing, quite literally; delightful mid-century moments with Edna Moda and Jack-Jack were built atop former patches of grass and fresh dialogue turned stretches of empty track into detailed storylines. The parks were able to repurpose structural elements to enhance the adventure and turn necessary safeguards into entertainment, and if that ain’t Disney magic, nothing is.</p>
Categories: Travel

Paris Is Dedicating 5,000 Extra Police Officers to Protecting Tourists This Summer

Wed, 06/27/2018 - 11:22
<p>As in all cities, it’s important to remain alert as a tourist in <a href="" target="_blank">Paris</a>. The city has long been plagued with a pickpocketing problem — but this year Parisian police have a plan to help tourists.</p><p>The Paris police force announced that it will deploy an additional 5,000 policemen every day to protect tourists in seven highly visited areas around the city.</p><p>Visitors to the Louvre, the <a href="" target="_blank">Eiffel Tower</a>, the Champs-Elysées, the Latin Quarter, the Opera House, Montmartre, the Latin Quarter, and the Châtelet transportation hub will see an increase in police presence this summer.</p><p><strong>Related: </strong><a href="" target="_blank">Why It's Illegal to Take Photos of the Eiffel Tower at Night</a></p><p>Police will patrol these areas through Sept. 30, specifically to target “the main threats to tourists,” <a href="" target="_blank">according to <i>Le Figaro</i></a>. Bilingual police officers and French students of foreign languages will patrol the streets, offering help to tourists.</p><p>“Ninety percent of thefts that tourists suffer are from bag snatchers or street sellers, card sharks or people with fake petitions,” a senior Paris security official <a href="" target="_blank">told <i>Le Parisien</i></a>.</p><p>Since the tourist protection force was launched on June 11, officers have arrested 24 people for street scams like fake petitions or three-card tricks and 333 people for illegally selling on the street, including trinkets like mini Eiffel Towers.</p><p>Pickpockets are especially rampant in the Metro, where they carefully time scams to escape train cars as the doors close. Travelers planning a summer trip should read the U.S. Embassy’s <a href="" target="_blank">dedicated guide to avoiding pickpocketing scams in Paris</a> to learn common techniques scammers use.</p>
Categories: Travel

The Best Times to See 2018's Strawberry Moon (Video)

Wed, 06/27/2018 - 11:17
<p>Hot on the heels of the summer solstice, June’s full Strawberry Moon — appearing at the beginning of the sunniest and warmest months of the year — is slightly unusual this month.</p><p>The exact moment of the full moon occurs either side of midnight in North America, being fully illuminated on June 27 on the west coast and on June 28 on the east coast.</p><h2>What is a Strawberry Moon?</h2><p>It looks like a strawberry, right? Nope. It won't be red or juicy, because the so-called Strawberry Moon got its meaning by appearing around the time in North America when wild strawberries begin to ripen. Like many of the names for full moons, this one dates back to Native Americans, in this case to the Algonquin, the first native peoples encountered by European settlers in the New World.</p><p>Other names for June's full moon include the Hot Moon for its association with the year's highest temperatures, and the Rose Moon for coinciding with blooming flowers.</p><h2>When is the Full Strawberry Moon?</h2><p>The full moon will be at its peak on Wednesday, June 27, 2018 at 9:53 p.m PT (on the west coast) and on Thursday, June 28, 2018 at 12:53 a.m. ET (on the east coast). Unlike last month, when the full Flower Moon occurred during daylight hours for observers in North America, the full Strawberry Moon can easily be viewed at the exact moment is becomes 100% illuminated. However, that is not the best time to look at it.</p><h2>How to See the Strawberry Moon</h2><p>The best time to see the full moon is 8:05 p.m. ET on the east coast, and 7:51 p.m. PT on the west coast. Although you can look at the moon when it's high in the sky, you will have trouble if the skies are completely clear because of glare. When it's in its full phase, the moon is incredibly bright and almost impossible to look at for more than a few seconds.</p><p>Like every full moon, this one will be best observed not when it's high in the sky, but as it rises at dusk. The moon will rise at 8:05 p.m. in New York, with sunset at 8:31 p.m. In Los Angeles moonrise will occur at 7:51 p.m., and sunset at 8:08 p.m. So across North America, <strong>the full Strawberry Moon will appear before the sun goes down</strong>.</p><p>Look for the Strawberry Moon at dusk, and keep looking for 15 minutes to give the Earth time to rotate a little to reveal the full moon. The higher your observation point, and the fewer buildings and cloud are obstructing the horizon, the sooner you'll see it. Since the moon will rise just before sunset, it will be a good opportunity to take photographs.</p><p>As the moon pokes above the horizon, it will be a delicate orange color. It's a hypnotic sight indeed and the easiest time to look at it, but as it rises higher into the sky it will quickly change to yellow, and then to white as it becomes too bright to look at comfortably.</p><h2>When Is the Next Full Moon?</h2><p>The next full moon will be on July 27, 2018, and it's going to be a very special one indeed. It's called the Buck Moon, Thunder Moon or Hay Moon, though in 2018 it will also be a Blood Moon or total lunar eclipse much like <a href="" target="_blank">the Super Blue Blood Moon Eclipse seen in the U.S. in January</a>. Not only will the moon turn a copper orange color, but it will do so for the longest time in the 21st century, spending an hour and 42 minutes in totality. However, none of that will be observable from North America because it occurs during daytime. Those on the night side of Earth in Europe, Asia, Africa and Australasia will all get a great view.</p><p>However, those in North America do not have long to wait because the next Blood Moon is on January 20, 2019.</p>
Categories: Travel

How to Quickly and Effectively Learn a New Language Before Your Next Vacation

Wed, 06/27/2018 - 11:01
<p>The process of preparing for a trip abroad can be daunting. Between packing and planning, learning foreign words and phrases may get put on the back burner.</p><p>However, it’s an important part of preparation. Learning a few basic phrases and words in a foreign language is one of the most effective ways to be a responsible traveler — and make your trip more memorable. And it’s not necessary to gain complete fluency in order to be understood abroad.</p><p>There are only about 10 simple sentence structures you need to learn to communicate at a base level in a foreign language. Whatever language you are trying to learn, do an internet search for “<a href="" target="_blank">10 basic sentence patterns</a>.” These sentences will allow you to express who you are, what you want, what you have, and what is happening to other people or objects.</p><p>Linguists strongly suggest <a href="" target="_blank">learning more vocabulary than grammar</a> to communicate while on vacation abroad. Native speakers will be able to get the jist of what you mean even if you’re just throwing words at them in random order.</p><p>Although there are more than 170,000 words in the Oxford English Dictionary, on an average day, a native speaker will only use about 10 percent of those words. And of those 17,000-ish words, <a href="" target="_blank">only about 800 word families</a> (called <em>lemmas</em>) make up 75 percent of daily conversation.</p><p>Wiktionary has a list of the <a href="" target="_blank">2,000 most commonly used words in contemporary English fiction</a>. Fluent Forever has a list of <a href="" target="_blank">625 words to make yourself understood in any language</a>, organized by “theme” for easier memorization.</p><p>But for those on a time crunch, <a href="" target="_blank">17 Minute Languages offers a list of the 50 most important words</a> to know in more than 70 foreign languages.</p><p><em>In bocca al lupo, bon courage, buena suerte!</em></p>
Categories: Travel