With summer travel in full swing and families traveling to enjoy Broadway experiences this season, Hilton New York Times Square has unveiled an Aladdin's Times Square Palace suite complementing the hotel's close proximity to Disney's Aladdin the Musical on Broadway. Perfect for families enjoying a staycation or traveling in for their first Broadway adventure, the immersive suite draws inspiration from the timeless musical ballads and venturous storylines from the hit Broadway musical and has been masterfully transformed to welcome guests into “A Whole New World” within the tale's Arabian desert kingdom known as Agrabah. Located just feet away from the New Amsterdam Theatre, Hilton New York Times Square guests will feel seamlessly transported to Aladdin's city of mystery with only a one-minute walk between the production's intricate Cave of Wonders set and the elaborately designed Aladdin's Times Square Palace suite. Genie lamp decor - courtesy of Hilton New York Times Square “Our location in Times Square offers an exceptional homebase for travelers and families visiting New York City for Broadway, with the hit show Aladdin the Musical at the New Amsterdam Theatre just steps away from our doors,” said Thomas Caska, general manager, Hilton New York Times Square. “We're thrilled to partner with this incredible musical to transport our guests to the fictional world of Agrabah where guests can embrace the magic of the show, creating an exclusive, memorable stay at our property in the heart of the Big Apple.” Aladdin's Times Square Palace Suite View of the Aladdin palace suite - courtesy of Hilton New York Times Square Designed by Broadway's top dressing room designer for its most legendary stars, Devin Sparkles Design, the spacious one-king bedroom studio corner suite complete with a pullout couch allows for “High Adventure” in the magical world of Agrabah while taking in wall-to-wall views overlooking Manhattan. As guests step into their desert oasis, they'll encounter a selection of show prints adorning the wall along with costume and scenic design sketches. Agrabah-inspired furnishings include bedding, Moroccan wall sconces, a selection of magic carpet Moroccan rugs, Jasmine-inspired silks throughout, a magic genie lamp light, lago-inspired bird light, and bright curtains that truly transform the suite into Agrabah. The “Cave of Wonders”-style washroom features gold mirror and bath accents including vases and gems. The Aladdin's Times Square Palace suite experience includes two “Genie-tini” cocktails and two Magic Mocktails, a lively wake-up call from the Broadway musical's Genie himself, Michael James Scott, Aladdin coloring materials for kids, complimentary breakfast for up to four guests and complimentary parking. Guests that book the enchanted suite will also receive up to four complimentary Premium Orchestra tickets to see Broadway's Aladdin the Musical and show merchandise upon arrival to the theater. 'Aladdin the Musical' Hotel Experiences Try a Genie-ini at Pinnacle Bar & Lounge - courtesy of Hilton New York Times Square Available through October 31, 2023, guests can visit the hotel's website or call (212) 913-9488 to reserve the suite. Rates for the Aladdin's Times Square Palace suite and tickets start from $599 per night and must be booked 72 hours in advance. If the price of a night in Agrabah seems a little too much, there's good news: any Hilton New York Times Square guest can enjoy magical experiences including a genie lamp photo opportunity, “Genie-tini” cocktails and Magic Mocktails served at Pinnacle Bar & Lounge, a Genie wake-up call upon request, and Aladdin coloring activities. For more information about Hilton Hotels & Resorts, visit Stories.Hilton.com.
Universal Orlando Resort shares new details about all the ways guests can eat, laugh and make mischief with the Minions in the highly anticipated Minion Land on Illumination Ave. – an immersive new area created in partnership between Universal’s award-winning creative team and the acclaimed filmmakers from Illumination. Opening this summer at Universal Studios Florida, the new land expands upon the wildly popular Despicable Me Minion Mayhem attraction and will debut a new collection of experiences for guests of all ages inspired by the beloved Minions franchise. As soon as guests enter the land, they’ll be greeted by a fun, photo-worthy “Minion Land” marquee featuring 22 Minions before embarking on the mischief that awaits along Illumination Ave. From blasting their way to supervillain stardom in Illumination’s Villain-Con Minion Blast to savoring tasty dishes at the Minion Cafe to snacking on banana-flavored popcorn at Pop-a-Nana and meeting fan-favorite characters along the way, here are details about the exciting new experiences that await in Minion Land: Play in the Villain-Con Minion Blast Illumination's new Villain-Con Minion Blast attraction - courtesy of NBCUniversal Guests can put their villainous skills to the test in Illumination’s Villain-Con Minion Blast – an all-new attraction where guests compete against each other in a fully interactive gaming experience that’s so much fun, it’s a crime. Afterward, guests exit through Evil Stuff, an all-new retail location where they can stock up on Villain-Con and Minions merchandise. More details about Villain-Con Minion Blast will be revealed soon. Indulge in Minion-themed Treats Rendering of Bake My Day at Universal Orlando - courtesy of NBCUniversal It’s Minions in the kitchen, mischief in the dining room, and tons of tasty food at the new Illumination’s Minion Cafe – the marquee dining location within Minion Land. This immersive new eatery offers something for every palate in a highly-entertaining dining experience that features three themed areas designed after beloved Minions Kevin, Stuart, Bob and Otto:the Kitchen – where guests will get a glimpse of the equipment and gear the Minions have used to whip up the cafe’s menu; the Breakroom – where guests can dine in the Minions’ break space that includes everything from “Office Safety Tips” to a vending machine stocked with mischievous items; and the Dining Room – a vibrant space adorned with colorful artwork courtesy of the Minions and more. Guests can also enjoy their meal on an outdoor patio that overlooks the fun of Minion Land. Just as eye-catching as Minion Cafe’s incredibly-themed surroundings is its delicious menu – the latest example of how Universal Orlando’s award-winning culinary team continues to raise the bar when it comes to theme park dining. Guests of all ages can enjoy inventive, family-friendly fare featuring nearly 20 items inspired by memorable characters and staples from the Minions franchise, including eclectic “despica-bowls” such as Otto’s Noodle Bowl, Agnes’s Honeymoon Soup and Carl’s Crispy Cauliflower (vegan offering); delectable handhelds such as the Steak & “Cheese Ray” Sandwich; adorable desserts such as Bob’s Teddy Bear Chocolate Cream Puff; a kids’ menu for the “mini Minions” in the family that includes items like the Mini Boss’ Mega Melt; and so much more. The Minion Cafe will also feature an express window with a limited menu for those looking to satisfy their mischievous cravings quickly and return to the mayhem in Minion Land. Other Minion Land treats to come: Bake My Day: Topped with a massive pink cupcake that’s visible from anywhere in the land, Bake My Day is a whimsical retail location and bakery featuring a selection of Minion-themed sweet treats, including cupcakes, macarons, s’mores and more, along with exclusive Minion-inspired merchandise like apparel, plush, drinkware, accessories, keychains and more.Pop-A-Nana: Banana-flavored popcorn, anyone? This walkup location features sweet and savory popcorn inspired by the Minions’ love for bananas. Here, guests may also find an assortment of cute popcorn buckets, including the Minion Selfie bucket. Freeze Ray Pops: Guests can cool off with a visit to Freeze Ray Pops, featuring a variety of colorful popsicles inspired by Gru, the Minions and Vector – along with beverages. Interact with Characters Guests can meet, greet and interact with beloved characters like the Minions, Gru, Margo, Edith and Agnes, plus new additions from the hit film “Sing” – Rosita, Gunter and Johnny – at an outdoor Illumination Theater facade. Guests can also discover murals, photo ops and more throughout Minion Land that celebrate additional characters from popular Illumination films. Minion Land is yet another example of how Universal Destinations & Experiences is raising the bar on immersive storytelling for the entire family using beloved stories and franchises often seen in films. —For more information about Minion Land and Universal Orlando Resort overall, visit www.universalorlando.com.
The Future of Travel
Imagine this: After previewing where you want to travel to in the metaverse, you finally decide which subterranean hotel to book. The day of the trip you head to the airport in an electric shuttle and breeze through security thanks to a quick and simple biometric passport screening; you've packed your in-ear language-translation device but not much else, because most things you need can simply be 3d printed when you get to your destination. And you're not just going to a physical place, but back in time to experience a particularly fascinating moment in history. Sound too wild to be true? It seems like science fiction now, but a new ground-breaking report "The Future of Travel," commissioned by airline easyJet, claims this may just be what future decades of travel look like. Heading up the report, Professor Birgitte Andersen of Birkbeck College, says, “This next 50 years will bring the largest technological advances we have ever seen in travel and tourism. Aspects of how we holiday will be transformed beyond recognition; in the future holiday-makers will be queuing at the hotel buffet to have their breakfast omelettes and fry-ups 3D printed by machines, our heartbeat will become our passport, and in-ear devices will translate the local language in real time and enable us to speak the local lingo. Looking forward, by the year 2070 the destinations we fly to, the type of accommodation we stay in, and the experiences we have, will have changed immeasurably.” The report forecasts innovations in airport journeys, air travel, accommodation, and holiday experiences, with the help of data and contributions from Europe’s leading futurists and experts from the worlds of aerospace, innovation, and engineering. Below are some of the highlights from the report. Biometric Passports Artistic rendering of future seamless airport security - courtesy of easyjet.com The airport journey and air travel experience will be revolutionized by technological advances. Heartbeat and biometric passports will replace the traditional passport for passengers to breeze through their airport. Much like fingerprints and the retina, every person’s cardiac signature is unique. Passengers’ heartbeat signatures and biometric details will be logged on a global system in the same way finger-print scanning technology works today. "Try Before You Buy" Experiences Vacations, even the most budget-friendly, are a considerable investment compared to most other expenditures. What if you could take part in a "try before you buy" system before committing to a trip? Utilizing bionic and metaverse technology, people could now "sample" a vacation before making the full investment by experiencing holiday previews. This might allow for more efficient planning, in terms of specific hotel locations and desired experiences.In-flight UpgradesArtistic rendering of future airplane ergonomic seating - courtesy of easyjet.com Ergonomic and biomimetic sensory plane seats will become the norm, with smart materials adapting to passengers’ body shape, height, weight, and temperature, providing the ultimate tailored comfort flying experience. Inflight entertainment will be beamed directly in front of passenger’s eyes, via optoelectronic devices, replacing the need for onboard screens or downloading movies before you fly. Local Language Support Devices Several translation apps offer a similar service by scanning written signs or documents and converting to other languages, but nothing as yet exists to make real-time conversations easier for foreign travelers. The report predicts that soon local language in-ear devices will be available to take on vacation to translate the local language in real time and even enable visitors to speak the local lingo. More Sustainable Hotels Artistic rendering of 3d printed hotel food - courtesy of easyjet.com As technology advances, we will see significant advances in the accommodation experience abroad. 3D-printed hotel buffet food will allow tourists to print whatever they want to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner, while reducing food waste. Similarly, 3D-printed, recyclable holiday clothes on arrival at the hotel will remove the need for suitcases and fast holiday fashion as travelers can print the clothes required in their hotel rooms, tailored to their perfect fit and style, and recycle the materials for the next guest to enjoy. To save on energy, hotels will be able to harvest energy from its guests’ footsteps in order to generate power, essentially becoming "human-powered." Subterranean hotels will also be built into the fabric of the earth that are super energy efficient and at one with the environment. Personalized Hotel Rooms All hotel rooms will be smart rooms with beds already pre-made to exactly desired firmness, ambient temperatures and favorite music playing based upon preferences you select in advance of booking the holiday. A holographic personal holiday concierge will accompany vacationers to provide up to date destination information and assistance throughout their stay.Underwater Adventures The report also imagines new ways to see more of the world. Consider this the ultimate upgrade from your traditional cruise experience exploring the seas: the underwater "sea-fari." These would be aquatic adventures onboard submarines for tourists deep beneath the sea discovering marine life in underwater "marine parks." While much less exotic than the underwater marine park prediction, the report also sees beach vacations getting an upgrade and that e-foiling, cable skiing, and flyboarding will become the norm at oceanside destinations, truly taking water sports to another level. Time-Traveling Experiences One of the most intriguing ideas from the reports are "time-travelling" experiences. Tomorrow’s travelers will be able to vacation in the past by wearing haptic suits at historical sites that enable them to immerse themselves in live historical surroundings marveling wonders of the ancient world like the Colossus of Rhodes during a stroll in Rhodes Town, or cheering among the crowds of the original Olympic Games in Ancient Greece. The report also included a survey to gauge how interested prospective travelers would be about all the different potential technology and travel features. Time-traveling trips took the top spot when it came to most anticipated with 42% of those surveyed looking forward to those vacations. Most people were also excited for "try before you buy" metaverse previews (23%), language translation devices (24%), smart hotels (25%) and subterranean hotels (26%), "sea-faris" (32%), and biometric passports (38%). — Click here for the full report.
The First New Hotel Inside Grand Canyon National Park, in Over 50-Years, Opens to the Public Travelers headed to Grand Canyon now have a new option for in-park accommodations. After its $35 million reconstruction by Xanterra Travel Collection, Maswik South Lodge is the first new lodging inside the park in over 50-years and is just footsteps away from the Grand Canyon National Park’s South Rim. Booking is available now for stays. Constructed in 1971, the original 90 rooms have been replaced with 120 new lodging units across four new lodging structures in the same general location. The 4.5-acre property features two types of accommodations: 90 standard rooms and 30 kitchenettes. The rooms now include private balconies, and the buildings have elevators and interior hallway entrances. Maswik South is in close proximity to Maswik Lodge where guests can access the Maswik Food Court, Pizza Pub, Transportation & Activities Desk, and the Village Loop (Blue) park shuttle line. The new units are approximately a ten-minute walk from both South Rim itself and the Hermit’s Rest/Village Loop Shuttle Bus Transfer Station. Universal Orland Resort Unlocks Universal’s Great Movie Escape Universal Orlando Resort will soon debut Universal’s Great Movie Escape – featuring two next-level escape rooms that pack the innovative storytelling and theming the destination is known for into “can’t-miss” experiences inspired by blockbuster films Jurassic World and Back to the Future. Concepted and designed by the same creative masterminds responsible for the wildly immersive haunts of Halloween Horror Nights, Universal’s Great Movie Escape will bring two distinct and extraordinary escape adventures to the heart of Universal CityWalk. Through interactive state-of-the-art missions, captivating storytelling and intricately detailed sets, guests will be swept into the dinosaur adventures of Jurassic World or the time-traveling chaos of Back to the Future as they solve their way through a multi-sensory experience like no other. Universal’s Great Movie Escape will open later this year and tickets will go on sale in the months ahead. Find great deals on Universal tickets thru Budget Travel's deals. Natchez Trace Tiny House Village Opens in Hohenwald, Tennessee Courtesy of Natchez Trace Tiny House Village Natchez Trace Tiny House Village is the newest location from Petite Retreats, which has launched a series of unique accommodations across the country since 2016. The houses are part of Natchez Trace RV Campground, located about an hour southwest of Nashville in Hohenwald, TN, which offers plenty of family-friendly amenities and activities. Each of the six specially designed tiny houses at Natchez Trace measures 30 feet long, sleeps two to six guests and comes fully equipped with a kitchen, bathroom, satellite TV, and its own unique personality reflected in the carefully selected design and décor. The village is nestled among trees and has lakefront views. These tiny homes are full of character and personality, and are Green Certified by TRA Certification. Each home also includes sustainable items from IKEA, ensuring an eco-friendly vacation for all. CDC Lifts its Requirement for Travelers to Test Negative for COVID-19 Before Entering the U.S June 12, 2022, CDC will no longer require air passengers traveling from a foreign country to the United States to show a negative COVID-19 viral test or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 before they board their flight. For more information, see Rescission: Requirement for Negative Pre-Departure COVID-19 Test Result or Documentation of Recovery from COVID-19 for all Airline or Other Aircraft Passengers Arriving into the United States from Any Foreign Country. Eureka, California is Celebrates One Year Anniversary of the Redwood Sky Walk at Sequoia Park Zoo Courtesy redwoodskywalk.com The city of Eureka, California is celebrating the first full year of operations for the Redwood Sky Walk at Sequoia Park Zoo this weekend and, there is much to celebrate. Over the last twelve months, the Redwood Sky Walk has garnered more than $4M worth of global media attention and helped steadily increase visitation to the community. Since the opening of the Redwood Sky Walk at Sequoia Park Zoo last year, guest counts have increased by 181 percent year-over-year and by more than 68 percent over two years ago. The Redwood Sky Walk sits inside the Sequoia Park Zoo, California’s oldest accredited community zoo, which is recognized for its quality by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and fully owned and operated by the city of Eureka. One ticket, which can be bought at the gate, provides global entry into both experiences. The Redwood Sky Walk is a one-of-a-kind affordable, family-friendly, and ADA accessible attraction that takes visitors more than 100ft up into the world’s tallest trees for an educational and engaging journey through the rich, hidden ecology of Northern California’s famed Coastal Redwoods.
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Broadway shows to reopen at 100% in September
In a Tweet on May 5, 2021, Andrew Cuomo announced: "NEW: Broadway shows will be ready to open September 14 at 100% capacity. Tickets go on sale starting tomorrow. Broadway is major part of our state’s identity and economy, and we are thrilled that the curtains will rise again."Broadway shows were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic on March 20, 2020. To see available shows and buy tickets, go to: https://www.broadway.com/
The EU is set to reopen to American tourists
The Commission is proposing that Member States ease the current restrictions on non-essential travel into the EU to take into account the progress of vaccination campaigns and developments in the epidemiological situation worldwide. The Commission proposes to allow entry to the EU for non-essential reasons not only for all persons coming from countries with a good epidemiological situation but also all people who have received the last recommended dose of an EU-authorised vaccine. This could be extended to vaccines having completed the WHO emergency use listing process. In addition, the Commission proposes to raise, in line with the evolution of the epidemiological situation in the EU, the threshold related to the number of new COVID-19 cases used to determine a list of countries from which all travel should be permitted. This should allow the Council to expand this list. At the same time, the emergence of coronavirus variants of concern calls for continued vigilance. Therefore as counter-balance, the Commission proposes a new ‘emergency brake' mechanism, to be coordinated at EU level and which would limit the risk of such variants entering the EU. This will allow Member States to act quickly and temporarily limit to a strict minimum all travel from affected countries for the time needed to put in place appropriate sanitary measures. Non-essential travel for vaccinated travellers The Commission proposes that Member States lift restrictions on non-essential travel for vaccinated persons travelling to the EU. This reflects the latest scientific advice showing that vaccination considerably helps to break the transmission chain. Member States should allow travel into the EU of those people who have received, at least 14 days before arrival, the last recommended dose of a vaccine having received marketing authorisation in the EU. Member States could also extend this to those vaccinated with a vaccine having completed the WHO emergency use listing process. In addition, if Member States decide to waive the requirements to present a negative PCR test and/or to undergo quarantine for vaccinated persons on their territory, they should also waive such requirements for vacccinated travellers from outside the EU. This should be facilitated once the Digital Green Certificate becomes operational, in line with the rules the Commission proposed on 17 March. In particular, travellers should be able to prove their vaccination status with a Digital Green Certificate issued by Member States' authorities on an individual basis, or with another certificate recognised as equivalent by virtue of a Commission adequacy decision. Until the Digital Green Certificate is operational, Member States should be able to accept certificates from non-EU countries based on national law, taking into account the ability to verify the authenticity, validity and integrity of the certificate and whether it contains all relevant data. Member States could consider setting up a portal allowing travellers to ask for the recognition of a vaccination certificate issued by a non-EU country as reliable proof of vaccination and/or for the issuance of a Digital Green Certificate. Children who are excluded from vaccination should be able to travel with their vaccinated parents if they have a negative PCR COVID-19 test taken at the earliest 72 hours before arrival area. In these cases, Member States could require additional testing after arrival. Full lifting of non-essential travel restriction from more countries Non-essential travel regardless of individual vaccination status is currently permitted from 7 countries with a good epidemiological situation. This list is decided by the Council on the basis of epidemiological criteria contained in the current recommendation. The Commission is proposing to amend the criteria to take into account the mounting evidence of the positive impact of vaccination campaigns. The proposal is to increase the threshold of 14-day cumulative COVID-19 case notification rate from 25 to 100. This remains considerably below the current EU average, which is over 420. The adapted threshold should allow the Council to expand the list of countries from which non-essential travel is permitted regardless of vaccination status, subject to health-related measures such as testing and/or quarantine. As now, the Council should review this list at least every 2 weeks. Essential travel to remain permitted Those travelling for essential reasons, including notably healthcare professionals, cross-border workers, seasonal agricultural workers, transport staff and seafarers, passengers in transit, those travelling for imperative family reasons or those coming to study should continue to be allowed to enter the EU, regardless of whether they are vaccinated or which country they come from. The same applies to EU citizens and long-term residents as well as their family members. Such travel should continue to be subject to health-related measures, such as testing and quarantine as decided by Member States. ‘Emergency brake' to counter the spread of variants When the epidemiological situation of a non-EU country worsens quickly and in particular if a variant of concern or interest is detected, a Member State can urgently and temporarily suspend all inbound travel by non-EU citizens resident in such a country. The only exceptions in this case would be healthcare professionals, transport personnel, diplomats, transit passengers, those travelling for imperative family reasons, seafarers, and persons in need of international protection or for other humanitarian reasons. Such travellers should be subject to strict testing and quarantine arrangements even if they have been vaccinated. When a Member State applies such restrictions, the Member States meeting within the Council structures should review the situation together in a coordinated manner and in close cooperation with the Commission, and they should continue doing so at least every 2 weeks. Next steps It is now for the Council to consider this proposal. A first discussion is scheduled at technical level in the Council's integrated political crisis response (IPCR) meeting taking place on 4 May, followed by a discussion at the meeting of EU Ambassadors (Coreper) on 5 May. Once the proposal is adopted by the Council, it will be for Member States to implement the measures set out in the recommendation. The Council should review the list of non-EU countries exempted from the travel restriction in light of the updated criteria and continue doing so every 2 weeks. Background A temporary restriction on non-essential travel to the EU is currently in place from many non-EU countries, based on a recommendation agreed by the Council. The Council regularly reviews, and where relevant updates, the list of countries from where travel is possible, based on the evaluation of the health situation. This restriction covers non-essential travel only. Those who have an essential reason to come to Europe should continue to be able to do so. The categories of travellers with an essential function or need are listed in Annex II of the Council Recommendation. EU citizens and long-term residents as well as their family members should also be allowed to enter the EU. Following a proposal by the Commission, the Council agreed on 2 February 2021 additional safeguards and restrictions for international travellers into the EU, aimed at ensuring that essential travel to the EU continues safely in the context of the emergence of new coronavirus variants and the volatile health situation worldwide. These continue to apply. On 17 March 2021, in a Communication on a common path to Europe's safe re-opening, the Commission committed to keeping the operation of the Council Recommendation on the temporary restriction on non-essential travel into the EU under close review, and propose amendments in line with relevant developments. Today's proposal updates the Council recommendation. In parallel to preparing for the resumption of international travel for vaccinated travellers, the Commission proposed on 17 March 2021 to create a Digital Green Certificate, showing proof that a person has been vaccinated against COVID-19, received a negative test result or recovered from COVID-19, to help facilitate safe and free movement inside the EU. This proposal also provides the basis for recognising non-EU countries' vaccination certificates. The Council Recommendation on the temporary restriction on non-essential travel into the EU relates to entry into the EU. When deciding whether restrictions on non-essential travel can be lifted for a specific non-EU country, Member States should take account of the reciprocity granted to EU countries. This is a separate issue from that of the recognition of certificates issued by non-EU countries under the Digital Green Certificate. The Council recommendation covers all Member States (except Ireland), as well as the 4 non-EU states that have joined the Schengen area: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. For the purpose of the travel restriction, these countries are covered in a similar way as the Member States. The latest information on the rules applying to entry from non-EU countries as communicated by Member States are available on the Re-open EU website. For More Information Proposal for a Council Recommendation on the temporary restriction on non-essential travel into the EU and the possible lifting of such restriction, 3 May 2021 Travel during the coronavirus pandemic