The wonderful world of Walt Disney has captivated the hearts of kids both big and little for generations. If you ever sang along to Under the Sea when you were young, or perhaps more recently spent a road trip with the kids requesting How Far I’ll Go the entire way, you’ll know what I mean. The magic of Disney seems to know no bounds. And that’s just the movies. If you haven’t been to Walt Disney World, you’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg. What I am really talking about? Here are 5 things that take this all-ages holiday to the next level:
1. It’s a world, not a park.
Let’s clear something up. You won’t be flying all the way to Florida for just one day. Walt Disney World is comprised of six different venues – four theme parks and two water parks. Think of it like the entire fun-seeking Gold Coast. Each theme park is a world of its own, with separate sections. Take Magic Kingdom. You’ve got Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, Adventureland, Mainstreet, Frontierland and Liberty Square. And of course, Cinderella’s Castle. Each land has its own rides, restaurants, displays, characters and of course, shops. The brave will take on more than one park in a day. The sensible will dip in and out, ideally spending at least one day at each park. From now until the end of the year, Expedia has an exclusive buy 4 get 6 day passes – to be used right up until 31st December 2018. That will give you a few extra days up your sleeve for free, letting you have all the time you need to check out Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Epcot, Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon.
2. You can ride on the back of a banshee
Gone are the days when Walt Disney World was just about Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. High tech machinery and millions of dollars goes into creating state of the art experiences. Inside Animal Kingdom, you’ll find the otherworldly Pandora, the world of Avatar’s floating mountains and luminous rivers painstakingly recreated by Disney’s Imagineers. The Flight of Passage is a true sensory experience, where you’ll literally ride on the back of a banshee, soaring over Pandora, swooping under trees and over oceans.
Step into Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, where you can ride on the back of a banshee. Image by Kent Phillips and walt Disney World
3. Skip the queues
Savvy travellers will book their tickets, but won’t wait until they arrive to work out which rides they want to go on. Fast passes are your best friend when it comes to making the most of the experience. Each ticket is preloaded with three FastPass+ selections, which can be booked in three months before your entry date. Make sure you book your three passes close together, because once all three have been used, the allocation resets and you can use them on three more rides, and so on, throughout the day. Download the app in advance so you can allocate your passes in the park while you’re on the move. If you want to check out the newest rides, make a beeline for Hollywood Studios, where Toy Story Land has just opened – the Slinky Dog Dash roller coaster is a big hit for kids of all ages! Don’t forget to book in your FastPass+ though!
Check out the brand new Slinky Dog Dash roller coaster at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Image by Matt Stroshane and Walt Disney World
4. Wine and dine
That’s right, Walt Disney World has alcoholic beverages. Pick up a Himalayan Ghost frozen cocktail after riding the Everest rollercoaster inside Animal Kingdom (you might need it if you spot the Yeti!) or head into Animal Lodge where the fine dining Jiko – The Cooking Place has a world renowned collection of South African wines to choose from. In fact, it’s the largest collection of South African wines in the country. Now, the Mickey Mouse waffles and Dole Whip ice creams might be the most famous food items on the menu, but Walt Disney World has plenty of fantastic restaurants, even inside the parks. Beauty and the Beast fans will want to prebook their table at Be Our Guest Restaurant well in advance of their visit – make sure you save room for the famous “Grey Stuff” dessert. For something a little more nostalgic, grab a table at the Hollywood Studios Sci-Fi Dine-In Theatre. Table is a loose definition – you’ll sit in car-shaped booths eating burgers and drinking shakes while watching old school movies on the big screen.
5. Sleepover safari
After a big day in the parks, and a big meal at the Jiko Place, the last thing you’ll want to do is leave the majestic Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. Like staying inside a supersized safari lodge, this is the hotel when you really can have an overnight safari, without leaving your room. The wings of the hotel look out upon wide range animal enclosures so you might wake up to see zebra eating their breakfast right outside your balcony.
Whether you want to see all the shows, hop on every ride or just dip your toes in Walt Disney World, there’s never been a better time to go. Take advantage of Expedia’s buy four and get six day passes so there’s never a reason for the ‘my parents never took me to Disney World’ scenario! Check it out here.
Wake up with the animals at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. Image by Walt Disney World
Source: Out There Starts Here | 12 Aug 2018 | 9:09 pmLow rate, no booking fee, 17,000 hotels, 30,000 destinations.
Gone are the days when the long haul flight to Europe was exactly that – a long haul trip that you’d like to put behind you and replace with memories of fresh croissants and gelato. These days, the skies have opened up to Aussie travellers, who have more choice than ever about how they get to Europe and what they do on the way there. That’s why we’ve pulled together five reasons you need to seriously consider a stop over on your next long haul holiday!
1. Go somewhere new
Instead of dreading a straight 24 hours in a plane to reach your destination, break things up with an adventure along the way. Now the key here is to consider going somewhere new. For a long time, Singapore, Bangkok and Dubai have been the most common places to break up your flight. However, China Southern Airlines offers not only affordable flights, but the chance to see another part of the world. China Southern flies thousands of Aussies to Europe via Guangzhou each week – in peak periods it has up to 178 flights per week between China and Australia. You’ll be stepping off the plane in France, the UK, Netherlands or even Italy in no time, but in the meantime, you can lock in a long lay over and spend a few days exploring the beautiful riverside town of Guangzhou in China’s south. North west of Hong Kong, the ancient city has long been a trade hub, and provides a fascinating glimpse into the trading history that has made China a powerhouse today.
2. It’s really easy
If the idea of hopping off the plane and heading out into the city sounds a little daunting, the good news is China Southern takes care of just about everything, kicking off with a shuttle greeting and a special 72-hour visa-free policy in Guangzhou, so you can head out without the worry if you’re from Australia, New Zealand or the 49 other eligible countries.
3. Lap it up
One of the best things about breaking up your trip is the chance to stretch your legs – the best part is you get to do that in style. China Southern Airlines exclusively offers up to five star standard accommodation in Guangzhou for its long haul transit passengers. Now we’re talking! After a good night’s sleep, head out to explore some of the city’s beautiful attractions – the Buddhist Temple of the Six Banyan Trees dates back to AD 537 and although the banyans are gone, it is still a site to behold.
4. Be refreshed when you arrived
Not only do you get to stretch your legs, one of the big benefits of breaking up a trip is you are more likely to arrive at your final destination feeling refreshed and ready to start exploring Europe’s wonders. The type of plane can also contribute to that feeling of freshness – China Southern is the only Chinese Airline with an A380 aircraft so you’ll have plenty of space, and can enjoy the added benefits of a state of the art ride. You can also rest easy knowing the Airline holds the best safety record in the Chinese civil aviation industry.
5. Get a great deal
Booking early bird deals, travelling outside of the peak season and school holidays and keeping an eye out for sales are some of the pretty common ways to find a great price. Don’t forget to consider the fact that the more unusual routes, like those through China, can be excellent value. If you add in stopovers, particularly those with long layovers, you’ll find even better deals. Keep your eyes peeled for China Southern Airline’s great fares.
Not looking to head all the way to Europe anytime soon? Not to worry! Why not check out destinations closer to home like Vietnam, Cambodia, Japan, China and Korea? Check out our China Southern Airlines pages here.
Source: Out There Starts Here | 12 Aug 2018 | 8:32 pmLow rate, no booking fee, 17,000 hotels, 30,000 destinations.
Have you ever stayed at a hotel that had a sandpit in the lobby? I have. I’m not talking about a kids play area, no, no, this is the lobby of one of Maui’s top luxury hotels, and the sand is too picture perfect to even set foot on. Unless you’re the resident sand drawer, who hops in to create whirls and swirls each day, like a temporary greeting card to guests. The Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort is pretty special, and the sand is just the start of it.
Located in Wailea, the picture perfect resort district in Maui’s south, the Andaz is one of the newest hotels in town and definitely one of the coolest. You won’t find big, overly dramatic features in this chic property. Instead, everything is sleek and chic, from the pool to guest rooms. Think low lying couches, beige day beds and white poolside cabana. The poolside seating is hot property because these pools are just really, really cool. Tiered over three different levels, they all look out past palm trees to the ocean, so you can choose whether you want to settle in for a swim and a snack from the Lehua Lounge, a casual eatery stocked with poolside lunch items, bliss out on the peaceful middle tier, or head closer down to the kids pool one more tier down. Whichever spot you choose to settle into, attendants will come around with free treats like strawberry mochi throughout the day.
Pick a pool, any pool!
The stretch of Wailea coastline that the Andaz occupies is certainly geographically blessed – and the hotel makes the most of it with a range of activities included in your resort fee. Start your morning with an early morning paddle on a traditional outrigger canoe, gliding across water so clear you don’t need a snorkel to see the reef below. Spot a few turtles, or even a whale if you’re lucky, before heading back to shore. There’s also stand up paddle boarding, kayaking and snorkelling. Ashore, there’s hula dance lessons, ukulele sessions and even coconut husking to keep you busy while offering a little taste of Hawaiian life.
You won’t have trouble using up the hours of your day at the Andaz – especially if you have a taste for a spot of pampering. The hotel’s Awili Spa takes notes from traditional Japanese apothecaries, with a minimalist design and a serious amount of treatments on offer. Spend an afternoon in one of the couples suites, with a traditional Hawaiian Lomilomi massage overlooking the adults only pool, before heading outside for a dip.
Spend an afternoon blissed out at the Awili Spa
Whether you want to bliss out by one of the pools, at the spa or out on the sea, Andaz Maui should be on your Maui must visit list now.
Source: Out There Starts Here | 10 Aug 2018 | 1:05 amLow rate, no booking fee, 17,000 hotels, 30,000 destinations.
This article was contributed by the Independent Brewers Association.
Something wonderful is happening in Australia. Down inner city laneways, in urban industrial warehouses, in picturesque country towns and tropical beach enclaves, independent brewers are offering the freshest, most amazing variety of beers Australia has ever seen.
In a sense, all tourism is beer tourism. Having a local beer upon arrival is a rite of passage. It means you’re somewhere exciting and new. Things look different. Things smell different. Things taste different. It’s why you’re here.
Independent Brewers in Australia are a group of artisanal brewers who are independent of large corporate interests. With more than 500 dotted around the country, some offer their beers nationally, others only in the state or region of Australia in which they’re located. Amazingly, some of the best brewers only offer their beer from their brewery taprooms, so it’s well worth your while to track this award-winning stuff down. Leading travel brand Expedia is at the cutting edge of this travel trend with its Kegs of Glory campaign, inspiring travel throughout Australia’s craft beer communities.
Most Australians live in the major cities and there’s stiff competition between Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane for the title of craft beer capital of Australia. By rights, Melbourne got there first, with a high-density range of city taprooms from Collingwood to Spotswood. You can go on a total craft beer adventure with a tour through Sydney’s “inner west” breweries, but remember that The Rocks and the Northern Beaches also have some cool beer destinations. Further North, Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley/Newstead area is coming up strongly, but in every direction you’ll find some excellent local ales.
Then there are the regional brewers. The heat of South East Queensland – from the Sunshine Coast to the Gold Coast and into Northern New South Wales – encourages local brewers to turn out thirst-quenching lagers, pale ales and IPAs that utilise tropical hops to complement the beaches and palm trees that come with the territory. While a little drier, Western Australia from Perth to Fremantle to the Margaret River region and beyond offers a journey full of local brews and regional taprooms.
Some brewers farm their own barley and barrel age ales on their property. In cool climate regions like Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania, other brewers handpick berries and elderflowers to produce beers with a flavour profile amazingly like the wines of the region. Think the High Country and Mornington Peninsula in Victoria, the Adelaide Hills or Tasmania’s Huon Valley. Increasingly, Australians are embracing their cold weather and thanks to annual cultural events like Tasmania’s Dark Mofo in Hobart, we’re seeing excellent dark beers celebrated during the Winter Solstice right across Australia. The nation’s capital, Canberra, can provide you with special local brews after a mind-expanding visit to the National Portrait Gallery or Parliament House.
There are no rules. You’ll find inner city brewers using regional fruit and funky experimental yeasts in collaboration with regional brewers. Most Indie Brewers plan small-batch experimental seasonal beers released for a short time only. They always have stories behind them, so be sure to ask for the seasonal lineup and have a chat to the brewer about his or her inspirations.
While more than half of Australia’s Independent Brewers have taproom premises, there are plenty of other venues to explore this country’s most exciting beers, along with our food, wine, art, theatre and live music. Each capital city has fantastic specialty beer bars offering local, Australian and international craft beers. Increasingly, pubs are supporting their local brewers and offering craft taps and ‘tap takeovers’, where a particular brewer’s whole range is on show. The guy or girl behind the bar will be happy to talk you through your decision and offer a taster before you commit. Restaurants too are increasingly curating their beer lists alongside their wine lists and waitstaff will guide you to the right beer for the occasion.
The Independent Brewers Association’s website has a listing of our members across Australia’s different tourism regions. You can click through to their brewery website to check out what they offer and include a visit as part of your itinerary. Happy travels!
Source: Out There Starts Here | 8 Aug 2018 | 2:56 amLow rate, no booking fee, 17,000 hotels, 30,000 destinations.
One city. More than 60 breweries. Big, boutique, hoppy, lite, full strength – however you like your brew, you’re guaranteed to find something just right for you in Portland.
The capital city of Oregon has long been a place that beats to its own drum. Attracting people from all walks of life, with tastes to match, it’s a place where you can’t stroll the streets without getting a sense that this is a melting pot where anything goes. If you want to eat French cheese toasties from a food truck or sit down for some of America’s top fine dining, you’ll be satisfied. If you want to line up for some of the world’s best doughnuts at 3am, you’ve got a few options to choose from. If you want to walk, drive, bus or even cycle to a dozen different breweries in one afternoon, there’s a tour for you. On that note, we’ve rounded out some of the top places you can go paddle to paddle to try some of the best beer in the business:
It may not be written in the stars, but the success of Ecliptic Brewing is certainly written on the faces of all the happy locals who settle in for an afternoon at Ecliptic. A cool cosmic calendar will guide you through a beer tasting paddle that’s not to be missed. The burgers also have a local following, just make sure you save room for a very appropriate dessert – a Porter float pours an Ecliptic Capella Porter over the daily homemade ice cream.
Coin Toss Brewing
You’ll have to venture to the outskirts of town to check out this boutique brewer, but it is well worth the trip. Tim Hohl has poured his heart and soul into the unique heritage-inspired beers at Coin Toss. In fact, the brewery’s name references the historic ‘coin toss’ used to determine Portland’s name. Settle in for a tasting that is one part beer education, one part history lesson to learn about beers inspired by brewing notes from plenty of important historical figures. Keep an eye on the brewery’s website for quirky events like Goat Yoga Happy Hour that are pure Portland.
10 Barrel Brewing
If you like to drink a cold beer on a hot day, make your way to Portland’s uber cool Pearl District, where this whopping beer pub has the market for rooftop beer drinking. There are 20 different taps to choose from at 10 Barrel Brewing, including Bend-based brewery’s famous IPAs, so settle in to watch the sun set with a drink or two.
The rooftop at 10 Barrel Brewing is perfect for sundowners
Baerlic Brewing Company
You don’t have to look far to find Portland’s famous bike riding, bearded hipsters, but if you want to find out where they’re drinking, head straight to this uber cool brewery. A cross between a wood cabin and cool inner city bar, the brewery is the kind of place where you simply pull up a stool at the bar and start chatting to the bar tenders – they’ll take care of the rest. Baerlic Brewing uses locally sourced materials and organic products wherever possible, and there’s 12 different taps to choose from, along with wine and spirits. You’ve got plenty of choice, but since they only serve bar snacks, the bar tenders will encourage you to BYO food or order take away right to your bar stool. Now that’s Portland.
Gigantic Brewing Company
A small craft brewery with very big IPA game, Gigantic’s motto is Never Give an Inch and trust us, you won’t be disappointed with what they have on offer. Not only are these guys seriously committed to their craft, they’re also committed to supporting the local art community. Their beer labels are all designed by different artists – they’re so popular you can even buy labels in poster size to take home.
Source: Out There Starts Here | 8 Aug 2018 | 1:54 amLow rate, no booking fee, 17,000 hotels, 30,000 destinations.
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