Friday, March 30, 2012

The Perfect Spring Break Trip – Visit Harry Potter in London – Tour Opens March 31

Plan a timeshare vacation to London – it’s a happening place this year. As if the 2012 London Olympics and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee weren’t enough reason to be making vacation plans to London, Harry Potter is now in the mix.

March 31, 2012, is the scheduled debut of the “Warner Bros. Studio Tour London - The
Making of Harry Potter” which offers guests a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the Harry Potter movies.

Universal Studios’ The Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park in Orlando is hugely popular, and consequently Universal has announced plans to build the same theme park at Universal Studios Hollywood. While Warner Bros. Studio is ostensibly a rival of Universal, it happens to be the distributor for the Harry Potter film series, and has put together some magic of its own for Harry Potter fans.

The studio tour site at Leavesden Studios is in Watford where all eight of the Harry Potter films were made. It’s a quick train ride just 20 miles from central London.

While not a theme park, The London Studio Tour still wonderfully recreates Harry Potter fun and magic. You’ll be able to explore a number of full-size sets on soundstages that were used in the making of the films, including the Great Hall of Hogwarts (see photo, right), Diagon Alley, and the interior of the Ministry of Magic.

Some of the sets are interactive – for example, you’ll be able to climb into the cupboard under the stairs, which was Harry’s bedroom during his first years with the Dursleys, and you're invited in to explore Dumbledore’s office.

You’ll also get to see recreated outdoor locations such as a portion of the Hogwarts Bridge, and Privet Drive where Harry Potter lived with the Dursleys.

A number of props will also be on display. You’ll see Hagrid’s flying motorbike, the Weasley’s flying Ford Anglia car, and even Harry Potter’s first broomstick, the Nimbus 2000.

Much of this tour is an unguided walkthrough where you’ll be able to set your own pace, and spend as long as you like in certain areas. However, there will be guided, interactive demonstrations, too, where you’ll learn fascinating movie tricks such as how green screens and animatronics help special effects create a realistic “wizzarding world.”

Note – due to the extreme demand, tickets must be pre-purchased and you are assigned a predesignated date and time for your tour.

Make your London vacation a budget-friendly one with London timeshare rentals, where you can get a timeshare for just $157/night. Or stay in Paris, and let EuroStar get you to London in just under two hours. Paris timeshare rentals start at just $129/night.

Remember, if you can’t find a timeshare rental available for when you want to take your vacation, put a listing on RedWishes.

Photo Credit: warnerbros.com

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Looking for a Different Timeshare Vacation for your Spring Break? Try Steampunk!

The marriage of Victorian era elegance with the out-of-this-world elements of science fiction and fantasy gave birth to a new literary sub-genre known as Steampunk. This new child of literature was born sometime in the 1960s, but remained nameless until 1987.

The Appeal of the Victorian Era
The root of Steampunk is derived from Western fashion and culture during the reign of Queen Victoria. From 1837 to 1901, practicality often took a back seat to romanticism and a growing interest in the arts and sciences. An example of this is Victorian architecture, but steampunk gets its real inspiration from Victorian fashions, which were equally elegant for both men and women

This epic era also ushered in the steam engine, which is where the "steam" part of steampunk comes into the picture. Innovations such as trains and steamships were fueled by an increased interest in the sciences of medicine, natural history and transportation—a mentality at the core of steampunk.

The Steampunk Contemporary Counter Culture
Today's steampunk counter-culture takes the Victorian age and improves upon it. Novels are often set in fashionably appointed Victorian homes but along with the high ceilings and delicate window treatments are computers and other gadgets powered by steam.

On the fashion front, steampunkers embrace the Victorian style of dress and blend it with more modern clothing trends. After the literature and fashion caught on, the steampunk movement developed its own artwork, sub-culture, community.

Steampunk Conventions - Creative Victorian Mindfests
Steampunk conventions that bring these elements together are the next logical step, and they happen all across the country. Here are 3 to consider:

1. Florida Steampunk Exhibition East -- Daytona Beach, Florida (April 13-15, 2012)
Hosted by the Florida Steampunk Society, this is the state's first ever steampunk convention. Scheduled performers include Abney Park & Professor Elemental. A masquerade ball, Victorian style feast, English High Tea, and discussion panels are planned.

Check out Daytona Beach timeshare rentals, which start at a low $86/night.

2. AetherFest -- San Antonio, Texas (May 4-6, 2012)
It's not all that surprising that the AetherFest in San Antonio, Texas, is holding its convention at the St Anthony Riverwalk Wyndham Hotel. Built in 1909, the century old property retains its Victorian era style. The oldest steampunk convention in Texas, this event will feature exciting musical performers and fascinating guest authors.

Check out San Antonio timeshare rentals, which start at just $100/night.

3. Gaslight Gathering -- San Diego, CA (May 11-13, 2012)
The Gaslight Gathering in San Diego, California is a true steampunk experience. It is also the first celebration in Southern California dedicated to the genre and all things Victorian. Highlights include the Airship Ambassador Ball, Dr. Charly Tinn’s Traveling Medicine Show, and a Victorian Swimsuit Competition.

Best of all, part of the proceeds go to Freedom Dogs, an organization that trains dogs as companion animals for veterans that have been injured in the line of duty.

Check out San Diego timeshare rentals that start at $100/night.

Steampunk conventions allow followers of this fabricated alter universe a chance to immerse themselves in their chosen genre, exchange ideas, and come up with new story lines or new mechanical marvels. Whether you have been part of the culture for decades, or are a newcomer to the steampunk world, you will have a memorable experience.

About the Author: Kit Pierce loves to read classic literature and blogs about human rights. In her spare time, she writes for attsavings.com. She's interested in steampunk, likes watching funny cat videos, and enjoys discussions about philosophy.

Photo Credit (top): catell-ruz.deviantart.com
Photo Credit (center): flickr.com

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Spring Break Timeshare Vacation Idea – The Family-Friendly French Quarter

Still looking for ideas for that Spring Break trip with the kids? Bet you hadn’t thought of New Orleans’ French Quarter. There are many kid-friendly sights and activities in the French Quarter, making that a great family timeshare vacation destination.

Historic Jackson Square, in the heart of the French Quarter, fairly teems with street entertainers. Musicians play musical instruments of all kinds, often where your children can walk up and stand right beside someone playing a trombone or a clarinet, or even bongo drums, and get a close-up experience of how that instrument makes its sounds.

With such toe-tapping music going on, of course there are a lot of dancers. When your kids watch a group of fancy tappers, they’ll be right out there trying it themselves.

A scenic boardwalk across from Jackson Square crosses over a levee, connecting the city with the riverfront, and is known as the “Moon Walk,” (after Mayor Moon Landrieu who was instrumental in getting the boardwalk built). This is where your kids can watch street performers such as fascinating mimes, amazing unicyclists, acrobats, and clowns.

Every day in Jackson Square and nearby “Priates Alley” artists set up their easels, giving your children the opportunity to watch a painted picture take shape right before their eyes. You can see many examples of this artwork displayed on the iconic wrought iron fences.

Your kids will love the French Market, where artisans display many different hand-made items, from jewelry to wood carvings, and including handcrafted toys and novelties. There’s also a chance to get to watch New Orleans’ famous Pralines being made, as well as to purchase Mardi Gras masks and souvenirs that are actually crafted by locals.

And what is a trip to New Orleans without a ride on one of its famous streetcars? While you’ll have to leave the French Quarter for this activity, it’s well worth it. You can ride a street car for just $1.25 per person (children 2 and under ride free). You’ll have a wonderful open-air ride through the Garden District where you’ll pass by magnificent mansions and lush gardens. Stay on the streetcar for a great way to get to the Audobon Zoo.

Although it’s true that some parts of the French Quarter are “X-rated”, prior planning can allow your family to miss those areas, and find the fun, family-friendly spots that can make a great spring break vacation.

New Orleans timeshare rentals start as low as $79/night for some great spring break deals.

Photo Credit (top): capturedrainbows.com
Photo Credit (center): shutterstock.com

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Timeshare Travel #TravelTuesday – Connecticut


Springtime in Connecticut - submitted by Vada J. from Dallas, TX.

Submit your photo to #TravelTuesday! Just send it via email to us at: learnmore (at) redweek (dot) com. Let us know your name, where you are from, and where the photo was taken.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Become an Informed Timeshare Consumer

March's "Ask The Timeshare Crusader" question comes from Howard:

I am trying to become an informed consumer before purchasing a timeshare. I have read books on timeshare, the forums pages on RedWeek.com, and the articles in TimeSharing

Today, among other things, and am more confused than ever.
There seems to be a glut of information out there, but no consensus on much of anything - is it better to buy directly from a developer or resale; points versus deeded ownership; vacation club or single resort ownership?

The options are endless. Plus, whenever I go to a timeshare presentation, I hear stories of doom and gloom unless I spend yet more money to "upgrade". What am I to believe?


Lisa Ann's Answer:

I agree with you that there is a ton of information out there and yet not much agreement on anything except a few salient (no upfront fees) points. As I've stated before - and also mentioned in my "Timeshare Vacation for Dummies" book - stay away from absolutes. Some timeshare owners LOVE their timeshares and have learned how to use them, and some are still wandering aimlessly.

If you own a timeshare in a place that you love, that keeps annual fees at a reasonable level, that has regular communication with you, and so on, then you will likely be happy with your purchase. However, as a potential buyer, there can be confusion - and maybe even worry - when reading stories from owners at resorts facing bankruptcy, or resorts charging hundres or thousands of dollars in special assessments.

It's important to understand who is giving out information and then discern what their motivation is for giving out that information. When dealing with a timeshare salesperson, take what they say with a grain of salt and by all means, verify what they say before making any decision.

When reading forums or blog posts, try to discern what the author's agenda is: were they scammed and now hate the entire timeshare industry; do they own at a resort that is not treating owners fairly, or treats their owners wonderfully; are they affiliated with a resort or brokerage and are trying to 'sell' via third-party forums and blog sites? Generally there are clues if you read carefully and try to verify the information you are reading.

I applaud you for being as informed as you can. Remember that there are great resources out there, you just need to do the legwork and find them.

Share Your Thoughts
Care to comment on Lisa Ann’s answer? Please leave a comment below, or join the conversation on our Ask the Timeshare Crusader forum.

You can also read more of Lisa Ann’s timeshare advice on RedWeek’s The Timeshare Crusader.

Friday, March 23, 2012

3 Top Timeshare Vacation Destinations for Spring Break Outside the U.S.

Making plans for a Spring Break trip? Think outside the U.S., and head to one of these Top 3 Spring Break destinations as suggested by Fodders. One of the world’s largest and most popular publishers of travel guidebooks, Fodders has listed 3 top destinations outside the U.S. for spring travel for 2012. Each of them also offers a great selection of budget-friendly timeshare rentals. Below are excerpts from the Foddor article by Elissa Richard.

1. Tuscany
Why Go Now: Before summer’s tourist crowds pour in, rub elbows with the Tuscan locals for age-old spring festivals a bit on the quirky side. These are dedicated to everything from medieval-style crossbow competitions (several locations, dates vary) to cart explosions (Scoppio del Carro in Florence, April 8), to luck-carrying crickets (Festa del Grillo in Florence, May 17).

Insider Tip: Explore pastoral Tuscan landscapes with Pure Adventures - a self-guided tour, customized with cooking classes or wine tastings.

Check out Tuscany timeshare rentals. Read how you can't eat too much pasta in Tuscany.

2. Mallorca
Why Go Now: Head to Spain’s most popular Mediterranean isle during the third week of May for the amazing medieval festival, held at Capdepera Castle, commenorating the founding of the town by King James II in 1300. Decorated for the festival in medieval style the town and castle are filled with lights, colors, sounds and scents that transport visitors back to the Middle Ages.

Insider Tip: Mallorca’s Serra de Tramuntana Mountains have recently been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and are primed for hiking.

Check out Mallorca timeshare rentals. Learn more things to do in Mallorca.


9. Saint Lucia
Why Go Now: While peak winter crowds and rates typically wind down after April, the annual Saint Lucia Jazz Festival (April 30–May 13), headlined by Lionel Richie this year, ensures that Saint Lucia remains on the Caribbean’s hot list well into spring.

Insider Tip: Catch weekly jazz headlined by renowned local artist Carl Gustave at the Bay Gardens.(Thursday nights through late spring).

Check out St. Lucia timeshare rentals. Read more about the Saint Lucia Jazz Festival.

Photo Credits: fodders.com

For more Spring Break destinations from Fodder's list see 3 Top U.S. Spring Break Trips

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Great Spring Break Travel Off the Beaten Path – Lake Chelan, Washington

Lake Chelan, in Washington State, has so many activities - from great restaurants to fun nightlife, from exciting outdoor pursuits to some of the most beautiful scenery in the U.S - that if you stay for a week you still won't be able to see it all, and you'll have the time of your life!

Let's start off with one of the most obvious and best Lake Chelan traits: the weather. With over 300 days of sunshine every year, outdoor pursuits are one of the great reasons to visit the area. Whether you're playing on the water, sunning at one of the many beaches, or enjoying any of the great outdoor activities the area is known for, you'll almost guaranteed to get your daily dose of vitamin D!

Water Sports. The other obvious thing to do in Lake Chelan is to play on or in the lake itself. At over 50 miles long, the lake has plenty of room for fun water sports like water skiing, wake boarding, tubing, jet skiing, fishing and sightseeing. Don't have a boat? There are several companies in Lake Chelan that rent different kinds of watercraft – from jet skis to ski boats to pontoon boats, for just a few hours or for multiple days!

Wine Tasting. The Lake Chelan area is also home to seventeen world class wineries, and you can go on winery tours, wine tastings, and even meet the winemakers themselves. Though the local winemaking area is relatively new, the wineries have already started making a name for themselves on the international wine scene.

For the Kids. Kids don't get left out at Lake Chelan, without a doubt. One of the most popular destinations in Chelan for kids is Slidewaters Waterslide Park. Slidewaters has 11 waterslides, heated pools, and the fun Aqua Zoo for the little ones.

One other can't miss activity for kids is The Sunshine Farm. A working farm, visitors can take a hayride past llamas, goats, and cattle, and pick their own fruit. Not only do kids have a blast, but they even might learn a thing or two about farms.

Golf. Now home to three 18 hole golf courses, Lake Chelan has plenty to offer the golf aficionado. Lake Chelan Golf Course has been the local course for years, and Alta Vista Golf Course has been challenging golfers in the nearby Methow Valley for over 35 years. The newest course is challenging Bear Mountain Ranch.

Nightlife. Hit the casino! That's right, nearby Manson is home to Mill Bay Casino, one of Washington State's best casinos. Mill Bay Casino features over five hundred slot machines, table games like blackjack, craps, roulette and pai gow, and also a poker room. If you want to get your groove on, Heat Night Club at Mill Bay Casino is the area's hottest dance spot, and features both DJ's and nationally known recording artists.

Looking for a laid back, relaxing Spring Break vacation – with all of the activity you could want thrown in? You'll have a memorable timeshare vacation in the jewel of Central Washington – Lake Chelan.

Our guest author, Randall Pinkston, is the founder of Neotravel.com, a travel deals aggregator, the web's leading source for Budget Rental Car coupons.

Photo Credits: flickr.com

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

ARDA: Owners from Bluegreen Vacations featured as March “Timeshare Fans of the Month”

The American Resort Development Association (ARDA) announced that owners from Bluegreen Vacations are the March Timeshare Fans of the Month. Ten owners share their experiences vacationing with timeshare and give us a glimpse into a world of better vacationing. This ARDA video is the fifth in a monthly series showcasing the passion of timeshare owners.

One owner in the video explains. “Owning this timeshare has transformed our lives, our world,” says Sheri L. “We are visiting places we never thought we’d see.”

“Friends tell us they spend over $2,000 for a week visiting Disneyworld,” remarks another owner. “Not us,” says Ben and Traci B. “With our timeshare and the kitchen, we don’t even come close. It can get expensive to rent hotel rooms and eat every meal out.”



Owners agree that there is no comparison between a hotel room and a timeshare vacation. The space, the amenities and the service set timeshare apart. With more than 8 million owners, a satisfaction rate of 85 percent and an occupancy rate that outpaced hotel occupancy by more than 20 percent, it is clear that this segment of the travel industry is faring well. Take the time to find out why.

A timeshare may be purchased through deeded property ownership, right-to-use or a points-based program. Owners purchase a villa, usually in one-week increments, within a fixed (same week each year) or “floating” system. Floating time allows the owner to schedule each year’s vacation for the desired week within a specified season.

Photo is Bluegreen Resorts Atlantic Palace, Atlantic City

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Timeshare Travel #TravelTuesday – Virginia


Rockefeller DeWitt-Wallace Museum, Williamsburg, VA, home to an extensive collection of American and British antiques, especially of the 18th century. Submitted by Joseph Gosha, North Carolina.

Submit your photo to #TravelTuesday! Just send it via email to us at: learnmore (at) redweek (dot) com. Let us know your name, where you are from, and where the photo was taken.

Monday, March 19, 2012

2012 List of 25 Top Timeshare Rental Resorts Voted By RedWeek Members

The annual Top 25 list of timeshare rental resorts has just been released by RedWeek.com. The Top 25 ranking is determined by the e-mail alert preferences of you, our more than 1.5 million registered users.

The complete list of top 25 timeshare rental resorts can be found on RedWeek.com. Featured below are the top three resorts, including reviews from happy travelers.

1. Harborside Resort Atlantis, Paradise Island, Bahamas
Timeshare rentals start at just $129/night, and Resales* start at $200.
Review: “The waterpark at the Atlantis is simply amazing. We thought it was awesome seven years ago when we visited, and it has been built up quite a bit since then with several new slides and an AWESOME lazy river ride, complete with rapids and tunnels.”

2. Marriott’s Maui Ocean Club, Lahaina, Maui
Timeshare rentals start at just $114/night, and Resales* start at $2000.
Review: “Once again a terrific vacation at Marriott’s Maui Ocean Club! We love the spaciousness of the 2-bedroom, 3-bath units of the two center buildings. The oceanfront units are especially close to the beach and have a lot more lanai area than the newer units.”


3. The Manhattan Club, New York City
Timeshare rentals start at a city-friendly $133/night, and Resales* start at $500.
Review: “Great value for New York City! Spacious rooms relative to New York hotels. Fantastic location near Times Square, Central Park, Carnegie Hall, and Fifth Avenue.”


*Annual maintenance fees apply to all timeshare resales.

Friday, March 16, 2012

ShamrockFest – A Wild and Crazy St. Patrick’s Day Celebration!

If you’re looking for a way to go all out for the “Wearin’-O-The-Green” this year, head to ShamrockFest in Washington, D.C. This isn’t your laid-back St. Patrick’s Day celebration – this is definitely thinking outside the box.

Well, ShamrockFest will have green beer – and beer packages that include Guinness, Harp, and Killians. But that's where the similarity to other St. Patrick's Day celebrations ends.

Get ready for possibly the best party in the history of St. Paddy celebrations, with 50 live bands, DJs, and other entertainers on 10 massive stages. The entertainment includes Irish punk band Dropkick Murphys, rousing and raucous Sythian, and fan favorite Gaelic Storm who combine traditional Gaelic music with American rock and pop.

Along with one crazy Leprechaun, ShamrockFest’s Irish Village offers the Shamrock Pub Games – “a ridiculous spectacle in which participants test their shame-level like never before.” The games include the Green Balloon Partner Squeeze, the Best Mens’ Legs in Kilt contest, and of course the ever popular St. Patrick’s Day Hula Hoop contest. It’s free to enter the games, and there will be cash prizes.

Scattered among the musical stages and the fifteen party areas will be carnival rides, Taste of Ireland food pavilions, and the DC Gael’s Irish Football National Tournament.

ShamrockFest will be held in Washington, DC, at the RFK Stadium Festival Grounds. And the good news? It’s on Saturday, March 24th! When else would you hold the wildest and craziest St. Patrick’s Day celebration?

So you still have time to make plans to attend. And to help your ShamrockFest trip be really budget-friendly, gather your mates and split the cost of a timeshare rental. You can get a timeshare rental at Wyndham’s Old Town Alexandria for as little as $71/night to sleep four. That’s less than $20/night per person – for some luxury digs!

Photo Credit: dealupa.com

Thursday, March 15, 2012

For a Spring Break Destination or Summer Vacation - Think Park City!

The historic mining town of Park City, Utah, is better known now for the number of tourists it draws from around the world to its famous ski resorts. Just 20 miles from downtown Salt Lake and only 45 minutes drive from the Salt Lake International Airport, here visitors can find some of the best snow and most accessible ski resorts in the western US.

Deer Valley Resort and Canyons Resorts held the public spotlight as they hosted many of the ski and snowboarding events at the 2002 Winter Olympics. Visitors can still spend a day at the former but still active Olympic ski jump site and the Bob Sled track.

With over 64 historic buildings and numerous old mining sites the city has a rich history. Founded in 1884 Park City the first visitors were miners attracted by rich silver deposits in the local mountains which gave up over 400 million in silver. The silver boom ended by the 1930’s and the town began to develop its tourism industry.

The small historic streets of Park City are lined with upscale shops, great clubs and a fantastic array of bars and restaurants. Shoppers on a budget can head a few minutes off the historic main streets and visit the largest collection of factory outlet stores in Utah just off the freeway.

If skiing is not your thing the city is host to the Sundance Film Festival, one of the United States' largest independent film events. The event is held annually typically during the 3rd week in January and tickets to the most popular films generally sell out well in advance. So plan now for next year.

Since Park City lies at 7000 feet temperatures are cool and comfortable for those seeking a retreat from the summer heat. Nearby reservoirs host great trout fishing and water skiing and the Wasatch and nearby Uinta Mountains have great opportunities for camping, hiking and backpacking.

Mountain bikers can find delight in the numerous and easily accessible trails that are just minutes from the city. Even in the winter visitors who favor cross-country skiing can find solitude on many miles of ski trails in these local mountains.

For more information on popular vacation destinations to help you plan your timeshare vacation, visit touristlink.com.

Budget-friendly Park City timeshare rentals are available, starting as low as $64/night.

Our guest author, Dr. David Urmann, is CEO and co-founder of VisitUSA.com. Dr. Urmann is an entrepreneur whose global perspective and scientific background have helped him launch successful business ventures in both the travel and outsourcing industries. He has a passion for travel, and his favorite destinations are the canyons of southern Utah , the Himalayas and the beaches of the Philippines.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

3 Top U.S. Spring Break Trips

Fodor’s, one of the world’s largest and most popular publishers of travel guidebooks, has listed 3 top U.S. destinations for spring travel for 2012. Each of them also offers a great selection of budget-friendly timeshare rentals. Below are excerpts from the Foddor article by Elissa Richard.

New York City.
Why Go Now: Baseball season openers: Yankees (April 13) and Mets (April 5), cherry blossoms set the Brooklyn Botanic Garden ablaze (April 21–29), and the reels turn at the Tribeca Film Festival(April 18–29).

Insider Tip: Join an Urban Oyster walking tour “Revealing the hidden pearls of New York City’s neighborhoods.” You’ll get an expert guide-led glimpse of such authentic NYC bits as Manhattan food carts, Brooklyn breweries, and a chance to Eat Like a Local.

Check out New York City timeshare rentals, right in the center of all the action, starting at just $143/night.

Miami.

Why Go Now: Beach bum? Culture aficianado? Sports fan? It's all here. Dance it up at ULTRA Music Festival's techno bash (March 23–25); and indulge your taste buds at the Miami Wine & Food Festival (April 18–21). Sports enthusiasts are anticipating the new state-of-the-art Miami Marlins stadium (it opens April 4), complete with a duo of aquariums set behind home plate.

Insider Tip: For 25 cents, ride the South Beach Local bus for a quick-and-easy tour of the fun Art Deco Historic District.

You can find many great Spring Break deals with Miami Beach timeshare rentals starting at just $100/night.

Paso Robles.

Why Go Now: Tour the wine trails of this burgeoning California wine region in mid-May and catch the 30th annual Paso Robles Wine Festival (May 18–20), with 70 area wineries pouring into Downtown City Park, and many local chefs showcasing their farm-fresh fare. And the 20th annual Hospice du Rhone, the world’s largest international celebration of Rhone wine varieties, will be held April 26 – 28.

Insider Tip: Build your preference-based wine tasting itinerary via the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance’s recently launched Interactive Trip Planner.

Timeshare rentals are available throughout the California Wine Country and start at just $99/night.

Photo Credits: fodor.com

Read the Fodor article in its entirety here.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Timeshare Travel #TravelTuesday – Colorado



Hiking in the La Platta Mountains of the San Juan range near Durango, CO - submitted by Zack F, Denver, CO.

Submit your photo to #TravelTuesday! Just send it via email to us at: learnmore (at) redweek (dot) com. Let us know your name, where you are from, and where the photo was taken.

Monday, March 12, 2012

New Attractions at Disney’s California Adventure Park Almost Ready

Tom Staggs, Chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, has announced that the five-year expansion of Disney California Adventure park will be complete on June 15 with the opening of Cars Land, Buena Vista Street and Carthay Circle Theatre.

The Happiest Place on Earth will get even happier with four new attractions – Radiator Springs Racers, Luigi’s Flying Tires, Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree and the Red Car Trolley – as well as new dining and shopping locations such as Flo’s V8 CafĂ©, Clarabelle’s Hand-Scooped Ice Cream, Elias & Co. and Los Feliz Five & Dime.

Disney California Adventure park will offer guests even more new experiences in addition to the attractions that have been added since the expansion began in 2007.

Take a look back at the additions to Disney California Adventure park and a look ahead at all the new things to come this summer:



“As we approach the finish line of our expansion of Disney California Adventure park, I am extremely proud of the passion, creativity and innovation that have gone into this entire project over the last several years,” said Skaggs. “When we’re done, this park will be a testament to what we at Disney Parks do best – connect our guests to the iconic stories, characters and music they love…making memories that will last a lifetime.”

Plan your summer vacation to Disney’s new California Adventure now. Take a look at all of the budget-friendly Anaheim timeshare rentals.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Spring Break and 8 Top iPad Travel Apps

Have iPad Will Travel! Just in time for Spring Break timeshare vacations and the start of the 2012 travel season comes this list of Top 8 iPad travel apps (so far) for 2012, as compiled by the web sites Market Watch and PhoneReview.

1. XE Currency Converter - a currency converter will obviously come in very handy when working out how much things cost when abroad.

2. Google Translate - translates differing languages so you don’t have to struggle to find that word you are looking for when conversing in a foreign country, and it does have the ability to translate from speech.

3. HG2 app - packed full of local knowledge of hot spots, nightclubs, pubs and bars in numerous cities, it’s an essential guide that covers 41 cities.

4. Kindle app - for those long flights or airport layovers when you just might like something to read; basically turns your iOS slate into an ereader so you can access the Amazon Strorefront and grab some reading material for your journey.

5. Packing Pro - a handy check list of what things you want to pack for your trip; also, put in the type of trip you are going on and this app will offer suggestions on what you should pack.

6. Urbanspoon (see photo) - can suggest a restaurant for you based on price range, cuisine, and neighborhood, or you can simply opt to give your iPad a shake and you’ll get a random suggestion.

7. TourWrist - makes it possible for the you to create a 360-degree panorama of your travels, capturing views from wherever you visit. You can also get inspiration by viewing other travelers’ tours.

8. Twitter app - to keep up with your Twitter updates while on your travels. You can also use Twitter to find out what a place is really like from people who have already been there, and from bloggers and businesses in that area.

There are many more travel apps out there for the iPad. Have a favorite not listed here? Share it in the comments below!

Armed with your handy travel apps, you’re ready to see the world. Budget-friendly timeshare rentals are available across the globe for great savings.

Photo Credit: urbanspoon.com

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Timeshare Vacation – Walt Disney World or Universal Orlando? Part 2

Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando are two of the most popular destinations in Florida But if you only have the time (or the budget) to visit one or the other, which should you opt for? Part 2 of our 2-part series continues to look at the pros and cons of each theme park destination. Use these tips to choose the best one for your next Orlando timeshare rental vacation.

Budget
At first glance, prices for Universal and Disney are about the same. You’ll pay about the same price to enter, and fast food meals cost out about the same as well.

Where the parks differ is in the amount of merchandise offered for sale and the number of expensive table service dining locations.

While both Universal and Disney offer merchandise, Disney’s knack for display and upselling means you’ll likely part with more cash in a Disney park than a Universal one. The exception is in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, where shops such Ollivanders are full-scale attractions as well as mere retail outlets.

You’ll get a great meal when you visit the Disney theme parks—but you’ll pay more for it as well. Epcot alone has more than 10 fine dining spots – compare this to the paltry table service offerings at Universal. With more places and menus to tempt you, you’ll almost certainly pay more to dine at Disney.

Lines and Wait Times
On the busiest days (spring break, 4th of July, Christmas day), both resorts will be swamped with guests, and both will have equally long wait times. For regular times of year, Disney may be a better bet if you want to spend less time waiting in line, provided you stay at a Disney resort.

With extra magic hours, free Fastpasses and excellent line/wait time estimates, Disney is a little better at crowd control than Universal. While some areas of Universal are manageable, the big attractions like Dueling Dragons, Spiderman and the Hulk Coaster have overwhelming lines on average days. Universal does offer a front-of-line pass, but you’ll pay for the privilege.

Rides and Attractions:
Both theme park areas offer outstanding rides and attractions. In general, Universal rides tend to be on a larger scale – more thrilling, more scary, more intense – than Disney ones. If you prefer the big thrills of a huge coaster or want to be wowed by the motion of a ride, head to Universal.

Disney isn’t thrill free, but the thrill rides are interspersed with more family friendly rides and attractions. If you want to marvel at the storyline and be captivated by your overall ride experience – and don’t care as much about the thrills, head to Disney.

Which ever theme park you chose for a great vacation you'll save by staying in a budget-friendly timeshare rental. Check out Orlando timeshare rentals, and Disney timeshare rentals for a big variety from which to chose.

Samantha McNesby is a freelance writer specializing in topics related to travel, parenting, and the home. Samantha has been a writer for 12 years, and covers the Disney and Orlando theme parks for a variety of online and print publications. This includes Theme Park Tourist, the web’s leading source for theme park news.

Photo Credit: guardian.co.uk

Timeshare Vacation – Walt Disney World or Universal Orlando? Part 1

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Timeshare Spotlight: Silver Anniversary for Desert Springs Resort

For a quarter-century, Desert Springs has been a major part of Palm Desert and the Coachella Valley tourism scene, drawing travelers from around the globe. The resort, which spans 450 acres, marked its silver anniversary in February.

It takes about 1,200 employees to operate Desert Springs, which includes five restaurants, two Ted Robinson-designed championship golf courses, 20 tennis courts — including three clay and two grass — and a 38,000-square-foot spa facility.

Many local tourism leaders say the sheer scope of the Desert Springs and the fact that it was the first real year-round, all-inclusive destination resort and convention center here helped change travelers' perceptions about the Coachella Valley.

It took almost four years to build the Desert Springs, and the ambitious project turned out to be a catalyst for other large hotel development in the years to come.

Marriott Vacation Club International member Dick Bunn from Philadelphia has villa at Desert Springs with his family, which includes children and grandchildren, for six years. What keeps Bunn coming back is “what I call a hospitality mentality,” as well as the valley's entertainment options such as the McCallum Theatre, museums, festivals and entertainment options.

Chicagoans Ron and Fern Shapiro have been Marriott Vacation Club members for nearly eight years and own two villas at Desert Springs.

“The way in which they preserve the grounds is excellent,” Ron Shapiro said, and while they don't play golf, nothing stops them from appreciating The Valley and The Palms courses. “Visually, it's a wonderful experience,” Ron Shapiro said.

Marriott’s Desert Springs Villas
has timeshare rentals that start at just $79/night.

Source: The Desert Sun/ Mike Perrault

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Timeshare Travel #TravelTuesday – San Diego


A Silver Strand Beach sunset in San Diego, submitted by Shirley V of California.

Submit your photo to #TravelTuesday! Just send it via email to us at: learnmore (at) redweek (dot) com. Let us know your name, where you are from, and where the photo was taken.

Monday, March 05, 2012

London Olympics 2012 - Moving Right Along

Planning a timeshare vacation to London? Here’s an update on the London Olympics 2012, which will be held July 27 through August 12, 2012.

In January, with still six months to go, the Olympic and Paraolympic Village site was officially completed and handed over to the London 2012 Organizing Committee (LOCOG). Immediately following the handover, work began on fitting out the 2,818 new apartments.

These apartments have been built in 11 residential plots, complete with spacious courtyards, gardens and balconies, in a project that has provided work for more than 16,500 people.

The Olympic and Paralympic Village will be able to house up to 16,000 athletes and team officials during the Olympic Games, and 6,200 athletes and team officials plus 1,000 referees and umpires during the Paralympic Games.

Outfitting the Village includes installing 64,000 bed sheets and 11,000 sofas, constructing the 24-hour main dining facility with 5,000 seats, and building the Olympic Village Plaza, the main social hub featuring essential shops and services.

ODA chairman John Armitt said: “The Olympic and Paralympic Village has been built by companies from every part of the UK, working together to ensure it was completed on time and overcoming the challenges posed by the credit crunch and economic downturn.

“We will be finishing the landscaping as winter turns into spring, and then returning after the Games to complete the transformation to create new homes for Londoners,” said Armitt.

After the Games, the Village will create a legacy of new homes in a new community to be known as East Village in London. Over 1300 will provide high-quality affordable housing, and the remaining properties will be sold as private residences.

Meanwhile, London organizers have revealed the first details of the Olympic flame’s journey from Greece to Great Britain.

The flame will be lit by the sun’s rays May 10 at the Temple of Hera in Olympia, in a traditional hour-long ceremony. After an 8-day relay around Greece the flame will arrive on May 18th in England aboard a gold-liveried British Airways plane, having been placed in a miner’s lantern for safety during the flight.

While some star athletes and celebrities will be included, in the torch relay across Great Britain, most of the torchbearers have been nominated from community ballots.

“We’ll have 8,000 inspirational people across the UK carrying the Olympic Flame during the Torch Relay,” said a spokesperson. “Their personal stories will have the power to inspire millions of people watching around the world, and as the Olympic Torch makes its way across the UK on a 70-day journey it will bring the excitement of the Games to everyone.”

Check out timeshare rentals in Great Britain here. And remember, you can always rent a timeshare in Paris and enjoy London - just 2 hours by speedy EuroStar.

Photo Credit: insidethegames.biz

Friday, March 02, 2012

Take a Timeshare Vacation to Las Vegas And Enjoy the Outdoors

There are any number of party towns around the globe, but only one that claims the “Party Capital of the World” title – Las Vegas. For razzle and dazzle nowhere else does it with such pizazz.

But away from the city’s glitz and glamor is a surprising other world that’s also worth exploring. Las Vegas sits in an arid basin on the desert floor, where the environment is dominated by desert vegetation and wildlife. Just 30 minutes from the “Party Capital” is The Lake Mead National Recreation Area, named for the reservoir that was formed when the Hoover Dam was built across the Colorado River.

Tours can be taken through and around Hoover Dam. This National Historic Landmark is one of the 7 Man-Made Wonders of the World.

The Hoover Dam by-pass bridge, named the Mike O'Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge, opened in 2010. Instead of driving over the dam, traffic now crosses the Colorado River via this bridge that has been placed between the rock cliffs that form Black Canyon. At 890 feet above the river, this is the highest, and longest, arched concrete bridge in the Western Hemisphere.

The Lake Mead Recreation Area offers outstanding year-round outdoor recreational opportunities. Boating on the 112-mile-long Lake Mead, with its myriad islands, inlets, and hidden coves, is one of the most popular. All types of boats can be rented from 5 different marinas, for water skiing (see photo right), kayaking, and even fishing. (Ask nice, and you might learn that the locals go for the big trout at Willow Beach, while Cottonwood Cove offers great bass fishing.)

If you enjoy hiking and biking, the Recreation Area is crisscrossed with numerous trails, and approved backcountry roads are marked. (Remember – this is the desert. Be sure to always carry plenty of water, go with a buddy, and let someone know your itinerary.)

If you feel like you are in the Old West – you are. Especially when you visit the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation area. Here you can enjoy a family-owned ranch with an Old West setting. Its Cowboy Trail Rides (see top photo) offers horseback rides guided by professional wranglers along trails that wind through the valley in a natural setting worthy of any classic Western movie.

Imagine gambling in a major casino, dancing at a swinging nightclub, and seeing a hit show at night, and by day being able to water ski or horseback ride. Leave it to Las Vegas to have it all.

And staying in Las Vegas is very affordable if you know the secret of timeshare rentals which start as low as $53/night.

Photo Credit (top) visitlasvegas.com
Photo Credit (center) personalwatercraft.com

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Timeshare Vacation - Walt Disney World or Universal Orlando? Part 1

Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando are two of the most popular destinations in Florida—and in the entire United States as well. You’ll find plenty of great things to see and do in each of the competing theme park resorts. Both are packed with attractions designed to tempt and delight visitors, so you’re sure to have a great time, no matter which you choose to visit.

But how to make the decision of where to go? In our 2-Part series we’ll look at some pros and cons of each theme park destination to help you in planning your Orlando timeshare vacation.

If you only have the time (or the budget) to visit one or the other, base your decision on such things as the types of rides you prefer, the age of your kids, and what type of atmosphere you gravitate towards.

Employees and Service
One of the biggest differences between the Walt Disney World parks and the Universal Orlando parks is the overall feeling and atmosphere. From the second you walk through the turnstiles of a Disney resort, you’re treated as a welcome, honored guest – or a member of the family. It is not unusual for Disney Cast Members to greet visitors by name (for those wearing nametags or badges), or to address even the smallest girls as “princess”.

Disney employees are known for their friendly, caring behavior, and the attention to cleanliness and order at the Disney parks is one of the things that keeps fans coming back again and again. Fall down and cut your knee? You’ll find yourself surrounded almost instantly by Cast Members trying to help.

Lose track of your little one? Disney has a plan to help, and part of that plan is assigning a Cast Member to you while everyone else looks for your child. (Your lost kiddo gets a special cast member too, along with a fun spot to play until you are reunited).

Over at Universal, folks are friendly, but generally not quite as engaging as their equivalents at Walt Disney World. You can usually find help, but you will have to ask for it. While you’re unlikely to have a bad experience at Universal, if you are looking for outstanding service, head to Disney.

Child-Friendliness
The age of your kids will determine which park is best for your family. Have a ton of toddlers or a pack of preschoolers? Head to the Magic Kingdom (see photo) at Walt Disney World; it truly is the happiest place on earth for these little ones.

Hauling along primary school children? You’re in luck—both resorts will serve your needs equally well. Kids in this age group are likely to be tall enough for most rides, and are old enough to enjoy them and follow the story line.

Got tweens? Universal may just have the edge here, thanks to the addition of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. If you are bringing along a Hogwarts fan, you won’t want to miss this area, located in the Islands of Adventure section of Universal Orlando.

Older kids and teens may prefer Universal, thanks to the park’s hipper, edgier vibe. Universal has more thrilling rides than Disney, for the most part, so thrill seekers might give the edge to Universal as well.

Which ever theme park you chose for a great vacation you'll save by staying in a budget-friendly timeshare rental. Check out Orlando timeshare rentals, and Disney timeshare rentals for a big variety from which to chose.

Our guest author is Samantha McNesby, a freelance writer specializing in topics related to travel, parenting, and the home. Samantha has been a writer for 12 years, and covers the Disney and Orlando theme parks for a variety of online and print publications. This includes Theme Park Tourist, the web’s leading source for theme park news.

Photo Credit: travelblog.viator.com