Friday, August 31, 2012

Knott’s Berry Farm is Really Fun! Review from an 8-Year Old

Written by 8-Year Old Guest Blogger, Lee W.

Most people always go to Disneyland, and so do we. But this time we went to Knott’s Berry Farm for the first time. My whole family really liked this place. There are rides that anybody, no matter how old you are, can have fun with.

My very favorite parts of Knott’s Berry Farm are the trains. They have three of them! On the “Calico Mine Ride” you get to go into a mine and see them looking for gold.

And there’s a train in Camp Snoopy for the little kids (my little sister liked this one). I really wanted to ride the Huff and Puff but I was 2 inches too tall. This train has “Pumper Cars” – that’s where you get to push and pull a handle to make yourself go down the train track.

My favorite train is called the “Grand Sierra Scenic Railroad.” It’s a real steam train and so fun to ride. It chugs you all around the park. But, you have to be careful because you might be riding when robbers get on board and they try to get your money. That happened to me!

In Camp Snoopy I really liked the Red Baron ride. I got to join famous World War I flying ace Snoopy and pilot my own Sopwith Camel! I love Snoopy. We watch the Halloween and Christmas movies every year. I asked Mom to get me a Snoopy stuffed toy, since it was my birthday. She did. Thanks mom!

Knott’s Berry Farm has some good roller coasters. My little sister liked the toddler roller coaster called “Timberline Twister.” She also picked a ride everybody in the family liked a lot, called the “Timber Mountain Log Ride.” I’m used to going on “Splash Mountain” in Disneyland with my mom. This ride was kind of like it. We sailed down the water chutes and it had an old west theme all around to look at along the way. The drop at the end was not as big as Splash Mountain, which was good for my little sister.

Knott’s Berry Farm is different from Disneyland because it’s made like the old west California Gold Rush Days. There’s a real blacksmith shop where you can get a horseshoe with your name hammered into it and a cowboy stunt show called “Fool’s Gold Stunt Show,” that was really cute and funny. And they even have a real stage coach that is pulled by real horses and we got to ride that.

My parents said that Knott’s Berry Farm is worth going to because it costs lots less than Disneyland. And if you get your tickets online before you go you can save even more money. Our whole family had lots of fun here.

Guest Blog Author: Our guest author is Lee W., who just celebrated his 8th birthday at Knott’s Berry Farm. Lee’s passion is trains, and he has volunteered at the Poway Midland Rail Road in San Diego, CA, since he was 5 years old.

Side Note: 
Knott’s Berry Farm is considered the world’s first theme park. In 1940, while still a real berry farm, Walter Knott built a themed Ghost Town to entertain diners waiting for tables at his wife’s fried chicken restaurant.

Knott’s Berry Farm is less than ten minutes from Disneyland, and is a great “best bang for your buck” park for entertainment every member of the family can enjoy. Plan to stretch your vacation budget even further by staying in an Anaheim timeshare rental, which can start as low as $86/night.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

4 Quintessentially English Things to do in England on Your Timeshare Vacation

Are you planning a timeshare rental vacation in England? What with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, the London Olympics 2012, and now the Paralympics 2012 which are currently underway, you’ve heard a lot about England this year.

There are hundreds of activities you can look forward to while you’re in Merry Old England. From boat trips to sightseeing tours and from walks along the beach to taking in a West End show, this beautiful country offers so much for every visitor. However, there are times when you need to do as the locals do, so here are a few quintessentially English things you should consider doing during your stay.

1. Afternoon Tea (see top photo). Afternoon tea has been an English institution for many years, and a large number of restaurants and hotels offer some sort of variation on this pleasant and dignified meal. Be sure to choose a place that offers a variety of tea blends - don’t just settle for somewhere that provides a pot of tea and a couple of scones. A genuine English afternoon tea will also include freshly prepared finger sandwiches and a tempting choice of delicate cakes and biscuits.

2. A Walk in the Park. Wherever you happen to be in England, even in the midst of a bustling city, you won’t be far away from some wide open spaces. Public parks are the perfect place to go when you feel the need for a little tranquility, and on a warm afternoon it can be wonderful to sit on the grass, eat an ice cream and watch the world go by. Visitors to London will be pleasantly surprised at the sheer number of parks in this iconic capital. Regent’s Park (see photo) is one of eight “Royal Parks” of London.

3. Fish and Chips. Many people who have never been to England assume the country offers little in the way of cuisine, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. There are huge choices when dinner time comes around, ranging from high end restaurants run by famous chefs to back street bistros offering cheap but tasty fare. Fish and chips is a meal that’s synonymous with England, so make sure you try it at least once, especially if you are staying close to the coastline.

4. See a Cricket Match. While cricket is extremely popular in some countries, in many others it’s perhaps nothing more than a quirky oddity. On a summer Saturday or Sunday, there are hundreds of amateur matches taking place in towns and villages, and spectators are always welcome. If you really want to be English for the day, pack a picnic and settle down on the grass for the whole of the afternoon.

Vacations can be affordable when you rent a timeshare in England.

Our guest author is David Showell who was born and brought up in England and works for the company  CheapFerryTickets, which has great prices for your ferry trips – even across the Channel.

Photo Credit (High Tea): cucinatestarossa.blogs.com
Photo Credit (Regents Park): bookingonlinetravel.net
Photo Credit (Fish and Chips): chinapost.com.tw
Photo Credit (Cricket): bleacherreport.com:

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

ARDA August “Timeshare Fan of the Month” – Starwood Vacation Ownership Members

For August the American Resort Development Association (ARDA) is featuring Starwood Vacation Ownership in its ongoing Timeshare Fan series. This is part of an industry initiative to showcase real timeshare owners talking about the reasons they love their vacations with timeshare.

Starwood Vacation Ownership and SeaWorld Orlando teamed up to create a uniue vacation experience for the Gelman family of Philadelphia – saving a sea turtle.
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. Visit Vacation Better for more information.

About ARDA
The American Resort Development Association (ARDA) is a Washington D.C.-based professional association representing the vacation ownership and resort development industries. Established in 1969, ARDA today has almost 1,000 members ranging from privately held firms to publicly traded companies and international corporations with expertise in shared ownership interests in leisure real estate. The membership also includes timeshare owner associations (HOAs), resort management companies, and owners through the ARDA Resort Owners Coalition (ARDA-ROC).

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Timeshare Travel #TravelTuesday – Belgium

The town center of a charming little village called Braine-le-Comte, about 30 km from Brussels. This is on the main street outside the train station. Submitted by Francoise Minor of New York City.

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, August 27, 2012

The Republican National Convention 2012 - Is In Tampa, FL

The Republican National Convention, originally scheduled to run this week from August 27 – August 30, but experiencing a somewhat soggy delay due to Hurricane Isaac, will be in Tampa, FL, a great vacation destination. Regardless of your political affiliations, the Tampa Bay/St. Petersburg metropolitan area is rich with a wide array of things to do, as well as numerous timeshare rentals to make your stay here budget-friendly.

While the area first became popular as a beach destination, it now offers everything from museums to theme parks to zoos. Below are 5 of the top Tampa Bay-St. Petersburg attractions:

1. Busch Gardens Adventure Park. This amusement park specializes in roller coaster rides. At 150 feet, Montu is one of the tallest coasters in the world, and has seven inversions, with speeds of 60 mph on its almost 4,000-foot track. Gwazi is one of the biggest and fastest wooden coasters in the world. Topping 200 feet, SheiKra is now the tallest Busch Gardens coaster; it is floorless and features a true 90 degree vertical drop.

2. Big Cat Rescue. What is claimed to be the world’s largest assemblage of exotic cats, this is a sanctuary and rehabilitation facility. Many of these animals have been abused or donated by people bought them as cubs. Spreading over 45 acres, it is home to about 150 cats including lions, tigers and leopards A guided tour includes the popular feeding-time venues.

3. Salvador Dali Museum (see photo right). Some of Dalí’s most important (and largest) works are here, once owned by Ohio philanthropists Reynolds and Eleanor Morse who were friends of the artist. The exhibit also includes an intriguing biographical section that traces Dali’s early life as an art student in Spain through his development as a major artist and long life in New York. The new museum building opened in 2011

4. Lowry Park Zoo. More than 2000 animals are exhibited in this oak-shaded park of 56 acres. The zoo presents eight exhibit areas, including the Florida Manatee and Aquatic Center, the Florida Boardwalk, and a popular petting zoo. A fun restaurant, Reilly’s Reserve, has big windows looking into the giraffe, elephant and zebra habitats.

5. Sunken Gardens (see photo left). Waterfalls, butterflies, flamingos and 50,000 tropical plants create “a botanical paradise in the midst of a bustling city.” Designed within a drained lake 100 years ago, this garden is home to some of the oldest tropical plants in the region.

Bonus (6) – Less than an hour away you can Swim with Manatees!

Check out budget-friendly timeshare rentals in Greater Tampa Bay-St. Petersburg. For example, stay in a Four Winds Beach Resort timeshare rental (see top photo) for as little as $107/night.

Photo Credit (Busch Gardens): ultimaterollercoaster.com
Photo Credit (Salvador Dali Museum): bayoaksseniorsonthego.blogspot.com
Photo Credit (Sunken Gardens): sensationalceremonies.com

Friday, August 24, 2012

Olympic Gold Medals? How About RCI Gold Crown Awards!

In honor of the Olympics, and those Olympians who have received consecutive gold medals, RedWeek’s August newsletter featured three resorts that have received the distinguished RCI Gold Crown Resort award for consecutive years.

The RCI Gold Crown Resort award designates resorts that have met or exceeded specific standards in the areas of unit housekeeping, resort maintenance, unit maintenance, resort hospitality and check-in/check-out procedures, and an evaluation of resort facilities.

Those resorts achieving the RCI Gold Crown Resort rating — which is the highest award presented — must also undergo a separate evaluation of resort amenities, unit amenities and guest services. If you want only the best, these resorts are proven winners:

1. Royal Islander Club La Plage, Maho Bay, St. Maarten (see top photo). One of the Caribbean’s finest timeshare resorts, La Plage was recently awarded the elite Five Star awards and has been a recipient of the RCI Gold Crown award since it opened in 1986 – that’s 25 consecutive years! Situated along a half-mile of white-sand beach, its one, two and three bedroom suites each feature a balcony overlooking the Caribbean Sea.

Timeshare rentals at Royal Islander Club La Plage start at just $93/night. Resales start at $550.

2. Wyndham Flagstaff, Flagstaff, AZ. Sitting at 7000 ft altitude Flagstaff is surrounded by the heady fresh air of the Eisenhower Peaks. Wyndham Flagstaff is a 2200-acre all-seasons resort and has received 15 consecutive RCI Gold Awards. Because of the altitude, summer temperatures are comfortable and summer activities include an 18-hole golf course, eight tennis courts, and  horseback riding.

Fly fishing and hiking are both fun in the midst of beautiful Autumn foliage. When the snow falls, you can ski either downhill or cross-country at Arizona’s Snow Bowl. And any time of year the Grand Canyon is a perfect day trip, just 80 miles to the north.

Wyndham Flagstaff timeshare rentals start at just $80/night, and resales begin at $1200.

3. Egret Point by Spinnaker, Hilton Head, SC. Located within the vacation playground of Shipyard Plantation, Egret Point resort has received 10 consecutive RCI Gold Crown Awards. The tropical breezes off the ocean and through the Palmetto trees keep the island cool and comfortable.

There are many activities here to help you enjoy staying on the Atlantic coast, with miles of off-shore reef fishing; playing with dolphins; and relaxing on a sunset cruise in Calibrogue Sound. Afterwards head to the resort’s sauna and steamroom.

Timeshare rentals at Egret Point b y Spinnaker start at just $71/night. Resales begin at $500.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

3 Best Clubs in Paris for Your Timeshare Trip

Paris blossoms with art and history, exudes sophistication, and is the most fashionable place on the planet, but just like the proverbial boarding school socialite arriving at her first year in college, the city does have a wild side.

The bars might close at 2am, but a diverse club scene keeps Paris alive and well long into the night. And it isn’t all just upscale exclusivity where you need to be Scarlett Johansson to get past the door – although being Scarlett Johansson never hurts.

Clubs in Paris range from opulent to trendy to hard-hitting musical craziness, and below are our three favorites for every clubber’s taste.

1. Club Silencio.  Club Silencio (see top photo) may be the most exclusive club in Paris, and for good reason. The members-only high-end nightclub in Les Halles is a total reflection of the eccentric mind of its creator, movie director David Lynch. The doors open to the “public” post midnight, and those lucky enough to make it past the long lines and the stringent eyes of the bouncers descend half-a-dozen flights into the unworldly club that doubles as an art exhibition of interior design at its finest.

The arched ceilings and enclosed walls in the extensive bunker makes the five distinct rooms feel like a gold-leafed maze of tunnels underneath a foreign planet. Talk to an Oscar-winning producer at the bar over cocktails and then make your way to the main stage where A-list DJs spin for the jetsetters looking to show some moves.

2. Favela Chic. Those looking to skip the hassle of impressing bouncers and having their toes stepped on in long lines should head to Favela Chic, a hip dance spot that brings the Brazilian Carnival to Paris. Hidden away down an alley in the Bastille district with no exterior display except for a glowing top hat, the interior is an unpretentious and energetic mix of international youngsters getting rowdy to the Latin beats.

The booze flies off the shelf as the night heats up into a hot and sweaty dance party that’s always packed with fun-loving hipsters and travelers. This isn’t the place for a quiet night out, so put on your favorite shoes and zumba your way over to Favela Chic.

3. Social Club.  It’s social, it’s a club, and it brings in the best DJs and live performers in the city. What more could a music-loving clubber ask for? The cool interior is like the setting from one of those old sci-fi movies that takes place in the future – an ultramodern décor that still feels retro. Black walls and black couches surround the main highlight of Social Club: the DJ stage and spacious dance floor.

With bottle service lounge areas, a modish décor, and accessible door policy, Social Club is perfect for those looking for a trendy club with great music but without the snobbery.

Enjoy staying in a Paris timeshare rental, and do the club crawl of the best that Paris has to offer.

Our guest author, Daniel Hogan, is a writer at Party Earth - a global media and entertainment company that publishes reviews and listings of the best social experiences around the world including: bars in Paris, pubs in London, beaches in Ibiza, plazas in Rome, parks in New York, festivals and concerts everywhere, and more.

Photo Credit (top): livincool.com
Photo Credit (center): juanas6s6nses.typepad.com
Photo Credit (bottom): singhabeer1933.blogspot.com

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Beware! A Perfect Example of a Timeshare Scam?

August’s Ask The Timeshare Crusader question comes from Chloe:

We were recently approached by a buyer interested in purchasing our timeshare. We'd agreed on a price and were ready to start the closing when our buyer suddenly had to leave town. He sent us a check for $3,900 to hold our timeshare, but asked us to keep $2,900 and send a $1,000 check to his broker. Something seems fishy to me. What do you suggest? 

Lisa Ann’s Answer: 

I have two words of caution: STAY AWAY. Your immediate reply to these type of schemes should be, "No".

Let me be blunt here. I can't imagine that anyone would fall for this if they were selling a car or a house. The initial check that the "buyer" or the "buyer's representative" sends is worth nothing; it's likely a fraudulent cashier's check or money order.

But, the check that you send for $1,000 is real and now you are out the $1,000 and will probably get hit with a bad check fee for trying to deposit a fraudulent check. And of course you still have the timeshare.

No legitimate buyer will operate this way. Before you do anything involving timeshare buying or selling: Stop. Take a deep breath. Wait at least a day or so. And think it through.

Share Your Thoughts
Comment on Lisa Ann’s answer below.
Have questions for the Timeshare Crusader? You can post them on her forums page, or email them to RedWeek at support(at)redweek(dot)com.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Timeshare Travel #TravelTuesday – Petra, Jordan

Entrance to Petra, Jordan, submitted by C. Noble, California.

Petra is a historical and archaeological city in Jordan thought to have been established as early as 312 BC. It is Jordan’s most visited tourist attraction. The photo is of The Siq (meaning “shaft”), part of the narrow gorge that is the main entrance to Petra.

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, August 20, 2012

Trying to Get that Last Summer Trip In to Washington, DC? Save Money with a Great Timeshare Rental

As the summer winds down and “back to school” looms ahead, many parents are trying to get that one last important trip in – taking the kids to Washington, D.C.

While there’s no argument that a visit to our Nation’s Capital can boost any student’s enjoyment of learning American history, it’s also a sure thing that Washington, D.C. can be an expensive city in which to find vacation accommodations for a family.

The answer is to stay in a budget-friendly timeshare rental. The Wyndham Old Town Alexandria is the perfect example of accommodations that are not only affordable for a family, but luxurious as well.

Alexandria, VA, played major roles in both the American Revolution and the Civil War. This resort is located in the heart of Old Town Alexandria (see top photo) where you can walk or take a trolley to numerous historic attractions.

The entire family will have fun participating in the “Alexandria Historical Scavenger Hunt” which meanders through Old Town with stops at some of the city’s oldest and most historic addresses

A major supermarket is just a block away, making it easy to stock your timeshare kitchen for those all-important budget-savings meals and snacks.

This resort is just a block from the Washington D.C. transit system, and just a 10-minute ride to the main attractions of our Nation’s Capital such as the Mall with the Smithsonian museums, the Capitol Building, Arlington Cemetery, and the White House.

The Metro is one of the finest in the world – safe, clean, efficient, and easy to master. Up to two children 4-years old or younger ride free when accompanied by a paying passenger. Check out Tips for Riding the Washington, DC, Metro, and learn how simple it is.

A RedWeek member’s review of the Wyndham Old Town Alexandria resort:
The resort was excellent. The view was great. We had a corner location and could see the Washington Monument from the window. Parked the car and didn't use it again until time to leave. We took the Metro to DC everyday and didn't have any problems. The people who work for the Metro were nice and helpful when we had a question. 

We walked down King St. to eat and shop. If you don't want to walk there is a free trolley every 15 minutes. The Metro is just down the street and also a Starbucks which I liked. I felt safe walking the streets which meant a lot to us. We didn't have any problems with reservations or anything like that and the staff was wonderful. 

Currently Wyndham’s Old Town Alexandria resort has timeshare rentals starting as low as $69/night.

Photo Credit (top): wgasellshomes.com
Photo Credit (center): dreamstime.com
Photo Credit (bottom): wyndham.com 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Cruise the River Thames – As a Timeshare Rental!

Just when you thought you might have heard the last of Merry Old England, here’s an opportunity to broaden your horizons – not only with a tour along the River Thames, but also of what a timeshare rental can mean.

Variety Cruisers-Windsor is home based at the Windsor Marina on a beautiful spot of the Thames, and just approximately 20 miles from London, near Windsor Castle. The boats of the Variety Cruisers fleet are designed with both comfort and fun in mind, for real luxury on the river.

The boats are all fully equipped with kitchenettes and comfortable sleeping arrangements. The galley has a cooker with oven, four ring hob and grill, plus a refrigerator and sink. There is a hot and cold pressurized water system, with shower, toilet and folding hand basin.

While cruising you can choose to sit out on the deck in the sun and watch the world pass by, or move indoors and enjoy the comfortable cabin. If the British weather intervenes, simply pull up the canopy and carry on cruising in comfort.

There are many places of interest within a day’s cruising such as Oxford and Eton. On the way you’ll pass stately homes, riverside inns, extensive gardens, and lovely woodlands. You’ll pass quiet country villages and may even want to pull in for a stop at a cozy pub. And all the while you’ll enjoy a variety of waterway wildlife.

While moored at the Windsor Marina you might want to take some time to explore the town of Windsor with its charming shops, restaurants, historic buildings, and of course world-famous Windsor Castle.

If you have children with you, you’ll be glad to know that there’s a LegoLand nearby. LegoLand Windsor opened in 1996 on the former Windsor Safari Park, and is the second LegoLand theme park following the first in the world, LegoLand Billund, built in Denmark.

Currently available through a RedWeek member listing is a “timeshare rental” on Variety Cruisers-Windsor for just $114/night on a cruiser that sleeps six. This 7-night stay is scheduled for 9/10/12-9/17/12.

Photo Credit (top): classic-cruisers.co.uk
Photo Credit (bottom): fotothing.com

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Timeshare Travel: The Best Reasons to Take Your Pet with You

There is nothing more heartrending than handing your dog over to a friend, family member, or kennel owner as you depart for your holiday. As the plane starts to taxi, you begin to worry that you didn’t say goodbye properly, and your pet is bewildered and upset. ‘I should have made more of a fuss of them!’ you think morosely, as the plane leaves the ground. ‘Maybe they have forgotten me already. Maybe I should never have left them.’

This is a fairly dramatic example, but it’s true - dogs and owners do suffer huge amounts of stress when separated. And if you’re not 100% sure about the company you leave your dog in, which is often the case, it can ruin your holiday. So - here’s a novel idea - why not take your pet with you? It can be done, as many  holiday parks offer the chance to bring your pet along. Here are the best reasons why you shouldn’t let your wet-nosed friend leave your side...

It’s your chance to exercise on holiday. Your dog will require walking and play, and guess what - that’s your job. So, even if you’ve been enjoying a few beers most evenings and you haven’t been holding back on the mayo, you’ll get a chance to work it off. Having a curious dog to roam around with can also help you make the most of the local area - you’ll probably discover parts of your location that would have been undiscovered if your faithful hound hadn’t dragged you there!

You’ll never be lonely. OK, so this doesn’t apply if you go away with your family, but if you’re flying solo on your break, your dog can provide some much-needed company. Who says you need hordes of people around you to be in good company? If you’re lucky (?) enough to be taking children with you, a chance to be with their pet can ensure that they’re less crabby and fraught when they arrive at their destination.

Why risk behavioural problems or illness? Kennels are breeding grounds for all kinds of difficulties once you come home, the most problematic being your pet’s inability to deal with family life again. Being trapped in a small cage for two weeks with minimal human contact, unusual foods and the sounds of other animals is frightening for any pet – when they eventually get home, your dog may be initially shocked by the change of lifestyle. Plus, that’s not counting the potential for bites and infection from other animals.

So enjoy your holiday and enjoy your pet. There are many Pet-Friendly timeshare rentals available around the world.

Our guest author is Vicky Anscombe, who is London-born but lives and works in Norfolk. She has a small cat named Tabbeh, who inspired this article as Tabbeh has a love of water. However, he is yet to board a boat for the summer. Twitter: @vickyanscombe.

Photo Credit: k9clicking.com

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Are You Missing the London Olympics? Take These Timeshare Vacations

It’s easy to experience “Olympic Withdrawal” after the heady days of the remarkable London Olympics 2012 Summer Games that have just finished. Viewing the televised events became an almost addictive habit for several billion fans around the globe.

Here’s a remedy – plan a timeshare rental vacation to previous Olympic cities. While there are many of them scattered around the world, several are within easy reach in the U.S. Here are two:

1. Salt Lake City, UT. The 2002 Winter Olympics, officially the XIX Olympic Winter Games, occurred in February in and around Salt Lake City (see top photo). The Utah state capital was chosen as the 2002 host city over Quebec City, Canada; Sion, Switzerland; and Östersund, Sweden.

These were the eighth Olympic Games to be hosted by the United States, and the first major event hosted in the U.S. following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Many who attended the games or who watched on television found a healing from that tragedy as 77 countries came together in the spirit of friendship.

The Opening Ceremonies included the flag that flew at Ground Zero, NYPD office Daniel Rodriguez singing “God Bless America,” and the participation of honor guards consisting of NYPD and FDNY members.

Today you can check out the Utah Olympic Oval on the western side of the city where the speed skating events took place. Most of the venues, however, were in and around Park City ski resorts. Deer Valley Resort and Canyons Resorts hosted many of the ski and snowboarding events. You can still spend a day at the former but still active Olympic ski jump site and the bobsled track, even in the summer.

Park City today is also host to the Sundance Film Festival, one of the United States' largest independent film events, held annually typically during the 3rd week in January.

Check out Park City timeshare rentals that start as low as $61/night.

2. Los Angeles, CA. The 1984 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXIII Olympiad, was the second time Los Angeles had hosted the Olympics, the previous time occurring in 1932. Tehran, Iran, was the only other city vying for the XXII Games, but withdrew its bid due to the country’s internal political and social upheaval.

It was to the 1984 Games that the People's Republic of China returned to the summer Olympics for the first time since Helsinki in 1952, winning 15 gold medals.

And it was for the Los Angeles Games that John Williams composed the music “Olympic Fanfare,” which has since become one of the most well-known and recognizable musical themes of the Olympic Games.

The Los Angeles 1984 Summer Olympics are often considered the most financially successful modern Olympics, due to the plan to strictly control expenses by using existing facilities, except building a swim stadium and a velodrome that were paid for by corporate sponsors.

Today the Olympic Swim Stadium remains in use on the University of Southern California's campus both for recreation and for competition. Other venues used for the 1984 Games which are still enjoyed by sports fans include Pasadena’s Rose Bowl, and the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (see photo), a large outdoor sports stadium that is home to the University of Southern California’s Trojans football team.

Southern California timeshare rentals are plentiful, and start as low as $89/night.

Photo Credit (SLC): heidikins.com
Photo Credit (LA): blog.shaycam.com

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Timeshare Travel #TravelTuesday – New York City

New York City’s Chinatown, in Manhattan - Submitted by Jacob Sturdy, Albuquerque.

“There’s plenty of good eating here,” says Jacob. Hand-pulled noodles are a local, and tourist, favorite and fun to watch being made. The flexible dough is stretched out like a rope, then the two ends are brought together while twirling.

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, August 13, 2012

Top 3 Attractions in Branson for Your Timeshare Vacation

Choosing top attractions in Branson is like trying to choose your favorite sweets in a floor-to-ceiling candy shop. Branson is so chocked full of all different kinds of things to see and do that it’s no wonder it’s become one of the most popular vacation destinations in the world.

“Nestled in the lakeside beauty of the Ozark Mountains, Branson is America’s affordable, wholesome family entertainment capital that emphasizes fun, comfort and the feeling of being right at home.“

From live stage shows to exploring caverns and caves to riding roller coasters named Wildfire and Powder Keg, there’s plenty of fun for everyone. The three top attractions listed here are chosen for their wide range of appeal.

1. Dixie Stampede Musical Rodeo (see top photo). Dixie Stampede is a four-course dinner and performance combination. This show has a rodeo feel to it, and features horses and buffaloes, stunt riders, magicians, racers and interactive fun. It’s filled with friendly North and South competition, thrilling horseback riding stunts, spectacular special effects including pyrotechnics, and moving musical productions.

2. Veteran’s War Memorial Museum. A powerful emotional experience awaits you when you explore the ten rooms filled with exhibits saluting the brave men and women who fought for the United States in 20th Century wars and conflicts. Especially moving are the letters and special momentos of the service men and women, which tell their individual stories and bring each soldier to life.

The world's largest war memorial bronze sculpture (over 70 feet long, weighing 15-tons) is the hallmark of the museum and features 50 life-size statues storming a beach. The life-size figures were modeled after a combat soldier from each of the 50 states.


3. Showboat Branson Belle. A 700-seat paddle wheel riverboat makes its home at White River Landing in Branson and features cruises on Table Rock Lake, either lunch or dinner and a Broadway style show. This is a chance to enjoy the outdoors as the Ozarks are meant to be enjoyed, while at the same time experiencing great entertainment.

The boat has large windows on all three interior decks of the theater. You can also explore a few smaller lounge areas, and the exterior promenades and outer decks of the ship which also provide great views of Table Rock Lake and the Ozark mountains. 

Branson timeshare rentals are available in all sizes and price ranges. For example, at the Grand Crowne Resort you can rent a one-bedroom timeshare for just $50/night. Or, rent a larger timeshare for just $157/night and sleep eight!

All photos courtesy: branson.com

Friday, August 10, 2012

Flying to Your Timeshare Vacation? Airport Security and Kids

When your family is flying to your timeshare rental vacation you’ll be encountering many of the screening procedures put in place by the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) under the auspices of the Department of Homeland Security.

If you don’t fly with children very often, the screening experience can be a little overwhelming. Below are some tips from the TSA web site to help you and your children to know what to expect.

General Screening Information 

  • Children 12 and under can leave their shoes on during screening. 
  • TSA will not ask travelers to do anything that will separate them from their child. 
  • All carry-on baggage, including children's toys, bags and items, will be screened. Please let your child know that their blanket, favorite stuffed animal or toy will have to go through the X-ray machine and then will be returned to them. 
  • Ask a security officer for help gathering bags and equipment, if needed. 


The Walk-Through Metal Detector 

  • Children who can walk without assistance should walk through the metal detector separately from their parent or guardian. If they alarm, TSA has procedures in place that have reduced, but will not eliminate, the need for pat downs to resolve the alarm, including multiple passes through screening technologies and other procedures. 
  • Infants and small children may be carried through the metal detector, but if the alarm sounds, the officer will have to conduct additional screening on both the passenger and the child. 
  • If a baby is carried through the metal detector in a sling, additional screening may be required even if there isn't an alarm. 


Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT)

  • TSA uses advanced imaging technology (AIT) to safely screen passengers for metallic and non-metallic threats. Any passenger capable of assuming and staying in the required position for 5 seconds is eligible for AIT screening. 
  • If a child 12 and under goes through AIT and alarms, they will have an opportunity to go through the technology again or the Security Officer may use other procedures to resolve the alarm to reduce the need for a pat down. 
  • Parents carrying infants or children cannot be screened by the imaging technology. In addition, parents accompanying children may opt out of being screened by imaging technology to prevent them from being separated from their family. 
  • AIT screening is optional for all passengers. Eligible passengers who opt out of AIT screening with receive alternative screening, to include a thorough pat-down. 

These are just a few of the informational tips offered by the TSA on its web site. Many passenger advocates suggest that you not only read all of them, but that you also print them out and take them with you in case you encounter a TSA agent who is not following the written TSA procedure.

Photo Credit: gcnlive.com

Thursday, August 09, 2012

5 Great Places to Eat in Walt Disney World on Your Timeshare Vacation

Eating at Walt Disney World, Florida, can really offer a paradox of choice, as there are so many restaurants it can often be extremely hard to make a decision on where to eat. Though there are numerous eateries in the theme park, we’ve decided to give you a varied insight into five of our favourites, which allow you to utilise your US visa to its maximum on a full stomach.

1. Japan Pavilion - Epcot If you want sushi and noodle dishes for a low price the Japan Pavilion is perfect and will cater for you for around $20 an adult. The menu is a little limited, but is great quality and includes kirin beer and sake. It’s a great place for a quick bite and very satisfying.

2. Sunshine Season Food Fair - Epcot No burgers or fries here; the Sunshine Season Food Fair in the Land Pavillion is a bustling hall of choice and has all the variety you can ask for. It includes Asian foods, American fare and even Italian cuisine as well as soup and sandwich choices if you want a lighter option for on the go. It’s a great value and is situated at Epcot, meaning you’re in the centre of the action once you enjoy your meal.

3. Teppan Edo - Epcot Teppan Edo is known as a ‘dining as theatre’ restaurant and the chef will prepare, cook and serve your meal beside your table. From sushi to steak to shrimp, Teppan Edo is a memorable experience – ideal for Disney World. It is business formal in its attire and it costs up to $40 for an adult to dine.

4. Jiko – Animal Kingdom Located near the Animal Kingdom Lodge, this restaurant is the higher end of the scale in price terms and you’ll need business like attire to take a seat and enjoy the African foods. It’s among the most expensive in the theme park, but also the most impressive and there is a wide variety of African food to fit the size of the continent. From seared maize pudding to Swahili curried shrimp, you can enjoy all sorts of foods at Jiko. There’s also a great selection of South African wines making it the perfect place to really treat yourself when in Disney World.

5. California Grill – Disney’s Contemporary Resort Similarly priced to Jiko, this restaurant often comes at the top of the best restaurants in Disney World polls and offers mouth-watering Californian food. The California Grill is contemporary in décor and really manages to pull off the fusion cuisine of California very well and has everything from sushi to seared bison in mushroom risotto and chestnuts. It’s also ideally located for the Magical Kingdom Firework show thanks to its balcony facing Cinderella's Castle.

Disney offers a wide range of choices, but you should have no problems deciding thanks to our guide!

A Disney timeshare rental, or a timeshare rental in Orlando, will help you save on your accommodations, giving you extra in your budget to enjoy these great dining experiences at Walt Disney World.

Our guest author, Cormac Reynolds, works for the UK visa site Global Visas and is a lover of travelling, trekking, and seeing the world. He has been a content writer for a number of years and lives in London, though is originally Irish.

Photo Credit (1): wdwinfo.com
Photo Credit (2): themeparks.about.com
Photo Credit (3): themeparks.about.com
Photo Credit (4): oyster.com
Photo Credit (5): orlandosentinal.com

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Unique Ears Make your Disneyland Timeshare Vacation Sparkle


With the grand re-opening of much of Disney’s California Adventure Park this summer, there seems to be a surprise around every corner. Plan a timeshare rental vacation and check out the new World of Color. The surprise is that You can actually participate in the show – with your Glow with the Show Mickey Mouse Ears!

Disney has released a new video that explains how the Glow with the Show ears are synchronized with live shows. The ears are designed to add an extra dimension to performances of the park's most popular entertainment offerings. The ears literally "Glow with the Show," lighting up in time with key moments during World of Color and other crowd favorites.

In the video Principal Technical Director for World of Color Chuck Davis explains how the ears operate. For example, commands are sent to the ears via infrared, with the show's viewing area being divided into 40 distinct zones. Each of these zones is able to receive unique commands, while the individual ears also receive commands via their serial numbers.

Synchronize yourself with Disney fun by staying in a budget-friendly Anaheim timeshare rental. For example, at the Dolphin’s Cove Resort, less than a mile from Disneyland, you can stay in your own condo-like accommodations with a separate bedroom and a full-sized kitchen for only $93/night.

Or choose the Peacock Suites Resort, also less than a mile from Disneyland, where you can sleep 6 for just $86/night.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Timeshare Travel #TravelTuesday – Big Sur

Along California’s Big Sur coastline – submitted by Joann W of San Diego.

Big Sur is a spectacular scenic route along the coast of Central California. Hwy 1 follows the Big Sur coastline from just north of Los Angeles to just south of San Francisco.

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, August 06, 2012

Enjoy a Timeshare Vacation Swimming with New Friends - Florida's Manatees

Timeshare vacations can be at the beach, riding roller coasters, hiking through a National Park, or even the special experience of swimming with dolphins. How about something a little different? Take one step out of the box, and swim with manatees.

Crystal River, FL, just an hour’s drive from Tampa Bay, is the “Home of the Manatee.” The town is situated around King’s Bay, on Florida’s “Nature Coast” (formally known as Florida’s Big Bend).

King’s Bay connects to the Gulf of Mexico via the Crystal River. Manatees are attracted to its constant 72-degree (F) temperature which is due to the cluster of 50 springs that feed King’s Bay.

Kings Bay is home to over 400 manatees and is the only place in the United States where people can legally interact with them in their natural conditions without that interaction being viewed as harassment by law enforcement agencies. However, approaching a manatee in such a way as to cause a change in its behavior is considered illegal harassment.

The majority of the Crystal River manatees will be found here during the winter months when the waters of the Gulf cool. Since manatees cannot survive in water temperatures below 68 degrees (F), King’s Bay is ideal for a winter’s stay.




While in the Crystal River area include be sure to head to the Crystal River Preserve State Park, a Florida State Park that contains 30,000 acres of undisturbed islands, inlets, backwaters, and forests. While no manatees are in this park, many other wildlife species can be seen. The visitor center houses 6 dioramas, three aquariums, 2 snake exhibits, a diamondback terrapin enclosure, and a fun "touch table."

Another fascinating activity is exploring the Crystal River State Archaeological Site. Under the title of Crystal River Indian Mounds, it is also a U.S. National Historic Landmark. Two large platform mounds are believed to have been used primarily for ceremonial purposes. A half-mile paved loop trail passes by each mound, with signs interpreting the mounds.

Greater Tampa/St. Petersburg  timeshare rentals start as low as $107/night. Then take the quick drive over to Crystal River and enjoy the opportunity of a lifetime swimming with gentle, intelligent manatees.

Photo Credit: sightseeingworld.com

Friday, August 03, 2012

Enjoy a Timeshare Vacation at San Diego's Coronado Beach - Named 2012 Best in U.S.

Take a timeshare rental vacation to the Best Beach in the U.S. Stephen P. Leatherman, professor at Florida International University and known as “Dr. Beach,” has named Coronado Beach at San Diego the Number 1 beach in the country for 2012.

One of the reasons is the Coronado Beach sand contains mineral mica, causing it to sparkle like gold.

"I think it's one of the most super beaches around," said Leatherman, director of FIU's Laboratory for Coastal Research.

Coronado Beach sits on a peninsula across the bay from San Diego. The town of Coronado has easy access to the mainland and San Diego by way of the Coronado Bay Bridge that gracefully arches cross San Diego Harbor.

Leatherman ranks beaches on 50 criteria, including the look and feel of the sand, water quality, weather, facilities and crowds. A top score is 250. Coronado came in the 230s, losing points because the water temperature is generally only in the 60s.

Leatherman said Coronado Beach is great for skim boarding (gliding on the water with a small, finless surfboard) and walking. The wide, flat beach is lined by majestic mansions and the Hotel del Coronado. Known as "Hotel Del," the National Historic Landmark with its peaked red roof was built in 1888 and is the last of California's Victorian seaside resorts.

Besides having sand perfect for molding sand castles, and offering a panoramic view of spectacular sunsets, the Coronado Beach also gives you a front-row seat for viewing U.S. Navy shipping activity including aircraft carriers and submarines, coming and going from San Diego Harbor.

The top 10 list is in its 22nd year. Beaches do not pay to be evaluated for the top 10 best beaches list. Leatherman visits top 10 candidates incognito to collect sand and water samples for study. A No. 1 spot on the popular list typically brings a 15-to-20-percent boost in visitors.

2012 Top 10 Beaches in the U.S. by Dr. Beach 
1. Coronado Beach near San Diego, CA
2. Kahanamoku Beach in Waikiki, Honolulu, Hawaii
3. Main Beach, East Hampton, NY
4. St. George Island State Park, Florida Panhandle
5. Hamoa Beach, Maui, Hawaii
6. Coast Guard Beach, Cape Cod, MA
7. Waimanalo Bay Beach Park, Oahu, Hawaii
8. Cape Florida State Park near Miami, FL
9. Beachwalker Park, Kiawah Island, SC
10. Cape Hatteras, NC

There are many San Diego area timeshare rentals available. Or stay right in Coronado at the Coronado Beach Resort where timeshare rentals start at just $114/night.


Photo Credit: travelmuse.com

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Timeshare Travel: When in Rome…Visit Delicious Trastevere

Trastevere - Neighborhood of Rome, Creator of Spaghetti Carbonara (see Bonus Recipe below!)

Travestere is a colorful Roman neighborhood distinctly characterized by its medieval beauty and artistic ambiance. To many Romans, the hum-drum description of “neighborhood” is a misrepresentation of this charmingly eclectic “city within a city”--- an endearment with which enthusiasts have crowned this Roman gem.

Travestere is a unique fusion of old world charm and contemporary culture that has blossomed into a rare, inimitable flower. Travestere literally means “across the river,” and it is separated from Rome’s city center by the Tiber River.

For many centuries, this geographical separation mirrored the cultural and social dichotomy of traditional Rome’s working immigrant class and the aristocratic elite. Travestere was an immigrant development of little interest to the rest of Rome. Consequently, it was able to develop and maintain its own cultural map of tradition, cuisine, dialect, and even architecture. Travestere remains one of the only pockets of Rome that has retained its medieval architecture.

The neighborhood’s historical cuisine was characterized by its tear-inducing, spicy ingredients that were as loud and boisterous as the neighborhood dialect. Of course, Travestere’s anomalous cultural coloring and mainstream resistant cuisine were under-appreciated for centuries, but have since emerged as Roman delicacy – a true testament of the experiential and artistic aesthetics that tourists and citizens can’t get enough of.

Trastevere is known as a bohemian’s paradise with art galleries and novel boutiques selling specialty items ranging from vintage trend shoes to one-hundred year old bottles of balsamic vinegar. Travestere has charmed many an onlooker with its closeted squares, hidden coffee bar nooks, and infamous pizzerias. There are as many pizzerias and as there are coffee shops in Travestere.

The pizzas are homemade with fresh ingredients usually gathered that same day. Many pizzerias prepare their food with recipes that have been meticulously passed down through family generations, using Italian specialty ingredients like capers, pesto, olives, and carefully concocted tomato sauces. The pizzas are slowly cooked to perfection in the heart of a traditional brick oven and then ready to serve.

Travestere is often called the district that “never sleeps.” Its urban, chic nightclubs and its traditional street entertainment that assembles in Piazza di Santa Maria, are lively and active throughout the night and wee hours of the morning.

The Piazza di Santa Maria lies in the heart of Travestere. It houses the basilica of Santa Maria which is one of the oldest churches in Rome, built in 300 A.D. The Piazza di Santa Maria is bordered with bright, welcoming cafes and restaurants that offer irresistible meals and picturesque views of the bustling piazza.

Check out available timeshare rentals in Italy.

Bonus Recipe
Either in your Italian timeshare kitchen, or at home, you can have your own taste of Trastevere with this easy-to-prepare recipe. Practically 'born in' the Osterie of Trastevere, the Spaghetti Carbonara dish has gained fame worldwide thanks to its simplicity. It has 2 main ingredients besides pasta- eggs and bacon (pancetta). Spaghetti and rigatoni are the types of pastas used for this dish.

Spaghetti Carbonara 
Excerpted from the Gourmand World Award Winning book The Basic Art of Italian Cooking: Holidays & Special Occasions-2nd edition 
1 lb spaghetti
1 garlic clove
2 ounces bacon or pancetta
2 eggs
1/3 cup pecorino romano cheese grated
handful fresh parsley
extra virgin olive oil
pepper and salt

Cut bacon into thin stick like pieces. Place 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil in saucepan with garlic that has been peeled and 'smashed. Saute till bacon is golden, remove garlic.
Cook pasta till al dente. Drain.
In a bowl, break eggs, and beat with fork, add in 1 tablespoon of pecorino cheese, pinch of salt, freshly grated black pepper.
Place drained pasta in saute pan with bacon, place over low heat.
Pour in beaten eggs, toss in pan till eggs are cooked.
Serve with washed ,chopped parsley, freshly grated pecorino-romano cheese.

Thank you to our guest author, Celebrity Chef Maria Liberati, who writes the Gourmand World Award-winning book series The Basic Art of Italian Cooking and is Executive Editor of The Basic Art of Italian Cooking by Maria Liberati™ blog at www.marialiberati.com as well as creator of The Basic Art of Italian Cooking by Maria Liberati trademark. She is considered one of the foremost experts on Italian cuisine and culture.

Photo Credit (top): concierge.com
Photo Credit (bottom): thepinesofrome.blogspot.com
Photo Credit (recipe): cucina-doki.it [7]

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Take a Timeshare Vacation to the Wild West for the Jackson Hole Rodeo

Wyoming is the embodiment of the great American West, and is a great timeshare vacation destination to “Cowboy Up.” The state rightly bills itself as “Forever West,” and if you’re looking for a taste of the cowboy experience this summer, head to Jackson Hole at the foot of the spectacular Grand Tetons National Park, for the quintessential Jackson Hole Rodeo. 


Rodeo has been a part of Jackson Hole since the first settlers, led by Sylvester Wilson, arrived over the Teton Pass in 1890. Six generations later, the Wilson family continues the western heritage with the popular Jackson Hole Rodeo. 

The term 'rodeo' (from the Spanish, rodear) means "to surround" or "go around" in Spanish, and was first used in American English about 1834 to denote a "round up" of cattle The rodeo was not originally a sporting event, but an integral part of cattle-ranching. Many rodeo events are based on the real-life tasks required by cattle ranching in the west. 

Early rodeo-like affairs of the 1820s and 1830s were informal events with ranch hands testing their work skills against one another. Ranch-versus-ranch contests gradually sprang up, and eventually bronc riding, bull riding, and roping contests began to appear at race tracks, fairgrounds, and festivals. 

When you attend the Jackson Hole Rodeo you’re taking part in over 100 years of true cowboy culture. The Rodeo is held every Wednesday and Saturday through the summer from Memorial Day to Labor Day, rain or shine. 

The Jackson Hole Rodeo offers all the favorite events including Barrel Racing, Calf Roping, Bull Riding, Saddle Bronc Riding, Bareback Bronc Riding. And just for kids: Calf Scramble, Miniature Bull Riding and Sheep Riding. 

Unlike the larger gatherings in other parts of the West, the Jackson Hole Rodeo maintains its local, "anyone who has the gumption can do it" attitude that makes it representative of both the community and the original intention of the sport. 

“We’re noted for fine stock, young cowboys coming up through the ranks, and people who just love it. It's a great choice for action-packed fun during summer nights in Jackson Hole,” says Phil Wilson. 

Photo Credit (top): Darryl L. Hunter theholepicture.pictureshelter.com 
Photo Credit (bottom): mountainlifestyles.tripod.com