Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Last minute opportunity - recipe contest

What: Relish Magazine contest for recipes based on summer foods.

Deadline: June 30, 2012

Details: Entry forms at   http://www.relish.com/articles/summer-recipe-contest/
Winner receives: Prize valued at $1,700
• three nights in an oceanfront room with balcony at The King and Prince Beach and Golf Resort, St. Simons island, GA.
• daily buffet breakfast, Sunday brunch for two, Friday night seafood buffet for two
• 60-minute side-by-side massage in the Royal /treatment cottage
• 2-hour cruise on a working shrimp boat
• umbrella and two beach chairs
• one day bicycle rental for two

Friday, June 22, 2012

WellsWorld on the Radio - Disney, summer and golf dealsFirst Coast Connect

Who needs parks with a pool like this?
Find Nemo and fun at Disney World's latest value resort
Where: Walt Disney World Art of Animation Resort Finding Nemo wing, Orlando, FL.

What: The latest Disney World value resort to open comes with a ginormous pool complete with underwater sound and characters from the movie, a tempting arcade with Wi-Fi-equipped sitting area for non-gamers, good and good-for-you meal choices in the design-your-own meal-style restaurant and unique family suites all in neon colors. 
 Guest services include
 Complimentary transportation within the park
 Self-service laundry facility
 Concierge desk

Cost: Family Suites priced at $249 a night mid-week come with
Queen-bedded en suite room.
Sleeper sofa in the living room.
Three separate sleeping areas - Queen-size bed, Double-size Inova TableBed,
Double-size sleeper sofa
Living room
2 bathrooms
Reading chair
Table and chairs
Flat-panel TV
In-room wall safe
Voice mail
Complimentary WiFi
Cable TV with Disney programming
Compact refrigerator
Iron and ironing board
Crib is available upon request
All rooms are non-smoking
Wheelchair-accessible rooms are available
Views of the parking lot, courtyard or pool

To book: www.disneyworld.disney.go.com/resorts/art-of-animation-resort/

• Cars Family Suites—Opening June 18, 2012Cars Family Suites—Opening June 18, 2012
• The Lion King Family Suites—Opening August 10, 2012
• The Little Mermaid Standard Rooms—Opening September 15, 2012


Free summer nights on Anna Maria Island and Longboat Key

Where: Anna Maria Island, Longboat Key and the Bradenton area. Located between St. Petersburg and Sarasota on Florida’s west coast, Anna Maria Island & Longboat Key, and their coastal companions, Bradenton and Lakewood Ranch, are known for Old Florida charm, breath-taking scenery, funky dining and shopping districts and 16 miles of sugar-white sands.

What: FREE nights at 10 properties.  As part of this new “Your Summer, Your Way” program,  other island and mainland accommodations are also offering a variety of discounts, including 25 percent off weekly rentals, Florida resident rates and even cash discounts. Free fun continues with several summer events and activities for the entire family, including a monthly ArtWalk in Bradenton’s Village
of the Arts and Snooty’s™ 64th birthday party at the South Florida Museum.

Third Night Free
Bridgewalk, A Landmark Resort
Silver Surf Gulf Beach Resort
Wingate by Wyndham

Fourth Night Free
Tradewinds Resort
Tortuga Inn Beach Resort
Hilton Longboat Key Beachfront Resort

 Fifth Night Free
An Island Getaway at Palm Tree Villas

Sixth and Seventh Nights Free
Florida Vacation Connection
A Tropical Breeze Beach Club On Anna Maria Island

Seventh Night Free
A Paradise Vacation Rentals

To Book: www.AMILBK.com/Deals

BOGOs at Amelia Island, FL

What: Free Monday Night at Five Island Hotels.
Guests who book a Sunday night stay will receive a Monday night stay for free at these  participating properties.


• Amelia Hotel at the Beach
(877) 263-5428

• Days Inn & Suites at the Beach
(904) 277-2300

• Hampton Inn at Fernandina Beach
(800) 426-7866

• Harbor Front Hampton Inn & Suites
(800) 426-7866

• Seaside Amelia Inn
(904) 206-5300

When: Through August, 2012

Details: Payment may be due at time of booking with no refunds, changes or cancellations allowed.  Some blackout dates or other restrictions may apply.  Offer may not be combined with any other offer.  Check with individual properties for terms and conditions before booking. Contact individual properties by phone to book this offer.  www.ameliaisland.com/BOGO.

Brasstown Valley Lodge and 18th green.
Golf Your Way at Brasstown Valley Resort

Where: Brasstown Valley Resort and Spa is located in Young Harris, GA, at the foot of Brasstown Bald in the North Georgia mountains.

What: To celebrate new ratings, three sets of tees for women and four for men, to ensure a more enjoyable game for all skill levels at its course, Brasstown has a new golf package:

Sunday through Thursday stays from $264 per night, double occupancy, include a traditional Lodge guestroom, unlimited greens and cart fees and use of driving and practice ranges. On Friday and Saturday, the package includes the room, the practice ranges, cart and one round of golf (additional rounds are $25 each).

Other amenities include spa, pool and stables.

Book:  www.brasstownvalley.com, 706-379-9900.

Me with the Ferrari before the drive.
 Disney Dream Drive

Disney is all about dreams and if your dream is to drive a sports car at top speed, you can fulfill it.
Where: Exotic Driving Experience at Walt Disney World Speedway.

What: Drive or be driven in a $295,000 Ferrari 458 italia, $243,000 Lamborghini Gallardo LP570-4 Superleggera or $220,000 Gallardo LP560-4, $150,000 Audi R8 or $99,900 Porsche 997 S around the road course. 

Costs: Be driven for two laps $99. Drive yourself (there will be a professional driver in the passenger seat) for seven laps for $169 to $419; Porsche's the least expensive, Ferrari the most. Photographs of you with and in the car and/or a tape of the experience (including your comments as you drive) are extra. 

Details: Your session begins with a classroom where the cars are described, tips are given and drivers are warned that they won't remember a thing once they get in the car. You might remember a few but they do tend to disappear with that first "Step on the gas" order. If you aren't among the first on the track you and friends/family will watch from small stands until it's your turn. When your name is called, you return to "pit row" where your head  is covered in a balaclava and helmet and your seat is adjusted for you. The seven laps will be up before you know it.
Tip: If you really want to achieve personal best speeds, be driven first then get in a car and do it yourself.Seeing how far the car could safely be pushed would have made a big difference.

On the track.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

10 Tips for Booking a Nattional Park Lodge Room at the Minute

Old Faithful at Yellowstone National Park.
Concessioner Xanterra Parks & Resorts operates seven lodges in Grand Canyon National Park, nine lodges in Yellowstone National Park, Zion Lodge in Zion National Park, two lodges in Crater Lake National Park and two lodges in Death Valley National Park. The company also operates Grand Canyon Railway and Grand Canyon Railway Hotel in Williams, Ariz., 65 miles from the entrance to the Grand Canyon.

“Advance bookings for national park lodges are strong this summer, so the key to successfully reserving a room in a park at the last minute is to be both flexible and persistent,” said Dave Hartvigsen, vice president of sales and marketing for Xanterra. "With a little bit of flexibility and some good luck, last-minute travelers can still book rooms at national park lodges.”

Hartvigsen's tips for planning a last-minute national park vacation.

1. Do your homework. Familiarize yourself with web sites and bookmark reservations pages.  Visit Xanterra's web site at www.xanterra.com for general information on the parks operated by Xanterra as well as lodging descriptions, rates and availability. Another good source of information on national parks is the National Park Service website at www.nps.gov.

2. Check room availability and book rooms online. Rooms can be booked online at www.YellowstoneNationalParkLodges.com, www.grandcanyonlodges.com, www.zionlodge.com, , www.craterlakelodges.com and www.furnacecreekresort.com (Death Valley).  Booking online is usually the quickest way to book a lodge room.

3. Be flexible with travel dates. Lodges can be booked up to 13 months in advance of a travel date. Because many people do make their plans far in advance, they will occasionally have to change or cancel existing reservations because of schedule conflicts or for other reasons. Travelers who are flexible with their travel dates stand the best chance of getting a room on short notice.

4. Be flexible with lodge choices. Grand Canyon’s El Tovar and Yellowstone’s Old Faithful Inn are often travelers’ first choice of lodging, so the rooms in those two historic hotels are typically the first to sell out in those parks. More than 70 percent of the lodge rooms at the Grand Canyon are located off-rim in Maswik and Yavapai lodges, however, and both are comfortable locations that are barely a 10-minute walk from the canyon rim. Yellowstone has lodges situated in a variety of locations throughout the park. No matter where in a park travelers stay they can always experience the famous grand dames of the parks by visiting the lobbies or enjoying a meal in their dining rooms.

5. Be strategic. International tour operators reserve blocks of rooms up to two years in advance in anticipation of selling these rooms as part of tour packages to the United States. If all the rooms are not sold, operators must release them for resale 30 days out. Want to travel on July 30? Book first thing on the morning of June 30.

6. Be persistent. Rooms open up - and are often very quickly re-booked - every day. The quickest way to check availability is by going to the web site and following the link for reservations. Bookmark the web site and check it frequently to see if rooms have become available.

7. Travel when families don’t. There is often more room availability during the first two weeks of June, the last two weeks of August or the first two weeks of September. Families with schoolchildren are either winding down after the end of school or gearing up for the beginning of school, so those periods -- although still considered peak season -- are a little slower than the rest of the summer.

8. Just show up. Travelers who arrive between noon and 6 p.m. often find last-minute rooms available. Once in a park, the front desk at any lodge can check availability for all rooms within the park.

9. Make dining and activity reservations too. If you are successful booking a room, take a moment to also reserve activities and make dinner reservations. Dining rooms do fill, so if you want a meal in one of the lodges, plan ahead. Popular activities like the Old West Cookout at Yellowstone's Roosevelt Lodge fill up fast too. Phone numbers for meal and activity reservations can be easily found on all Xanterra web sites.

10. Book a package. Yellowstone offers a variety of packages including multi-day “Adventure” and “Lodging & Learning” packages that include accommodations, some meals and a variety of park experiences. Grand Canyon Railway also features packages that include train travel and accommodations.

Read about Yellowstone and Grand Canyon experiences at my other blog, Travel on the Level: 
Travel on the Level: blogspot.com/2011/11/grand-canyon.html

Friday, June 1, 2012

Savannah Summer Girls Getaway

Grab your BFFs and head to the South's Grande Dame Savannah, GA.

What: Check into one of the following historic B & Bs
Azalea Inn & Gardens     www.AzaleaInn.com
• Dresser Palmer House    www.DresserPalmerHouse.com
• Green Palm Inn                www.GreenPalmInn.com
• Zeigler House Inn            www.ZeiglerHouseInn.com

and receive this "Savannah Memories" bonus ($70 value):

• Savannah Trolley Tour for Two with OLD SAVANNAH TOURS – bringing Savannah  History to Life for nearly 30 years

• Luscious Ice Cream Banana Split for Two to Share at LEOPOLD’S ICE CREAM (since 1919)

• Admission for Two to JULIETTE GORDON LOW HOUSE – Celebrate the 100th Anniversary of The Girl Scouts

• Personal Tour of the four SAVANNAH INNS – a glimpse into the most romantic bed & breakfasts in the South. Spanning history from 1856 -1897, the Inns grace the City with their genuine warmth and Southern hospitality.

Details: Stay a minimum of two weekday nights (Sunday through Thursday) June 3 - August 23. Mention Girl Scout Cookies when you book and receive an additional special gift.