Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Killer whale returns to SeaWorld show

Killer whale returns to SeaWorld show


Killer whale Tilikum is making its first appearance before audiences since killing SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau last year.
Killer whale Tilikum is making its first appearance before audiences since killing SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau last year.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Killer whale returns to SeaWorld show
  • Dawn Brancheau was killed last year by Tilikum, authorities say
  • Family says it prefers to concentrate on Brancheau's work with children

Miami (CNN) -- Tilikum, the killer whale that killed SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau last year, has returned to the stage at the Orlando theme park.
Tilikum made his first appearance in front of an audience in the morning killer whale show called "Believe" on Wednesday.
Brancheau was killed in February 2010 when the orca grabbed her ponytail and pulled her under the water, authorities said. The incident took place in front of visitors watching the show.
Brancheau died from "multiple traumatic injuries and drowning," the Orange County Sheriff's Office said at the time of the accident.
Anthony Frogameni, Brancheau's nephew, said the trainer's family did not want to comment on Tilikum's return. "From the start we've decided, it's a large family, we all have our different opinions, but we're just not going to talk about that aspect of it. We're only going to focus on Dawn," Frogameni said.
The family started the Dawn Brancheau Foundation to help children in the Orlando area who are in need. "She was all about spending her time helping other people, especially children," Frogameni added. "We figured a great way to honor her is to focus on that."
SeaWorld told CNN that a request for information on Tilikum's return must submitted in writing. At this writing, answers to the questions asked of SeaWorld have not been received.
In August, SeaWorld was fined $75,000 by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration for three safety violations, including one referring to the death of Brancheau.
The agency's investigation "revealed that SeaWorld trainers had an extensive history of unexpected and potentially dangerous incidents involving killer whales at its various facilities, including its location in Orlando," OSHA said.
source: cnn

Friday, March 25, 2011

Spring Break Jersey Shore & Europe : Jersey Shore Season 4? Forget It, Check Out Europe's Real Jersey Shores

Jersey Shore Season 4? Forget It, Check Out Europe's Real Jersey Shores

Season 3 of the "Jersey Shore"concluded on Thursday night to much fan-fare. Next up? The GTL crew brings their overly-tanned, overly-coiffed selves to Italy for "Jersey Shore" season 4.

It may seem that the debauchery and shamelessness of Seaside Heights is an American original, but it's not. Beach towns around the world boast similar needs for tanned debauchery. Here are seven beaches around the world to get your "Jersey Shore" on.

America's Best Roadside Attractions

Spring is right around the corner, and with upcoming vacation planning, many Americans will opt to skip the pricey vacations and head out on the ever-popular and family bond-inducing road trip.
Nothing compliments a road trip better than the good ole roadside attraction. Often zany, sometimes corny and always entertaining, these monuments, statues and good-natured tourist traps offer relief from the monotony of the open road and make for a great vacation story for those back home.
Is your favorite spot included? Tell us what we may have missed in the comments below!

 
Have a favorite roadside attraction? Send it to us!
Find a picture, click the participate button, add a title and upload your picture
Carhenge: Alliance, Nebraska
1 of 13

With 38 vintage American cars spray painted a stone-like grey, Nebraska's Carhenge is as close to England's real thing as can be found on this side of the Atlantic. However, there's no mystery here; artist Jim Reinders lived in England and carefully studied Stonehenge's proportions before coming back to Nebraska. This local landmark has been luring Midwestern drivers since 1987.

(Carhenge, located off of Country Road 59 in Alliance, Nebraska)
source: Huffpost

Friday, March 18, 2011

Divisive US Immigration Law new defeated




Arizona Senate defeats controversial birthright measures
March 18th, 2011
09:51 AM ET
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Arizona Senate defeats controversial birthright measures
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(CNN) - A series of hot-button immigration bills in Arizona that in part proposed stripping citizenship rights of children of illegal immigrants went down in defeat Thursday, averting for now a legal showdown that would likely have reached the Supreme Court.
A divided state Senate voted against a string of proposals that aimed to deny citizenship rights to children of illegal immigrants born in the United States, prevent illegal immigrants from acquiring drivers' licenses, and require schools and hospitals to check the legal status of students and patients before offering services.

Specific portions of the measures – including a ban on citizenship and access to schools for children of illegal immigrants - appear to expressly conflict with previous Supreme Court rulings and were drafted in hopes the high court would reconsider its decades-old holdings in that area of law. The Court categorically ruled more than a hundred years ago that birth within the United States triggered citizenship even if the parents were in the country illegally. Thirty years ago, the Court also struck down a Texas law that sought to deny public education to children of illegal immigrants.
Some of the most controversial measures were drafted by state Senate President Russell Pearce, a former sheriff who has long aimed to crack down on illegal immigration in his state and is mulling a congressional bid.
"Arizona supports these laws. They expect us to stand up and do what's right," Pearce said after the bills' defeat. "It's about time we recognize who we work for."
The future of the measures remain unclear, but it's possible similar proposals could be presented to voters as referendums in the next election. Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, a noted illegal immigration opponent herself, stopped short of expressing full fledged support for the measures while they were being considered.
Arizona become ground-zero for illegal immigration laws last year after Brewer signed a bill that requires police in the state to determine whether a person is in the country legally. Critics maintained the law fosters racial profiling but supporters argued it was the most effective way to crack down on the difficult issue that has plagued Arizona more than most any other state. The most controversial portions of that bill are currently being challenged in court.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

U.S. has 600,000 new millionaires

Millionaires on the rebound

By Aaron Smith, staff writer


NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- What recession? The millionaire population jumped in the U.S. by 8% last year, fueled by the stock market recovery, according to an industry report on Wednesday.
The number of U.S. households worth at least $1 million rose to 8.4 million in 2010, compared to 7.8 billion the prior year, according to a report by Spectrem Group.

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"The affluent market grew in 2010 due primarily to the stock market rebound, but despite their growing portfolios, attitudes remain significantly different than in 2007," the report said.
"The size of the affluent market increased in 2010 but did not reach the highs obtained in 2007," the year that the recession began, according to the report.
Last year marked the second consecutive year of increases, the group said, following a 16% surge in the millionaire population in 2009.
"The millionaire comeback continues," said George H. Walper Jr., president of Spectrem Group.
But he added that many millionaires are still operating under a cloud of caution.
"While investors are feeling positive about their own portfolios, they are not convinced that the economy has recovered," said Walper. "Our ongoing polling and research indicates that investors remain unconvinced that we are back on solid ground."
In the prior year of 2008, the millionaire population plunged 27%.
The group said the number of "ultra high net worth" households, with a net worth of at least $5 million, jumped 8% in 2010 to 1.06 million, compared to 980,000 the prior year.
The broader affluent population, meaning households with a net worth of $500,000 or more, also grew in 2010. This population rose by 6% to 13.5 million in 2010, compared to 12.7 million the year before.
Households worth at least $100,000 also grew last year, to 36.2 million from 34.6 million. But the report showed that Americans, even those with money, are more cautious than they used to be.
"Overall attitudes are not the same as in 2007," the report said. "Many households no longer believe their home is a stable asset."
The report also showed that 55% of households worth less than $1 million "still feel that it is more important to protect their principal than grow their assets."

source: CNN








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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Which airports have body-scanning technology?

Which airports have body-scanning technology?

TRANSPORTATION SECURITY ADMINISTRATION

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  • More than 60 airports are using body-scanning machines to screen passengers.
    More than 60 airports are using body-scanning machines to screen passengers.
Many Americans planning holiday travel have expressed concern -- even outrage -- over the the Transportation Security Administration's use of full-body scanning and enhanced pat-downs, but a large number of fliers are likely to bypass both screening procedures.
There are 400 full-body scanning machines at 69 airports nationwide, according to the TSA.
About 24 million air travelers are expected to fly over the Thanksgiving holiday period, according to the Air Transport Association of America, an airline trade group.
The group expects daily passenger volumes to range from 1.3 million to 2.5 million fliers. Certainly, some number of those will be asked to step into one of the full-body scanning machines. The rest will go through the metal detector lines as usual.

Passengers in either line may be selected for additional screening, including the enhanced pat-down procedure that allows security officers of the same sex to touch sensitive areas of a passenger's body. Fliers who decline the optional full-body scan will receive alternative screening, including a thorough pat-down, according to the TSA.
"It's important to remember that TSA screens nearly 2 million passengers daily and that very few passengers are required to receive a pat-down," according to a post on the TSA Blog.
The body-scanning machines use two separate means of creating images of passengers -- backscatter X-ray technology and millimeter-wave technology. About 190 backscatter machines have been installed in airports; the remainder are millimeter-wave machines.
The TSA website lists all the airports using advanced-imaging technology to screen passengers. The website does not specifiy which type of machine is used in each airport.
Airports that currently have imaging technology, according to the website:
• Albuquerque International Sunport Airport
• Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport
• Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport
• Boston Logan International Airport
• Houston's George Bush Interncontinental Airport
• Boise Airport
• Bradley International Airport
• Brownsville-South Padre Island Airport
• Buffalo Niagara International Airport
• Charlotte Douglas International Airport
• Chicago's O'Hare International Airport
• Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport
• Cleveland Hopkins International Airport
• Corpus Christi International Airport
• Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport
• Denver International Airport
• Detroit Metro Airport
• Dulles International Airport
• El Paso International Airport
• Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport
• Fort Wayne International Airport
• Fresno Yosemite International Airport
• Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport
• Grand Rapids, Michigan's Gerald R. Ford International Airport
• Harrisburg International Airport
• Valley International Airport in Harlingen, Texas
• Honolulu International Airport
• Indianapolis International Airport
• Jacksonville International Airport
• John F. Kennedy International Airport
• Kansas City International Airport
• LaGuardia Airport
• Lambert-St. Louis International Airport
• Laredo International Airport
• Lihue Airport
• Los Angeles International Airport
• San Juan Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport
• McAllen-Miller International Airport
• Las Vegas' McCarran International Airport
• Memphis International Airport
• Miami International Airport
• Milwaukee's General Mitchell Airport
• Mineta San José International Airport
• Minneapolis/St.Paul International Airport
• Nashville International Airport
• Newark Liberty International Airport
• Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport
• Oakland International Airport
• Omaha Eppley Field Airport
• Orlando International Airport
• Palm Beach International Airport
• Philadelphia International Airport
• Phoenix International Airport
• Pittsburgh International Airport
• Port Columbus International Airport
• Raleigh-Durham International Airport
• Richmond International Airport
• Greater Rochester International Airport
• Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport
• Salt Lake City International Airport
• San Antonio International Airport
• San Diego International Airport
• San Francisco International Airport
• Seattle-Tacoma International Airport
• Spokane International Airport
• T.F. Green Airport
• Tampa International Airport
• Tulsa International Airport

source: CNN


Monday, March 14, 2011

Apple white iPhone coming soon


Apple's Phil Schiller: White iPhone coming soon


When a 16 year old wanted to know if the white iPhone would ever emerge, he Tweeted Apple's marketing boss.
When a 16 year old wanted to know if the white iPhone would ever emerge, he Tweeted Apple's marketing boss.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • "The white iPhone will be available this spring (and it is a beauty!)," Schiller tweeted
  • Apple traditionally releases new iPhones in June
  • Neither tweet mentions a model number

(Wired) -- "Tweeting Phil Schiller" is the new "emailing Steve Jobs."

When a 16 year old from Albuquerque, New Mexico, wanted to know if the mythical white iPhone would ever emerge into the world, he Tweeted Apple's product marketing boss:"@pschiller how do i get a white iphone?"

The reply? "@airickanderson Hi Eric. The white iPhone will be available this spring (and it is a beauty!)."

Given that most people in the U.S. consider the first day of spring to be March 21, Apple has until has until June 21 to deliver. Further, June is the month when Apple traditionally releases new a iPhone.

Could it be that there will be no white iPhone 4, but instead a white iPhone 5? After all, neither tweet mentions a model number.

On the other hand, Apple does like to dominate the news, and manages to come up with some buzz-worthy announcement every few weeks. Any problems with white hardware have clearly been fixes, as proven by the white iPad, so maybe we'll get one in the next few weeks.

Yes, the amount of ink (or pixels) spilled writing about the white iPhone is ridiculous. But then, so is the almost year-long wait for a product promised -- and demoed -- at launch last summer.


Friday, March 11, 2011

iPad in every Hotel Room NYC : Mondrian SoHo Hotel Decks Out Every Room With iPads

Mondrian SoHo Hotel Decks Out Every Room With iPads

 iPads In Every Hotel Room: New York Mondrian SoHo Jumps On iPad Bandwagon

 




 

Did an iPad come standard with your last hotel room? No? Well it could be soon.
Morgans Hotel Group's launch of New York's Mondrian SoHo Hotel last week marks their second hotel featuring iPads in all 270 rooms of the hotel. Their first being the Royalton, New York. *PHOTOS BELOW*
Both hotels offer guests the ability to control hotel services and customizable content. Options to check flights, order room service, make dinner reservations, coordinate transportation and call a housekeeper are incorporated into the functionality.
The Mondrian SoHo and Royalton aren't the only hotels to offer this type of iPad in-room service, the 5 Star Plaza Hotel in New York has incorporated the iPad in their rooms replace an older touch panel system.
Last year, InterContinental Hotels equipped concierges with iPads to "provide guests with enhanced maps and directions, video recommendations, and instant booking confirmations for local restaurants performances and attractions."
One unique aspect the Mondrian SoHo and Royalton are bringing is weekly curated content from city lifestyle specialists Urbandaddy.com.
With the launch of iPad 2, we wonder if hotels will start incorporating more communication functionality into their services offered through the iPad. With the iPad 2's front and rear facing cameras, face-to-face video calls would be an amazing addition to any room.
Story continues below
Hotels could also take advantage of the iPad 2's camera's by offering guests a more human touch of interaction when using technology. Instead of just sending a request, if there's an urgent problem you can call and actually see the hotel employee you are talking to.
Another cool feature could be hotels offering iPads to their guests on a loan basis. Instead of handing out maps to the city, get a deposit, and send them out with a 3G enabled iPad to guide them with automatic connectivity back to the hotel's concierge if they get into a bind or need advice.
With the iPad's still soaring popularity and the rising consumer choice of competing brands, it isn't a stretch to imagine such touchpad in-room interactivity becoming more of the norm than the exception.
Though it might be a while until we see iPads in every Holiday Inn room.
source: Huff Post



 

 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Hugh Hefner's 85th Birthday Party At The Palms Casino Hotel In Vegas. (Hugh Hefner)

Hugh Hefner's 85th Birthday Party At The Palms Casino Hotel In Vegas.  (Hugh Hefner)


 

Video:










Hugh Hefner's 85th Birthday Party At The Palms Casino Hotel In Vegas.
In This Photo: Hugh Hefner
Hugh Hefner's 85th Birthday party held at the Palms Casino Hotel In Vegas.
( Photo by Photo Agency)
Hugh Hefner's 85th Birthday party held at the Palms Casino Hotel In Vegas. Hugh Hefner's 85th Birthday party held at the Palms Casino Hotel In Vegas. Hugh Hefner's 85th Birthday party held at the Palms Casino Hotel In Vegas.

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Saturday, March 5, 2011

USA Montecito : where Celebrities Live.-Video- The Houses of the Ultra rich

Where Celebrities Live: Montecito - VIDEO


Montecito has been attracting the rich and famous for centuries. Here's a who's who of who lives in this breathtaking California city today.

In the late 1800s, industrialists, heiresses and other high society types with the time and finances to do so flocked to the coastal enclave of Montecito, California in search of winter sun, sea air and mesmerizing views of the Pacific Ocean. They hired lauded and applauded architects including George Washington Smith and Reginald Johnson to design significant mansions amid lushly landscaped gardens, many of which survive today.

where-celebrities-live-montecito-californiaPhotos: JPIStudios | Getty Images | AP
Swank but surprisingly casual, Montecito regularly ranks among the most affluent communities in the United States. The near-perfect Mediterranean climate and ocean breezes -- not to mention sky-high real estate prices -- continue to attract global business leaders, luminaries and wealthy Tinseltown types in search of a getaway that's far from the fray yet close enough to quickly get into Los Angeles when required.

where-celebrities-live-montecito-californiaVilla Cresta Montecito in Santa Barbara. Photo: Alamy Images
Montecito's most famous and wealthiest celebrity resident may very well be talk show titan turned media mogul Oprah Winfrey who famously paid around $50 million for a lavishly landscaped 42-arce spread with a 23,000 square foot mansion she dubbed "The Promised Land."

Former Brat Packer and long time Montecito homeowner actor Rob Lowe was forced to evacuate his home during the wildfires that swept through the area and destroyed a number of mulit-million dollar homes in the fall of 2008. Lowe and his wife have since built a new mansion in Montecito, a gigantic 20-room Georgian style home with four kitchens and 2 guest houses. Gorgeous photographs of the Lowe spread appeared in the November 2010 issue of Architectural Digest.

where-celebrities-live-montecito-californiaMiramar Beach in Montecito. Photo: Nik Wheeler, Alamy

Other longtime residents include the Kirk Douglas and Michael Douglas, tennis titan Jimmy Connors and comedienne Carol Burnett. Emmy winning actress and heiress Julia Louis-Dreyfus has a modest if shockingly expensive oceanfront house. Comedian and conservative radio host Dennis Miller has owned property in Montecito since the early 1990s, but he recently put both of his homes on the market for a reported combined total of around $20 million.

One of the coastal community's newest celebrity residents is troubled child actor turned entertainment industry power player Drew Barrymore. She reportedly laid out $5.7 million for a secluded estate with 5 bedrooms and 8 bathrooms on a quiet cul-de-sac near Montecito's lower commercial district.

where-celebrities-live-montecito-californiaAnother example of a Montecito mansion, this one with an elegant swimming pool and statue. Photo: Corbis Images
Former vice president and global warming guru Al Gore splashed out nearly $9 million for a Mediterranean mansion recently, and Beanie Baby billionaire Ty Warner is constructing a massive compound on a bluff high above the ocean. Just south of Montecito, former California governor Arnold S and Maria Shiver coughed up more than $4.5 million for 25-acres of undeveloped land in the foothills with jaw dropping views up and down the coastline.

where-celebrities-live-montecito-californiaPhotos: tkksummers, flickr | Getty Images
Buying property in Montecito may be prohibitively pricey for all but the very wealthy. But regular folks can grab a glimpse of how the other half lives by touring some of the community's grandest historic estates and magnificent gardens that are open to the public. The perfect example is "Lotusland," the breathtaking horticultural obsession of eccentric opera superstar Madame Ganna Walska who owned the sprawling 37-acre estate from 1941 until her death in 1984.

For more on celebrity neighborhoods, don't miss:
Where Celebrities Call Home: Hancock Park
Where Celebrities Live: Bedford

Here's a video about celebrity luxury vacation homes.






Filed Under: Famous Homes, Celebrity Homes

source: aol

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Disney World: The best Guide to get the most for your Money and Time !



The absolutely indispensable guide to Disney World


March 1, 2011 2:53 p.m. EST
Conquer the crowds with this absolutely indispensable guide to Disney World.
Conquer the crowds with this absolutely indispensable guide to Disney World.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Choose spontaneity over a rigid plan
  • Look beyond the popular rides to avoid long lines
  • Whatever you do, embrace your inner kid
RELATED TOPICS

(Budget Travel) -- If there's such a thing as an archetypal Disney fanatic, I'm pretty sure that I don't fit the mold.

I don't own Mickey Mouse T-shirts or have a Disney license plate on my car. There are no movie posters, bobblehead dolls or other assorted Disneyana decorating my cubicle.

But as hard as it is for my colleagues at Budget Travel to believe, I've been to Walt Disney World more times than I can count. In fact, when my family and I try to tally the total number of days we've logged in the parks, we usually start with some complex mental math only to throw up our hands and agree, "A few hundred."

Having grown up in Tampa, about an hour from Disney World, I've had some of my most memorable life experiences with Mickey and the gang. Disney World is where my fourth-grade science class went on a field trip to learn about marine biology, where my elementary school chorus performed Christmas carols, where I've spent countless New Year's Eves, Fourths of July, Labor Days and Memorial Days.

I even learned I was accepted into journalism school, from an e-mail sent to my smartphone, while riding in a simulated hang glider at Epcot's popular Soarin' attraction.

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So I guess you could say I know the place pretty well. Add in my family (mother, father and sister), and we've collectively amassed more than 60 years of park experience. With that kind of dedication comes a little embarrassment and a lifetime's worth of invaluable rules.

What follows is my hard-won Disney World wisdom, an insider's manual for first-timers and fanatics alike.

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1. Embrace your impulsive side

Disney World's sheer scale can be daunting: four theme parks, 25,000 acres, nearly 500 places to eat, more than 28,000 hotel rooms. Guidebooks often suggest creating a master multiday game plan before hitting the parks. I totally disagree. Rather than sticking to a rigid agenda, my family has developed a simple system: Check the morning forecast.

If rain is on the way, we head for Hollywood Studios -- it's far and away the most compact of the four parks, and almost all rides and lines are indoors or sheltered. Cloudy days are ideal for Animal Kingdom, since the big cats, great apes and Serengeti grazers are much more active when the sun is hidden, while Epcot is a must when the mercury is predicted to climb above 90 degrees. Many of its top attractions clock in at over 15 minutes, maximizing your precious air-conditioned hours.

And for those perfectly sunny days? Magic Kingdom, of course. Blue skies are ideal for carnival-style rides like Dumbo the Flying Elephant and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad -- not to mention that classic family photo in front of Cinderella Castle.

2. Don't even think about paying for parking

When you're shelling out $82 a day for admission, tacking on another $14 for parking can feel like adding insult to injury. I'm proud to say my family hasn't paid for a spot in years. What many out-of-towners don't realize is that the parking lots at Disney water parks, miniature-golf courses and the Downtown Disney entertainment district are absolutely free.

From those locations, shuttle buses will take you wherever you need to go (note that some routes require transfers). Our all-time favorite spot is an unmarked overflow lot across the street from the BoardWalk Inn. Next to a Hess gas station, the lot is almost always half-empty and is a 10-minute walk to the resort.

From there, you can stroll over to Epcot, take a ferry ride to Hollywood Studios, or catch a shuttle bus anywhere else -- all free of charge.

3. Ready, set...run!

If you've been to Disney World even once, you probably know that Fastpasses are the single-greatest time-savers ever. They are distributed from special machines at many popular rides, and they specify a time window (essentially a reservation) when you can return and skip the line. The only hitch is that they're limited and first-come, first-served.

Every December 26, my family visits the Magic Kingdom with a large group from our neighborhood. To ensure that we all get Fastpasses, our family friend, a special-projects manager at a major computer company, uses his logistics skills to coordinate what I call the "running man" strategy.

Because favorites like Space Mountain and Splash Mountain are located far from the entrance, it would be impossible to get our whole party to the Fastpass machines before the best time slots were taken.

Instead, we send the fastest member of our pack bobbing and weaving through the crowds to collect passes for everyone.

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4. Look beyond the biggies

With top rides like Hollywood Studios' Twilight Zone Tower of Terror (an intense free fall) and Epcot's Mission: Space (a thrilling virtual space flight) commanding hour-long waits, it pays to go where the action isn't. Epcot's Sum of All Thrills is no less exciting than Mission: Space, but for whatever reason, I've never waited more than 15 minutes for it.

On a touch screen, guests design their own roller coaster, bobsled course, or jet flight, and then step inside a two-person module on the end of a robotic arm to experience a simulated version of their creation.

Another inexplicably empty attraction is Magic Kingdom's Tom Sawyer Island. The 3.3-acre site is a warren of wooded trails, caves and circa-1840s buildings. Each morning, staffers hide six paintbrushes on the island, and the first kids to find them get front-of-the-line passes for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad or Splash Mountain.

5. Drink for free -- in eight languages

Disney World isn't exactly known for its giveaways -- which is why Epcot's Coca-Cola-sponsored Club Cool is such a score. Located in a nondescript storefront behind Epcot's silver geodesic sphere, Club Cool doles out free samples of eight soft drinks from around the world, including Costa Rican Fanta Kolita, Israeli Kinley Lemon and Japanese VegitaBeta.

Just beware the bitter and syrupy Italian (nonalcoholic) aperitif known as Beverly. It's a doozy.

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6. Grab some shut-eye (and a quick history lesson)

During summer's peak, when the Magic Kingdom can stay open as late as 2 a.m., the conventional wisdom is to return to your hotel for a refreshing afternoon catnap or a cooldown by the pool.

But really, there's no need to leave the park. My apologies to the Hall of Presidents -- Disney's audio-animatronic celebration of the American presidency -- but there's no better place for a quick midday snooze.

Comfy seats, a long running time (23 minutes), perfect air-conditioned temperatures and Morgan Freeman's warm narration make for a dreamy combination.

7. Look at the line. Now skip it

Trying to fit all the highlights of a given park into a single day can feel like a race against the clock, so every little time-saver helps. At Rock 'n' Roller Coaster (Hollywood Studios), Test Track (Epcot) and Expedition Everest (Animal Kingdom), riders have the option of queuing up in a dedicated singles line to fill any empty seats that might open up between larger parties.

Sure, you won't be able to buy the requisite cheesy souvenir photo of you and your family screaming your heads off, but you'll halve that hour-plus wait time.

Multi-kid families have another option, called the rider switch. If one of the kids is too young, short or scared to ride, one parent-child pair can enjoy the attraction while the other waits by the loading zone.

When the riders finish up, the parents can swap positions and the new parent-child team sets off for another run -- no extra waiting involved.

8. Squeeze in time for cocktail hour

At a certain point in every young Floridian's life, Epcot graduates from "the educational theme park" to "the park where you can drink your way around the world."

Everything from Chinese green-tea plum-wine slushies ($7.50) to icy, blended French Grey Goose citron cocktails ($9) is available in the grab-and-go bars that ring Epcot's World Showcase Lagoon. Sure, these drinks are delicious, but there's an even better alternative.

For those unconcerned with trying to hit every attraction before the park closes, I suggest setting some time aside to duck into La Cava del Tequila, hidden inside Epcot's Mexico Pavilion.

With only 30 seats, the grotto-like restaurant is an unexpectedly intimate shelter from the bustle outside and serves some mean specialties like flavored margaritas (avocado, cactus, jalapeño and hibiscus), house-made guacamole, small plates like blue crab tostadas and flights of top-shelf tequila (margaritas from $10, small plates from $6).

9. Buy a souvenir you'll actually want

For years, the most popular souvenirs at Disney World were hyper-collectible but decidedly uncool pins. (That didn't stop me from gathering them by the hundreds.)

But now Disney has gone and added a twist: It's introduced a line of souvenirs that are at once cartoonish, crowd-pleasing, and surprisingly hip. With their trademark Mickey Mouse ears, the three-inch-tall Vinylmation figurines (from $10) come in hundreds of designs.

You'll find everything from classic characters like Goofy and Pluto to iconic attractions like the monorail and Cinderella Castle.

The catch? These pop-art-inspired action figures are sold in unmarked boxes, so you never know which pattern you'll find inside. If you're unhappy with your randomly selected design, most stores keep three options in full view by the cash register, and you can swap yours for one of those backups.

10. Don't skimp on your hotel. I promise you'll regret it

Most people are quick to think you'll get the best hotel deals outside the parks. And while that's probably true -- a $35 room on congested International Drive is not unheard of -- value-oriented visitors should not rule out Disney resorts.

For example, the All-Star (Music, Sports and Movies -- three separate hotels) and Pop Century resorts are just minutes from the parks via Disney buses, and they start at $82 a night (make reservations at disneyworld.disney.go.com/resorts).

Each is outfitted with oversize props that suit their respective themes. Think 51-foot-tall tennis rackets, a guitar-shaped pool and pop culture figures like Mr. Potato Head and Pac-Man. If all of this overblown theming comes off a bit kitschy, Port Orleans (from $149) and Coronado Springs (from $154) offer more subtle experiences inspired by New Orleans and the American Southwest.

Whichever you choose, I recommend you embrace it along with your inner kid. At Disney, that's kinda the point.


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