diamond head : Reservations required to visit Hawaii’s famous Diamond Head State Monument


Reservations required to visit Hawaii's famous Diamond Head State Monument

Reservations required to visit Hawaii’s famous Diamond Head State Monument

Out-of-state visitors to the Diamond Head State Monument in Hawaii, locally known as Lē’ahi, are now required to make reservations prior to the visit. Residents have free access to the park but those …





Source link

Memorial Day travel reservations up 122% over last year as travel rebounds


(WWTI) — May 7 is National Tourism Day, the final day of National Travel and Tourism Week, highlighting contributions the travel industry has made to economic growth in the United States.

According to AAA, many aspects of travel are on the rebound. AAA Travel booking data shows that reservations for flights, rental cars, cruises and hotels for Memorial Day are up 122% over last year.

This year’s theme of the “Future of Travel” elevates how the travel industry can restore the workforce, help communities recover, foster sustainability, usher in new innovations and reconnect travelers in the U.S. and around the world.

National Travel and Tourism Week was created by Congress in 1983 to elevate the economic power of travel in the U.S, making this the 39th annual celebration as the industry looks ahead to future growth and success following the challenges of the past two years.

“AAA Western and Central New York is thrilled to see travel rebound as we work to strengthen the tourism industry and economy,” said Carol DiOrio, Vice President of Travel at AAA Western and Central New York. “This National Travel and Tourism Week, we are spotlighting how travel benefits our workforce, supports global economies, and reconnects Americans to each other and the world.”

“NTTW has special significance this year as the travel industry looks ahead to a bright future,” said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow. “This NTTW is an opportunity to recognize the collective strength of the U.S. travel industry and how we are rebuilding to be more dynamic, innovative, sustainable and inclusive in the months and years to come.

“Before the pandemic, travel generated $2.6 trillion in economic output, supported 17 million American jobs and delivered a $51 billion trade surplus to the U.S.- evidence of the outsized role the industry will play in driving America’s recovery and future economic growth,” Dow said.

AAA Western and Central New York is celebrating National Travel and Tourism Week even more as the recipient of the 2021 Allianz Partners Top Club Award for mid-size AAA clubs, thanks to the company’s results during 2021 for overall sales and year over year growth as travelers are increasingly turning to travel insurance to protect their vacation investments.

AAA travel sales advisors were recognized for their accomplishments as AAA Western and Central New York received the 2021 Allianz Partners Top Club Award. Pictured, from left: Mary McIntosh (AAA Watertown), Terri Cummings (AAA Orchard Park), Mamie Cimato (AAA Amherst), and Geri Van Alstine (AAA DeWitt). Missing from photo: Tracey Miller (AAA Penfield/AAA Plus Virtual Team).

A recent AAA survey finds that one-third, 31%, of U.S. travelers say they are more likely to purchase travel insurance for their trips planned between now and the end of 2022, specifically due to the pandemic.

The ability to cancel a trip and get a refund is by far the most frequently cited benefit of travel insurance, with 69% of travelers saying this is most important to them when considering travel insurance for an upcoming trip. AAA advises travelers to look into travel insurance policies that include a “cancel for any reason” component, which could offer more flexibility and protection in the event a traveler needs to cancel their trip.



Source link

Make Reservations Now For Unique National Park Cave Tours In Utah


Cave tours are set to begin later this month at one of Utah’s most popular and unique attractions.

Timpanogos Cave National Monument is opening for tours starting May 18. Reservations are a requirement and can be made up to 30 days in advance.

This is a special year for the monument, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary.

“We are excited to celebrate the centennial of Timpanogos Cave National Monument,” Cami McKinney, acting superintendent, said in a release. “Over the last 100 years, there is a tradition of many families coming to see the cave, communities that have supported the success of the park, and decades of bringing people together.”

A series of events are taking place in honor of the centennial, all leading to a birthday party on October 14. Events include:

  • Daily lantern cave tours
  • New exhibits in the visitor center
  • Star parties
  • A 100-day hike challenge
  • Free Saturday programs for children and families
  • Art in the Park events

“We have a lot of different activities planned,” Sheila Hunt, supervisor at Timpanogos Visitor Center, told the Daily Universe. “I think one of my favorites is called Art in the Park.”

Art in the Park will feature artists throughout the day stationed in the cave, along the trail, or at the visitor center.

100 Years Of History

Created in 1922 by proclamation from President Warren G. Harding, Timpanogos Cave National Monument is a treasure unknown to many people.

Located in American Fork Canyon on the Wasatch Range, it features an extensive cave system made up of three linked caverns: Timpanogos Cave, Hansen Cave, and Middle Cave.

Each contains a wide range of formations, including helictites, stalactites, stalagmites, calcite crusts, draperies, and frostwork.

Visiting usually takes place from sometime in May to sometime in October because of the severe weather that can occur in other months.

In order to reach the caves, visitors must first hike about 1.5 miles on a paved trail that rises more than 1,000 feet. The entrance to the caves is at an elevation of just under 7,000 feet. The weather can be hot, so visitors should be well hydrated and conditioned to walk in air that is thinner than most are used to.

Because of the severity of the trail, no strollers or wheelchairs are allowed, and no pets, food, or drinks are allowed inside the caves.

The caves include dark passages and well-lit chambers filled with pylons, pillars, and other formations that are spectacular to view.

“We honor everyone that has worked here and hiked to the caves, and we invite you back to celebrate with us all year long,” McKinney said.

Tickets, tour schedules, and lists of programs can be found on the park’s website. Tickets are $12, or $7 for those ages 2 to 11.

Stay up to date on all of our travel news, including:



Source link

Diamond Head in Hawaii: Visitors will soon need to set reservations


Editor’s Note — Sign up for Unlocking the World, CNN Travel’s weekly newsletter. Get news about destinations opening and closing, inspiration for future adventures, plus the latest in aviation, food and drink, where to stay and other travel developments.

(CNN) — It’s one of the most popular spots in Hawai’i, and soon anyone from out-of-state will need a reservation to visit.

The new system for iconic Diamond Head State Monument — or Lē’ahi, to natives — will become effective May 12, the state’s Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) announced in a Monday news release.

On the island of O’ahu, Diamond Head is one of the state’s most visited sites, the DLNR said, and is renowned for the stunning views along its hiking trail.

The system is slated to activate on Thursday, April 28, and will allow for reservations beginning 14 days ahead.

Starting May 12, people without a Hawaii driver’s license or ID must have secured a reservation to enter the park, the news release said. State residents will have free access without reservations, but entry might depend on whether parking spaces are left.

Why is this happening at Diamond Head?

Hawaii is simply facing the same problem some US national parks and Venice, Italy, are having: Too many people crowding into the same space at the same time.

Overcrowding can sour the travel experience and damage the very things people want to see.

“The new reservation system will mitigate environmental impacts sustained by foot traffic, reduce vehicle congestion in the park and surrounding neighborhoods, improve the experience of kamaʻāina and visitors enjoying the monument,” the news release said.

This is the third state park to require reservations, the release said. The other two are Hā’ena State Park on Kaua’i and Waiʻānapanapa State Park on Maui.

Reservations are also required at Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve on O’ahu.

“We commend DLNR for bringing this reservation system to fruition, to support the efforts to manage the flow of visitors and residents into Diamond Head State Monument, and make the experience more enjoyable for all,” said Noelani Schilling-Wheeler, executive director of the O’ahu Visitors Bureau.

Top image: An aerial view shows Diamond Head crater on February 23, 2022. (Photo by Daniel Slim / AFP via Getty images)



Source link

Hotel del Coronado Now Accepting Reservations for its New Luxury Hotel, Shore House at The Del – Breaking Travel News



Hotel del Coronado Now Accepting Reservations for its New Luxury Hotel, Shore House at The Del  Breaking Travel News



Source link

Travel Stocks Are Ready To Roam In 2022, But With These Reservations


For a brief moment, the holidays began to look merry and bright for travel stocks such as consumers started booking more airline tickets, hotel rooms and cruises. But doubts rose when Austria returned to full lockdown status, with Germany set to follow suit, as Europe battled a resurgence of coronavirus infections.




X



Then, just as the Thanksgiving weekend got underway, a new Covid-19 variant emerged.

Outlooks that had begun to clear have once again turned sharply mixed and punctuated with warnings, as companies and analysts struggle to forecast what’s just around the next bend. Many remain cautiously optimistic, noting pent-up consumer demand for travel. But closed borders and travel restrictions, combined with Covid-related staffing issues, have raised uncertainties for a sector seen as a leading gauge for consumer spending.

Travel has been one of the earliest and most harshly affected sectors in the coronavirus pandemic. Vaccinations fueled a modest recovery in U.S. domestic travel this year. But the stocks have been wildly uneven.

Travel Stocks’ Bumpy Year

As a group, carriers such as American Airlines (AAL) have slipped about 1% since Jan. 1. Hotels have a 24% gain, with Marriott International (MAR), Hilton Worldwide (HLT) and Wyndham Hotels & Resorts (WH) leading the charge. Travel booking, the industry segment with by far the largest market capitalization, is effectively flat in 2021, but with some wild swings for Airbnb (ABNB) and Expedia (EXPE). Carnival (CCL), Royal Caribbean Group (RCL) and other cruise lines have lagged.

It’s still too early to tell the impact the omicron variant could have on travel stocks in 2022. Even with uncertainty around omicron, however, people are ready to travel again after over 20 months of staying close to home during the pandemic. And that’s good news for travel stocks.

“Our view is the demand is going to be very strong … with peaks and valleys based on Covid variants,” said Helane Becker, a senior research analyst at Cowen.

“People will hear there’s a variant. They’ll assess where they’re going and what they’re doing and probably insist on going anyway,” she said. “I think at this point, people think that this is endemic and we have to figure out a way to live with it.”

Dialing In Omicron

Medical researchers say the omicron strain could be highly transmissible, but reported infections were mostly mild. Scientists are still unsure how effective current Covid-19 vaccines will prove against the new variant.

To combat the new variant, the U.S. has banned non-U.S. citizens arriving from eight nations in southern Africa. The U.S. also implemented strict testing requirements for travel, while Japan barred all foreign visitors. White House chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci said in early December that he hopes the ban will be lifted soon.

The Transportation Security Administration extended the federal mask mandate until mid-March amid concerns about the omicron variant. On Dec. 9, the Supreme Court rejected an emergency request from a Florida resident attempting to block the federal mask mandate for air travel. That means, for now, passengers on airplanes, trains and other public transportation will continue wearing masks.

Travel Stocks Vs. Inflation

Another factor affecting travel demand: inflation. Late in November, the U.S. Travel Association’s travel price index showed prices in October were up 14.4% from a year earlier. Much of that increase was due to motor fuel (up nearly 50%) and hotel and motel prices (more than 25% higher). That put travel prices 6.2% above where they were at the same time in 2019.

Still, inflation does not currently appear to be affecting travel demand, according to Jamie Katz, a senior equity analyst at Morningstar. Travelers have been able to tap into some of the savings achieved during the early stages of the pandemic.

“So far, inflation is having little impact on holiday travel. But if it remains sticky, it could hit summer travel,” she said.

Travel Stocks: Airlines Take Off With New Routes

American Airlines, which expanded capacity on domestic routes earlier this year, has done well during the pandemic as travel shifted toward the domestic side. President Biden on Dec. 3 said there were no plans for a vaccine mandate for domestic travel.

American stock fell 45% in 2020, but has rebounded 90% off its May 2020 low. Shares are up less than 5% so far this year. Looking ahead, Cowen has a market-perform rating on the stock. Its 12-month price target is set at 23 — more than 39% above where the stock traded Thursday.

Becker expects United Airlines (UAL), with its 50% exposure to international routes, to do well in 2022 as international flights come back. The analyst forecasts airline activity to be “mixed, with a bias toward international travel” as borders open up again. Cowen has an outperform rating on United and the airline is a “Best Idea for 2022.”


Get Alerts To Stocks Near Buy Points With IBD Leaderboard


All major air carriers are expanding international routes on expectations for a major rebound in international travel.

United will start flying to Amman, Jordan, from Washington, D.C., next spring. It will also take vacationers to popular Spanish destinations from New York in 2022. American opened 10 new international routes this year, and in November, Delta Air Lines (DAL) announced it would relaunch 12 trans-Atlantic routes as the travel ban for EU visitors was lifted.

At its investors day Dec. 8, Southwest Airlines (LUV) said it expects 2022 to be a “transition year” with little capacity growth but a return to profits.

‘The Pilot Shortage Is Real’

With routes expanding, staffing remains a major issue for air carriers. Thousands of pilots and flight attendants took early retirement as airlines looked to conserve money during the pandemic. Now airlines are searching for new personnel.

Major U.S. carriers are expected to hire 9,000 pilots in 2022, according to a November report from FAPA.aero, cited by the Wall Street Journal. Becker said that Cowen estimates the airline industry will need to hire 35,000 to 40,000 pilots in this decade.

She called staffing the “gating factor” for the industry in 2022, especially for smaller airlines that can’t offer the incentives that larger carriers can.

“The pilot shortage is now real,” United CEO Scott Kirby said at the Skift Aviation Forum in November. “We don’t have enough pilots to fly all the airplanes. So the 50-seaters are at the bottom of that pile, and markets that rely on 50-seaters are the ones that are going to lose service.”

Fight Or Flight Attendants

As for flight attendants, they have faced increased levels of passenger hostility since routes began reopening. The spike in unruly passenger incidents ran to more than 5,000 since the start of 2021, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. But even with the uptick in conflict, flight attendant classes remain full. Becker said Delta received 35,000 applications for 1,500 positions. United had 20,000 applicants for just 2,000 spots.

Still, American was forced to cancel nearly 2,000 flights over the Halloween weekend due in part to staffing shortages. The airline has reportedly offered flight attendants triple pay during peak periods in the Thanksgiving-to-New Year holiday season, according to CNBC. The Association of Professional Flight Attendants, representing about 23,000 American Airlines cabin crew members, helped to negotiate the incentives.


IBD 50 Growth Stocks To Watch Right Now


The most acute shortage is in trained mechanics, who are being lured away by private aviation and equipment manufacturers, according to Becker. She said the industry is working with aviation schools like Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University to try to attract mechanics as well as pilots.

And like almost every industry, supply chain shortages have hit airlines.

Airlines “can’t necessarily get the parts to do the maintenance for aircraft sitting on the ground. Instead of taking 30 days to do maintenance, it’s taking 45 days or 60 days,” she said.

Cruise Lines Poised For Relaunch

On the seas, cruise ships turned deadly in the early days of the pandemic. The grim details of at least 14 people dead and more than 700 infected on the Diamond Princess in February 2020 gave the world a peek at just how transmissible and deadly Covid-19 was.

More recently, as vaccine distribution rates increased, fans of cruises have been eager to get back out to sea. Carnival said in late September that bookings for the second half of 2022 outpaced pre-pandemic levels.

But omicron has already likely surfaced aboard ships.

A Norwegian Cruise Line (NCLH) ship docked in New Orleans on Dec. 5 with at least 17 passengers and crew members infected with Covid-19. That included one crew member with a possible omicron infection.

How the new variant might affect bookings is still uncertain. Royal Caribbean said during its Q3 analyst call in October that the delta variant hit 2021 and 2022 bookings, but didn’t affect 2023 bookings.

While the industry grapples with the new Covid variant, the labor shortage hitting other travel stocks is having less of an impact on cruises lines. Operators draw from a global workforce. Carnival’s CFO David Bernstein told analysts during its Q2 call that the company has workers from nearly 150 countries.

“Fortunately, our shipboard jobs are seen as very attractive by crew members around the world. (So staffing) has not been a serious problem as we restart, and we do not expect that it will become one,” Royal Caribbean CEO Richard Fain said during the Q3 analyst call.

J.P. Morgan has an overweight rating on Royal Caribbean stock and a neutral rating on Carnival stock.

Hotels Rally, Despite Staffing Challenges

Meanwhile, on dry land, hotel and motel stocks have seen the travel industry’s strongest recovery. Hilton Worldwide Holdings has scored a 25% gain for the year through Thursday. Choice Hotels (CHH), which owns the Comfort, Quality, Clarion and Rodeway Inn brands, has a 34% gain. Wyndam Hotels & Resorts (WH) is up 35%.

Travelers will still likely opt for more outdoorsy vacations in 2022, a trend that has been growing during the pandemic, according to Katz. But with the return of Broadway shows in New York and museum reopenings in Washington, cities are likely to see more visitors.

But U.S. hotels face major staffing shortages. Some 94% of respondents to an American Hotel & Lodging Association survey in October said their hotels were understaffed. The most critical staffing need: housekeepers.

The staffing shortage comes as demand for hotel rooms picks up. Katz said Morningstar analysts expect hotel demand to rebound to pre-Covid levels by the end of 2022 domestically and in 2023 for hotels exposed to European markets.

Katz continues to be bullish on Choice and Wyndham in 2022 as they are more focused on family and leisure travel.

But when might business travel return? That’s a big question mark. Omicron uncertainties have companies pushing back plans to return to the office.

Investment banker Jefferies reverted to a work-from-home policy after reporting nearly 40 new Covid cases since the start of December. Google’s parent company Alphabet (GOOGL) is indefinitely pushing back its return-to-office plan. In addition, Ford (F) announced in the first week of December it would delay its implementation of a hybrid work model with employees working from home and the office in different schedules.

Travel Stocks Focused On Bookings

Leading travel booking operators all reported recovering demand and travel trends in the third quarter. But outlooks remained cautious, and volatility is expected.

Expedia CEO Peter Kern told analysts at the UBS Global TMT conference Dec. 6 that he felt confident in the future. But he said “there will still be bumps in the road” when asked about omicron.

“We’re not going to run our company as if the next 100-year plague is coming within two years of the last 100-year plague,” he said.

Instead, the travel booking site is working to streamline operations. That will make it easier for customers to book hotel and air travel together in one cart. It is also focused on becoming a mobile app-first company.

Expedia is the top-ranked stock in IBD’s Leisure-Travel Booking group. The stock is forming a cup base with a 188.03 entry point. Competitors such as TripAdvisor (TRIP) and Booking Holdings (BKNG) have trended lower in recent weeks.

J.P. Morgan analysts have a neutral rating on Expedia with a 181 price target. They wrote in a Nov. 5 note that the company is still in the “early days of operating as a leaner” organization.

During the company’s Q3 earnings call, Expedia management signaled promising signs of recovery coming out of the third and fourth quarters. Goldman sees Expedia in a good position to sustain its U.S. growth, while benefiting from rising international travel — particularly as it invests to increase its competitive stance in Europe and Asia.

Airbnb A Segment Leader And Expedia Rated A Buy

Also in the travel bookings group is Airbnb, which offers vacation home rentals. It has done well during the pandemic. Katz said the company’s bookings are already back to pre-pandemic levels. Airbnb stock is up less than 14% this year. But the December 2020 IPO has tumbled far below a 212.68 buy point in a cup-with-handle base. It is currently listed as a one-half position on IBD’s Leaderboard stock roster.

Goldman Sachs points to Airbnb as the leader in the alternative accommodation travel segment, and an emerging leader in global online travel. It has a sell rating on the stock, due to “potential for a volatile travel environment ahead.” The bank’s 12-month price target on the travel stock is 140.

Booking Holdings has pointed to a volatile travel environment, subject to vaccination levels and cross border travel restrictions, among other factors. Goldman cites the company’s strong management team, its focus on its “connected trip” concept and investment aimed at increasing market share as well as alternative accommodation supply.

Goldman has a neutral rating on Bookings Holdings, with a 2,430 price target. Expedia is a buy, with a price target at 200.

Kern is bullish on the return of business travel, even if companies remain in a hybrid work mode and a one-day business trip is gone forever.

“We may have equally new occasions to bring employees together, which will drive business travel in a new way.”

Follow Gillian Rich on Twitter for investing news and more.

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE:

Get Full Access To IBD Stock Lists And Ratings

These Are The 5 Best Stocks To Buy And Watch Now





Source link

Planning a Disneyland trip is more complicated than its ever. Here’s how to get reservations.


There used to be a time when you could just decide on a whim you wanted to visit Disneyland, drive to the park, buy a ticket and walk in the front gate. Those days are long gone. Now, planning a trip to Disneyland requires weeks, sometimes months, of advance preparation. You can blame the pandemic for a lot of the changes: the company probably wouldn’t have implemented a ticket reservation system if there weren’t capacity limits, have scrapped the existing annual pass program without a park closure, or be facing such huge staffing challenges and the problems with dining availability that they’ve caused without shutdown-induced layoffs. 

But some of the changes making things more complicated at Disneyland are coming from an increased reliance on new technology and systems. The park is now reliant on guests using technology for everything from tickets to reservations to wait times to food ordering to making purchases. It’s a lot to take in, and it’s overwhelming, even for people who have been keeping up with the changes and who have some knowledge base for the new protocols.

“Protocols” isn’t a word we’re used to using with Disneyland, and I’m not going to lie, it can be a downer to have to jump through all the new hoops to fully enjoy a day at the park. But if you don’t read up in advance before you go, you’re going to miss out on a lot of what the park offers, especially when it comes to new rides and getting to try the most popular seasonal treats. Take it from SFGATE columnist Rod Benson, who went to Disneyland recently without reading up on the changes since his last visit. 

“Why does one need a community college-level course on how to just get by at Disneyland without ending up upset?” Benson wrote after he missed out on Star Wars Rise of the Resistance and had to wait an hour for a mobile food order because he didn’t know the systems in advance. “How many degrees in Disneyology does it take to book a lunch?”

Here’s everything you need to know about how to plan a Disneyland trip right now.


You definitely need a smartphone … and a spare battery

Before the pandemic, a smartphone was a nice bonus to have at the park: you could check ride times through the Disneyland app, and take photos. Now, a smartphone is a necessity. Magic Keys are only scanned through the app, and many food sellers are now mobile-only, meaning that you place a mobile food order in the Disneyland app and then show a code to pick it up. Even if you do wait in line to order, you’re strongly encouraged to pay with a card or the mobile wallet in your phone. That means if you have a Magic Key discount, you need to have your app open to scan your pass, then close that app, open the mobile wallet app on your phone, then choose your payment method and go through the steps to pay. Lines for physical ordering have been long lately, especially during the California Adventure Festival of the Holidays, and that process is a huge contributor to the delays. 

Smartphones are also the only way to gain entry to virtual queues for rides. 

Given how much more time you’re going to spend on your phone at the park, you’re going to run down your battery life quickly. Make sure to bring a spare battery with you. A phone charger isn’t a great choice because there are very few outlets around, and you’ll have to sit there and wait for your phone to charge. Better to charge on the go. External battery chargers are available at Disneyland if you forget, though, but they’re pricey.

You need a ticket and a reservation

Since Disneyland reopened from its pandemic closure, there has been a system in place to keep capacity limited. First, that was a requirement of the state for its tiered reopening system, but Disney kept it in place to manage crowd size and attempt to lower ride wait times, both of which were pain points for guests before the pandemic who claimed that too many annual passholders were allowed into the park at a time and took away from the experience of vacationers. (More on that later.)

To get into Disneyland now, you need to buy a ticket in advance, and then make a park reservation for that day. There are six tiers of tickets, the most expensive of which is for the most popular days and tops out at $164 for a single day, single park adult admission. The simplest thing to do is go to the Disneyland website’s ticket portal. You choose how many days, what kind of ticket, and then pick either a single park Disneyland Park or Disney California Adventure or park hopper (two park) ticket. From there, you pick your date, and the site will tell you how much that day will cost you. If the date you want isn’t available, try backtracking and choosing the other option between single park and park hopper. Sometimes there are tickets available for one ticket type but not the other. 

As of publication time, the only two dates available to purchase Disneyland tickets in 2021 are Thanksgiving Day and New Year’s Eve. This presents a significant challenge for people who need to travel to the parks, because they can’t plan ahead unless they’re doing so for January or beyond. Locals have it a little easier, because tickets often open up the day before or the morning of.

Parking isn’t as easy as it used to be

The Mickey and Friends garage, which is the main garage for day-trippers to the parks (and was the impetus for a massive lawsuit in which 25,000 Cast Members sued Disney for a living wage), is still where you’ll likely park when you visit. That’s the one that signs direct you to when  you take the Disneyland Drive exit off the 5. However, be prepared for a long walk: the parking garage trams aren’t running now, and you’ll need to hoof it about three-quarters of a mile from your car to the park gates.

If you park at the “Toy Story” lot on Harbor Boulevard, there are shuttle buses that will take you to the Disneyland entrance on that street. There are upsides and downsides to both. The walk is long from Mickey and Friends to the parks, but between security and the walk, you’ll be at the gate in about 20 minutes. If you park in the “Toy Story” lot, you’ll get a ride to the park, but it will still take at least 20 minutes to get there between walking from your car to the shuttle stop (which can be a hike in itself, depending on where you park), waiting there for a shuttle, riding to the park, then going through Harbor Boulevard security. 

The real downside to “Toy Story” is at night, when the wait can be half-an-hour or more for a shuttle back to your car. You might be tired and have to slog through a long walk back to Mickey and Friends, but at least you won’t have to stand in a long line and then have a long walk to your car. Parking at either is $30 without a Magic Key discount, and goes up for larger vehicles or Mickey and Friends preferred parking.

Disneyland has said that trams are coming back in 2022, but no date has been announced yet. As of last month, Monorail service has returned to the park, shuttling people between the Disneyland Hotel end of Downtown Disney and Tomorrowland inside Disneyland Park.

You might not be able to get an annual pass

At the beginning of 2021, Disneyland scrapped their Annual Pass program, which was rumored to have about 1 million subscribers. The replacement, launched this summer, is the Magic Key program, which costs about the same and has about the same perks as the old program did. However, it’s much harder to get reservations. 

Reservations are an especially touchy subject for Magic Key holders. Availability is so limited that the majority of people can’t get the dates they want. You’re allowed to book your reservations 60 days out, but as soon as the in-demand weekend dates are opened up, they’re scooped up almost immediately by people who set calendar reminders to book their park reservations. 

To alleviate the problem of limited availability for Magic Key holders, Disneyland paused sales of the top-tier Dream Key, and is only selling passes with more blackout dates at the moment.

Dining reservations are complicated, but not strictly necessary

Disneyland says it releases availability for restaurants 60 days out. Depending on which blog you read or Facebook group you listen to, the release could happen at midnight, 3 a.m., or randomly. The truth is the reservations are released when they’re released, sometimes 50 or 40 days out. You either need to check the Disneyland app several times a day to snag a coveted Blue Bayou or Carthay Circle reservation, use a third-party reservation site that alerts you to availability, or hope to get lucky and snag a last-minute cancellation.

It’s not all bad news, though. There are walk-up lines for every restaurant in the parks, and the earlier you go up and ask, the better your chances of sitting down at a place like Napa Rose. (Pro-tip: The nicer you are to Cast Members and the more politely you speak to them, the more likely they will be to find you a spot somewhere. This applies to almost every situation in life, but Cast Members have an especially hard job right now with all these new procedures.) There is also a virtual walk-up line through the Disneyland app, but it uses your location to determine eligibility, so you can’t put yourself on the 90-minute wait list for Trader Sam’s while you’re in line at Space Mountain.

How to handle virtual queues 

Virtual queues are a tricky subject. There are some rides at Disneyland that have been virtual queue only since they opened. Star Wars Rise of the Resistance now has a regular line you can wait in to get on the ride. Up until this week, it had a virtual queue that required a complicated procedure at 7 a.m. to get a spot on the ride. The same with Web Slingers: A Spider-Man Adventure, which switched to a physical queue earlier this fall. Many have said the physical lines are better, even with the two hour-plus wait times Rise of the Resistance has seen this week, because if it’s your must-ride you’ll be willing to sacrifice that much time of your park day to get on.

There are no fast passes, but there will be soon

The advent of a physical queue for Rise of the Resistance, though, means that Genie Plus is coming soon to Disneyland. This is the new, paid fast pass system that will cost guests $20 per person per day for access to shorter Lightning Lanes that replace the old, free fast pass lanes. In addition, Rise of the Resistance and a few other highly in-demand rides will cost a separate fee to ride. The system has had a bumpy rollout at Walt Disney World, with many guests confused as to how the passes work and disappointed that rides like ROTR sell out before the park opens for the day. Disneyland’s system hasn’t been implemented yet, but there are signs up throughout the parks, and the company has been saying the release would be this fall. Signs point to that being very soon. When Genie Plus debuts, it’s going to require a lot more explaining — but for now, as with almost everything else at Disneyland these days, just keep an eye on the app, and you’ll have the most up-to-date information.





Source link

Pacific Surfliner reservations required on four peak summer travel weekends | Local News


Reservations will be required on four peak travel weekends for Pacific Surfliner trains that travel between San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Ventura, Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties, an Amtrak spokesman said.

Although additional cars are being added when possible to increase the number of available seats on select trains, the number of seats onboard each Pacific Surfliner is limited.

Reservations will be required on Memorial Day weekend, May 28 to June 1; Fourth of July weekend, July 2 through 5; the opening weekend of horse racing at Del Mar Racetrack, July 16 through 19; and Labor Day weekend, Sept. 3 through 7.

More dates may be added where a reservation is required, depending on travel demand throughout the summer.

The Rail 2 Rail program will be suspended on most of the dates above, during which monthly Metrolink and COASTER passes will not be accepted onboard Pacific Surfliner trains, the spokesman said.

Amtrak monthly and 10-ride passes may still be used.

However, multiple-ride ticketholders will be required to confirm each trip — by train and date — through the Amtrak RideReserve program at Amtrak.com, on the Amtrak app or through an Amtrak agent prior to traveling during the reservation period.

Passengers are asked to follow safety measures and public health orders in place during their trips and at their destinations, including wearing a mask at stations and onboard trains at all times, washing hands or using sanitizer often and staying home if they are feeling sick.

For the latest information on reservations, visit www.pacificsurfliner.com/schedules.



Source link

California camping reservations: How to book, where to go


Kristen Tate camps a lot. The freelance book editor from San Francisco takes car camping trips for two weeks every summer, during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays and often on weekends. She knows it’s tricky to make reservations for campgrounds in California, especially when you’re looking for popular sites during the peak summer season.

“If I want something for a very desirable weekend, I plan ahead,” Tate said. “I either get that six-month window when [reservations] open, or I just don’t worry and wait for a two-week window right before. I start looking then because that’s when people start canceling.”

Tate’s advice for getting a cancellation before a holiday weekend: “Keep your browser open and stay on it.”

Why is it so hard to get a reservation? California State Parks says that at times, it can’t keep up with demand. “We have approximately 13,000 campsites available … and each year, on average, more than 6.5 million visitors camp in our popular state parks.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has boosted demand even higher.

For example, of 10.1 million households that camped in 2020, 21% said they were new to camping, compared with 4% in 2019, according to a new report by KOA, which operates private campgrounds in the U.S. and Canada. For the first quarter of this year, KOA reports that online reservations increased 112% over the same period in 2020, and 100% over the same period in 2019.

During the pandemic, many campgrounds opened, then closed and canceled reservations, and then reopened with limited capacity to comply with state public health guidelines. Now, many are set to reopen fully in areas of the state that have advanced to the orange tier (easing COVID-19 rules for businesses and activities). The state also has lifted the travel advisory that asked Californians to stay within 120 miles of home.

Whether you are camping in a tent or in an RV, here are tips and resources that can help. Prices at campgrounds vary, depending on whether you visit during a peak or off-peak season. Also, some campgrounds remain closed because of the pandemic or last year’s wildfires.

How do I get started?

Tate starts her search with an “old-fashioned California state atlas,” which feels like a throw-back, given that most campgrounds have websites. But not all.

The large-format atlases “have all of the campgrounds marked,” she said. “So a lot of the little, tiny county ones or community ones, they’ll be marked on that map. You may not be able to find out much about them online.”

Once you have a destination and a date in mind, nail down your spot. Camping reservations open six months in advance for most national and state parks, meaning Memorial Day campers snagged their reservations in late November. (Check for cancellations as dates get closer.)

National parks: California has nine, more than any other state: Channel Islands, Death Valley, Joshua Tree, Kings Canyon, Lassen Volcanic, Pinnacles, Redwood, Sequoia and Yosemite.

For many park campgrounds, Recreation.gov [(877) 444-6777] is the online gateway. You can choose a campground and peruse photos and maps of each one, allowing you to pick a site near the creek or deep in the woods. Reservations open six months in advance.

California State Parks: The agency uses the ReserveCalifornia.com [(800) 444-7275 ] online system, which opens reservations six months in advance of the date you want to camp. It also offers maps and information about amenities.

One wrinkle that causes frustration for many trying to book at this site: People with existing reservations can change their dates. That’s why the campground you select may be sold out even if you log on exactly six months before the date you want to go.

Among the toughest state sites to reserve: Crystal Cove between Newport Beach and Laguna Beach, which has 24 cottages, and coastal campgrounds from Santa Cruz to Southern California. The agency recommends trying state parks north of Santa Cruz or inland sites. Check the website for camping information, how to make an on-site reservation, when reservations open throughout the year and other FAQs.

Booking tip: Carefully read the rules and refund policies. For state parks, you won’t get back the $7.99 to make a reservation if you cancel. For Recreation.gov, nonrefundable fees include $8 for online, $9 for call center and $3 for in-person bookings. Also, you can create online alerts that let you know if a campsite you want becomes available.

National forests: Angeles, San Bernardino and Los Padres forests to the north and east as well as Cleveland to the south offer some first come, first served campsites. Arrive no later than Thursday for a chance at getting a weekend site in summer. Others may be booked on Recreation.gov.

National forests also offer back-country or “dispersed” camping, which means sites may not have water, bathrooms, fire rings or other amenities. Bring everything you need (and pack it out too).

Other public lands: County and regional parks as well as nature preserves have their own reservation systems and can be a good choice. “I often find they are more fun because they just aren’t as crowded,” Tate said.

For example, you can book a site at Idyllwild Regional Park near Mt. San Jacinto through Riverside County Parks for $30 a night (RivCoParks.org, [(800) 234-7275]) or the Mission Creek Preserve in Desert Hot Springs for free (donations welcome) through the Wildlands Conservancy, which owns and manages the site.

Private campgrounds: Camp-California.com allows you to research campgrounds at 1,200 private sites and click through to individual ones to make a reservation. For example, I searched for “Yosemite” and found eight options outside the park at nearby towns such as Groveland and Oakhurst.

“Create your ultimate campground,” said Dyana Kelley, president of CampCalNOW RV Park and Campground Alliance. “The filters allow you to pick and choose those things that are important to you and narrow it down.”

Do you want a campground with Wi-Fi? A pool or water park? A camp store to buy food? Do you want to bring your pet? Pick the type of campground you want based on the amenities you can’t live without, Kelley said.

Tip: The website allows you to choose a campground and then click to see where you can rent an RV nearby. It could be a time-saver for those who don’t want to rent in L.A. Some providers will have the RV ready when you arrive at your campsite.

Can’t I just show up?

Good luck with that. Campgrounds are super-busy in summer, and you may find yourself without anywhere to stay. “You can try it; I just wouldn’t expect” to get a spot, Kelley said. “You have to have a Plan B.”

That Plan B may mean having a second or third choice in case your first is full. Flexibility is key. Tate once arrived late in the afternoon at Joshua Tree National Park and struck out on getting a campsite. That’s when she booked a room with her HotelTonight app. “It’s such a great backup,” she said. “OK, you miss out on camping for a night, but you found this gorgeous hotel room for $100.” And you can be first in line the next day to try for a campsite.

Isn’t there an easier way?

Yes and no. There are free apps such as The Dyrt (thedyrt.com) and Campendium (campendium.com) that allow you to search campgrounds and offer photos and information on amenities and individual campsites. But they don’t show real-time availability or allow you to make a reservation.

Hipcamp.com goes in another direction. It offers private camping destinations you may not think to visit, such as a lavender or llama farm. It’s a good way to discover places where few are camping. Read up on the site and understand what it does and doesn’t offer in terms of bathrooms, showers and other amenities. In a pilot program, Hipcamp is adding real-time availability for state parks to its website, though you still must book at ReserveCalifornia.

I don’t have camping gear

Welcome to the world of glamping, ready-made camping with all the fixings. Campsites can be lavish and pricey, such as Ventana Big Sur Glamping, which shelters you in safari-style tents at a 20-acre redwood canyon, complete with a wood-burning fire pit, potable water, electric lamps, USB charging ports, towels and lanterns (from $240 a night).

Or Eco-Camps, which features safari tents in Temecula (from $159 a night) and Goleta, both opening in May. You are barely within the bounds of being called a camper, but so what?

“It’s nice if you have a group of people who are interested in camping but don’t have any equipment, or don’t like camping but still want to be with you,” Tate said. “They’re tent camps, and you really don’t have to bring anything with you.”





Source link

California camping reservations: How to book, where to go


Kristen Tate camps a lot. The freelance book editor from San Francisco takes car camping trips for two weeks every summer, during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays and often on weekends. She knows it’s tricky to make reservations for campgrounds in California, especially when you’re looking for popular sites during the peak summer season.

“If I want something for a very desirable weekend, I plan ahead,” Tate said. “I either get that six-month window when [reservations] open, or I just don’t worry and wait for a two-week window right before. I start looking then because that’s when people start canceling.”

Tate’s advice for getting a cancellation before a holiday weekend: “Keep your browser open and stay on it.”

Why is it so hard to get a reservation? California State Parks says that at times, it can’t keep up with demand. “We have approximately 13,000 campsites available … and each year, on average, more than 6.5 million visitors camp in our popular state parks.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has boosted demand even higher.

For example, of 10.1 million households that camped in 2020, 21% said they were new to camping, compared with 4% in 2019, according to a new report by KOA, which operates private campgrounds in the U.S. and Canada. For the first quarter of this year, KOA reports that reservations increased 112% over the same period in 2020, and 100% over the same period in 2019.

During the pandemic, many campgrounds opened, then closed and canceled reservations, and then reopened with limited capacity to comply with state public health guidelines. Now, many are set to reopen fully in areas of the state that have advanced to the orange tier (easing COVID-19 rules for businesses and activities). The state also has lifted the travel advisory that asked Californians to stay within 120 miles of home.

Whether you are camping in a tent or in an RV, here are tips and resources that can help. Prices at campgrounds vary, depending on whether you visit during a peak or off-peak season. Also, some campgrounds remain closed because of the pandemic or last year’s wildfires.

How do I get started?

Tate starts her search with an “old-fashioned California state atlas,” which feels like a throw-back, given that most campgrounds have websites. But not all.

The large-format atlases “have all of the campgrounds marked,” she said. “So a lot of the little, tiny county ones or community ones, they’ll be marked on that map. You may not be able to find out much about them online.”

Once you have a destination and a date in mind, nail down your spot. Camping reservations open six months in advance for most national and state parks, meaning Memorial Day campers snagged their reservations in late November. (Check for cancellations as dates get closer.)

National parks: California has nine, more than any other state: Channel Islands, Death Valley, Joshua Tree, Kings Canyon, Lassen Volcanic, Pinnacles, Redwood, Sequoia and Yosemite.

For many park campgrounds, Recreation.gov [(877) 444-6777] is the online gateway. You can choose a campground and peruse photos and maps of each one, allowing you to pick a site near the creek or deep in the woods. Reservations open six months in advance.

California State Parks: The agency uses the ReserveCalifornia.com [(800) 444-7275 ] online system, which opens reservations six months in advance of the date you want to camp. It also offers maps and information about amenities.

One wrinkle that causes frustration for many trying to book at this site: People with existing reservations can change their dates. That’s why the campground you select may be sold out even if you log on exactly six months before the date you want to go.

Among the toughest state sites to reserve: Crystal Cove between Newport Beach and Laguna Beach, which has 24 cottages, and coastal campgrounds from Santa Cruz to Southern California. The agency recommends trying state parks north of Santa Cruz or inland sites. Check the website for camping information, how to make an on-site reservation, when reservations open throughout the year and other FAQs.

Booking tip: Carefully read the rules and refund policies. For state parks, you won’t get back the $7.99 to make a reservation if you cancel. For Recreation.gov, nonrefundable fees include $8 for online, $9 for call center and $3 for in-person bookings. Also, you can create online alerts that let you know if a campsite you want becomes available.

National forests: Angeles, San Bernardino and Los Padres forests to the north and east as well as Cleveland to the south offer some first come, first served campsites. Arrive no later than Thursday for a chance at getting a weekend site in summer. Others may be booked on Recreation.gov.

National forests also offer back-country or “dispersed” camping, which means sites may not have water, bathrooms, fire rings or other amenities. Bring everything you need (and pack it out too).

Other public lands: County and regional parks as well as nature preserves have their own reservation systems and can be a good choice. “I often find they are more fun because they just aren’t as crowded,” Tate said.

For example, you can book a site at Idyllwild Regional Park near Mt. San Jacinto through Riverside County Parks for $30 a night (RivCoParks.org, [(800) 234-7275]) or the Mission Creek Preserve in Desert Hot Springs for free (donations welcome) through the Wildlands Conservancy, which owns and manages the site.

Private campgrounds: Camp-California.com allows you to research campgrounds at 1,200 private sites and click through to individual ones to make a reservation. For example, I searched for “Yosemite” and found eight options outside the park at nearby towns such as Groveland and Oakhurst.

“Create your ultimate campground,” said Dyana Kelley, president of CampCalNOW RV Park and Campground Alliance. “The filters allow you to pick and choose those things that are important to you and narrow it down.”

Do you want a campground with Wi-Fi? A pool or water park? A camp store to buy food? Do you want to bring your pet? Pick the type of campground you want based on the amenities you can’t live without, Kelley said.

Tip: The website allows you to choose a campground and then click to see where you can rent an RV nearby. It could be a time-saver for those who don’t want to rent in L.A. Some providers will have the RV ready when you arrive at your campsite.

Can’t I just show up?

Good luck with that. Campgrounds are super-busy in summer, and you may find yourself without anywhere to stay. “You can try it; I just wouldn’t expect” to get a spot, Kelley said. “You have to have a Plan B.”

That Plan B may mean having a second or third choice in case your first is full. Flexibility is key. Tate once arrived late in the afternoon at Joshua Tree National Park and struck out on getting a campsite. That’s when she booked a room with her HotelTonight app. “It’s such a great backup,” she said. “OK, you miss out on camping for a night, but you found this gorgeous hotel room for $100.” And you can be first in line the next day to try for a campsite.

Isn’t there an easier way?

Yes and no. There are free apps such as The Dyrt (thedyrt.com) and Campendium (campendium.com) that allow you to search campgrounds and offer photos and information on amenities and individual campsites. But they don’t show real-time availability or allow you to make a reservation.

Hipcamp.com goes in another direction. It offers private camping destinations you may not think to visit, such as a lavender or llama farm. It’s a good way to discover places where few are camping. Read up on the site and understand what it does and doesn’t offer in terms of bathrooms, showers and other amenities. In a pilot program, Hipcamp is adding real-time availability for state parks to its website, though you still must book at ReserveCalifornia.

I don’t have camping gear

Welcome to the world of glamping, ready-made camping with all the fixings. Campsites can be lavish and pricey, such as Ventana Big Sur Glamping, which shelters you in safari-style tents at a 20-acre redwood canyon, complete with a wood-burning fire pit, potable water, electric lamps, USB charging ports, towels and lanterns (from $240 a night).

Or Eco-Camps, which features safari tents in Temecula (from $159 a night) and Goleta, both opening in May. You are barely within the bounds of being called a camper, but so what?

“It’s nice if you have a group of people who are interested in camping but don’t have any equipment, or don’t like camping but still want to be with you,” Tate said. “They’re tent camps, and you really don’t have to bring anything with you.”





Source link