Friday, 20 April 2012

Travel to Atlanta on a Budget

This is not really a story about what to see and do in Atlanta. It is an attempt at getting you around this bustling city without destroying your budget. As with most heavily visited cities, Atlanta offers plenty of easy ways to pay top dollar for things that won't really enhance your experience. Get a PopOut Street Map of Atlanta.

When to Visit:

Many of Atlanta's visitors come here to make flight connections or attend business meetings. But if you have a choice, almost any season beyond the very hot, humid summer is a pleasant time to visit. Winters tend to be mild, but they also bring the occasional paralyzing ice storm. Autumn features festival time to the north in the Georgia mountains. Getting Here:

Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport is the world's busiest passenger airport. It is located 10 miles SW of downtown. It can be an expensive ride into the city, so look for the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) trains that stop at the west entrance to the terminal complex. MARTA trains arrive and depart from the airport every eight minutes. The trip downtown takes 15 minutes. By car, I-75 is the north-south route that runs from Detroit to Miami. I-85 takes a diagonal route NE to SW. I-20 runs E-W. The freeway that circles Atlanta is I-285, commonly called "The Perimeter" by locals. Getting Around:

Airport trains make ground transportation cheaper here. MARTA offers a number of discount programs, including those for visitors, college students and seniors or disabled riders. Visitors can buy a one-day, unlimited pass for $8; if you'll be here for four days, the price falls to about $3/day. Where to Stay:

Finding an affordable hotel room in Atlanta isn't difficult unless there is a major event in town. Major chains such as Sheraton and Marriott offer business travelers the needed amenities at multiple locations (Marriott alone has 70 properties in greater Atlanta). There are less expensive alternatives for those who don't have business needs. Priceline can turn up some good deals. I recently paid $58/night on a Priceline bid to stay in a Midtown business-class hotel where rack rates were running nearly $200/night. Four-star hotel for under $150/night: Emory Inn near the Emory University School of Nursing. Where to Eat:

The Varsity bills itself as the world's largest Drive-In restaurant (in business since 1928). It's not a health food place, but it is an Atlanta experience. The chili-cheese dogs and orange sodas are the meal of choice for most visitors. More upscale meals can be found in the Buckhead section of Atlanta, just a few miles north of Midtown on Peachtree. Here, trendy restaurants open and close, while a few stalwarts continue. For a look at the prices and cuisines offered, consult, and don't miss their budget dining recommendations. Educational Atlanta:

Atlanta is very much a "college town," with a host of renowned campuses in the area. These can be the source of inexpensive and top-quality events, museums and entertainment. Atlanta University Center Consortium in the West End Historic District is home to a number of historically Black colleges that offer many opportunities throughout the year. In the midtown area (north of downtown) lies Georgia Tech, with its sprawling campus and ACC sports offerings. Emory University is just east of the downtown area. In all of these areas, it's possible to find cheap meals. Look for the places that cater to students and enjoy. Sports of all Sorts:

Atlantans love their Braves baseball, Falcons football and Hawks basketball. The University of Georgia (in Athens, about 70 miles to the east) offers Southeastern Conference sports, and is a strong rival for Atlanta's Georgia Tech, which plays in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Atlanta Motor Speedway south of Atlanta near Hampton, Ga. hosts two Winston Cup races each year and many other smaller events. Discount outlets such as StubHub are possible sources for tickets. More Atlanta Tips:

Price those Trans-Continental flights from Atlanta carefully. Many travelers prefer departing the U.S. from Atlanta rather than New York. But be warned: Trans-Atlantic fares from New York are usually less expensive.

Spend some time on Auburn Avenue. Along this avenue, you will find the Ebenezer Baptist Church, the birth home of Dr. Martin Luther King, and The King Center, where visitors experience the life and teachings of the civil rights leader. For this powerful experience, you pay no admission fee, but donations are accepted.

Day Trip #1: Chattanooga. Less than two hours north of Atlanta lies Chattanooga, the home of Tennessee Aquarium and its IMAX theatre and a host of low-cost nearby attractions such as the famous Appalachian Trail and a number of Civil War sites.

Day Trip #2: North Georgia Mountains. Just a few hours from Atlanta are some of the most picturesque vistas in the eastern United States. Great hiking, camping and eating establishments can be found in the mountains. Check out the area's fine system of State Parks.

Visit the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia. This museum is relatively new on the Atlanta scene, but displays a wide variety of art and charges just $3 admission for adults, and $1 for children. Discounts for Six Flags Over Georgia Print tickets or passes for the park before you leave home and save money.

Find out what's happening at Piedmont Park. This is among the nation's largest urban parks, and it hosts a variety of events throughout the year.

Consult About's excellent Atlanta site For the latest information on happenings, clubs, dining and hotel options and much more, take a look at the Atlanta for Tourists and Residents site. Not all the information is budget-oriented, but you'll be able to plan your trip quickly with the latest information. That planning in itself is a money-saving task.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Disneyland Dream Parade

The main Disneyland Parade currently running is 'Disney's Once Upon a Dream Parade', taking place each day at 4pm. There is also a smaller one, a train with a number of Disney Characters doing the round of the park several times a day. The 'Once Upon a Dream Parade' though is definitely the highlight, and worth seeing a couple of times.

Keep in mind that it will get very crowded. On the positive side, this is also the time to go exploring the park once you've seen the parade as queues at attractions dwindle to a Disneyland minimum (read: you'll still queue for 30-40 minutes at the more popular ones).

The Parade

Float 1: Dreams of Imagination - featuring a giant sun-shaped hot air balloon, as well as Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, Pluto and Chip 'n Dale

Float 2: Dreams of Laughter & Fun - the first one dedicated to feature film cartoons, this is a mixture of Pinocchio and Alice in Wonderland. Walking in front of the float are playing cards, White Rabbit, and the Mad Hatter. Decorations include supersized Alice in the White Rabbit's house, Jiminy Cricket, the Cheshire Cat, etc.

Float 3: Dreams of Friendship - this one is Winnie the Pooh/Toy Story. Little Green Soldiers, Woody, Buzz Lightyear, Jessie, Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head, Hamm, Slinky Dog are on the Toy Story side, while Winnie, Tigger, Piglet and Eyeore are on the Winnie the Pooh side.

Float 4: Dreams of Fantasy - Mary Poppins/Peter Pan. Captain Hook, Mr. Smee, Wendy and Peter Pan are all there, as are Bert and Mary Poppins herself.

Float 5: Dreams of Power - the villains float (usually accompanied by a strong smell of sulphur!). Chernabog, the Jafar cobra, Wicked Queen from Snow White, Hades and Ursula are featured.

Float 6: Dreams of Adventure - Lion King/Jugle Book. Featuring an old tree depicting a number of smaller characters, the big attractions are Simba, Rafiki and of courseTimon & Pumbaa. Various animals from those 2 films are visible in the tree's branches, including the snake Kaa. Also King Louie's and Baloo dancing.

Floats 7-8: Dreams of Romance - the kids favourite, princes and princesses floats. Ariel and Prince Eric as well as Aladdin and Jasmine are on the first one, with Snow White, Cinderella, Princess Aurora, and Belle with respective grooms on the second. The couples come down from the floats to dance along the route.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

How to make the best of your stay in Maldives

Maldives is a chain of 20 atolls consisting 1190 islands, each surrounded by a unique coral reef and lagoons with different shades of blue. These coral reefs are enriched with brightly colored fishes and othermarine life that is sure to leave you speechless. Apart from the wonderful undisturbed marine life, tourists chose Maldives as their dream holiday destination because of its magnificent white sandy beaches and the tropical environment.

One can have full certainty that he will not run out of activities to do, during his stay in Maldives. Cruising,diving and snorkeling, surfing, variety of water sports and enjoying the world-class spas are among the many other that will make your stay here unforgettable.

If you are in search for something truly different to do during your holiday then, Maldives provide that as well. If you want to spend the whole of your vacation in the sea, surrounded by nothing but clear blue water filled with never before seen under water life then you should try cruising. A holiday on a cruise boat in the Maldives is often said to be the best way to truly experience the unique magnificence and harmony of this tropical paradise. Holidaying on a cruise boat gives you the opportunity to sample various dive sites and see different island and it also allows you to appreciate the unique beauty of different resorts. These vessels are fully equipped with diving equipment with standard accommodation and facilities, but some offers deluxe accommodation with modern conveniences.

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