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Nov/Dec 2010 Issue

Inspectors pick favorite family resorts

Many families travel over the fall and winter holidays, but making sense of the wide array of family-friendly hotel choices can be a daunting task. AAA polled its professional inspectors to name their favorite family getaways. Their Top 10 picks, in alphabetical order, are:

  • Crowne Plaza at Historic Union Station, Indianapolis, Ind., AAA Three Diamond lodging. Choose one of 26 guestrooms converted from authentic Pullman cars.
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, Lake Buena Vista, Fla., AAA Three Diamond lodging. From your room’s balcony, view animals roaming the 43-acre wildlife preserve.
  • Fireside Lodge, South Lake Tahoe, Calif., AAA Three Diamond lodging. This family-friendly B&B is near the Heavenly Ski area, but also has snow activities–sledding, tubing, cross-country skiing–on property.
  • Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center on Lake Grapevine, Grapevine, Texas, AAA Four Diamond lodging. Create Christmas memories with a package that includes tickets to Ice! the indoor winter wonderland that features 10 holiday scenes and ice slides, all kept at a chilling 9 degrees.
  • Great Wolf Lodge, Sandusky, Ohio (12 Ñorth American locations), AAA Three Diamond lodging. An indoor water park is the draw here.
  • Hyatt Regency Chesa-peake Bay Golf Resort, Spa and Marina, Cambridge, Md., AAA Four Diamond lodging. Adults can enjoy golf and a spa, children have fun at Camp Hyatt, and an 18-acre Blue Heron Rookery nature preserve can be explored by the entire family.
  • Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort and Spa, Bernalillo, N.M., AAA Four Diamond lodging. Families can enjoy the multiple swimming pools, walking trails and horseback riding.
  • Lost Valley Ranch, Deckers, Colo., AAA Four Diamond lodging. Families stay in luxurious Western-themed cabins through Thanksgiving.
  • Moody Garden Hotel, Spa and Convention Center, Galveston, Texas, AAA Four Diamond lodging. The resort has an aquarium, a rain forest, golf, a beach, IMAX and 4-D theaters and more.
  • Nickelodeon Suites Resort, Lake Buena Vista, Fla., AAA Three Diamond lodging. This property has a water park, interactive pools, 4-D theater, character breakfasts and more


View exotic animals that roam the wildlife preserve during your stay at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.


Disney’s Dream launches in January ‘11

Disney’s newest ship, the Dream™, is set to launch in January 2011. One of the innovations is the AquaDuck, a 765-foot-long “water coaster” that splashes down four decks.

Kids’ imaginations will be inspired at the new Disney’s Oceaneer Club, where they are completely transported to dream destinations like Pixie Hollow and Andy’s Room (inspired by Disney•Pixar’s “Toy Story” films).

Tweens get Edge, their own club in the forward funnel. Teens enjoy an entirely reimagined onboard experience with Vibe, an exclusive indoor escape and outdoor lounge.

Adults can savor new indulgences in two restaurants reserved just for them. Palo enjoys a brand-new look, al fresco dining and more. The all-new Remy offers fine French cuisine in an intimate setting. Through the night, The District beckons with five distinct clubs offering their own kind of fun.

Families enjoy exclusive Disney entertainment and spaces created for everyone to enjoy together, including original Broadway-style shows, a family lounge, the all-new Goofy’s Sports Deck with a crazy nine-hole miniature golf course, virtual sports simulators and more.

For more information on the Disney Dream™, contact your AAA Travel agent or call (888) 366-4222.



Hotel study delivers good news

According to a new study by Smith Travel Research, hotel occupancies in smaller markets and along highways stayed flat at about 50 percent through the first six months of 2010. Rates will likely not be raised in these areas until summer 2011.

That can be good news for travelers who are on the road around the holidays. Managers of hotels and motels that are far from being full may be willing to negotiate rates.

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