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July/August 2015 Issue

Orlando tops 60 million visitors

Orlando, Fla., became the first U.S. travel destination to surpass 60 million visitors in 2014, according to Visit Orlando, the destination’s tourism association. In April, it was announced that 62 million visitors had come to Orlando last year.

Walt Disney World Resort completed New Fantasyland, and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter–Diagon Alley at Universal Orlando Resort opened last year. Visitors in 2015 will experience the first full year of these theme park expansions, as well as a multi-year transformation of Downtown Disney into Disney Springs.

For travelers planning a summer vacation to central Florida, the fun heats up at Disney’s Hollywood Studios with Frozen Summer Fun LIVE through Sept. 7. Anna and Elsa–the iconic sisters from the hit movie–are seen in a parade, and take the stage at the Hyperion Theater for a Frozen Sing-Along Celebration. Evening dance parties and fireworks round out a full day at the park.

And the sisters pay visits to the Magic Kingdom for meet-and-greet events at Princess Fairytale Hall.

Hogwarts Express connects the two Wizarding World of Harry Potter areas at Universal Studios. Last July, Diagon Alley opened, bringing more immersive entertainment options–including the harrowing Escape from Gringotts ride–to Harry Potter fans. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which features Hogwarts Castle as its centerpiece, opened in 2010.

Families with smaller children who love the Lego® building bricks will now have a place to stay near the fun at Legoland Florida Resort in Winter Haven, Fla. The Legoland Florida Hotel opened in May. The hotel offers 152 rooms and, according to Adrian Jones, the resort’s general manager, fills a need for the guests who want to spend more than one day at the park.

AAA Travel professionals can help plan an Orlando vacation for you. Call (877) 319-1054 or visit AAA.com/travel for more information.

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Anna and Elsa perform at the Hyperion Theater. ©Walt Disney World Resort photo


 

Anthem to rock Bahamas, Caribbean

For cruisers who like to go big or go home, Royal Caribbean Cruise Line’s new Anthem of the Seas ship will be returning from Europe to its home port of Cape Liberty, N.J. this fall.

The ship, which can accommodate up to 4,905 passengers, departs on a trans-Atlantic cruise Oct. 27 from Southampton, England, to Cape Liberty. This fall and winter, Anthem of the Seas will offer cruises to the Bahamas, plus the western and southern Caribbean. Christmas and New Year’s will see the ship in the Bahamas.

Anthem of the Seas started service on April 22 this year. It boasts several firsts for a cruise ship, including a sky-diving experience called Ripcord. Passengers also will find an ice rink, bumper cars, surf simulator, and rock-climbing wall on board. More than 15 dining venues wait for guests, and entertainment choices include We Will Rock You, the musical that features music by the rock band Queen.

Let AAA Travel help you plan a cruise. Call (877) 319-1054 or visit AAA.com/Travel.

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Royal Caribbean Cruise Line photo


 

Airlines seeing more complaints

Consumer complaints filed with the U.S. Department of Transportation in March were up 55 percent from a year ago, and 27 percent from February 2015. Reports were made for delays, mishandled baggage, and more.

According to May’s Air Travel Consumer Report, Hawaiian Airlines had the best on-time arrival rate of 87.3 percent, while JetBlue Airways had the lowest at 71.5 percent. The average on-time arrival for all reporting carriers was 78.7 percent.

Mishandled baggage rate of 3.42 per 1,000 passengers for March was down from February’s 3.92 per 1,000 passengers.

Regional airports’ on-time arrival and departure statistics are:

• Jackson, Miss.–74.5 percent on-time arrival, 75.4 percent on-time departure

• Little Rock, Ark.–73.1 percent on-time arrival, 76.6 percent on-time departure

• New Orleans, La.–80.6 percent on-time arrival, 82.3 percent on-time departure

In June, the consumer report for April 2015 was released, showing a slight increase in overall on-time arrivals. The average was 81.8 percent on-time.

Hawaiian Airlines had the best on-time percentage at 92.7 percent, with Frontier showing the lowest at 72.5 percent.

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