From the Gadling Archives: Travel smarter in 1982

The following post was uncovered while we were researching our Travel Smarter 2012 series. Deep in our archives, we discovered this article, titled “Travel smarter in 1982,” which was published in the spring 1982 edition of “The Illustrated Gadling Quarterly.” We are republishing it here as a reminder that, though a great deal has changed in 30 years, travel is still pretty tubular. We have updated the post to include links and video when appropriate.

gadling travel smarter 1982 TWA

Travel Smarter 1982

After last year’s air traffic controllers’ strike, this year can only see improvements in the world of travel (unless, of course, stewardesses decided to start pouring less whiskey in our drinks). While the FAA is still hiring and training new air traffic controllers, Americans are returning to the road, now that gas prices are finally normalizing. And, we’re seeing some bitchin’ technology that will make life away from home more comfortable than ever before. It’s 1982 and time to travel smarter!Air Travel

Flying was a total nightmare last year. Flight schedules were dramatically affected by the air traffic controllers’ strike and the industry is still recovering. That said, there’s no need to avoid flying and it’s still a luxurious way to travel.

How else can you travel the globe in comfort while eating delicious meals and watching some of Hollywood’s brightest stars on shared screens? And, as if air travel wasn’t already convenient enough, we’re hearing rumors that a new company, Airfone Inc., is testing out air-to-ground telephone service that could become available on commercial flights as early as this year! Can you imagine calling your friends and family to tell them that you’re a mile above them? No longer will time on a plane be lost time for your business.

For those of you who aren’t fans of all of those cigarette smokers in the backs of airplanes, Muse Air, the first non-smoking airline in the United States, plans to launch this year after being delayed by last year’s strike. It will only operate in Texas (between Dallas and Houston), but its focus on comfort has us believing that it will soon be a major player in the industry.

Road Trips

gadling travel smarter 1982 dodge ariesWith the oil embargo (and its effects on gas prices) behind us, and some people still squeamish about flying because of the strike, America is ready to reignite its love affair with road trips. 1982 should see more Americans hitting the road as gas prices hold steady rather than spiking dramatically, as they have since 1978.

If you’re looking to replace your old gas-guzzler, Chrysler has recently introduced two new “compact cars” that get much better gas mileage than most older models on the road. The Dodge Aries and Plymouth Reliant are both affordable, fuel-efficient and, of course, sleek. For under $6,000, you and your family can hit the road with money left over for a motel room that has HBO!

Still, with gas prices at over $1 per gallon, people are choosing their road trips wisely. One place that we’re certain will attract visitors is…

Florida

Why will Florida be so popular? Because in 1982, the future is now in the Sunshine State! This year will see the opening of Disney’s EPCOT Center and the third launch of NASA’s new space shuttle program.

EPCOT (Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow) is a tourist attraction unlike anything that we’ve ever seen. It’s the 21st century…today!

Guests will be able to enjoy Future World, a look into, well, the future, and the World Showcase, which allows visitors to travel the globe without ever having to leave central Florida! Future World features exhibits such as the Universe of Energy sponsored by Exxon and The Land, brought to you by Kraft. Both attractions look at our environment and how humans, along with massive multinational corporations, keep the planet clean.

The World Showcase features pavilions from nine countries representing such exotic and hard-to-reach locales as Mexico, Canada and the United Kingdom. One of the nine pavilions is dedicated to the “American Adventure,” which you can experience right here in America! We’re hearing whispers that they will add more countries in the future. Hopefully we’ll be done exploring the Canadian pavilion by then!

Meanwhile, not too far from Orlando, NASA has begun launching their new space shuttles from Kennedy Space Center. Just last year, the Space Shuttle Columbia completed the first two missions of the program. This March, it will launch again with two astronauts on board. Tourists from around the world are expected to converge at Cape Canaveral to watch as the shuttle leaves Earth to explore the great unknown. It’s quite a sight and should be on everyone’s must-see list. It’s your chance to see the beginnings of a space program that could have us colonizing Mars in 20 years!

Technology

One of the advantages of road trips has always been the ability to listen to music along the way. With the radio and cassettes, we have music, news and entertainment everywhere our cars can take us. But what happens when we choose to fly? While in-flight movies can help pass the time, sometimes we just want to listen to our rad tunes. That’s why we’re so excited about the Sony Walkman. The portable cassette player has been around for a few years, but thanks to some competition, the price is finally right for almost any traveler.

You can now find a Walkman for around $25 or $30 and are limited only by the number of cassettes that you want to carry in your luggage. That means that you can afford one for everyone in your family, which should finally put an end to all of that whining from the kids about how bored they are on the plane or in the backseat of the car.

Get going!

There’s a bodacious year of travel ahead of us and hopefully you can take advantage of our tips and suggestions. Head over to your local travel agent, have her find you the best fares and hotels and get out there! Or, load the family into your new car and get down to Florida for a look at the future.

Oh, and if you’re looking for a hot new destination, trust us on this bonus tip: the Falkland Islands are the place to be in 1982!

Top photo of TWA Boeing 767-200 via Flickr user Deanster1983.
Second photo of 1981 Dodge Aries via Flickr user aldenjewell.

Whistler: On the inside looking out

gadling whistler village

We’ve all heard it before. Spoken in commercials, printed in brochures and even told to us by friends when describing a place: “There’s something for everyone.” Sure, many places live up to that incredibly broad statement. Certainly diverse cities like New York, Barcelona and Tokyo truly do have something for every type of person and traveler. However, some places fill very specific niches. They specialize and their offerings to tourists reflect that. What happens, however, when you end up in a place that wasn’t really intended for someone like you? That’s what I experienced when I was a square peg in Whistler’s round hole.

%Gallery-131623%gadling whistler villageWhistler, British Columbia is undoubtedly an adventure playland. Its natural wonders are spectacularly and certainly make it a worthwhile destination for action sports enthusiasts. It’s famous for its ski and snowboard trails and is one of the most popular locations in the world for mountain bikers. For casual travelers, however, Whistler doesn’t really seem to offer much.

Almost everything about Whistler looks new. This is not surprising, considering that most of the buildings are, in fact, new, relatively speaking. Most of Whistler’s development has occurred in the last 30 years or so. While that has created an excellent example of urban planning with an pedestrian friendly, no-cars-allowed village, it has also left it lacks personality. The true beauty and spirit of Whistler can be found on the mountains and on the trails meandering through the foothills. That’s where Whistler shines and where it defines itself.

My attention was constantly drawn back to the mountains. There’s brilliance all around Whistler and activity surrounds the village on all sides as people attack challenging bike trails, hop onto the gondolas and share tales of epic snowboard runs during the winter. In the heart of the village, however, I felt a void, as if all the energy had flowed into the landscape around it.

Meandering around the village, I couldn’t help but feel as if I was in a Disney replica of ski resort town with a series is strip malls featuring souvenir shops and rather generic-looking restaurants.

gadling whistler villageIronically, what I wanted to find in Whistler I found instead just outside of the village, where I came across a skatepark riddled with graffiti and a beautiful mural painted under a bridge. It was here that the town of Whistler felt lived-in. Otherwise, the real action is on the mountains.

That’s not to say that nothing for tourists exists in the town. History seekers will enjoy a few hours at the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre, which hosts a collection artifacts from local First Nations Peoples and does an admirable job of telling the story of British Columbia before colonial settlement. There are also plenty of places to spend your money and fill your belly. The village is not lacking for retail.

After a single day, however, I was left shrugging my shoulders and looking wistfully at the mountains, wondering what my impressions of this place would be if I was the kind of person who enjoyed hurtling down hills at breakneck speeds. Instead, my feet remained planted firmly on level ground.

The people are friendly in Whistler and the food and beer taste pure. But what defines Whistler is its geography, topography and the infrastructure that has been built to serve people who have come to enjoy the landscape. If you’re not going to venture into those mountain trails and just happen to be passing through British Columbia on a trip to the Pacific Northwest, Whistler might flummox you as it did me.

This trip was sponsored by Tourism British Columbia and Tourism Whistler. However, my opinions are my own and sometimes I’m just a square peg.

Duffy the Disney Bear – New face to see (and buy) at Disney Parks

Duffy the Disney Bear at Walt Disney WorldIf you are planning at trip to Disneyland Resort or Walt Disney World at the holidays, you will likely encounter Duffy the Disney Bear.

And when you do, I imagine you will likely think, “Hey, who the heck is this?”

No, you’ve never seen Duffy in a Disney movie. He’s never been in a Mickey Mouse cartoon or a Pixar animated short. And he’s not the star of a new series for preschoolers on the Disney Channel.

Duffy the Disney Bear is the first character conceived and introduced solely in Disney Parks. That’s right – Disney made him so that they could sell you another souvenir.

Duffy’s “backstory” is that he was sewn by Minnie Mouse as a present for Mickey, to accompany him on his travels around the world. We here at Gadling told you this summer how many grown men take teddy bears on business trips, I suppose grown mice need a stuffed animal to cuddle on their business trips, too.

Duffy was introduced as a costumed character at Epcot and Disney’s California Adventure this fall after six years of popularity at Tokyo Disneyland Resort. In Tokyo, Duffy is such a craze that young women line up outside Disney stores when a new Duffy outfit is released.

And just in time for Black Friday shopping, he is being sold in three sizes at Disney’s Florida and California theme parks, along with a variety of outfits, Duffy keychains and other souvenirs. The Orlando Sentinel reports that about three dozen Duffy items are expected to arrive in the coming year.

In addition to his souvenirs, Duffy has a shiny new Facebook page with more than 5,000 fans.

Top 10 holiday sights to see at Walt Disney World

Walt Disney World is known for building theme parks and resorts that are larger than life. So it should come as no surprise that Disney goes all out during the holidays. It’s enough to have anyone humming “White Christmas,” even if it is 80 degrees outside.

Many of the holiday festivities start this week at Walt Disney World – yes, Disney skips directly from Halloween to Christmas. Here are my Top 10 sights to see at Walt Disney World during a November or December visit:

Snow on Main Street U.S.A.
It only gets cold enough for a flurry every few years in Orlando, but you can see snow at the Magic Kingdom on select nights each November or December. The flakes fall during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, a special event that includes a holiday parade, Christmas fireworks and treat stations dispensing free hot chocolate and cookies.

The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights
Millions of lights twinkle in time with holiday music during this dazzling presentation at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Entire buildings are covered in lights, and more lights form Santa and his reindeer and other familiar favorites. The shows happen nightly after dark in the park’s Streets of America section.

Minnie’s Christmas cookie parade float
Minnie Mouse’s float in Mickey’s Jingle Jungle Parade delights the eyes with giant Christmas cookies and candy. But this “must-see” is a “must-smell,” too. Be sure to get a whiff of the cinnamon scent the float emits as it rolls by during this afternoon parade at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Santas with an international flair

In Epcot, the World Showcase pavilions show off traditional décor – and traditional jolly old elves — from their home countries each holiday season. Don’t miss a visit with Pere Noel in France or Father Christmas in the United Kingdom.

Stars on parade
The Walt Disney World parade shown on TV each Christmas Day is actually taped during a few days in early December, and Disney recruits members of the public and park visitors to be part of the audience for the taping. The 2009 parade audiences were treated to musical performances by stars including Kris Allen, Yanni and Nick Cannon. This year’s tapings are scheduled for Dec. 3 and 4.

Giant gingerbread
Disney’s pastry chefs work overtime during the holidays, creating larger-than-life masterpieces that are amazingly edible. Take a tour of the resorts to see their handiwork: a gingerbread carousel with chocolate horses spins at Disney’s Beach Club, toy soldiers guard the perimeter of a gingerbread gazebo at Disney’s Boardwalk Inn, and a 17-foot gingerbread tree towers over the fourth floor of Disney’s Contemporary Resort. If all that gingerbread sharpens your sweet tooth, stop by the life-sized gingerbread house at Disney’s Grand Floridian, which doubles as a bake shop selling cookies, peppermint bark and – you guessed it – gingerbread.

Towering wilderness
While Walt Disney World is home to more than 700 Christmas trees each December, the beauty at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge is a consistent favorite of Disney visitors. Shooting up more than 60 feet in the center of the lodge’s lobby, the Christmas tree is adorned with 60,000 lights and décor that suits the national park theming of the resort, including ornaments made from antlers. In fact, Disney’s Imagineers designed the Wilderness Lodge lobby with Christmas in mind, even installing power outlets in the floor where they would be needed for the tree.

Christmas-y campsites
While Walt Disney World decorators string more than 8 million Christmas lights around the resort, guests at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground also get on the action. It has become an annual tradition for many families to camp at Walt Disney World during the Christmas holidays, and they bring their celebrations – and their decorations – with them. Take a spin through the campground after dark to see the creative ways these Disney visitors light up their tents and RVs.

Cinderella’s Holiday Wish
Each night at dusk, Cinderella appears on stage at the Magic Kingdom to ask for a special holiday wish. With a wave of her Fairy Godmother’s magic wand, the princess’s castle is lit up with sparkling holiday lights. The glittering castle makes a great back-drop for a family photo.

Surprising treats
Holiday surprises also abound at Walt Disney World’s restaurants. Keep your eye out for special holiday menu items, such as chocolate Mickey waffles on the Crystal Palace breakfast buffet or a frozen Dole Whip dessert colored a Christmas green at Disney’s Polynesian Resort.

[Image credit (gingerbread house): Flickr user M. Keefe]

Top ten new tastes at the EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival


The 15th annual EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival kicks off today at Walt Disney World Resort.

The festival includes cooking demonstrations, concerts, cookbook signings, wine dinners and celebrity chef appearances, but the “main event” is what the Festival Marketplace around the World Showcase promenade, where 25 kiosks selling regional food and drink from around the world are set up.

The tapas-size portions sell for $3-$8. There are always some festival mainstays, like Canadian Beer Cheese Soup and Polish Kielbasa and Potato Pierogies, but this year 60 percent of the items are new to the festival.

I got a chance to preview the festival last night during a soft opening, and here’s my list of the top new tastes (and sips) at this year’s EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival:

  1. Freshly Baked Waffles with Berry Compote and Whipped Cream – This dish at the new Belgium kiosk was delicious, as expected. The waffles were perfectly crisp – not soggy at all, which is a great feat when they are being prepared outside in the Florida humidity.
  2. Cheese Fondue with Croutons and Roasted Potatoes – This was a classic fondue at a new Charcuterie and Cheese kiosk. Applewood smoked beef, duck and ham are also available at this booth.
  3. Coconut-braised, Beef Rendang with Jasmine Rice – Another new kiosk for 2010 is Singapore, and I loved this spicy dish there.
  4. Bohae Bokbunjajoo – South Korea is the fourth new kiosk for this year’s food and wine festival, and the first thing I tasted there was this black raspberry rice wine. I’m not a huge fan of sweet wines, but this one wasn’t overpowering, and I enjoyed it.
  5. Bison Chili with Wild Mushrooms, Cabernet and Pepper Jack Cheese – The USA kiosk rotates by region every few years. For the past couple of years, the culinary focus has been on Louisiana, but this year it has shifted to the Pacific Northwest. This chili was spicy, earthy and just plain good (though the portion felt a bit skimpy.)
  6. Godiva Chocolate Iced Coffee – This sip from the Belgium kiosk was a great way to end the evening on a sweet note, and, though it is starting to feel like autumn here in Central Florida, hot coffee just doesn’t work most of the year at Walt Disney World.
  7. Asopao de Pollo – Disney Chef Roberto Velez’s family recipe for this comforting chicken and rice soup won a competition to be included on the tasting menu at this year’s festival. It’s available at the Puerto Rico booth.
  8. Heirloom Tomato Salad with Domestic Blue Cheese, Red Onion and Fresh Basil – Another new addition from the USA booth, this salad was flavorful and gorgeous. The tomatoes tasted like they had just been picked.
  9. Lettuce Wraps with Roast Pork and Kimchi Slaw – I found this dish from the South Korea booth to be packed with flavor. The Jinro Chamisul Soju beverage sold at this booth is a great complement to the lettuce wraps.
  10. Pear Streusel Pudding Cake – While I’m sure the Desserts and Champagne kiosk at the festival is meant to be a last stop of the night, I’ll just admit right here that it’s often my first stop. This cake was new to the menu and caught my eye. It’s dense, moist, and sweet, and it goes great with a dry champagne.

The Epcot International Food and Wine Festival continues through Nov. 14. While many of the events require reservations and extra fees, the Festival Marketplace booths can be accessed by anyone with regular Disney Parks admission.