Memorial Day Travel Events Bring Discounts

Memorial DayAs Memorial Day approaches, travelers are taking advantage of some special offers and events exclusive to the three-day weekend that officially begins on Friday, May 24. Discounts, special offers and events this year are available at a number of locations around the United States as America remembers the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.

Additionally, those in uniform have a variety of special discounts and offers.

Carnival Cruise Lines is offering a promotion that provides active and former military personnel with discounts of up to $600 per stateroom and shipboard credits of up to $100 per stateroom on a range of three- to 12-day sailings. Sister-line Princess cruises continues their Special Military Program, giving those who served up to $250 onboard credit on any sailing.

May is also National Military Appreciation Month and Florida’s Fantasy of Flight museum is offering complimentary admission to all active-duty, retired and reserve members of the U.S. Armed Forces when accompanied by a full-priced paid adult, senior or child general admission throughout the month of May.

Not a military member? There are still some Memorial Day promotions for you too.Disney is pulling an all-nighter with the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World in Florida and at Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure. The parks open from 6 a.m. May 24 to 6 a.m. May 25, to kick off the summer season. The parks will also have extra entertainment, live bands and characters in their pajamas.

On the West Coast, California’s Mammoth Mountain ski area has a Memorial Day $99 package to ski or ride, mountain bike and golf all in one day. The Ski-Bike-Golf Challenge allows unlimited skiing, snowboarding, and access to the bike park along with nine holes of golf at the resort’s Sierra Star course.

Also in California, the West Coast Thunder Bike Run in Riverside, the largest single-day motorcycle event west of the Mississippi, hosts nearly 7,000 motorcycle enthusiasts. Proceeds from the ride registration and concert tickets benefit the Riverside National Cemetery Support Committee and the event also includes a Military Appreciation Fair on Sunday, May 26.

Nothing at all planned yet for Memorial Day weekend? Now might be the time to do that.

According to Travelocity’s Memorial Day booking data, domestic airfare is down 2 percent year-over-year with the average cost at $341, six dollars less than it was in 2012. That might not sound like much but recent years have all seen increases in the price of airfare.

Even Amtrak is getting in the Memorial Day spirit, saving northeast regional rail travelers 25 percent when they book by May 10, 2013, for Memorial Day travel.

[Photo credit - Flickr member Fritz Liess]

African-American Military Aviators On Hand To Tell Their Story

African-American Military Aviators

They were our nation’s first African-American military aviators. The Tuskegee Airmen peaked at 1,000 pilots and 15,000 ground crew during World War II. Now, only 40 pilots and 200 ground crew are alive today. Florida’s Fantasy of Flight aircraft collection continues to honor the airmen with a series of symposiums coming up in 2013 as well as their annual student essay contest.

“Reading the student essays last year, it was clear how much the participants were influenced by the Tuskegee Airmen, both by the men they met in person at the ‘They Dared to Fly’ symposium, as well as through the research they conducted on their own,” said Kim Long, General Manager, Fantasy of Flight in a statement.

Dedicated to preserving historic moments in aviation history and inspiring future generations to greatness, Fantasy of Flight is inviting students to help with this mission by sharing their impressions of the Tuskegee Airmen of WWII in essay form.Themed “They Dared To Fly,” the contest invites central Florida students in grades 6-12 to enter the contest, referring to the L.E.A.D. values that put the Tuskegee Airmen in the history books – Leadership, Excellence, Advocacy and Determination.

First place winners in each of two categories (grades 6-8 and 9-12) will take home $500; two second place winners each will receive $300.

Fantasy of Flight’s 2013 Legends & Legacies Symposium Series continues with several open-forum/question-and-answer sessions as well as meet-and-greet autograph signings with some of the original Tuskegee Airmen Feb. 7-9, 2013. The event will be held in celebration of Black History Month and marks the first of six symposiums.

Other topics scheduled for 2013 include Beyond the Battlefield, March 8-9; The First World War, April 6; D-Day: Normandy & Beyond, May 3-4; Espionage: The Cold War, Oct. 4-5 and Veteran’s Day Salute: A Celebration of Service, Nov. 9-10, 2013.

Symposium events are included in the price of Fantasy of Flight general admission and are free for annual pass holders.



[Photo Credit- Flickr user Suzanne_C_Walker]

Convenient Forms Of Communication On Display From World War II

communication

Today, we take for granted convenient forms of communication when traveling, like email, text messages, Skype and others. FourSquare, HipGeo, Instagram and other smart phone apps pinpoint our exact location anywhere on the planet. Those fighting overseas in World War II relied on hand-written letters that could take weeks to arrive at their destinations, as loved ones served thousands of miles away.

In the sixth and final installment of its 2012 Legends & Legacies Symposium Series, “Letters Home: Love, Courage & Survival,” Florida’s Fantasy of Flight, a vintage aircraft collection, will honor the art of letter writing and share the stories of wartime bonds preserved by pen and paper.In World War II, soldiers relied on correspondence from their sweethearts and families to keep up with news from home and boost their spirits. In turn, wives, girlfriends, parents and children relied on postal service delivery of letters from the war front to tell them that their soldier was still alive and well.

Fantasy of Flight is searching for people to share their letters with guests during this symposium coming up in October. Writers or recipients of letters including servicemen and women, family and friends are invited to share their wartime experiences through written correspondence. `

Copies of letters can be mailed to Fantasy of Flight at 1400 Broadway Blvd. SE, Polk City, FL 33868. Scanned copies can be emailed to info@fantasyofflight.com with “Letters from Home” in the subject line.

During the Letters Home: Love, Courage & Survival symposium on Friday, Oct. 12 and Saturday, Oct. 13, veterans and guest speakers will interact with guests in open forum/question-and-answer sessions, followed by meet-and-greet/autograph signing sessions.

Home Front Life During World War II in Stockton, California


[Flickr photo by Gibson Claire McGuire Regester]

Vietnam Military Service Recalled At Flight Museum

VietnamVietnam veterans will gather at Florida’s Fantasy of Flight museum in June to share their personal stories of strength, survival and patriotism during America’s longest and most controversial military conflict on foreign soil.

During the Legends & Legacies Symposium Series: Reflections of Vietnam, several veterans will interact with guests in open forum/question-and-answer sessions, followed by meet-and-greet/autograph signing sessions.

“We recognize that the Vietnam War is an emotional and complex subject and we invite the public to hear firsthand accounts from the brave men who stood up to serve,” said Kim Long, General Manager of Fantasy of Flight.

The symposium is presented along with the annual Military Collector’s Show on Saturday, June 9, showcasing collectibles for sale from the Civil War to the Vietnam era including uniforms, medals, insignia, and war relics, among other memorabilia.

“We are also proud to once again offer history buffs a chance to browse and purchase military collectibles dating back to the Civil War during our Military Collectors Show,” added Long. “Even those who aren’t collectors will be amazed at the incredible array of artifacts.”

Fantasy of Flight is one of the only attractions in the country to assemble military veterans and their families for panel discussions and to share their compelling personal accounts and unique perspectives with the public.

Daring aviation legends make film real

aviationFantasy of Flight is an aviation-themed Florida exhibit showcasing vintage aircraft from the world’s largest private collection, themed immersion experiences, interactive exhibits and more. Now through February 11, Fantasy of Flight is celebrating National Black History month with its Fourth Annual Legends & Legacies Symposium Series with a visit from famed World War II heroes, the Tuskegee Airmen as well as a student essay contest honoring the aviators’ leadership, excellence, advocacy and determination.

“It is an honor and a privilege to welcome back the Tuskegee Airmen and their families to Fantasy of Flight for our Fourth Annual Legends & Legacies Symposium Series,” said Kim Long, General Manager. “We couldn’t think of a better way to honor the Tuskegee Airmen and celebrate Black History Month than by engaging students to learn more about these brave aviators and express what they’ve learned through written essays.”

During “They Dared to Fly,” the Tuskegee Airmen, the nation’s first African-American military aviators, will share their personal stories of what it was like to serve as a pilot in the military during segregated America. Three Tuskegee Airmen will be appearing including Leo Gray, 91, who served as a consultant on the recently released Lucas Red Tails film, as well as Daniel Keel, 89 and George Hardy, 88. Of the original group of nearly 1,000 trained pilots and 15,000 ground personnel that made up the Tuskegee Airmen, roughly 50 pilots and 200 ground crew are alive today.In tribute to the living legends, students in grades 4-12 were invited to participate in the “They Dared to Fly” essay contest. Using the principles of LEAD (Leadership, Excellence, Advocacy and Determination), students described how the Tuskegee Airmen achieved success and how they can use these values to achieve a personal goal of their own.

Fantasy of Flight’s permanent multi-media Tuskegee Airmen exhibit and vintage aircraft collection, including the P-51C Mustang, provides the perfect backdrop for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet the brave men who fought America’s enemies abroad while enduring racism at home.

“They Dared to Fly” runs through Saturday, February 11 and will feature two open-forum/question-and-answer sessions each day at 10:30 am and 2:30 pm followed by meet/greet autograph signings with several of the original Tuskegee Airmen.



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