Fox To Open Amusement Park In Malaysia

It looks like Twentieth Century Fox will be opening a new 25-acre theme park in Malaysia. The studio plans to have up to 30 film-themed attractions, including rides based on both “Rio” and “Alien.” So far, we can only guess what the $125 million overhaul of the Malaysian park (pictured above) will look like, but here are some ideas:

  • An “Independence Day” ride that looks like a UFO or flying saucer
  • “Dude, Where’s My Car?” bumper cars
  • A “Cast Away” water park
  • “Glee”- and “Moulin Rouge!”-themed stage shows
  • A “Die Hard” freefall drop
  • An “Avatar”-themed rainforest attraction
  • “Alvin and the Chipmunks” kiddie park

Anything related to “Star Wars” and “X-Men” would also be pretty amazing, as would something related to “The Simpsons,” but Universal Studios already has that covered. I guess we’ll just have to wait until 2016, when the park is slated to open, to see what Fox comes up with.

What Your Friends At Sea Are Doing Today On Their Cruise

If your friends at sea have been on their ship for a few days, the holiday decorations have probably blended in with their surroundings. They are no longer amazed at them. Still, there are plenty of other things for your friends at sea to do, or they could choose to do nothing at all – the other option after “you name it.”

Doing nothing is easy anywhere. At sea, crew members make an art out of enabling travelers to do nothing whatsoever. Ships equipped with enough spa treatments, pampering opportunities and free room service to make Cleopatra comfy, ply the waters of the world.

On the flip side, adventure travelers will find some unique opportunities for kayaking, trekking, hiking, climbing, cycling, horseback riding and more with updated off-ship shore explorations that are far from a ride around town in a tour bus.

Today, on Christmas Day, families around the world will get together to exchange gifts and have the biggest family dinner of the year. Friends and family may come from far away places to visit in an annual trek set for holiday merriment.

Today, on the high seas, cruise lines will have a special (perhaps keepsake) holiday menu, carolers will sing their traditional songs, inviting others to join in and children will delight in seeing Santa Claus. Holiday decorations were installed just before Thanksgiving and will run through the first of the year.

Many of those on board make sailing the way they do Christmas. We sailed for many years with our two daughters, often seeing other travelers we had sailed with over past holidays. On some sailings they would bring along a friend, others not.

All agreed after our first sailing that it “was the best vacation ever.” That’s something decision makers have to pay attention to when compared with other holiday options. Spending time with relatives that might not be as amiable as the total stranger just met on a cruise ship speaks volumes.
Parents like the idea because “we’re going on a cruise!” satisfies pretty much all the gift requests. In our family, the “family cruise” counted for birthday, anniversary and other special occasion gifts, making the premium price charged for a holiday sailing much more palatable.

Announced early, festive holiday cruise fans already know others before arriving on the ship via social media venues. After the sailing, those same venues will be used to keep in touch with friends they made on board for decades into the future.

I have often said in the past that if I could sail just one time of the year, over the December holidays would be that time.

No cooking.
No cleaning.
Some planning, but not much.
Fabulous destinations around the world visited via your cruise ship.

If there is such a thing as a holiday bargain, a cruise vacation for 2013 might be just what the family ordered. See how it goes today, then think about it.

[Photo Credit: Flickr user |vvaldzen|]

Photo Of The Day: Egyptian Sphinx

Thanksgiving is a holiday that embraces traditions. It only seemed appropriate then to close out this long holiday weekend with an image of that most-iconic of Egyptian historical landmarks: the Sphinx. This image was taken by Flickr user robert vaccaro. I like the shot’s side-profile perspective and the nice contrast of sandy rock with clean, blue sky. It’s a simple yet classic image that’s well framed and eye-catching.

Taken any great photos on your trip to Egypt? Or maybe just during your visit to Cairo, Illinois? Why not add them to our Gadling group on Flickr? We might just pick one of yours as our Photo of the Day.

[Photo credit: Flickr user robert vaccaro]

The Top Seven Places to See Egyptian Wonders in 2011 (Outside of Egypt)

Although the revolution in Egypt ended rather peacefully with the resignation of Hosni Mubarak on February 11, it may be a while before the country appeals to international travelers again.

With its rich heritage and ancient treasures, Egypt tops the list of many travelers’ bucket lists. But if you’re shelving your Egypt travel plans for another time, here are some other destinations where you can explore Egypt without worrying you’ll have to make a sudden exodus.

Egypt Attraction: King Tut
Where to See It: St. Paul, Minnesota, Houston, Texas, and Melbourne, Australia

The blockbuster King Tut and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs exhibit left New York City in January, but portions of it will be on display at three other locations in 2011. Beginning February 18, The Science Museum of Minnesota will be host to Tutankhamun: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs, which will feature more than 100 artifacts associated with the Boy King and other ancient rulers. The exhibit will also travel to the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, running from October 16 to April 15, 2012. Lest Americans be the only beneficiaries of the traveling Tut show, the Melbourne Museum will put on a show of pharaonic treasures beginning April 8, 2011.

Egypt Attraction: Cleopatra
Where to See It: Cincinnati, Ohio

After King Tut, Cleopatra has the best name recognition among Egyptian royalty. Beginning February 18, 2011, items associated with Queen Cleopatra will be exhibited in the “Queen City” at the Cincinnati Museum Center. Artifacts such as the Colossus King and Queen statues from Heracleion will be on display, as well as busts, small sphinxes, papyrus, pottery, coins, and more. There are plans for Cleopatra: The Search for the Last Queen of Egypt to travel to other North American cities after the Cincinnati show ends on September 5, but those cities have yet to be announced.

Egypt Attraction: Egyptian Museums
Where to See It: London; Runners-Up: New York City and Paris

A number of museums throughout the world have small to sizeable Egyptian collections. However, the most impressive store of Egyptian artifacts can be found at The British Museum. The British Museum houses the largest collection of Egyptian antiquities outside of Egypt, including the Rosetta Stone, the Tomb Chapel of Nebamun (which dates from the 14th century BC), and an entire gallery of mummies’ coffins. Through March 6, the British Museum is also showcasing a special exhibit on the Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead.

Coming in at a very close tie for second are New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and Musee du Louvre in Paris. Highlights from these two museums include the imposing Temple of Dendur, which occupies one of 40 Egyptian galleries in the Met, and the Chapel of the Tomb of Akhethotep in the Louvre.

Zahi Hawass tells New York City: fix Cleopatra’s Needle or give it back

The Secretary General of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities has become famous in recent years for his regular television appearances and tireless campaign to preserve his nation’s heritage. Dr. Zahi Hawass has gotten the Met to return stolen artifacts and severed ties with the Louvre until they coughed up some of their own ill-gotten gains.

Now the fedora-wearing Egyptologist has a new location in his sights–New York City. On his blog he says Cleopatra’s Needle in Central Park has become “severely weathered”. He’s sent a letter to the president of the Central Park Conservancy and Mayor Bloomberg describing how some of the hieroglyphs had all but disappeared and that if they couldn’t take care of the obelisk, he’d “take the necessary steps” to bring it back to Egypt.

Dr. Hawass also posted photos showing the weathering the monument has suffered. With the city’s variable weather and acidic pollution, it’s not surprising it’s suffered damage. Manhattan news service DNAinfo, however, talked to Jonathan Kuhn, director of Arts & Antiquities for the Parks Department, who said the damage was done more than a century ago and that there’s no significant erosion happening now.

Considering the level of determination Dr. Hawass has shown in the past, expect to hear more about this story in the future.

(As a side note, “Cleopatra’s Needle” is misnamed. It was actually erected by the pharaoh Thutmose III around 1450 BC, centuries before Cleopatra was born. London and Paris have similar obelisks.)

[Photo courtesy user Ekem via Wikimedia Commons]