JODY VICTOR®

Let's go on an adventure with Jody Victor!


Summer Vacations


Posted By on Jul 20, 2016

One of the greatest parts of our national heritage is diversity: of people, places and cultures. With international travel becoming easier and the popularity of luxury vacations the family road trip has lost popularity. With the nation park system celebrating its centennial birthday, this is the perfect time to help our young people experience and connect with the beautiful and varied landscapes all over our country.

Travelers might also consider Lonely Planet’s top ten must-see destinations in the United States. As one will see, this list suggests cities and regions that will provide very different experiences for travelers.

Lonely Planet’s Best in the United States for 2016
1. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
2. Natchez, Mississippi
3. Yellowstone National Park (Montana, Wyoming, Idaho)
4. Birmingham, Alabama
5. Alaska
6. Somerville, Massachusetts
7. Northwest Arkansas
8. San Antonio, Texas
9. Southern New Mexico
10. Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Read More

Southern charm is a force to be reckoned with as far as Travel + Leisure readers are concerned.

Charleston, South Carolina, topped the publication’s world’s top cities awards, part of its annual reader-chosen World’s Best Awards.

Travel + Leisure revealed the award winners on Wednesday as part of the travel magazine’s 21st annual reader survey of top travel destinations and companies around the world.

Charleston wasn’t South Carolina’s only big winner. The state dominated the awards, with Hilton Head Island taking top honors as best continental U.S. island and Charleston’s Spectator Hotel named best hotel in the continental United States.

Southern charm is a force to be reckoned with as far as Travel + Leisure readers are concerned.

Charleston, South Carolina, topped the publication’s world’s top cities awards, part of its annual reader-chosen World’s Best Awards.

Travel + Leisure revealed the award winners on Wednesday as part of the travel magazine’s 21st annual reader survey of top travel destinations and companies around the world.

Charleston wasn’t South Carolina’s only big winner. The state dominated the awards, with Hilton Head Island taking top honors as best continental U.S. island and Charleston’s Spectator Hotel named best hotel in the continental United States.

Read More

Following just over five years of construction and multiple delays, the long-awaited Shanghai Disney Resort opened its gates to the public on June 16. It is supposedly Disney’s biggest international park and takes full advantage of all the technological advances that have arrived since Disney’s last park opening — Hong Kong Disneyland — in 2005.

This means that rides you might have experienced at other parks — though many fan favorites are missing — have been given a complete revamp.

The best example of this is Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for the Sunken Treasure.
A far cry from the original Pirates ride created by Walt himself back in the 1960s, this hi-tech version is the largest attraction in Shanghai Disneyland, taking up 16,340 square meters.

Boats are controlled magnetically so they can spin or go backwards to maximize views of all the scenes, which feature the latest animatronics technology.

The official dedication of Shanghai Disney Resort went forward as planned on Thursday morning local time, but an outdoor gala on Wednesday night was scrapped, with a smaller-scale event held inside instead. Disney said the change was due to rainy weather conditions.

Made up of Disneyland, Disneytown, Wishing Star Park and two hotels, the entire project covers 3.9 square kilometers.

Read More

“Valravn” (Cedar Point, Ohio)
Standing 223 feet tall, “Valravn” is the 18th roller coaster to open at Cedar Point, “the roller coaster capital of the world,” in Sandusky, Ohio.

Open in early May, Valravn claims to be the world’s tallest dive coaster (223 feet), fastest dive coaster (75 mph) and the longest dive coaster (3,415 feet), with most inversions on a dive coaster (3) and the longest drop on a dive coaster (214 feet).

Leave your lunch behind.

“Skull Island: Reign of Kong” (Universal’s Islands of Adventure, Florida)
King Kong comes back for a new adventure in “Skull Island: Reign of Kong,” an immersive dark ride featuring animatronic figures and 3-D screens.

Riders on a mission end up fighting for their survival traveling through an ancient temple, a prehistoric jungle and underworld caves, all to face the king himself.

“King Kong” movie director Peter Jackson is consulting on the project, which is likely to open after a June 23 press preview day.

“Justice League: Battle for Metropolis” (Six Flags Great America, Illinois)

Opening Memorial Day weekend, riders will get to join forces with Batman, Wonder Woman and other Justice League members to do battle with the Joker and Lex Luthor in Six Flag’s “Justice League: Battle for Metropolis” 4-D dark ride.

As members of the Justice League Reserve Team, riders get to shoot at targets along the way.

“The Monster” (Adventureland, Iowa)
Adventureland waited a long time to debut a new ride — more than 20 years — but the theme park went all out with “The Monster” steel roller coaster.

The ride, which opens in June, will feature a 2,500-foot long track with a 133-foot vertical lift hill, a 101 degree drop and a negative-G stall loop.

That’s a slow loop that creates a sensation of falling out of the roller coaster.

“Storm Chaser” (Kentucky Kingdom)
“Storm Chaser,” the park’s second roller coaster in three years and fifth roller coaster overall, is a special 100-foot-tall wooden/steel hybrid ride that will reach maximum speeds of 52 mph.

It features 12 airtime moments and multiple inversions — including a corkscrew and 10-story barrel-roll drop from the first lift hill.

“Superman the Ride” (Six Flags New England, Massachusetts)
Even shorter: Superman takes over a traditional steel coaster, “Bizarro,” and transforms it into a virtual reality ride.

“Superman the Ride” draws guests to Superman’s war against evil in the fictional world of Metropolis and follow Superman as he battles evil.

Opening in June, the ride will reach speeds of 77 mph along a mile-long track.
Can’t get to New England to meet your favorite superhero?

“Superman Ride of Steel” also goes VR at Six Flags America in Largo, Maryland.
And Six Flags Fiesta Texas in San Antonio is adding virtual reality to its “Superman Krypton Coaster.”

“GaleForce” (Playland’s Castaway Cove, New Jersey)
Heading to the boardwalk in Ocean City, New Jersey, can be a trip back in time.

But the beachside Castaway Cove theme park also has rides to knock that cotton candy out of your hand.

This summer, the park will open the 125-foot-tall “GaleForce” three-launch roller coaster, reaching speeds up to 64 mph, a 90-degree drop and multiple inversions.

“Mako” (SeaWorld Orlando, Florida)
Named for one of the ocean’s fastest-known sharks, the “Mako” roller coaster opens June 10 at SeaWorld Orlando, anchoring a new shark-themed realm called Shark Wreck Reef.

“Mako” is a 200-foot-tall steel roller coaster making tight turns and steep drops, reaching speeds of up to 73 mph during the three-minute ride.

“Steamin’ Demon’s New Revolution Virtual Reality Coaster” (Six Flags Great Escape, New York)
Traditionalists can ride the “Steamin’ Demon,” which has three inversions, a loop coaster and double corkscrew, as it was introduced in 1984. It’s still awesome.

But starting June 25, riders can wear a Samsung Gear Virtual Reality headset and be transported into a realistic 360-degree virtual world where riders are fighter jet co-pilots trying to save the planet from an alien invasion.

The air-to-air combat is synced with twists and turns of the coaster.

Read More

Many of us have dream vacations that include visiting well-known landmarks. One of the best parts of our global community is the sheer variety of places to visit. Most of us will only see a handful of all the interesting places on planet earth in our life time.

Recently, TripAdvisor tried to determine which of all the wonders in our world ranked as the “most beloved” landmarks to visit and the results might surprise you.

In a press release, TripAdvisor explained that its “most beloved” designees “were determined using an algorithm that took into account the quantity and quality of reviews and ratings for landmarks worldwide, gathered over a 12-month period.”

TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice World’s Most Beloved Landmarks

1. Machu Picchu (Machu Picchu, Peru)

2. Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Center (Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates)

3. Angkor Wat (Siem Reap, Cambodia)

4. St. Peter’s Basilica (Vatican City, Italy)

5. Taj Mahal (Agra, India)

6. Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba (Cordoba, Spain)

7. Church of the Savior on Spilt Blood (St. Petersburg, Russia)

8. The Alhambra (Granada, Spain)

9. Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool (Washington, D.C.)

10. Milan Cathedral (Duomo) (Milan, Italy)

Read More