America, Countries, Culture

Twenty years of Shrek

Of course Happy Ever After can yield another and another and another in the movie fairytale world, particularly when it yields as many dollars as Shrek.

Shrek exploded onto our screens 20 years ago next month and it’s fair enough to say nothing was ever the same again.

More Shrek

And although we thought the release of Shrek Forever After, also called Shrek: The Final Chapter in 2010 would tie up the franchise why give up on the gift that keeps on giving?

They’re part of the audience. https://www.attractiontickets.com/en?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIu7Ol7bLz7wIVlIXVCh1NIgigEAAYASAAEgKsefD_BwE

And so we’ve had the spin-off Puss In Boots.

While Shrekkies were given a real treat when it was announced that there would be a Fifth Shrek film next year.

So where does Shrek live?

Shrek’s home

Well, when he’s not in his swamp, Universal Resort Orlando is where you’ll find him hanging out.

The dynamic duo

There are other action heroes who will leave you sickly green at Universal with their stomach-churning rides.

I’m talking you Hulk, my first corkscrew ride in Orlando with Attraction Tickets

Which makes you regret that omelette and stack of pancakes you took at breakfast.

He’ll be all right

No, Shrek 4-D is a tamer, more family fun interactive experience, but no less fun for all that.

Shrek’s ride

When we last left the layered one in Shrek Forever After he was grappling with fame in a Shrek lite theme park.

Before Rumpelstiltskin tricks him into giving it all up for just one day of his old life.

Big in Japan

Spoiler alert here.

But our favourite author extricates himself from his sticky moment and we caught up again in Universal Studios Hollywood on our superheroes’ get-together.

And both being of the Scottish variety, and both sharing some nasty habits we both got on like a swamp on fire.

Hear them roar

He’s invited me back so, of course, with a new film coming and Universal Resorts cranking up again for visitors.

With something new all the rime… I’m talking about you VelociCoaster me.

Shrek around the world

And because Shrek is beloved around the world and is big in Japan, our friends over there are enjoying him too.

Now for 2021 I’m thinking because it’s the Fifth Shrek we can have 5-D!

I’m on my way from misery to happiness ptoday, uhu-uhu-uhu-uhu!

Adventure, America, Countries, Culture, Deals, Ireland, UK

Orlando’s Dinosaur Rollercoaster

What do you get when you cross a paleontologist with a coasteroligist? Universal Orlando’s VelociCoaster that’s what?

Great news from our old pals in Florida that the coaster we’ve been we’ve been waiting a year for is ready and snarling.

Jurassic Park VelociCoaster will roar into life next summer and we’ll be first in line.

But let’s go back in time for a minute… to Spring 2019 when I met Veloci at A VIPs event in Universal Studios Hollywood.

Hello sailor

Maybe not at my best having shaken off 24-hour sickness bug to make my meeting.

Although, I wasn’t quite ready for rollercoasters then – and I know you have to be at your fighting weight from my past visit to Orlando.

You want a sneak preview of VelociCoaster… well, that was it.

A world of wonders

I caught the rollercoaster bug on a mostly-Irish trip there… Irelando, if you will.

And have been back there and up the road to The Donald’s place.

So here’s what our holiday providers have lined up for for us for 2021…

The American Holidays Hot Offer is a seven-night Universal Orlando Resort Stay including Park tickets from €975pp.

And, of course, you’ll get the run of three theme parks and a water theme park.

Harry’s Hollywood

You’ll have a wizarding time, we promise you.

Contact Tour America who have been serving you for 25 years which is all the recommendation you need and they’ll sort out your beat deal.

While I would always direct you to Attraction Tickets who took this young dinosaur to Orlando and then Hollywood.

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America, Countries, Deals, Music

Rainy Days and Songdays – the real Hotel California

You can check out any time you like but you can never leave

If only! Whether it is the steel pan band at Sunday Service on Tobago or the soft rock house band on the Maldives.

It’s how we would want every holiday to end… not ending that is.

The epic Hotel California by the Eagles with its riff which was voted the greatest of all time by Guitarist magazine has spawned an industry in itself.

Around what the lyrics actually mean, where the hotel is that inspires the song, and the hotel that was used for the cover.

The band credit the legendary Beverly Hills Hotel, the hang-out for party people, as being the vibe for the song.

Celeb hangout

Visit nearby West Hollywood where the celebs go these days and you’ll be on Beverly Hills‘ doorstep.

Rainbow crossing at West Hollywood

Turn left out of your WH billet, the Kimpton La Peer Hotel, and you’ll be going in the general direction.

You’ll know you”re in Beverly Hills when you pass the arty sign.

The Beverly Hills Hotel, which predated the town’s existence, was the place to be under vice-president of Bank of America Hernando Courtright.

Galaxy of stars

And Fred Astaire, Cesar Romero, Carole Lombard, the Rat Pack, Humphrey Bogart and Marlene Dietrich were all regular visitors.

Santa Monica

Amazon Marlene even got the Polo Lounge to change its policy on women having to wear a skirt.

I picture Marlene wearing a trouser suit and dominating the room in her husky cigarette drawl.

A day in the life

I’m taken here by CNN’s description of life in the hotel…

Back in the days when celebrity was worn with the elegance and grace of diamonds and mink the Beverly Hills was where the stars played. Humphrey Bogart and the Rat Pack tippled at the bar, Katharine Hepburn did a back flip into the tennis pool in her tennis clothes and Elizabeth Taylor honeymooned in the bungalows out back – six times.

I belong here!

The biggest star of them all

And perhaps the greatest star of them all, Marilyn Monroe, left her mark, staying at the hotel during the shooting of Let’s Make Love.

Marilyn’s back yard

Her favourite bungalow being No.7.

You’ll be surprised though where and who Marilyn is spending eternity with!

Listen here to The Eagles’ definitive version of Hotel California.

And get out your guitar and practise the riff.

And live like a star

Your Ultimate Staycation Offer at the Beverly Hills Hotel will give you a Superior King Room from €575, or the Stanhope Suite from €860.

When they’re back and open.

I might have to bring my own tennis clothes though!

America, Canada, Countries, Ireland, UK

Happy Fourth of July

Who’d have thought it? The Fourth of July today is as big a cause for celebration (if not more) here in the UK than it is in America.

I did, of course, tell you months ago that today would be the exact day that we would be coming out of lockdown in the UK (except for Scotland, doh!).

And not just in the last couple of weeks but as long ago as April 21 Wuhoo Wuhan.

Still, when all is said and done I would still prefer to be in the Oo Es of Eh today than anywhere else.

As big an Americanophile as I am I have never managed to time it so that I am there on the Fourth of July, nor for Thanksgiving either but I aim to put that right as soon as I can.

My Travel professional friends are projecting 2021 as the year when travel to America will have begun… and see what I’m doing there giving them the slogan…. We’ve Begun in ’21.

So have a nice day and my gift to you is these American dreams courtesy of our pals, the Travel providers:

American Holidays http://www.americanholidays.com has instilled some much needed confidence with their ‘Book with Confidence’ and ‘Travel with Confidence’ initiatives.

And they have backed that up with an expanded portfolio of itineraries to the West Coast, Deep South, Canada, Road Trips and Mexico.

Something for everyone

Now some say the West is Best http://www.visitcalifornia.com and https://disneyland.disney.go.com My Weekend With Marilyn and Stair Wars.

While others that it’s the Beautiful South https://www.deep-south-usa.com and The Promised Land, The Story of the Blues and The King of Kings – Jim Murty’s TravelTravelTravel.

And you can make a great Road Trip out of either and any number of zig-zags across the continent.

Canada has been in full flow all week as they celebrated July 1 with a virtual Canada Day and Irish landmarks went red in unison. And don’t think they’ve stopped because it’s now the American national holiday.

Deal me in!

American Holidays also bring you Mexico with a bit of Miami Fort Lauderdale and Miami – a tale of two sittings and https://www.miamiandbeaches.com thrown in which is always the best way.

Here’s something to get your teeth into for ’21:

Miami and Mexico, February 2021: Spend three nights in hip Miami, taking in Little Havana, South Beach and Miami Beach before kicking back and enjoying seven nights all-inclusive in Mexico. From €1849pp.

Attraction Tickets (http://www.attractiontickets.com): These are the guys to go with for Disney, either in Anaheim or in Orlando https://www.disneyworld.co.uk and http://www.visitorlando.com. Also see Aaawlando… Orlando, the rollercoaster capital and Why I love The Donald.

And they have a Disney and Universal Combo Ticket for £757 for adults and £727 for a child. And you’ll have a wizarding time too or you can Eat My Shorts… See off Voldemort, then for a beer at Moe’s and https://www.universalorlando.com/web/en/us.

For glitz-seekers America is all about New York www.nycvb.com and Las Vegas www.lvcva.com and Tour America know it. As well as all the other great offers they have they can give you.

Hit The Strip in Vegas, from Sunday, January 31-February 4 is from €435pp, based on two adults for four nights sharing one room at the Excalibur Hotel and Casino.

While they’re confident that they can get you over to New York before the year is out.

The Carvi Hotel is from €546pp, based on four adults for four nights, Tuesday, December 1-4.

See http://www.touramerica.ie and Strip… the light fantastic and Old New York: Hamilton.

Where is your favourite place in America? Let us know and we’ll share.