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The Most Difficult Delta SkyMiles Redemption I’ve Ever Done: AirEuropa

AirEuropa is a SkyTeam partner and has been for over a decade. The Madrid-based airline is among the smaller members of the alliance but offers reliable service between Spain and the U.S. and often an abundance of lie-flat business class seats available for miles bookings.

Unfortunately, hardly anyone at Delta Air Lines seems to know how to help SkyMiles members book flights on this partner. Many don’t even know what AirEuropa is.

Booking difficult Delta SkyMiles award flights AirEuropa

AirEuropa is now offering flat-bed seating on all U.S. routes, served by the 787 Dreamliner and Airbus A330.

I was in dire need of a return flight at the end of a very busy labor day weekend. This is one of the most difficult times of the year to travel, period, much less travel using primarily points and miles. To great relief, an AirEuropa business class seat opened between Madrid and New York Kennedy late last week. I immediately picked up the phone to nab the seat.

I found availability through an ExpertFlyer alert, then quickly confirmed through partner Air France’s website. You see, Delta used to allow SkyMiles members to book Air Europa nonstop flights on That functionality mysteriously vanished when the airline overhauled its website in June; AirEuropa flights no longer appear in any searches, ever, including this one.

Still, this was a nonstop flight, between two major SkyTeam hub airports, with confirmed availability showing in ExpertFlyer inventories and on all of the airline’s relevant partner websites. Should be a cinch, right? A 15-minute phone call, at most.

Little did I know it would take six separate phone calls to Delta’s Gold Medallion desk to find an agent who could put me in this seat.

Booking AirEuropa Delta SkyMiles

An AirEuropa Boeing 787. AirEuropa is the third-largest airline in Spain, serves 44 destinations, and doesn’t exist at the Delta Medallion call center.

Previously: Shame, Shame – Delta Kills Partner Awards With Devaluations

I was quoted 300,000-plus mile prices on Air France and KLM itineraries with stops in three European cities and Atlanta. By the end of an exhausting day, I was out of mobile minutes, practically begging for anyone who could even name the airline.

I’ll jump straight to some of the highlights.

ME: “I’d like to book a SkyMiles award on AirEuropa.”

AGENT 1: “Sir, a

Experiencing “Toy Story Land” at Disney’s Hollywood Studios Rope Drop

I’ve never been the only person in a theme park before. But that was the surprising predicament my family found ourselves in as we drove into Disney’s Hollywood Studios the morning of Wednesday, August 15. The sky was still dark, our eyes were still tired, and Disney property was just beginning to wake up. We had one goal: Toy Story Land rope drop.

Back in June, I wrote about expectations for this new expansion for the park, and I was excited to experience it in person. Nonetheless, crowd levels surrounding new theme park attractions are notoriously atrocious. Avatar Flight of Passage, which opened in 2017 at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, commands regular queues of 180 minutes, while Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at Magic Kingdom rarely has a wait less than two hours, despite having been open now for four years. To have any chance of escaping an hours-long wait time for these newer rides, one must either achieve a miracle by obtaining a FastPass, or show up to the park as early as possible and hit the headliner before the masses arrive. When FastPasses for Slinky Dog Dash were snatched quicker than I could grab them, the latter option seemed to be my only hope to ride it without waiting forever.

The high expectation for heavy crowds and the precedence set by the previous attractions listed above made it rather shocking, then, to arrive at DHS at 5:55 a.m. (just over an hour before park opening) and be the first car in the parking lot. I knew it wouldn’t be slammed with people, but I certainly anticipated at least a small gathering of Guests waiting to enter. This was the first of several indicators throughout the day that, while definitely popular, Toy Story Land simply did not attract the gargantuan swell of humanity that other recent new attractions did (at least not in its first few weeks of operation, having opened June 30).

This was an Extra Magic Hours morning on a day when the park opened to everyone at 8 AM, meaning EMH began at 7 AM. For the sheer earliness of this timetable, I imagine the crowd level I experienced might have been a bit lighter than, say, if EMH began at 8 a.m. or if there was no EMH at all. The exclusivity of only being open to resort Guests AND being earlier than most EMH mornings helped keep things manageable. (Ordinarily, I avoid EMH like the plague, but in this case, DHS operated on EMH daily all summer, so since I was staying on Disney property, I might as well take advantage of it, and it proved to be a wonderful amenity.)

All Guests verified their resort stay, and then were held at the tapstiles. Eventually, every available tapstile became occupied with waiting Guests, but still, at this point, there were no more than a handful of Guests at each one. I would not call the crowd substantial, and if anything I would say it was actually somewhat pleasant. The air was still cool, the new background music loop at the park entrance is wonderful, and stress was nonexistent.

At [6:30], we were allowed to scan our park tickets and enter the park. Everyone was then halted at the intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Sunset Boulevard. There were starting to be more people now, but still not as many as I anticipated and definitely not sardined. There were maybe 150 people gathered (a.k.a. NOT BAD AT ALL). The crowd reached about halfway to Crossroads behind us and was, again, pleasant. I just love that feeling an empty park waiting for a day full of memories to inhabit its space. It’s a special atmosphere, and staying in that moment for a few minutes was actually pretty cool.

At [6:45] (15 minutes before the official park opening), Cast Members escorted us to Toy Story Land. (The rest of the park was open, but, I mean, they knew why we were all there.) And I do mean escort. A wall of Cast Members stretching the entire width of the street calmly walked the crowd to Toy Story Land. While some Guests still tried to walk as quickly as they can and get toward the front, this process was leaps and bounds more orderly than, for example, the opening summer of Frozen Ever After at Epcot in 2016, which was nothing short of chaos.

As we got closer to the land, a Cast Member announced which side of the path to start transitioning to based on our destination. This was semi-hectic for about 30 seconds, but not extremely so. Before we knew it, we were stepping foot into Andy’s backyard, and in a fun magic moment, Woody, Buzz, and Jessie welcomed us right away at the land’s entrance, waving to the incoming crowd and ushering them into their world.

Things got a little squirrely in ultimately narrowing down the rush into a single-file line as we entered the formal queue area for Slinky, but it was an overall painless process. We entered the queue at [6:53] and boarded our vehicle at [6:57]… essentially a walk-on. After our ride (which was so much fun!), we should have gotten right back in line to ride again, as the wait had only surged to 30 minutes, much less than I would expect. This means that if you planned to arrive right at park opening (on a very early EMH morning, mind you), your wait would only be a half hour, which I think is very manageable if you don’t want to “camp out,” per se, like my family did.

However, we were so swept up in being in the new land for the first time that we just wanted to experience everything. According to time stamps on my photos, we were off of Slinky by [7:01] and into a ride vehicle on Alien Swirling Saucers at [7:06]. Pretty great! Next, we stopped to visit characters, which admittedly wasn’t the most strategic move, but, I mean, we’d be in the park all day and there was plenty of time to do everything. We met Woody and Jessie together, then met Buzz separately. It was [7:38] by the time we finished both of those Meet and Greets. We finished out our EMH with Toy Story Mania!, which we entered the line for at [7:45] and had fully completed by [8:06].

All in all, it was a stress-free, very enjoyable morning. We knocked out three big attractions, including the park’s current most popular ride, as well as two separate character greetings. The question, of course, is: Was it worth getting up early for? Or is it possible to just sleep in and stick out a longer wait later in the day? Kinda, sorta. For us, it was worth getting up early. Some people might wager that while, yes, we did avoid actually standing in Slinky‘s physical queue for a long time, we still “waited,” just outside the park. And that’s true. If you consider the time we began waiting outside the park gates at [5:55] until boarding the attraction at [6:58], then our wait time was an hour. But with a new attraction’s patterns being so unpredictable, I didn’t want to leave the experience to chance. And being in a park at dawn with so few people around is such a unique memory that it was hard to pass up.

It’s worth noting, though, that the “do-it-first-thing-or-you’re-screwed” principle doesn’t really apply here as it has for extremely popular new attractions in the past. Around 8 p.m., the wait for Slinky Dog Dash was 55 minutes (long, sure, but for such a new ride, pretty great) while Toy Story Mania! was only 20 minutes (a steal!). This may change over time, of course, but it’s nice to know that for whatever reason (whether operational efficiency or lower-than-anticipated crowds), accomplishing Toy Story Land is a more manageable feat than Pandora or Frozen for those who don’t have FastPasses.

Have you experienced Toy Story Land? What was your strategy?

(All images belong to author’s personal collection.)

To learn more about Blake and read his recent posts for the WDW Radio Blog, visit his author page by clicking the link on his name at the top of this post. 




KLM’s 100th anniversary B787-10 delivery delayed

Dutch airline KLM celebrates its 100th anniversary this year, and commemorations include a special livery for its first B787-10 series aircraft.

Celebrations will be held at Amsterdam Schiphol tomorrow (June 29) and the highlight was to be the arrival of the first of KLM’s nine B787-10 aircraft which it has on order. These celebrations will still go ahead.

The B787 is question is ready and waiting to depart Boeing’s plant at Charleston South Carolina for tomorrow’s celebrations at Schiphol.

However fans waiting to see the special livery will be disappointed.

At the last minute KLM has revealed the delivery flight has been postponed. This will doubtless put something of a damper on tomorrow’s celebrations which will still take place.

Today’s De Telegraaf reports that KLM’s CEO Pieter Elbers never flew to Charleston as planned yesterday.

The reason for the delay is a mystery with neither Boeing nor KLM providing a precise reason.

Boeing is reported as saying that the delay has nothing to do with the problems with its B737 Max model.

An exact delivery date for the B787-10 cannot be confirmed but it’s expected to be sometime next week.

All KLM will say officially is “The new aircraft was initially planned to land at Schiphol on Saturday morning June 29 but is now expected in the coming days. It often happens that the delivery process of an aircraft is slightly delayed due to the complexity and administrative issues.”

KLM already operates a number of B787s. It will become the first European airline to operate the larger B787-10 version.

The carrier is set to launch a new business class seat on the B787-10, designed by Japanese firm Jamco.

The celebration of KLM’s 100th anniversary will doubtless reopen the debate as to whether it or British Airways can claim to be the world’s oldest airline.


U.S. Hotel Construction Pipeline for April 2019 Up 10 Percent

STR's April 2019 pipeline report shows 203,890 hotel rooms under construction in the U.S., which is a 9.9% year-over-year increase.


U.S. Hotel Construction Pipeline for April 2019 Up 10 Percent


STR’s pipeline data for the U.S. showed 1,575 hotel projects accounting for 203,890 rooms in construction as of April 2019. This represented a 9.9% year-over-year increase in the number of rooms in the final phase of the development pipeline.

After a stretch in 2018 where year-over-year construction decreases were common, the industry has now reported seven consecutive months of growth beginning with October. The 9.9% rise in April was the highest for any month since August 2017.

“There has been ongoing acceleration in construction activity, and even though the national total is still more than 7,000 rooms below the previous construction peak in 2007, this is a situation worth watching,” said Jan Freitag, STR’s senior VP of lodging insights. “The level of supply growth focused in the limited-service segments and in the major markets is applying more pressure on occupancy levels and room rates. Those operating in those segments or markets are seeing even greater challenges in maintaining their profitability.”

A majority of the country’s construction activity continues to be focused in the upper midscale and upscale segments, while upper upscale projects represented the largest percentage increase in activity year over year.

1. Upper Midscale: 67,495 rooms (+4.5%)
2. Upscale: 61,347 rooms (+4.9%)
3. Upper Upscale: 24,543 rooms (+12.2%)

Five markets reported more than 6,000 rooms under construction. New York led with 13,976 rooms, which represented 11.3% of the market’s existing supply, followed by Las Vegas (8,247 rooms, 5.0% of existing supply).

1. New York: 13,976 rooms (11.3%)
2. Las Vegas: 8,435 rooms (5.1%)
3. Orlando: 7,310 rooms (5.7%)
4. Dallas: 6,438 rooms (7.1%)
5. Los Angeles/Long Beach: 6,113 rooms (5.8%)

STR provides clients from multiple market sectors with premium, global data benchmarking, analytics and marketplace insights. Founded in 1985, STR maintains a presence in 10 countries around the world with a corporate North American headquarters in Hendersonville, Tennessee, and an international headquarters in London, England. For more information, please visit

Logos, product and company names mentioned are the property of their respective owners.


Why These Islands in the Philippines Belong at the Top of Your Bucket List

Chamantad Tinyan Viewpoint

Located in the northernmost tip of the Philippines, the Batanes islands have managed to miraculously stay under the radar of many tourists for all these years. Slowly but surely, however, the word is starting to creep out. Travelers are returning with tales of verdant landscapes, azure waters crashing against magnificent cliffs, and a rich, warmly hospitable local culture. With such a wealth of natural splendor, these isles are unlikely to stay a secret for long. 

Contrary to popular belief that the Batanese are constantly battered by typhoons, the archipelago enjoys cool, mild weather and plenty of sunshine throughout the year. Only three of the 10 islands are inhabited by native Ivetan people. 

Tayid Lighthouse of Mahatao

Batanes is also rich in historic sites and many of the centuries-old stone houses built by the Ivatans are still inhabited today. In the island of Sabtang, the local village of Chavayan offers visiting tourists homestays in some of the stone houses. One cannot complete a trip to Batanes without trying their local delicacies. Ivatan cuisine is both varied and supremely delicious. 

Batanes is a perfect location to disengage from the city life and unwind. Commune with nature and enjoy the simple Ivatan life and the beauty that is uniquely Batanes.


There Are Seat-Back Cameras On American And United Air Flights Now

Now there is one more place where cameras could start watching you — from 30,000 feet.

Newer seat-back entertainment systems on some airplanes operated by American Airlines, United Airlines and Singapore Airlines have cameras, and it’s likely they are also on planes used by other carriers.

American, United and Singapore all said Friday that they have never activated the cameras and have no plans to use them.

However, companies that make the entertainment systems are installing cameras to offer future options such as seat-to-seat video conferencing, according to an American Airlines spokesman.

A passenger on a Singapore flight posted a photo of the seat-back display last week, and the tweet was shared several hundred times and drew media notice. Buzzfeed first reported that the cameras are also on some American planes.

A United spokeswoman repeatedly told a reporter Friday that none of its entertainment systems had cameras before apologizing and saying that some did. Delta did not respond to repeated questions about some of its entertainment systems, which appear to be identical to those on American and United.

The airlines stressed that they didn’t add the cameras — manufacturers embedded them in the entertainment systems. American’s systems are made by Panasonic, while Singapore uses Panasonic and Thales, according to airline representatives. Neither Panasonic nor Thales responded immediately for comment.

As they shrink, cameras are being built into more devices, including laptops and smartphones. The presence of cameras in aircraft entertainment systems was known in aviation circles at least two years ago, although not among the traveling public.

Seth Miller, a journalist who wrote about the issue in 2017, thinks that equipment makers didn’t consider the privacy implications. There were already cameras on planes — although not so intrusive — and the companies assumed that passengers would trade their images for convenience, as they do with facial-recognition technology at immigration checkpoints, he said.

“Now they’re facing blowback from a small but vocal group questioning the value of the system that isn’t even active,” Miller said.

American Airlines spokesman Ross Feinstein said cameras are in “premium economy” seats on 82 Boeing 777 and Airbus A330-200 jets. American has nearly 1,000 planes.

“Cameras are a standard feature on many in-flight entertainment systems used by multiple airlines,” he said.

Singapore spokesman James Boyd said cameras are on 84 Airbus A350s, Airbus A380s and Boeing 777s and 787s. The carrier has 117 planes.

While the airlines say they have no plans to use the cameras, a Twitter user named Vitaly Kamluk, who snapped the photo of the camera on his Singapore flight, suggested that just to be sure the carriers should slap stickers over the lenses.

“The cameras are probably not used now,” he tweeted. “But if they are wired, operational, bundled with mic, it’s a matter of one smart hack to use them on 84+ aircrafts and spy on passengers.”


Vail Resorts Closes Its Acquisition of Okemo Mountain Resort, Mount Sunapee Resort and Crested Butte

- The Epic Pass, Epic Local Pass and Military Epic Pass now include unlimited, unrestricted access to Okemo Mountain Resort, Mount Sunapee Resort and Crested Butte Mountain Resort for the 2018-19 season

- Passes for the 2018-19 season are currently on sale, with prices increasing Oct. 7

BROOMFIELD, Colo., Sept. 27, 2018 - Vail Resorts, Inc. (NYSE: MTN) today announced that the Company has closed on its acquisition of Triple Peaks, LLC, the parent company of Okemo Mountain Resort in Vermont, Mount Sunapee Resort in New Hampshire and Crested Butte Mountain Resort in Colorado. The Company purchased Triple Peaks from the Mueller family for a final purchase price of approximately $74 million, after adjustments for certain agreed-upon terms. As part of the transaction and with funds provided by Vail Resorts, Triple Peaks paid off $155 million in leases that all three resorts had with Ski Resort Holdings, LLC, an affiliate of Oz Real Estate.


Okemo Mountain Resort and Mount Sunapee Resort join Stowe Mountain Resort in Vail Resorts’ northeastern network of resorts, providing even more options for skiers and snowboarders in the region.  Okemo, approximately three hours from Boston and four hours from New York City, sits just above the Vermont village of Ludlow and has developed a reputation for superior guest service, incredible snow quality, grooming, terrain parks, and family programs. Mount Sunapee, located in the Mount Sunapee State Park, is the premier ski area in southern New Hampshire and is just a short 90-minute drive from Boston. The four-season, family-focused ski area has breathtaking views overlooking Lake Sunapee and consistently receives accolades for excellence in snowmaking and grooming.

With the addition of Crested Butte to Vail Resorts’ Colorado network, pass holders now have access to up to seven world-class resorts throughout the state, including Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Arapahoe Basin, and Telluride.. Crested Butte Mountain Resort is located in southwest Colorado’s Grand Mesa Uncompahgre and Gunnison (GMUG) National Forests and is known for the colorful and historic town of Crested Butte, renowned mountain peaks, and legendary skiing and riding terrain.

The 2018-19 Epic Pass, Epic Local Pass, and Military Epic Pass now include unlimited and unrestricted access to Okemo Mountain Resort, Mount Sunapee Resort and Crested Butte Mountain Resort; the Epic 7 Day and the Epic 4 Day now offer up to seven and four unrestricted days, respectively. All 2018-19 season passes are currently on sale, with prices increasing on Sunday, Oct. 7.

“We are thrilled to offer pass holders even more one-of-a-kind experiences in the northeast and in Colorado with the addition of Okemo, Mount Sunapee and Crested Butte to our network of world-class resorts,” said Kirsten Lynch, chief marketing officer of Vail Resorts. “Unlimited, unrestricted access to these resorts through the Epic Pass, Epic Local, and Military Epic Pass, as well as access on the Epic 4 Day and Epic 7 Day, will be a tremendous benefit to skiers and snowboarders.”

Today’s acquisition closure on Triple Peaks, LLC, is the second of two acquisitions announced in June 2018 to be finalized. In the first, separate transaction, which closed on Aug. 15, Vail Resorts announced the acquisition of Stevens Pass Resort in Washington from Ski Resort Holdings, LLC, an affiliate of Oz Real Estate. Less than 85 miles from Seattle and renowned for its plentiful snowfall, the resort sits on the crest of the Cascade Range within two national forests – the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest on the west side, and the Wenatchee National Forest on the east.

Following today’s closing, Vail Resorts plans to invest $35 million over the next two years across the four resorts to continue to elevate the guest experience. In addition, annual ongoing capital expenditures are expected to increase by $7 million to support the addition of these four resorts.

Visit  for details, FAQs and to purchase.

2018-19 season pass options for Okemo Mountain Resort, Mount Sunapee Resort and Crested Butte Mountain Resort skiers and snowboarders:

  • Epic Pass™: For $929, the Epic Pass offers unlimited, unrestricted access to 19 mountain resorts plus additional access to 46 more, including 20 new mountains for the 2018-19 season. Discover 65 of the world’s premier resorts throughout the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan, France, Switzerland, Italy, and Austria. The Epic Pass pays for itself in just over four days of skiing or snowboarding. Enjoy unlimited, unrestricted access to Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Crested Butte and Arapahoe Basin in Colorado; Park City in Utah; Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood at Lake Tahoe; Stowe and Okemo in Vermont; Mount Sunapee in New Hampshire; Stevens Pass in Washington; Afton Alps in Minnesota; Mt. Brighton in Michigan; Wilmot Mountain in Wisconsin; Whistler Blackcomb in Canada; and Perisher in Australia for the 2019 season. New for the 2018-19 season, Epic Pass holders will receive seven days of skiing or snowboarding with no blackout dates at both Telluride in Colorado and at Resorts of the Canadian Rockies (Fernie Alpine Resort, Kicking Horse Mountain Resort and Kimberley Alpine Resort in British Columbia, Nakiska in Alberta, and Mont-Sainte Anne and Stoneham in Quebec), in addition to five total consecutive days with no blackout dates at Hakuba Valley’s nine ski resorts in Japan. The Epic Pass also grants limited access to Les 3 Vallées, Paradiski and Tignes-Val D’Isere in France; 4 Vallées in Switzerland; Arlberg in Austria and Skirama Dolomiti in Italy. A child pass (ages five to 12) is $479.
  • Epic Local Pass™: For $689, guests receive access to 27 resorts, including unlimited, unrestricted access to Breckenridge, Keystone, Crested Butte, Okemo, Mount Sunapee, Stevens Pass, Arapahoe Basin, Wilmot, Afton Alps and Mt. Brighton with limited restrictions at Park City, Heavenly, Northstar, Kirkwood, and Stowe, plus a combined total of 10 days at Vail, Beaver Creek, and Whistler Blackcomb with holiday restrictions. The Epic Local Pass pays for itself in just over three days. New for the 2018-19 season, Epic Local Pass holders will receive access to 13 new mountains including Crested Butte, Okemo, Mount Sunapee, Stevens Pass plus five total consecutive days with no blackout dates at Hakuba Valley’s nine ski resorts in Japan. A child pass (ages five to 12) is $369.
  • Epic 7-Day Pass™: For $689, receive a total of seven unrestricted days valid at Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Telluride, Keystone, Crested Butte* and Arapahoe Basin in Colorado; Park City in Utah; Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood at Lake Tahoe; Stowe and Okemo* in Vermont; Mount Sunapee* in New Hampshire; Stevens Pass in Washington; Whistler Blackcomb, Fernie Alpine Resort, Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, Kimberley Alpine Resort, Nakiska, Mont-Sainte Anne and Stoneham in Canada; plus an additional 7 free days total at Afton Alps in Minnesota; Mt. Brighton in Michigan; Wilmot Mountain in Wisconsin. After the seven days, regardless of the resort at which they were redeemed, pass holders can get 20 percent off additional lift tickets at Telluride. A child pass (ages five to 12) is $369.
  • Epic 4-Day Pass™: For $479, a convenient option for a short ski trip as the pass pays for itself in just over two days and includes a total of four unrestricted days valid at Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Telluride, Keystone, Crested Butte* and Arapahoe Basin in Colorado; Park City in Utah; Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood at Lake Tahoe; Stowe and Okemo* in Vermont; Mount Sunapee* in New Hampshire; Stevens Pass in Washington; Whistler Blackcomb, Fernie Alpine Resort, Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, Kimberley Alpine Resort, Nakiska, Mont-Sainte Anne and Stoneham in Canada; plus an additional 4 free days total at Afton Alps in Minnesota; Mt. Brighton in Michigan; Wilmot Mountain in Wisconsin. After the four days, regardless of the resort at which they were redeemed, pass holders can get 20 percent off additional lift tickets at Telluride. A child pass (ages five to 12) is $259.
  • Military Epic Pass: In celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Epic Pass on March 18, 2018, Vail Resorts is honoring the epic service of the Company’s founders from the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division, and the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces, Canadian Armed Forces and Australian Defence Force with the introduction of a new $129 Military Epic Pass for active and retired military personnel and their dependents – more than an 85-percent off the regular Epic Pass price. Additionally, as the first of its kind in the mountain resort industry, all other U.S., Canadian and Australian veterans and their dependents are eligible for a $529 Military Epic Pass, which offers more than a 40-percent discount off the regular price ($289 for children under 18 years of age). Vail Resorts will donate $1 for every 2018-19 season pass sale to Wounded Warrior Project® to benefit wounded veterans and their families, which would exceed $750,000 based on last year’s sales. Visit for all details on military pass options.

Vail Resorts will continue to offer pre-existing 2018-19 season pass products for Okemo, Mount Sunapee, Crested Butte, and Stevens Pass through the duration of the fall sales season.

About Vail Resorts, Inc. (NYSE: MTN)
Vail Resorts, Inc., through its subsidiaries, is the leading global mountain resort operator. Vail Resorts’ subsidiaries operate 15 world-class mountain resorts and three urban ski areas, including Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Crested Butte in Colorado; Park City in Utah; Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood in the Lake Tahoe area of California and Nevada; Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia, Canada; Perisher in Australia; Stowe and Okemo in Vermont; Mt. Sunapee in New Hampshire; Stevens Pass in Washington; Wilmot Mountain in Wisconsin; Afton Alps in Minnesota and Mt. Brighton in Michigan. Vail Resorts owns and/or manages a collection of casually elegant hotels under the RockResorts brand, as well as the Grand Teton Lodge Company in Jackson Hole, Wyo. Vail Resorts Development Company is the real estate planning and development subsidiary of Vail Resorts, Inc. Vail Resorts is a publicly held company traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: MTN). The Vail Resorts company website is and consumer website is

About Oz Real Estate
Oz Real Estate, the real estate platform at Oz Management, was founded by Steven E. Orbuch in 2003 to make investments in real estate and real estate related assets across North America and Europe. The principals of Oz Real Estate have invested in over $9.0 billion of private real estate assets, including direct equity investments, preferred equity structures, mezzanine financing, and senior loans. Oz Real Estate’s portfolio has included over 20,000 hotel rooms, over 30,000 multifamily and residential units, and over 20 million square feet of retail and office properties.. In addition, Oz Real Estate has developed expertise in certain niche real estate asset classes including gaming, healthcare, senior housing, cellular towers, ski resorts, and land development. For more information on Oz Real Estate, please see

Forward Looking Statements
Statements in this press release, other than statements of historical information, are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the federal securities laws, including our expectations regarding capital investments across the four resorts over the next two years. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date hereof. All forward-looking statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected. Such risks and uncertainties include but are not limited to prolonged weakness in general economic conditions, including adverse effects on the overall travel and leisure related industries; unfavorable weather conditions or the impact of natural disasters; willingness of our guests to travel due to terrorism, the uncertainty of military conflicts or outbreaks of contagious diseases, the cost and availability of travel options and changing consumer preferences; the seasonality of our business combined with adverse events that occur during our peak operating periods; competition in our mountain and lodging businesses; high fixed cost structure of our business; our ability to fund resort capital expenditures; our reliance on government permits or approvals for our use of public land or to make operational and capital improvements; risks of delay associated with governmental and third party approvals of the transactions; risks related to a disruption in our water supply that would impact our snowmaking capabilities and operations; risks related to federal, state, local and foreign government laws, rules and regulations; risks related to our reliance on information technology, including our failure to maintain the integrity of our customer or employee data; our ability to hire and retain a sufficient seasonal workforce; risks related to our workforce, including increased labor costs; loss of key personnel; adverse consequences of current or future legal claims; a deterioration in the quality or reputation of our brands, including our ability to protect our intellectual property and the risk of accidents at our mountain resorts; our ability to successfully integrate acquired businesses or that acquired businesses may fail to perform in accordance with expectations, including Whistler Blackcomb and Stowe or future acquisitions; our ability to satisfy the requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, with respect to acquired businesses; risks associated with international operations; fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates, particularly the Canadian dollar and Australian dollar; changes in accounting estimates and judgments, tax law, accounting principles, policies or guidelines or adverse determinations by taxing authorities; a materially adverse change in our financial condition; and other risks detailed in the Company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including the “Risk Factors” section of the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended July 31, 2017, which was filed on September 28, 2017, and the “Risk Factors” section of the Company’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the fiscal quarter ended January 31, 2018, which was filed on March 8, 2018.

All forward-looking statements attributable to us or any persons acting on our behalf are expressly qualified in their entirety by these cautionary statements. All guidance and forward-looking statements in this press release are made as of the date hereof and we do not undertake any obligation to update any forecast or forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as may be required by law.


SOURCE Vail Resorts, Inc.

Vail Resorts Logo (PRNewsFoto/Vail Resorts, Inc.) (PRNewsfoto/Vail Resorts, Inc.)

CONTACT: Investor Relations: Bo Heitz, (303) 404-1800, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or Media Relations: Carol Fabrizio, (720) 524-5025, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Web Site:


A Visual Guide to the Creatures That Could Disappear From Each U.S. State

Hang in there, buddy!
Hang in there, buddy!
Courtesy NetCredit

Pity the Illinois cave amphipod, living a quiet life in one of a handful of cavities in two counties in southwestern Illinois. The little crustacean—roughly an inch long, and lightish gray—is endemic to the region, speckled across a landscape sometimes called the Illinois Sinkhole Plain.

The cave-dweller is also pretty anonymous. “If ever there were a creature that could be erased from creation without being missed it is Gammarus acherondytes, the Illinois cave amphipod,” the Chicago Tribune’s Peter Kendall reported in 1997.

Only a year later, the little crustacean landed on the federal roster of endangered species. More recently, its precarious position also earned it a spot in a new visual guide highlighting the less-known wildlife that could disappear from each U. S. state.

Facing the double-whammy of vulnerability and anonymity, the Illinois cave amphipod faced a climb that charismatic species—like the megafauna whose faces land on postage stamps, or in magazines and PSAs—or ones with obvious ecological or economic benefits don’t. But unfamiliar species matter, too, to conservationists who believe in casting a wide net of protections, and to people who view any struggling organism as a kind of canary, signaling problems that could ripple elsewhere.

These illustrations—made by NetCredit, with information drawn from the U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service—shed light, and a bit of love, on those less-famous species. Meet a few struggling creatures who don’t get much time in the spotlight:

The butterfly seems to prefer cool, wet habitats on slopes that face northeast.
The butterfly seems to prefer cool, wet habitats on slopes that face northeast.
Courtesy NetCredit

San Juan Mountains: Uncompahgre Fritillary Butterfly

If you’re out to spot this ochre-hued butterfly, named for the Colorado mountain where it was first reported, you better be looking at one of 11 clusters of snow willow growing above 12,000 feet.

According to the Fish & Wildlife Service, the fish's colors can include "dusty black olive" and "dark greenish blue."
According to the Fish & Wildlife Service, the fish’s colors can include “dusty black olive” and “dark greenish blue.”
Courtesy NetCredit

Etowah River Basin: Etowah Darter

This fish, designated as endangered in 1994, has been found upstream and downstream on this Georgia river, and in tributaries and nearby creeks.

The beetles look metallic, and live in mud.
The beetles look metallic, and live in mud.
Courtesy NetCredit

Salt Creek: Salt Creek Tiger Beetle

This small, burrowing beetle has spindly legs, but a lot of hustle: According to the FWS, it seizes “smaller or similar-sized arthropods in a ‘tiger-like’ manner by grasping prey with its mandibles.” It stalks eastern Nebraska—specifically the northern third of Lancaster County, the FWS reports. There, it lives in the saline wetlands, streams, and tributaries of the Salt Creek.


Toronto to San Jose, Costa Rica - $345 CAD roundtrip including taxes | non-stop flights

Costa Rica

WestJet has dropped the price of a few September flights from Toronto to San Jose, Costa Rica down to $345 CAD roundtrip including taxes.

The flights are non-stop both ways.

Availability for travel

September 2018 (rainy season)

How to find and book this deal

1. Go to Flighthub

2. Search for a flight from Toronto (YYZ) to San Jose, Costa Rica (SJO)

Try one of the following date combinations:

Sep 15 to Sep 22, 29
Sep 22 to Sep 29

screenshot from Flighthub

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For live discussion of this deal, or to get some amazing travel advice (about anywhere) from your 92,300 fellow passengers in Toronto, join us in the
YYZ Deals Facebook Group.
^^ click the 'Join Group' button when you arrive.

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Head to the YYZ Deals Alerts Page where you can choose to be notified by e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, or RSS Feed the moment an amazing travel deal from Toronto is found.

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And don't worry, alerts are only sent when it's truly an amazing deal.


Best Glamping & Camping Tips and Tricks: How To Make the Most out of your Holiday

nlNederlands (Dutch)

As a kid, me and my family went camping all over Europe. And I still love it, although usually we now book a hotel or Airbnb when we travel. Which is a shame, because camping for me is such a great way to enjoy the outdoors and really slow down a bit. I strongly believe that camping is healthy for you, because you’re breathing in fresh air, don’t sit behind a desk all day and have a chance to get back in touch with nature.

Today, I’d like to share some of my best camping tips with you, and also show the non-camping lovers some glamorous ways to still go out into nature without having to crawl into a tent and fiddle around with an air mattress and sleeping bag. I promise you will change your mind about camping afterwards!

What we'll cover in this article


Best Glamping & Camping Tips and Tricks: How To Make the Most out of your Holiday || The Travel Tester || #Camping #Glamping #Survival #Outdoors #Travel #Nature

Why You Should Go Camping

If you’ve never camped before, you’re probably wondering why you should even consider it. Is camping fun? What do I need to camp? Let me share some of my own experience first, before I give you my best camping tips for beginners.

1. Camping, first of all, is far cheaper than any other way of celebrating your holiday. If you don’t need a powered site, you pay even less. Making your own dinner on top of that, can really half the budget that you would normally spend in the same time! Most camping equipment can be bought for a good prices as well these days and if you go to a proper outdoor shop, you’ll get solid advice and quality products that will last you for years.

2. By camping you can be smack in the middle of nature. In Australia, for example, we drove right up to the beach with our car. And the next day, we parked in a quiet spot right in the forest. Perfect! This is not always something that hotels or other types of accommodation can offer.

3. I wrote an article before on the importance of silent places, which might be one of the reasons why I love camping so much as well. It is really quite healthy for you! For example, while I’m usually cold all the time at home, whenever I camp I seem to adjust to the weather very quickly and have no problem with cold at all. My whole body seems to react positively when I’m out and about and not closed in by brick walls and LED screens.

If you’re wondering how to camp and don’t know where to start, keep reading for my top 5 camping tips.

Best Glamping & Camping Tips and Tricks: How To Make the Most out of your Holiday || The Travel Tester || #Camping #Glamping #Survival #Outdoors #Travel #Nature

Driving right up to the beach to camp in Western Australia (read the blog)

The Travel Tester - Practical Information

Top 5 Camping Tips

If you don’t really know if camping is something for you, here are some of my best camping tips that will hopefully help you make the decision a bit easier for you:

1. Think about your own needs first –  What is the reason you want to go camping? Do you want to make a road trip and stop wherever you feel like? Are you bringing the entire family and do you need specific facilities like entertainment and pools? Are you going camping on a hike to push your limits? Do you want to pitch a tent and stay somewhere for a few days, or set it up every day in a new spot? There really isn’t one ‘right way to camp’, so look at what your own preferences are and build the camping holiday that fits with your own travel style.

2. Pitch your tent wisely – Usually, you’ll get an assigned spot on a camp site, but it’s still wise to consider for a bit what way you’re facing your tent on that pitch. Think about where the wind comes from (you want that in the back of the tent, look around what other tents are facing), which part of the pitch is most level and soft, look up to see if there is nothing that could probably fall on your tent (from trees, etc.), if you want to make a fire (if that is allowed) you want to move the tent at least 10 meter away from that, etc.

3. Practice pitching your tent – There is no shame in practicing pitching your tent in advance of your camping trip, actually that is really quite smart. Not only will you look like a pro on the camp site (there are always people bringing out chairs and drinks to watch you, haha), you can check if there is anything missing right away as well. You don’t want to arrive and realize you have no tent pegs or poles with you!

Best Glamping & Camping Tips and Tricks: How To Make the Most out of your Holiday || The Travel Tester || #Camping #Glamping #Survival #Outdoors #Travel #Nature

4. Bring the right camping gear – Coming from a camping family, I grew up knowing the importance of bringing the right gear with you, but also to get creative and make your own camping hacks when there is some problem to fix. I will never leave without superglue, a sewing kit and duct-tape, for example :) Thinking about the 3 key elements of a successful camping trip when shopping: Sleeping, Cooking and Storage.

5. Visit a knowledgeable outdoor shop – Especially if you are camping for the first time and you’re not quite sure what to bring or do, having the advice from and expert can save you money and a lot of frustration. Whenever I buy expensive things, like tents, sleeping bags, backpacks and shoes, I go to an outdoor shop to ask for advice and to make sure I don’t end up with cheap products that will break halfway through my trip.

Airstream Glamping Experience in North Wales: Discovering a Whole New Side to Camping! || The Travel Tester

Glamping in a Vintage Airstream in Wales last year (read the blog)

From Camping… to Glamping!

Still not convinced camping is for you? No worries! In the last years, luxury camping, or often called “glamping” is the new trend! No matter if you’re travelling alone, as a couple or with family and/or friends, glamping provides you with an unusual accommodation with comfort, while you’re still able to enjoy a real outdoor vacation!

We’ve partnered up with the people over at Yelloh! Village, because they provide travellers with incredible camp-villages that are both in nature and comfortable to stay at. They offer 4 and 5 star campsites in their extensive network and are THE luxury outdoor hotels reference in France, Spain and Portugal.

Make sure to check out their website: (their site is also available in French, Spanish, German, Italian and Dutch, scroll all the way to the bottom of the site to switch to your local website).

Some of their glamping options include:

Best Glamping & Camping Tips and Tricks: How To Make the Most out of your Holiday || The Travel Tester || #Camping #Glamping #Survival #Outdoors #Travel #Nature

Travelling to France, Spain and Portugal and looking for glamping options? Here is a fun selection from Yelloh! Village: 

Best Glamping & Camping Tips and Tricks: How To Make the Most out of your Holiday || The Travel Tester || #Camping #Glamping #Survival #Outdoors #Travel #Nature

The Yelloh! Village glamping accommodation range from air-conditioned cottages to furnished and perfectly decorated tents, tree cabins, mobile homes for couples or all the family. Each campsite is unique, due to their settings as well as to their aquatic areas and the activities available.

With their glamping camp sites, you can combine the benefits of an authentic stay in the heart of the countryside, without the disadvantages, and with the comfort and luxury of a quality hotel. Sounds great, right? Have you been glamping before? Let me know!

The Travel Tester - Packing Tips

Essential Camping Equipment

If you’ve decided that camping is something for you, the next step is to think about what to bring camping with you. And you have to be selective in how many camping supplies you’re going to bring, especially if you’re just travelling with a backpack and have to carry everything yourself.

When you have a car, it’s tempting to just throw everything and the kitchen sink into it as well, but think about the space you need to sitting in your car and tent comfortably as well.

Here are some items that I recommend bringing at all times:

This is one of the most important buys for your camping trip, so you want to think it over well. Start by thinking exactly for what type of camping holiday you want to use it, what to weather conditions in your destination are and how many people you need to fit in it.

Consider the shape, material, poles and pegs you will need: tunnel tents are usually easier to pitch, geodesic tents are better for heavy wind conditions, soggy ground requires and extra groundsheet. Cotton tents are sturdy but heavy, polyester is light, but can become quite hot due to condensation, simple skewer pegs are weak but cheap, metal stakes are gripping better, but heavy and need a hammer, and so on and so forth.

Getting advice from an expert at your local outdoor shop is the best way to start!

Best Glamping & Camping Tips and Tricks: How To Make the Most out of your Holiday || The Travel Tester || #Camping #Glamping #Survival #Outdoors #Travel #Nature

Road Tripping and Camping with Family in East Australia (read the blog)

Just like having a good tent, you really don’t want to cut yourself short on buying a quality sleeping bag. Being cold at night in a tent is the worst! There is a wide range of sleeping bags available these days, suited for every body type and climate. Check ratings, insulation material, lining fabric and the shape of the sleeping bag.

The ratings of a sleeping bag will tell you how the bag should perform in certain weather conditions, so that is a good start to look at. Of course, how colder the weather, the thicker and heavier the sleeping bag will get.

As you probably know, there are sleeping bags in various shapes, from envelope to mummy-style. This affects the bags ability to trap heat. I’m always a fan of the mummy bags, as you can put your pillow into it and really close it off around your head and be warmer, but not everyone will like this. Again, get advice on what is the best for your situation.

I never, ever, travel without flip flops. Even if the destination isn’t even hot. I use them mostly when taking a shower in the public bathhouses. With some many happy campers walking around there, I don’t want to risk any germs or molds sticking to my feet, so I flip flop happily around the camp site. And it’s always easier to put these on after a damp shower than socks, anyways.

This was our life-saver during Nick and my camping road trip through Australia. We filled it up with ice every time we had the chance, keeping our meat and dairy nice and fresh. It doesn’t have to be massive, but if you are travelling with a car, I would definitely bring at least one of about 25+ liter.

If you’re just backpacking, I suggest to see if you can buy a smaller, portable cooler bag. They come in many different sizes! I always had a small cooler bag the size of a lunchbox with me when I was solo backpacking around the world, just enough for on a long bus journey.

Best Glamping & Camping Tips and Tricks: How To Make the Most out of your Holiday || The Travel Tester || #Camping #Glamping #Survival #Outdoors #Travel #Nature
Cooler Box (or ‘eskie’ as they say in Australia) in the back of our car

Download Your FREE Camping Checklist

No more asking yourself: ‘What do I need for camping?’. Here is the easy answer.

Download my Camping Checklist and make sure not to forget the most important things on your next camping trip.


Best Glamping & Camping Tips and Tricks: How To Make the Most out of your Holiday || The Travel Tester || #Camping #Glamping #Survival #Outdoors #Travel #Nature


Are you a fan of camping – or does it make you shiver just thinking about it alone? Let me know either way :) And if you’ve used the checklist, I’d love to hear it as well!

Best Glamping & Camping Tips and Tricks: How To Make the Most out of your Holiday || The Travel Tester || #Camping #Glamping #Survival #Outdoors #Travel #Nature

The Travel Tester - Further Reading

More Camping Tips & Survival Skills

Can’t get enough of camping? Here are some in-depth guides on brushing up your survival skills and tips on how to get the most out of your next camping trip:

Camping Cooking Tips

Not a chef in real-life and wondering how you’re going to feed yourself and your family while camping with limited resources? Here are some great resources for you:

Campfire Songs

Here are some great songs you can listen, or even better: sing along to, during your next camping trip:

Best Glamping & Camping Tips and Tricks: How To Make the Most out of your Holiday || The Travel Tester || #Camping #Glamping #Survival #Outdoors #Travel #Nature
Sleeping in the back of our car… not ideal, but it worked! 

Camping Pinterest Boards

Here are some great camping-related Pinterest boards & accounts that I found:

The Travel Tester - Further Reading

The Travel Tester - Save on Pinterest

Best Glamping & Camping Tips and Tricks: How To Make the Most out of your Holiday || The Travel Tester || #Camping #Glamping #Survival #Outdoors #Travel #Nature

Disclaimer: This post was created in collaboration with Yelloh! Village. All words and opinions are 100% our own, as always!

nlNederlands (Dutch)


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