The Onion is a U.S.-based satirical digital media company and newspaper organization that publishes articles on international, national, and local news. Some people love it, some hate it. Either way is fine to them, I’m sure, as long as you keep clicking on their site ;-).
A while back, we discovered that The Onion has posted several articles about Disney parks and, like most satirical pieces, the articles were outlandish but very often based, in varying levels under the surface, in truth.
The Onion has also done a bunch of pieces on travel in general, many of which may or may not give you a chuckle:
In February 2015, Four Seasons started their World Tour Packages that featured travel on their own luxury private jet. This was no normal Boeing 757-200; this plane was specially designed for Four Seasons and included 52 lie-flat seats and meals prepared onboard by an executive chef.
This plane would whisk travelers on around-the-world itineraries, visiting iconic landmarks and staying at world-class Four Seasons hotels along the way. The initial response from bloggers like Ben from One Mile at a Time was skepticism about who this plane and these trips were for:
And to some degree I have to wonder how much of a market there is for this. Millionaires probably couldn’t reasonably afford this, while billionaires would presumably want a more tailored experience than a month-long journey with 50 other people and no flexibility — they can just get their own jet. Maybe they’re going after “poor” hundred millionaires?
But personally I’d be surprised if this business model works long term or is expanded. I’m guessing some high end travelers are trying it once out of curiosity, but long term do you really want to drop that kind of cash on such a “rigid” trip, when you could ultimately fly better airline products and have a more customized experience for less?
Well, here we are in 2019 and Four Seasons has announced they’re getting a new plane, an Airbus A321-LR, which will go into service for the trips in 2021. So I guess they’re doing OK. But how?
I was lucky enough to get to talk to someone who’s been on a Four Seasons trip. They were nice enough to share with me the pictures from their trip and even let me read the personal journal they wrote while away (yes, people still write in notebooks, and this leather-bound book was specially provided to guests by Four Seasons for just that reason).
Walt Disney World opened in 1971 with three places people could stay. There were the Polynesian Village Resort and the Disney’s Contemporary Resort that were both there on opening day and were standard hotels on the monorail line.
Fort Wilderness Campground opened about a month and change later, and it was available for those who preferred to sleep in campers, tents or in the wilderness homes that people could rent.
ABOVE: Rare photos of Wilderness Homes at Fort Wilderness. They began to be replaced with “log cabins” (they’re still just single wide trailers) in the late 1990s.
Back in the very early days of the resort, you could only navigate Fort Wilderness’ 700 acres by walking, or guests staying at the campground could rent a golf cart. But just a couple of years later, people could also take a steam powered train, the Fort Wilderness Railroad, on a 3-1/2 mile ride through the fields and wilderness, and over trestles, to get them from the main entrance to Pioneer Hall, the now-defunct River Country (they simply abandoned that one. Click here to see what River Country looked like in its later years), and all of the camping loops in between.
“…The system featured four stream trains that circulated through the campground on a 3½-mile track. The trains’ cars were themed after “plantation locomotives,” a specific style of open-air cars that shuttled consumables, like sugar cane and pineapples, around Hawaiian islands.
“Each of the four trains – decorated in forest green, red, and gold colors – measured just under 115 feet and could seat 90 guests.”
The Fort Wilderness Railroad only ran regularly from 1973 to 1977, and on special occasions from 1977 to 1980. Its full history, including its start up, the multiple reasons why the project was abandoned, and how/why it was almost revived, and then not, is pretty fascinating. Take a look…
Remember the video game Oregon Trail? The series was released in the 1970s and was frequently updated such that it’s still around. But it was at its peak of popularity from the mid-1980s the mid-2000s. The original game was designed to teach kids about the realities of 19th century pioneer life, including traveling in a covered wagon for months on end. Unfortunately, you or your family member sometimes died of dysentery. Or typhoid fever. Or cholera. Or diphtheria. (BTW, totally off topic, but this Mental Floss “Where are they now?” take on all the things that could kill you on the Oregon Trail is kind of interesting. Well, as interesting as mostly-eradicated in the U.S. [*cough* except measles *cough*] illnesses can be).
Welp, taking a page from Oregon Trail (or maybe not), Yosemite Pines RV Resort and Family Lodging is now offering Conestoga covered wagons as hotel rooms. But they’re nothing like the ones the pioneers used on the Oregon Trail. These will let you “glamp” in the lap of luxury, complete with air conditioning, heat, a soft bed, a refrigerator and even a microwave!
Who says that summer camp is only for kids? There are bunches of summer camps, usually just a weekend long, that are especially made for people age 21+ and one of them in particular just sounds like a whole lot of fun!
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