Why Don’t You Need To Show Your Passport When Visiting Multiple European Countries?

When Sharon and I traveled to Austria, we flew from London and had a connection in Berlin before heading to Salzburg. I’ve been on international connecting flights before so I was expecting to “transit” in Germany, meaning I wouldn’t go through immigration control until we arrived in Austria. I was a bit surprised that the immigration booth was at the end of the jetway, before we could even enter the terminal. There was one line for EU and Schengen passengers and another line for everyone else. I had no idea what Schengen is but I knew it wasn’t me. I later found out that this is why we didn’t have to go through passport control when arriving in Austria, which was a bummer as we really wanted that passport stamp.

So what does Schengen mean anyway?

Continue reading “Why Don’t You Need To Show Your Passport When Visiting Multiple European Countries?”

Chasing Harry Potter: Following The Footsteps Of The Boy Who Lived

Sharon and I were both late to the Harry Potter phenomenon. It took a good friend of ours to get us hooked on the books (he had a trick of loaning the first book to people as something of a “gateway drug” to get them started). I can even remember the day I read the first book. In January 2006, I brought Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone with me on a plane ride to California (yes, people actually brought books with them back then). I finished it before the end of the trip and started the second book on the way home, Sharon started reading the books before me and we were both already four movies behind, but we took our work seriously and in no time we were caught up and have been fans ever since.

Continue reading “Chasing Harry Potter: Following The Footsteps Of The Boy Who Lived”

Adventures By Disney: Bringing Disney Magic Around The World

The Walt Disney Company has always been trying to expand the Disney brand experience outside of their theme parks. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Disney unsuccessfully tried to build different types of theme parks with the unrealized Disney’s America concept and the Port Disney project, which eventually morphed into Tokyo DisneySea. After these misstepsĀ and the eventual failure of the DisneyQuest concept, (which eventually lead to the closing of the final location at Walt Disney World), the company smartly changed course. Instead of trying to build Disney around the world, why not take people around the world “the Disney Way?”

The first step of this initiative was Disney’s launch into the cruise business in 1998, with Disney Cruise Line. The executives noticed the success of the cruise division and looked for a way to replicate the model, but somewhere they didn’t have to build multi-million dollar cruise ships. There are iconic places around the world that people want to visit, why can’t Disney take them there. IRL.

That’s how I imagine Adventures By Disney was born. Continue reading “Adventures By Disney: Bringing Disney Magic Around The World”

The Coolest Thing We Ever Did On A Layover

I was reading a post on Points With A Crew that asked the question:

Can you leave the airport during a layover?

I knew the answer was yes, because we did just that while on our way to London a few years back. We had a stop in Dublin and the original flight plan only had us there for 1 hour before boarding our flight to London. Knowing from past experiences that our hotel in London was not likely to have our room ready before check in time anyway, I figured we’d rather spend time in Dublin than sit in a hotel lobby in London.

So I scheduled our connecting flight so we had approximately 8 hours in Dublin. Looking at websites, it seemed that even if we were just connecting in Ireland, we’d still have to go through immigration. Since we’d have to do that anyway, why not stay in the country for a while? It was a bit interesting to tell the immigration officer we would be there for 8 hours, mainly for lunch (and yes, we really did).

Continue reading “The Coolest Thing We Ever Did On A Layover”