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Plan a trip to Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California

Golden Gate Park is a large urban park consisting of 1,017 acres of public grounds in San Francisco, California. The park is shaped as a rectangle similar to New York’s Central Park, but is nearly 20% larger. The park is over three miles long, running from east to west, and is more than half a mile wide. The Golden Gate Park is the fifth most-visited city park in the US with more than 13 million visitors every year.

Golden Gate Park was officially deeded to the people in 1870, as a place to escape the urban clutter and chaos. It was felt at the time that San Franciscans would one day feel overcrowded. This was quite insightful as 13 million visitors use the park every year.

Many of the parks iconic buildings were built for the 1894 Midwinter Fair, which was a large carnival and expo that was established to boost tourism to the San Francisco area. The city at the time wanted to prove that they had culture, so they built an art museum as well. Horse stables and landscaped greens were preserved in an effort to prove that outdoor activities could be pursued. Several themed areas were also created to show off the cities quirky atmosphere. Exhibits included an Eskimo habitat, Cairo Street, and a Japanese Village.

Millions of people flocked to San Francisco and the Midwinter Fair was a hit, succeeding in what it set out to do. Business boomed and locals gained some admiration for the park.

Today, the park has overseen many changes over the years; many of the original pieces have been preserved in the park. One of new attractions to the park include the newly designed California Academy of Sciences, which has brought a more modern feel to one of the city’s more established landmarks.

Many of the parks oldest traditions are still around, with people coming to watch the bison in the park, and those participating in some boating on Stow Lake. Golden Gate Park is also home to a disc golf course, which is a relatively new sport.

Main Attractions at Golden Gate Park

The Conservatory of Flowers – This Victorian styled greenhouse is inspired by the Palm House in London, England. The Conservatory was built over 7 years, from 1876 to 1883, and it currently houses many tropical flowers and plants.

Japanese Tea Garden – The Japanese Tea Garden is another remnant from the 1894 expo. The Tea Garden was constructed to honor and display the Japanese lifestyle. The garden features many native Japanese plants, a teahouse, ponds, bridges, and sculptures in an area of the park that covers more than 5 acres.

M.H. De Young Museum – The Museum was originally built for the 1894 Midwinter expo, but was so successful that the city decided to build a more permanent establishment. The museum houses a fairly diversified collection of paintings and other works.

Travel to the British Museum, London, England

Located in London, England, the British Museum is a large scale museum dedicated to human history and culture. It houses one of the largest and most comprehensive collections in the world. Numbering more than 8 million works, their permanent collections include pieces from all continents, documenting the story of human culture from its earliest beginning up until the present day.

Established in 1753, the British Museum was at the time largely based on the collections of scientist and scholar Sir Hans Sloane. Since the site opened in 1759 on the site of the current museum building, in Montagu House in Bloomsbury, the museum has overseen many renovations and expansions over 250 years. Many of the expansions were largely due to the expansion of British Colonial Movement, which resulted in the creation of several branch institutions, including the British Museum of Natural History, located in Kensington in 1881. Some of the particular objects have been subject to controversy, with many countries calling for restitution for their lost items.

The British Library moved to a new site in 1997, from its previous location in the Round Reading Room. Previously, the British Museum housed the national library and the national museum in the same building. Like all other national museums in the United Kingdom, there museums are sponsored by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport and it charges no admission fees, except for its loan exhibitions.

Currently, the British Museum houses the world’s largest collection of Egyptian Antiquities outside of Cairo’s Egyptian Museum. With over 100,000 pieces, this collection is immense in its range and quality, offering many great pieces from the various locations and periods of Ancient Egypt. These pieces cover all the cultures of the Nile Valley, from the Predynastic Neolithic period all the way to the Christian times, which is a time-span of more than 11,000 years.

The Egyptian collection by 1924 consisted of nearly 57,000 pieces. Through the Museums support of excavations in Egypt, they continued to bring in many useful acquisitions throughout the 20th century until Egypt started enforcing new antiquities laws that led to the suspension of exporting antiquities. Today, the collection of Egyptian antiquities now number more than 110,000 objects.

In 2001, the museum was able to add to its collection of 8 million objects in its permanent collection with 6 million additions from the Wendorf Collection of Egyptian and Sudanese Prehistory. Professor Fred Wendorf of Southern Methodist University in Texas donated his entire collection of remains and artifacts from his excavations between 1963 and 1997.

Key Elements of the Egyptian Collection include:

Colossal red granite statue of Amenhotep III (1350 BC)

Colossal head from a statue of Amenhotep III (1350 BC)

Colossal limestone bust of Amenhotep III (1350 BC)

The Rosetta Stone (196 BC)

Colossal bust of Ramesses II, the “Younger Memnon” (1250 BC)

Limestone false door of Ptahshepses (2380 BC)

Mummy of Cleopatra from Thebes (100 AD)

Amarna tablets (1350 BC)

The Meriotic Hamadab Stela from the Kingdom of Kush

Limestone statue of a husband and wife (1300 BC)

The Battlefield Palette, (circa ~3500 to 3000 BC)

List of the kings of Egypt from the Temple of Ramesses II (1250 BC)

Granite statue of Senwosret III (1850 BC)

Obelisk of Pharaoh Nectanebo II (360–343 BC)

Top Vacations in the US Part 1

Thinking of planning a vacation in the USA next year? Are you unsure of where to see and what to explore? This is understandable considering the vast size of the country. Luckily, travel experts devote their time and energy summarizing the best places to help make your decision easier.

Some of the global must-see places covered in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2014 include: Texas and Chicago; however there are more options available when one digs a little deeper. Keep the following on your travel radar. Regardless of whether you are into wineries and beer making, want to explore local and national history, simply want to veg on a beach or are an avid nature lover, there are an abundance of options available.

1. Grand Rapids & Lake Michigan’s Gold Coast

Those who love art, beer and the beach are all apt to agree on this location. Michigan’s 2nd largest city, Grand Rapids, proudly offers something for everyone. The National Beer Examiner Blog voted it the best beer city for 2012 and 2013. Since then, its beer tourism has reached an all-time high. There are more than 25 craft breweries in the area. During February, take in excellent events such as the Winter Beer Festival and Cool Brews Hot Eats. If you are there in August, be sure to check out the Summer Craft Beer Festival. All of these events keep the city festive on an annual basis.

The secret about Grand Rapids’ is the amazing art scene coming to light. Worthy to explore is the Frederik Meijer Gardens, offering their Rodin sculptures and impressive blooms. A fun day trip to check out is the Grand Rapids Art Museum which is refreshing to visit in its cool LEED Gold certified building. ArtPrize, the world’s largest art competition is also here with over 1700 creative masterpiece displays.

The Gold Coast of Lake Michigan is a mere 30 miles away. It may be considered the most unexpected beach getaway in the USA. Some argue that these shores rival Southern California’s and those of Hawaii. There are approximately 300 miles of seemingly endless beaches to explore. Check out the wineries, sugar-white dunes, U-pick orchards, antique stores, Hemingway haunts, berry farms and cider houses. If surfing is more your style, you can enjoy that as well. If you never thought the Midwest had much to offer in terms of vacation, think again! You can enjoy a Cape-Cod style beach vacation here instead!

One of the top pick alehouses to explore is rock-n-roll Founders Brewing Company. The lake’s Oval Beach takes first place for those searching for the smoothest sandy beach.

2. Yosemite National Park, CA

This world renowned national park suffered from a temporary closure due to a government shutdown in 2013. To many people’s relief, the thunderous waterfalls, majestic mountain peaks and sub-alpine meadows are welcoming visitors once again. The monolithic Half Dome and El Capitan provide excellent viewpoints. Consider climbing up to Yosemite Falls, the tallest in North America and visiting Inspiration Point. Here, the air grows thin as do the crowds. You can penetrate the gorgeous back country and plan a hike for months.

During the summer of 2014, the gateway communities and the park will celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Yosemite Grant. This was signed as a precursor to the modern National Park System by President Lincoln! This was the first time in USA history that the federal government set aside a portion of land solely for preservation by and for the people; making it a truly monumental milestone achievement.

3. Boston, MA

The 100th Annual USA Figure Skating Championships were hosted here in January 2014, right after another monumental Red Sox World Series win. These skating championships determine where the US Winter Olympics team will be. Visiting during the spring, you can be a spectator of the Boston Marathon and enjoy being among international sports enthusiasts. Even though the horrific bombings of 2013 were feared to potentially determine entrants from the 2014 race, this will be the 2nd largest Boston Marathon ever. Over 36,000 runners are taking to the course.

Summer arrives with the usual festivities that operate in full swing. All kinds of festivals take root from overflowing restaurant patios, abundant beer gardens and a thriving entertainment and arts scene. Bostonians and visitors alike are content with so many activities to keep them busy. The humidity gives way to a vibrant and impressive autumn display.

The past is very much alive here thanks to the Freedom Trail, where you can follow in the footsteps of America’s revolutionary founders. At the Bell in Hand Tavern, the oldest in the USA, visitors can enjoy some rich history. Omni Parker House is a favorite place to stay. This ancient hotel overlooks the Freedom Trail. Distinguished guests such as Ho Chi Minh, Malcolm X, JFK and Charles Dickens among others have visited here.

4. Central Coast, CA

The Central Coast often has a reputation of being dismissed as a flyover country between Los Angeles and San Francisco; however, it is a destination in its own right. This surreally scenic stretch of the Pacific Coast offers the best of California. Home to Hwy 1, one of the most iconic sea-travelling roadways in the USA, this laid back beach town features amazing wildlife such as sea lion colonies, cliff-top lookouts, and hidden coves. The Hearst Castle and numerous Spanish missions are fun to explore even during foggy weather. There are no crowds and great photo opportunities.

Take an inland trip to Paso Robles wine country, an up and coming spot for scenery rivaling Sonoma and Napa. Head back to the coast after taking in the raw beauty and coastal energy of the 100 mile stretch of the craggy Big Sur coastline. Take in the eco-conscious Monterey Bay Aquarium and its world renowned set up. They recently celebrate their 30th birthday in 2014. Be sure to purchase tickets in advance and arrive at opening time in order to beat the crowds. Bring your camera and experience an out of this world jellyfish exhibit.

Explore the numerous farmers markets that dot the coast line. For instance, San Luis Obispo’s transforms to a complete street festival every Thursday night, while Santa Barbara’s takes place on Saturday mornings and Tuesday afternoons.

Plan a trip to the Forbidden City, Beijing, China

The Forbidden City located in the center of Beijing, China is currently the home of the Palace Museum; however, it was once the Chinese Imperial Palace during the Ming and Qing Dynasties. The property served as the political center of the Chinese government, as well as the home of emperors for nearly 500 years. It served as the Imperial Palace for 24 emperors throughout its history. The Forbidden City is now one of the world’s most popular tourist attractions, and in 1987, was listed as a World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Emperor Chengzu of the Ming Dynasty oversaw the building of the palace in the center of the city called the Gu Gong. It was built over a span of 14 years.

The palace was dubbed the Purple Palace in honor of Polaris, the Purple Star. Ancient astronomers in China believed that Polaris was the center of heaven and that the Heavenly Emperor lived in a Purple Palace. Therefore, the Palace on earth was dubbed the Purple City, the home of the Heavenly Emperor. Entry into the Purple City was only given by special permission of the emperor. The city was named “the Purple Forbidden City.”

Today the Forbidden City is known as the Palace Museum. It is built on a 74 acre complex, making it the largest palace complex in the world. The palace is surrounded by a 52 meter wide moat, a 10 meter tall wall, and a wall gate on each side. The actual palace building contains more than 8,700 rooms. On each of the 4 corners of the curtain wall are some distinctive structured towers that provide great views over the palace and the city outside the palace.

The palace complex is divided into two parts. The northern section of the court includes the Inner Court, where the emperors lived with his royal family. The inner court was home to 14 Ming Dynasty emperors and 10 Qing Dynasty emperors, before finally housing its last emperor in 1924. The inner court served as primary residence for Chinese emperors for nearly 5 centuries. The southern section of the court includes the Outer Court, which was where the emperors exercised his power over the nation.

The actual construction of the palace complex began in 1407, during the fifth year of reign of Emperor Chenzu, Zhu Di of the Ming Dynasty. It was completed 14 years later in 1420. The capital city was moved from Nanjing to Beijing, just one year after completing the project. It is suggested that more than 1 million workers were used in the making of the palace complex. This number includes as many as 100 thousand artisans who were forced into labor for this project. Much of the wood, stone and other materials had to be transported from the other far off provinces.

Travel to Hong Kong Disneyland, Hong Kong

Hong Kong Disneyland is the first theme park located inside the Hong Kong Disneyland Resort, which is managed by the Hong Kong International Theme Parks. Hong Kong Disneyland is located on Lantau Island on reclaimed land in Penny’s Bay. Together with Ocean Park Hong Kong, it is one of the largest theme parks in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong Disneyland was opened to visitors on Sept. 12th 2005. Disney has attempted to avoid any negative cultural backlash by trying to include in this park and equal amount of Chinese culture, traditions and customs, when designing and building the resort. They tried to adhere to the rules and principals of Feng Shui; which included adding a bend in a walkway near the Hong Kong Disneyland Resort entrance so that they would not loose qi or Chi energy flowing into the South China Sea.

The theme park consists of 7 themed areas, including: Adventureland, Grizzly Gulch, Main Street, USA, Toy Story Land, Fantasyland, and Mystic Point. The cast members working at the theme park are able to speak Mandarin, Cantonese, and English. Guide maps have been provided in Chinese, Japanese, and English.

Toy Story Land

Toy Story Land is exclusive to Asia, bringing a wide variety of attractions for people of all ages. You can join the toys from your favorite Toy Story Movies; spend some playtime in Andy’s backyard where everyone can explore an oversized world with many larger than life attractions. The Three most promising adventures include the Slinky Dog Spin, the Toy Soldier Parachute Drop, and the RC Racer thrill ride.

Mystic Point

Mystic Point is the parks’ newest and most exclusive attraction, with many amazing mysteries to unlock during your visit. The park is hosted by, Lord Henry Mystic, an eccentric explorer. Visitors of this park are able to view his many acquisitions from around the world and ride his latest invention: the Mystic Magneto-Electric Carriage. You can’t always trust your senses at Mystic Point.

Grizzly Gulch

This original and entirely new theme park is exclusive to Hong Kong Disneyland. Journey through an amazing wilderness landscape aboard the Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars or join in the fun a Geyser Gulch. To complete your adventure, take in the Grizzly Gulch Welcome Wagon Show and Wild West Photo. Look out for tricky water hazards and mischievous grizzly bears.

Visit Central Park, New York

Central Park is a famous urban park located in the Manhattan section of New York City. In 1857, the park was initially opened with 315 hectares or 778 acres of city-owned land. It has grown to 843 acres today.

In 1858, landscape architect Calvert Vaux and writer Frederick Law Olmsted won a design competition to expand and improve the park. They entitled their vision the “Greensward Plan.” Construction commenced the same year and kept on even during the American Civil War. By 1873, the new features were completed. Within the USA, Central Park is the most visited urban park. These two talented individuals also designed Prospect Park in Brooklyn.

In 1962, the park was designated a National Historic Landmark. The park is currently under management by the Central Park Conservancy. They operate under contract with the city government. The Conservancy employs over 80% of the park’s maintenance staff, and is a non-profit organization. As well, they contribute approximately 83% of Central Park’s $37.5 million dollar annual budget.

For a variety of reasons, Central Park is one of the most famous spots to see when visiting New York. It is bordered on the south by Central Park South and bordered on the north by Central Park North. Fifth Avenue borders the east and Central Park West borders that side. Take note while navigating the city that most of the streets bordering the park change their names while adjacent to the park including: 110th Street, Eighth Avenue and 59th Street. Only Fifth Avenue along the eastern border of the park maintains its name.

Approximately 35 million visitors come to the park on an annual basis. Between 59th Street, or Central Park South and 110th Street or Central Park North, it is 4 km or 2.5 miles long. It is 0.8km or 0.5 miles wide between Central Park West and Fifth Avenue. Central Park is similar to Hyde Park in London and Englischer Garten in Munich, in terms of cultural position and size. It has served as an example for many other urban parks such as: Stanley Park in Vancouver, Golden Gate Park in San Francisco and Ueno Park in Tokyo.

The park is entirely landscaped, even though it looks like the land and the planting schematic is natural. There are numerous man-made lakes that have been meticulously crafted as well as many natural looking ponds. The park is home to 2 ice-skating rinks and one of them transforms into a swimming pool in July and August. There are bridle paths and extensive walking trails.

The Central Park Conservatory Garden, the Central Park Zoo, an outdoor amphitheater called the Delacorte Theatre that hosts summer festivals such as “Shakespeare In the Park and a wildlife sanctuary are just some of the sights to see. There is a large wooded area along with a 43 hectare or 106 acre billion-gallon reservoir. Some of the indoor attractions include the nature center at Belvedere Castle, the historic Carousel and the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre.

Seven meadows or major lawns are on the property. Some of them are utilized for team sports while others are considered to be minor grassy areas. Others are simply set aside as quiet green space. Numerous enclosed playgrounds are available for kids to enjoy.

Within the park there is 9.7 km or 6 miles of drives available to be used by skateboarders, joggers, inline skaters and cyclists. These areas particularly flourish in the evenings after 7 pm and on the weekends when automobile traffic is prohibited.

Plan a trip to Tokyo DisneySea, Japan

Tokyo DisneySea is a theme park located in Chiba, Japan. It was built on a 176 acre property at the Tokyo Disney Resort and is owned by the Oriental Land Company, which leases the themes and characters from the Walt Disney Company. Tokyo DisneySea is the second park built upon the Resort location in Urayasu, and is the 9th Disney based theme park to be built around the world.

Officially, the park was opened in September of 2001, at an estimated cost of more than $4 Billion dollars, making it the most expensive theme park ever built. The park was also the fastest park in history to reach 10 million visitors, having done so in 307 days, which was roughly one month faster than the previous benchmark held by Universal Studios Japan. Both companion parks Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea are the only Disney based theme parks not wholly owned and operated by the Walt Disney Company.

The Tokyo DisneySea theme park is a unique fantasy theme park inspired by the many myths and legends of the sea. The park contains 7 themed ports, including: the Mermaid Lagoon, Port Discovery, Mystery Island, Arabian Coast, Lost River Delta, American Waterfront, and Mediterranean Harbor.

Tokyo Disneyland has been designed to suit all age groups; however, the park really caters to a more grown up crowd. There are many fine dining establishments and wider selection of restaurants serving alcoholic beverages, which is unavailable at Tokyo Disneyland.

Mermaid Lagoon – Mermaid Lagoon is a theme park based on the world of Ariel and her friends in the Little Mermaid. This area of the park is more whimsical in nature and geared towards the smaller children.

Port Discovery – This section of the park is based off of the “marina of the future” concept where visitors can experiment on self-guided watercrafts and play upon a virtual rollercoaster called the StormRider.

Mystery Island – Located at the heart of the park and inside the volcano, Mystery Island themed section is based around the science fiction writings of Jules Verne. Visitors can come aboard one of Captain Nemo’s submarines or one can ride a science vehicle on a journey to the center of the earth.

Arabian Coast – In this themed section, guests can enjoy a fantastic recreation of the world of Aladdin and Arabian Nights. There is a Genie hosted magic show or patrons can travel with Sinbad on his journey of discovery.

Lost River Delta – This theme park was built upon a fictional set of ruins of an ancient pyramid in the jungles of Central America. The two most popular attractions in the park are the Indiana Jones Adventure ride and the Raging Spirits Roller Coaster. Also, the Lost River Delta port serves as a stop for the Transit Steamers, which are boats that travel between the many parts of the park.

American Waterfront – This theme park is styled after 20th century harbor towns that could have been seen in the Eastern USA, between Cape Cod and New York. This park features the Tower of Terror ride, an elevated train, a playhouse, the S.S. Columbia steam liner, and numerous American styled shops and restaurants.

Mediterranean Harbor – This Park also serves as the entrance to the park and is styled after a fictional Italian port town. There are canals and gondolas styled after the famous Venice waterways. Every day in the harbor is large shows featuring boats and water fountains. This park is home to Tokyo DisneySea Hotel MiraCosta.

Travel to Lotte World Adventure, Seoul, South Korea

Lotte World Adventure is a major recreational complex located in the heart of Seoul, Korea. The park opened in 1989 and consists of the world’s largest indoor theme park called Indoor Adventure, along with an outdoor theme park called Magic Island. Also located in the recreational complex are the Korean Folk Museum, department stores, shopping malls, a movie theatre, a luxury hotel, and a sports facility.

Magic Island

Magic Island is Lotte World’s outdoor theme park, located on an artificial island located in the middle of Seokchon Lake. The park has been designed in a medieval European style featuring a spectacular magic castle located in its center. On Magic Island, there are 17 different thrilling rides, including the Gyro Drop, a high-altitude free-fall thrill ride.

Lotte World is located in the heart of the city, making it a great spot for sightseeing and entertainment. There is a folk museum, the lake, many thrilling rides, an ice rink, and many different parades for patrons to enjoy. The park hosts roughly 6 million visitors every year with approximately 1 million being foreigners. The building inside makes use of the natural sunlight, and is open for visitors all year round.

Indoor Adventure

Indoor Adventure is the world’s largest indoor theme park and is home to many seasonal festivals and parades, including: the Rio Samba Carnival, the Masquerade Festival, the Christmas Festival, and the Halloween Party. The Indoor Adventure’s theme is “Little World Village” and features 22 different rides; which include the French Revolution, the Flume Ride, the Camelot Carousel, the World Monorail, and the Conquistador to name a few.

The Folk Museum is located on the 3rd floor of the Indoor Adventure Park. The museum features many exhibits featuring the history of Korea and its culture. A popular highlight for international visitors is the animation and scaled models that are used to illustrate the history of the country. Visitors can browse the stalls at the Jeojageori traditional market or take in historic performances at the Norimadang Performance Hall.

Lotte World Adventure has certain districts that represent many foreign countries and cultures with numerous facilities and souvenir shops. At Lotte World, visitors can enjoy watching films, watching parades, laser shows, and eat at a variety of international themed establishments.

Great Mexican Vacation Destinations

1. Mexico City

Mexico City is considered by many to be the most intriguing city with the world. This greatly misunderstood capital has a crime rate approximately a third of the size of Washington, DC and a population of more than 21 million people. For the bi-centennial celebrations, the city underwent an intensive scrub. Certain places such as the mariachi-filed Plaza Garibaldi are considered safe enough, similar to Times Square in New York. This particular plaza has earned a reputation of transforming into a “Disney Version” of its former self.

Numerous colonial buildings show fresh details that were formerly disguised by years of build-up and pollution. This ancient city has been built over a lake that has been filled in which contains pyramids, Aztec canals, hipster dining, the old studio of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera and exquisite dining offered by Polanco and Condesa.

2. Merida

Located 4 hours inland from Cancun, this city offers a glimpse of authentic Mexico. It is a colonial city that is the proud home of 750,000 locals. It is situated within distance of several days of excellent daytrips. It has become an interesting destination in its own right and is not simply an under rated add-on. Merida is most fun on the weekends, due to the historical core of the city closing to vehicles and unleashing much life with taco stands, open-air stages and excellent sights to see, hear, smell and taste. The 17th century cathedrals are made from Mayan bricks and offer gorgeous photo opportunities.

An easy day trip is the Ruta Puuc; simple to access with a DIY bus loop of Uxmal along with 4 other interesting Mayan cities. Another fun option is touring the flamingo-filled mangroves in Celestun, a fun little fishing village to explore.

3. Todos Santos

Todos Santos is an excellent option for your next vacation to the Baja. There are always people who express things are not what they used to be, especially since there are as many Americans as Mexicanos there due to its rise in popularity; however, it still beats the condos of Cabo San Lucas. Baja Sur provides a laid back peaceful and restful vibe. This city is situated only a couple of hours from the La Paz or Cabo airports. It offers excellent surfing beaches and is a gorgeous mountain-backed artist community.

4. San Miguel de Allende

This city makes excellent choice for the safety oriented. There are numerous American ex-patriots who visit these silver towns located in the central highlands north of Mexico City, situated approximately 2 hours from the Leon Airport. This lovely town is a far cry from any drug violence. The actual town can be seen in Once Upon a Time in Mexico, by Robert Rodriguez. Since 2008, it has been deemed a World Heritage site. There are approximately 62,000 residents in the town and an abundance of 17th century cathedrals, luxury guest-houses, botanic gardens, organic farmer restaurants and a variety of handicraft shops.

5. Huatulco

If you are craving a resort vacation, Huatulco is quite a success story in terms of recent development. This was originally a former fishing village. Lately it has become the Oaxacan beach of choice lately. It benefits from a gentle development plan that keeps the majority of the sandy shoreline completely unspoiled. The entire town is less than 6 stories high. Activities can take many days. Day trips can be spent surfing, rafting, snorkeling, kayaking and diving. There are waterfall tours to explore, cycling trips to take and coffee farms to enjoy!

6. Playa Del Carmen

Playa Del Carmen, speaking of resort towns that are considered forward thinking; amends practically every mistake of Zona Hotelera found up the road in the Yucatan Peninsula. Being only one block from the beach, makes it a lovely seaside location. There is also the pedestrian oriented La Quinta or Fifth Avenue. Here it is wise to keep track of your belongings after hours. Lined with night-clubs, take away taco stands and many souvenir options, this touristy attraction is fun for shopping and sand excursions. If you want to take a day trip to Cozumel Island, you can experience the best snorkeling that the world has to offer.

7. Guanajuato

This amazing hillside town is home to 16th century cathedrals and lovely colored homes on plazas lined with laurel trees and gorgeous alleyways. Best to take into consideration the Festival Cervantino which is an annual event filled with mariachis, Mexico City punk bands, orchestras, modern art, Moroccan Folk music and a series of additional cultural extravaganzas. The majority of these festivals are offered for free. It is an excellent hub to visit any time of year; offering a real mummy museum and a laid back colonial lifestyle. A great option is to combine this trip with an excursion to nearby San Miguel de Allende.

8. Puebla

Puebla offers a glimpse of being a smaller version of Mexico City. There are approximately 1.5 million residents who call this city home. It is jam packed with fun things to see such as numerous cathedrals and a museum devoted to ancient artifacts. It is quite laid back and more manageable than it may seem given its size. Staying in the historic center is your best option. There are buildings flamboyantly decorated with painted tiles or azuelos and a variety of spots to sample the Arabic taco, a local cuisine. This specialty taco is comprised of marinated pork and served on Middle Eastern style flat bread.

Plan a trip to Disneyland Park, Paris, France

Disneyland Park was the first of two theme parks built in Marne-la-Vallée, France on the property of Disneyland Paris. The park officially opened in 1992, when it was called Euro Disneyland. The design and layout of the park are quite similar to the Magic Kingdom Park in Florida and Disneyland Park in California. The park is actually the largest Disneyland Park built upon a 140 acre property, and is dedicated to the stories, fairy tales, and characters created by Disney. The park is most popular theme park in Europe, with more than 11 million annual visitors.

Many modifications were made to the park’s concepts and designs in order for the fourth major Disney Park to be based upon the original park. There were many official changes to Discoveryland and Tomorrowland areas, giving these updated theme parks a “retro futuristic” theme. The Haunted Mansion was altered and morphed into Phantom Manor. Just the park’s location brought with it many challenges as many of the structures had to be reevaluated to match the dimensions of the project with the terrain.

The theme park does not feature as many attractions as are found at the two American Magic Kingdom Parks; however, the park features and impressive Disney Castle, Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, and the park has won garnered much praise for its striking décor and phenomenal design.

When it was originally opened in 1992, the park actually made more news for its poor financial management rather than its esthetic design features. Fans have continued to flock to the park since its inception, spending a great deal of time at its top attractions, which include: Big Thunder Mountain, Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast, Space Mountain: Mission 2, and Pirates of the Caribbean. This park has a cool feature for some of these popular rides, where visitors can grab a Fast pass ride reservation when you enter the park, allowing you to visit other rides while you wait for your turn to ride.

Star Tours, based on the popular Star Wars franchise, is the newest attraction currently operating in Disneyland Paris. The ride debuted at the end of 2012.

Walt’s on Main Street has many great reviews for its great prices and quality cuisine. This is France after all; food should be an important part of your stay.