You’ve had a busy week, so we complied the most interesting, funny, or downright odd travel stories from these past seven days in one post!
— Condé Nast Traveler (@CNTraveler) November 30, 2015
Dubai is known for its unique attractions. The world’s tallest building, an indoor ski park, and numerous artificial islands name only a precious view. Soon, we might be adding “underwater tennis court” to the growing list of outrageous attractions. With seven courts, a rooftop coral reef, and enough seating for an international match, product proposer Krysztof Kotala believes it to be the scene of the fifth Grand Slam.
Only time will tell if this tennis court will be built, but if the underwater hotel, the Taj Arabia, and the world’s tallest twisted tower are any indication, we won’t have long to wait.
Learn all the details about the new court in Check Out the World’s First Underwater Tennis Court.
Universal Orlando Resort’s secret revealed
For the last few months, Universal leaders have been outspoken against the new proposed Skyscraper rollercoaster, which would break records as the world’s tallest coaster at 500 feet as well as highest inversion in the world, the steepest drop, and more. Universal, only allowed to build attractions up to 200 feet, seemed to be mad at the double-standard. This week, however, reports revealed that Universal Orlando has actually been in talks to buy 450 acres of land by International Drive and the new SkyPlex, future home of Skyscraper.
The Orange County Board of County Commissioners gave final approval for Skyscraper to go forward, so it’s unclear if Universal will act on its plans to buy the nearby land. Still, theme park enthusiasts have been spreading rumors about a new park, as Universal Studios and Islands of Adventures are both just over 100 acres. While we wait to learn more about Universal’s proposed expansion, check out this video of Skyscraper.
Learn more about Universal’s growth obstacles in 450-acre land grab: The remedy for Universal Orlando’s biggest weakness and read the rumors for yourself in Universal 2.0 — The facts: How Universal can gain ground on Disney with 450-acre land grab.
But what is definite for Universal—
–is the opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood, which is set for April 7, 2016. This “land” will be a replica of the original Harry Potter attraction at Universal’s Islands of Adventures in Orlando, which opened in 2010. What is new, however, is 3-D immersive effect of the marquee ride, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. Guests will wear Quidditch goggles as they battle huge spiders, a dragon, and even the Dark Lord himself.
Other experiences in this new world include the Flight of the Hippogriff, Hogsmeade, Three Broomsticks, Hog’s Head Pub, and eight retail venues, including Ollivanders.
Learn what to expect from this West Coast opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Harry Potter Land to Open at Universal Hollywood April 7.
‘Tis the season—Top Holiday Towns
From cities that bring “a genuine Christmas card to life” to an Old World Christmas Market in the New World, Fodor’s has ten American towns that don’t just celebrate the season but live the season. Charlottesville’s Historic Downtown Mall in Virginia is one such place with a holiday market featuring 90 local vendors plus James and Dolly Madison’s Montpelier estate with a 19th century Christmas celebration. Georgetown Glow in Washington, D.C. has more than 450 stores, restaurants, and venues for some holiday cheer, including the Holiday Window Completion. You can also score some complimentary hot apple cider from 3-7 p.m. daily at the Ritz-Carlton on South Street.
Check out other stops in New York, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, California, and more in 10 U.S. Towns With Incredible Christmas Celebrations.