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Archive for Sunday, August 5, 2001

Travel briefs

August 5, 2001

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There's room in national park inns

When Yogi Berra said, "Nobody goes there anymore; it's too crowded," he wasn't referring to the national park system. But the "myth" of overcrowding in the nation's parks may be contributing to declines in visitation at the most popular ones.

Visitation at the nation's first national park, Yellowstone, fell below 3.8 million last year, the lowest since 1992. June of this year saw further declines in most of the parks, typically down 10 percent in Death Valley and 8 percent in Grand Canyon.

Walk-in guests have been able to book same-day hotel rooms and even last-minute mule rides to the bottom of Grand Canyon, according to Andy Todd, president of Amfac Parks & Resorts, which operates hotels and other concessions in eight major parks.

Judi Lages, Amfac vice president for sales and marketing, attributed the declines to the strength of the dollar, which has reduced the number of European visitors. In any case, there's room at the park inns.

Shifting uncomfortably

The big fear for Americans driving overseas is not roadblocks or terrorists it's grinding gears.

Accustomed to cars with automatic transmissions, they're not good at shifting to standard shifts.

With this in mind, Renault Eurodrive, a short-term lease program, is offering automatics at the same price as standard shift models.

Call (800) 221-1052 or log on to www.renaultusa.com.

Disney does pop culture

Disney World now says its Disney's Pop Century Resort is scheduled to open in March instead of late this year.

With 5,760 rooms, the Lake Buena Vista, Fla., resort will be one of the largest lodgings in the world.

The resort will have a 20th-century popular culture theme. Disney describes it as "value priced" room rates being quoted for the opening month are $119 per night for preferred view, $109 for standard view.

Disney's reservation number is (407) 934-7639; its Web site is www.disney.com.

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