Travel briefs

 

Theme parks

Fantasyland expansion nearly complete

The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, the last piece of the Fantasyland expansion at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, will open May 28.

The mine train is a roller coaster that runs outside, then inside the mine where audio-animatronic dwarfs gather sparkling gemstones. Riders sit in cars that sway back and forth through the turns. The coaster is the centerpiece of the Fantasyland expansion.

Airlines

New Service

•  JetBlue has begun daily, nonstop service between Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International and Trinidad and Tobago’s Piarco International in Port-of-Spain.

•  Thomas Cook Airlines will begin twice-a-week service between Miami International Airport and Manchester, England next year. The nonstop flights will operate on Fridays and Sundays beginning in May 2015.

Miami International

American Express to build lounge

A new American Express Centurion Lounge has been approved for Miami International Airport.

Expected to open later this year, the 8,000-square-foot lounge, which will be for American Express Card customers only, will be near Gate D-12 in the North Terminal and feature locally-inspired cuisine and cocktails, a spa and a family room. Additionally, patrons will have access to high-speed Wi-Fi, personal computers and noise-buffered workspaces.

American Express said it also expects to open lounges this year at New York’s LaGuardia Airport and San Francisco.

Qatar

Airport opens after years of delay

A vast new airport in the Qatari capital opened for business following years of delays last week as the natural-gas rich Gulf nation works to transform itself into a major aviation hub and prepares to host one of sporting’s biggest events.

The airport is part of a multibillion-dollar building boom that is transforming the skyline of the Qatari capital, Doha, as it prepares to host soccer’s World Cup in 2022.

The new airport is only partially operational for now, with 10 mainly discount and South Asian airlines operating flights during an initial low-key opening period.

Flag carrier Qatar Airways, its main Gulf rivals Emirates and Etihad Airways, and other international carriers such as Lufthansa and United Airlines are expected to move to the new airport once it’s fully operational on May 27.

Built largely on a patch of land reclaimed from the Persian Gulf alongside the existing Doha airport, the new facility cost at least $15 billion to build. It was initially scheduled for completion in 2009, some five years after construction began.

At the existing airport, passengers still have to be shuttled on buses and climb stairs to board aircraft.

Read more Travel stories from the Miami Herald

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The number of smartphone and tablet apps that allow a user to search for and bid on the lowest prices for upscale hotel rooms has dramatically increased in recent years. Using them, along with third-party booking sites like Kayak.com and the hotel's own app or website, can net travelers some surprising savings. (Cristina Sampaio/The New York Times) -- ILLUSTRATION MOVED IN ADVANCE AND NOT FOR USE, ONLINE OR IN PRINT, BEFORE AUG. 10, 2014. -- NO SALES; FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY WITH STORY SLUGGED HOTEL APPS ADV10 BY STEPHANIE ROSENBLOOM. ALL OTHER USE PROHIBITED. --

    Travelwise

    Battle of the apps: last-minute deals on upscale hotels

    If last-minute hotel booking apps make you think of impetuous travelers on a budget, think again. The market for such apps and websites is becoming increasingly crowded, making it easier for those looking for upscale hotels to find eleventh-hour discounts.

  •  
The 9/11 Tribute Center, on Liberty Street in Lower Manhattan, offers an intimate look at the events of Sept. 11th, 2001, and also offers walking tours.

    New York

    9/11 Memorial, museum, draw strong interest

    Out-of-towners and locals alike have shown enormous interest in sites connected to the Sept. 11th attacks. More than 700,000 people from all 50 states and 131 countries have been to the National Sept. 11 Museum since it opened May 21. More have come from New York than any other state, but the museum also hosts so many international tourists that you can’t even identify all the languages being spoken.

  •  
Georgian wine and giant, comfy couches are standouts at Josper Organique in Tbilisi.

    Bar scene: Tbilisi, Georgia

    A night out in a lively and charming city

    The town’s tagline is “Tbilisi Loves You.” These words are scrawled in a festive font at the airport, on the sides of taxis and in graffiti on buildings. The slogan rings true, because I’ve never met a more welcoming city than the quirky capital of Georgia — the country, not the state.

Miami Herald

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