All posts by Tim

Calgary – Gateway to the Canadian Rockies

This is the concluding post from Tim Larison from familytravelgurus.com on his visit to the province of Alberta, Canada in March, 2016.

winsportWhen I visited Canada 27 years ago we flew into Calgary, picked up our rental car, and immediately drove 1 1/2 hours to Banff to start our Canadian Rockies vacation.  On my 2016 trip I learned that Calgary is not a city to ignore – it has its own treasures to explore.

My favorite Calgary attraction was the WinSport Winter Sports Institute where Canadian athletes train for the Olympics.

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A Look at the Canadian Rockies Fairmont Resorts

This is another post from Tim Larison from familytravelgurus.com on his visit to the province of Alberta, Canada in March, 2016.

jasperentry27 years ago I visited the three Canadian Rockies Fairmont resorts with my wife Anne during our wonderful Canadian Rockies honeymoon.  In 2016 I had the opportunity to return with a group of travel agents from around the U.S.  I was to discover these resorts were just as magnificent as I remembered them.

jasperentry2First up: the Jasper Park Lodge.  We were greeted by a friendly doorman.  I was impressed with the level of service from all the Fairmont employees we met (our dinner hosts, wait staff, and adventure guides)

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Wildlife Viewing in Canada

This is another post from Tim Larison from familytravelgurus.com on his visit to the province of Alberta, Canada in March, 2016.

canada wildlifeOn my weeklong trip to the Canadian Rockies I was surprised at the wildlife viewing opportunities – even in the winter.

buffalo3My first opportunity to view wildlife was at Elk Island National Park near Edmonton.  Elk Island has one of the largest remaining buffalo herds in North America (or a more accurate term – a North American Bison herd).  Here the park rangers gave us an interesting overview of the bison.  I learned  that there were over 30 million bison in the 1800’s.  Through unmanaged slaughter for their hides this number was sadly reduced to 1000 over the course of about 70 years.  A reserve like Elk Island keeps these magnificent animals protected from hunters.

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Snowshoeing In The Canadian Rockies (March 2016)

This is the second of several posts from Tim Larison from familytravelgurus.com in his visit to the province of Alberta, Canada in March, 2016.

meI’d never been snowshoeing in my life!  But I got that chance in two days of touring in Alberta, Canada.  I share below what this experience was like.

wes1We were transported from downtown Jasper by our guide Wes – a retired park service employee who now runs tours in the area.  Wes was great in leading us rookies in snowshoeing on Pyramid Lake.

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Edmonton – Capital City of Alberta

This is the first of several posts from Tim Larison from familytravelgurus.com in his visit to the province of Alberta, Canada in March, 2016.

Edmonton – Capital City of Alberta

hockey2I landed in Edmonton mid-afternoon and I was immediately reminded of the city’s rich hockey history. The Oilers have struggled in recent years but the team’s fortunes are looking up.  We were later told of the new hockey arena, Rogers Place, that will open next season.  It will be “the best arena in the world” according to our guide – no expense is being spared to make this the showcase rink in the NHL.

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The Super Bowl 50 Experience


The Super Bowl 50 Experience
by Tim Larison, Family Travel Gurus Travel Consultant
 

On the first weekend in February 2016 I attended the second Super Bowl in my life – and oh what a weekend it was!  As a long time season ticket holder to the Denver Broncos I had a strong rooting interest in this game!  Here I am with my son Andrew in downtown San Francisco near Super Bowl City on Saturday night.

Thanks to the generosity of a friend who couldn’t attend I had the opportunity to purchase a pair of tickets at list price to the game.

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A Look at the New Westin at Denver International Airport

The New Westin at Denver International Airport

by Tim Larison, CLIA Certified Master Cruise Counselor (MCC)

westin diaPhoto courtesy of Starwood Hotels

The new Westin hotel at Denver’s International Airport (DIA) is a wonderful property adjacent to the airport’s main terminal.  As the Colorado director of the National Association of Career Travel Agents (NACTA) I was able to arrange an exclusive preview for area travel agents of this exciting new addition to the Denver hotel scene.

drawingThe first thing airport visitor’s will notice is the hotel’s unusual shape.  As pictured above in a drawing from Starwood Hotels, the hotel has a U shape in the middle.  Is it supposed to be shaped like a ship?  No, as our Starwood guide Amber explained, the shape is meant to resemble a bird in flight.  The dip in the middle was also requested by the airport so that the control tower would have an unobstructed view over the hotel.

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Karen’s Be Our Guest Breakfast Review

Be Our Guest Breakfast at Disney World

By Karen Waldman, Family Travel Gurus Travel Consultant

be our guestWe enjoyed our breakfast dining experience at Be Our Guest, the Magic Kingdom restaurant designed to represent the castle from Beauty and the Beast. They had good food and the atmosphere was wonderful. There are three dining areas. The big main room is the ballroom. We ate in the more intimate West Wing (the room with the rose). The West Wing is quiet and dark, with a fireplace glowing. The third room, with lots of artwork and a rotating Beast/Belle dancing centerpiece, opened as we were leaving.

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Karen’s Frozen Sing-Along Review

Frozen Sing-Along at Disney World

By Karen Waldman, Family Travel Gurus Travel Consultant

frozen singalongI wasn’t sure what to expect with this relatively-new show, and was pleasantly surprised. The 35-minute show is at the Hyperion Theater at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and currently starts at the top of every hour.

I expected just singing with a roomful of little girls, but there was an entertaining, comical show wrapped around it, in true Disney fashion. The show was basically an overview of the story, with movie clips and singing (with subtitles), and holding it all together. Anna opened the show and introduced the “historians”, who ran the whole show. The historians, especially the guy, were hilarious. There were lots of puns and humor that the older kids and adults would get. It was fun to watch all the girls sing along and know all the words and do the hand gestures. And it was equally fun to watch the dads – some seemed bored, and some were really fascinated watching their little girls. When it was time for “Let It Go”, the man historian said, “And this one is for you, Dads” (who are sick of that song by now). For the final numbers, both Anna and Elsa came on stage, along with other key characters in the movie.

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Anne’s Puerto Vallarta / Vallarta Nayarit Trip Report (December 2015)

Puerto Vallarta/Vallarta Nayarit Trip Report
December, 2015
    by Anne Larison, Family Travel Gurus Travel Consultant

seahorsePhoto courtesy of visitpuertovallarta.com

I had only visited Puerto Vallarta from a cruise ship.  Tim, the twins and I have done a city tour and zip lining in the past.  I was thrilled when given the opportunity to spend a few days in Puerto Vallarta / Vallarta Nayarit with a travel agent group.

mountainsPhoto courtesy of visitpuertovallarta.com

As you can see from the picture above, Puerto Vallarta and Vallarta Nayarit offer water fun on the Banderas Bay and just beyond is the Sierra Madre Mountain range.

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