New Year Revolutions; Ring out the Old with Our Guide to All That's New and Innovative around the Travel World in 2001
Byline: WENDY DRIVER
BEEN there, done that, got the T-shirt and at a loss what to do next? Are you wondering what the world has to offer that is new for 2001?
WENDY DRIVER provides a selection of travel options from a new themed hotel in Florida to an amazing rainforest in Cornwall. Apart from appealing to all ages, they have only one thing in common . . . they are all distinctly different from anything you've ever done before.
CALIFORNIA: Disney's latest theme park, California Adventure, opens on February 8. The 55-acre park is located next to the Disneyland Resort, Anaheim, and has the first hotel, the 750-room Grand Californian, built within the park itself.
Holidaymakers can explore three specially themed areas: Paradise Pier, an old-fashioned beachfront amusement zone with carousels and rollercoasters; Hollywood Pictures Backlot, which celebrates moviemaking; and the Golden State, with a mini wilderness, nature trails and a thrilling white-water rafting ride.
For tickets call Keith Prowse (028 90 23 24 25).
ALTON TOWERS: Thrillseekers can try out Alton Towers' new white-knuckle ride when the park reopens on March 31. Submission subjects its victims to 90 seconds of nauseating freefall. Two carriages seating 24 people each revolve vertically in opposite directions, plunging 45ft before swirling back upwards again.
Advance booking is available by calling 08705 204060.
FLORIDA: A new African safari ride, Rhino Rally, opens at Busch Gardens in Tampa Bay, Florida, in June.
The eight-minute ride travelling on amphibious vehicles takes you on an off-road safari to see wildlife closeup before plunging off a pontoon bridge into a raging river. For further information visit www.4adventure.com.
Tickets available from Keith Prowse (028 90 23 24 25).
CORNWALL: The Eden Project, predicted to be Britain's largest and most spectacular rainforest, will open in March 2001. A former Cornish china clay pit near St Austell has been transformed into one of the most remarkable plant houses in the world. Two huge conservatories will contain plants from the world's steamy rainforests and warm, temperate regions. The project includes a visitor centre and seven hectares of parkland. Call 01726 222900.
LONDON: To mark the centenary of the death of Queen Victoria, London's Victoria and Albert Museum (020 7942 2000) will hold an exhibition, Inventing New Britain - The Victoria Vision, from April 5 to July 29, looking at how modern Britain has been shaped by the Victorian era. Kensington Palace (020 7937 9561) will also be staging a yearlong exhibition of Queen Victoria's life in dress from March 29, including her wedding dress and coronation robes.
LATVIA: The Latvian capital, Riga, celebrates its 800th anniversary with a yearlong programme of festivities including concerts, exhibitions and a four-month film festival starting in May showing many of the classics of the 20th Century. The highlight of the year takes place on August 18, when its history will be condensed into 24 hours with fancy dress processions, folk dancing and street theatre, culminating in a huge firework display over the Daugava River. Short breaks available from Sovereign (08705 768 373).
ITALY: Italy's greatest composer, Verdi, died 100 years ago and a Verdi Festival is taking place in the Emilia Romagna region throughout the year.
Key works will be performed in Bologna, Ferrara, Modena and his home town of Busseto. The Teatro Regio in Parma will be showing productions of his most famous operas, including Il Trovatore, Rigoletto and La Traviata. Short breaks to Parma are on offer through Cresta Holidays (0870 161 0900).
SOUTH AFRICA: The first private safari lodge to be built inside one of South Africa's national game reserves opens in January in the Addo Elephant National Park in the Eastern Cape. …