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Destination, bacon

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Bacon FestIs there anything quite like the aroma of bacon wafting into the crisp summer mountain air?

For some, it might be a turnoff, but for thousands expected at the Blue Ribbon Bacon Tour at the Keystone Resort in Colorado, it’s the real deal.

Imagine this. The two-day event on June 22 and 23 features more than a ton of Iowa and Colorado bacon, along with bacon-inspired cuisine from more than 18 food vendors, along with music and samples of Beggin’ Strips (bacon-flavored snacks) for pooches.

New this year (it’s the third go-round for this fest) is Colorado’s Biggest Bacon Bloody Mary Bar, sponsored by Hair of the Dawg Bloody Mary drink mix.

There’s even a bacon lecture series hosted by certified bacon instructors (who knew?). Attendees get a first-class bacon education, recipes and a diploma.

One-day bacon-tasting tickets start at $30.

The resort offers one and two-night Pigs in a Blanket lodging packages.

Supply your own Alka-Seltzer and Lipitor.

— Gay Nagle Myers

A Grand Slam destination wedding at Denny's

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Denny's wedding in vegasDestination weddings take on a whole new meaning at a new wedding venue in Las Vegas that is far removed from the glittery ballrooms of the mega-hotels.

Since it opened in April, several couples have recited their vows in the wedding chapel of Denny’s (yes, that Denny’s) restaurant on Fremont Street in downtown Vegas near the Mob Museum.

The chapel combines the “authenticity of America’s diner with the eccentricity of Las Vegas,” according to Frances Allen, Denny’s chief marketing officer.

An Iowa couple — longtime fans of Denny’s — was selected by company executives as the first couple to wed in one of the very few Denny’s restaurants outfitted with a wedding chapel.

For the flight from Ames to Las Vegas, the couple wore Denny’s yellow T-shirts that read: “We go together like eggs and bacon.”

However, the bride wore white and the groom was in a suit for the ceremony, which was presided over by a minister and attended by well-wishers and restaurant patrons chowing down on country-fried steaks and orange smoothies.

The nuptials concluded with noshing on a "Pancake Puppies" wedding cake and a Grand Slamosa cocktail toast.

Weddings at Denny’s start at $95, including Denny’s just-married T-shirts, use of a photo booth, the signature wedding cake, a bottle of champagne and a 20% food discount for the wedding party.

— Gay Nagle Myers

A boardwalk ride called Super Storm

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Super Storm rideHurricane Sandy, which ravaged the Jersey Shore last October, is not fading quietly into the history books.

A spinning, pendulum-shaped ride called Super Storm will open at the Casino Pier amusement park in Seaside Heights, N.J., on or before July 4.

The announcement came as the park's Star Jet roller coaster, destroyed during Sandy, was dismantled and pulled from the Atlantic Ocean.

Casino Pier lost a number of rides, including Stillwalk Manor, Log Flume and Centrifuge, which still lie under water. The Music Express floated up on the beach a short time ago.

Back in operation are some of the kids' rides, including Moby Dick, Speedway Ride, Go Karts and Car Combo.

The mile-long boardwalk is being rebuilt and should be open for the summer season.

Plans call for opening 15 to 20 rides on the Casino Pier's lower deck by Memorial Day, according to an announcement on the pier's website.

— Gay Nagle Myers

Duckie, down

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Hong Kong's newest resident, a 54-foot inflatable yellow rubber duckie, went from bobbing happily in the harbor on May 14 to floating helplessly deflated on May 15, having lost its wind overnight, according to news reports.

Was it fowl play?

City officials called a duck crisis meeting. A tweet from the official Harbour City association reassured Hong Kongers that "the Rubber Duck needs to freshen up. Stay tuned for its return."

However, organizers later said it was planned deflation.

The duck, a creation of Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman, arrived in Hong Kong on May 2 as part of a global journey to bring a message of peace and harmony, according to the artist.

When it is reinflated, it will be be on display until June 9 before it moves on to its next port of call.

Previous temporary residences include Osaka, Japan; Sydney; Sao Paulo, Brazil; Auckland, New Zealand; and Amsterdam.

The duckie has not always enjoyed clear sailing. During a port call in Brussels in 2009, it was stabbed 42 times by a vandal.

— Gay Nagle Myers

Wheelchair scam used to skip lines at Disney parks

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Rich Manhattan moms have hired disabled people to pose as family members, so they can avoid long lines at Disney parks, reports the New York Post.

The Post notes that Disney “allows each guest who needs a wheelchair or motorized scooter to bring up to six guests to a ‘more convenient entrance.’”

The wheelchair scam is reportedly a lot cheaper than buying Disney’s VIP passes. Hiring a disabled “guide” costs $130 an hour, or $1,040 for an eight-hour day, while Disney offers a VIP guide and fast passes for $310 to $380 per hour, reports the Post.

An oasis in Abu Dhabi

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Abu Dhabi airport podsLong layover? Missed connection? Need some shuteye?

Tired travelers at Abu Dhabi's airport now have an option other than hunkering down on the terminal floor or stretching out on an unforgiving chair at the gate.

They can crawl into and curl up in a cocoon-like, private pod in the midst of the hubbub of Terminal 1 and Terminal 3.

The airport recently installed 10 Finnish-designed "GoSleep" pods — chairs that convert into flat beds with sliding shades that fully enclose slumbering travelers inside and isolate them from noise, light and curious fellow travelers.

Travelers can rent the pods for approximately $12 an hour using a credit card.
Another 35 pods are on order.

Still in the launch phase, the chairs soon will be upgraded with Internet access, secure storage for luggage and charging stations for electronic devices.

Abu Dhabi is the first airport in the world to install the pods. The introduction "is another step towards exceeding customers' expectations and delivering world-class levels of service," according to Mohammed Al Bulooki, chief commercial officer of Abu Dhabi Airports Co.

All that's missing is an alarm clock.

— Gay Nagle Myers

Silence of the ducks in Little Rock

(Hotels) Permanent link
Peabody ducksLittle Rock, Ark., gained a Marriott on Wednesday but lost one of its star attractions with the conversion of the property from the former Peabody Hotel, known for its signature ducks.

The Peabody in Little Rock, modeled after its namesake in Memphis, had featured the twice-daily red carpet march of the ducks through its lobby and into its fountain since 2002.

The ducks have retired to a farm in Scott, 20 miles from Little Rock.

Not to worry. The quacky rituals continue on at Peabody hotels in Memphis, where it all started more than 60 years ago, and in Orlando.

In 1932, Frank Schutt, then general manager of the Peabody in Memphis, and a friend returned from a hunting trip to Arkansas. The men had imbibed a bit too much of Jack Daniels Tennessee sippin' whiskey and thought it a great idea to plop some of their live duck decoys in the hotel's lobby fountain.

Three small English ducks were selected. The response was immediate and enthusiastic. The original three were later replaced with five North American mallard ducks.

In 1940, bellman Edward Pembroke, a former circus trainer, offered to help deliver the ducks each day to the marble fountain. He taught his charges the now-famous Peabody Duck March and served as the official Peabody duck master until he retired in 1991.

The Peabody ducks (one male, four females) march at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. daily at the Memphis and Orlando hotels, spend a few minutes splishing and splashing before returning to their royal duck palaces on the hotels' rooftops.

Each team of five mallards lives in the hotels for three months before being retired from their Peabody duties and returned to duck farms to live out the remainder of their days.

Duck is not served in any of the Peabody restaurants.

— Gay Nagle Myers
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