New Fantasyland at Disney World Florida opens today ... Kudos for Porter Air
It's a pretty big deal for Disney lovers. And there are a few of them.
The new Fantasyland opens at Walt Disney World today, with several major changes. There's a new, updated Dumbo, a "Be Our Guest" restaurant with a Beauty and the Beast theme and a new adventure based on Ariel from The Little Mermaid, my personal favourite Disney movie aside from Peter Pan (and aren't you glad you asked?)
Star travel correspondent Heather Greenwood Davis got a preview the other day and reports in today's Star that the new Fantasyland features "lush trees, gardens, waterfalls and brightly coloured attractions."
I think it was probably about time for a refreshment. Just don't mess with the Carousel of Progress or Tom Sawyer Island....
PORTER RATES HIGHLY
Porter Airlines, based here in Toronto of course, came out smelling sweet in the Conde Nast Traveler magazine ratings for 2012. CNT readers voted Porter the second best small airline in the world and rated it fourth overall on the planet. And that's pretty heady company.
Tops in the rating was Singapore Airlines at 86.5. Next was Emirates at 84.2. I've never flown Singapore Airlines but I was overwhelmed by my service with Emirates a couple years when I went to Dubai, so I can only imagine how good Singapore must be.
Third overall, and tops in the small airlines category, was OpenSkies, which is affiliated with British Airways. Open Skies came in at with an 82.2 mark, while Porter was at 80.4.
I didn't see an Air Canada rating but WestJet was rated third best small airline with a rating of 58.5 - far below Porter.
AIR WARS IN CANADA
A report on travelmole.com says WestJet won the "load factor sweepstakes" for the month of November. Which is a fun way to look at it (at least for the winner).
WestJet filled a record 82.6 per cent of its seats in November, a jump of 4.9 percentage points from the previous record set in November, 2010.
Over at Air Canada (known by WestJetters as the Evil Empire, I suspect), the November load factor was 78.1 per cent, an increase of 2.2 percentage points over last year and its second highest ever for November traffic. Which is a pretty solid silver medal finish.
Over at Porter Airlines, meanwhile, things were pretty tough. The upstart from Toronto saw its load factor plunge by 11.4 points to 54.5 per cent.
Travelmole said that Porter’s steep drop "is the price it is paying to seek out higher yields" and that "frequent seat sales helped drive loads higher last year.
“We are encouraged to see passenger yield improve significantly from recent months,” said Porter President & CEO Robert Deluce. “Advance bookings for December are tracking well compared to last year, and the entire winter season has strong early trends.”
WestJet flew about 114,000 more passengers last month than in November, 2011.
At AC, system traffic increased 4.6 per cent, led by increases in traffic of 6.9 per cent in Asia Pacific markets, and of 7 per cent overall in the Australia, Caribbean, Mexico, Central and South America markets.
WestJet, by the way, is due to take delivery of its 100th Boeing 737 Next-Generation aircraft on Friday.
MORE MYRTLE OPTIONS
Spirit Airlines has moved up its schedule for flights from the U.S. northeast and midwest to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The low-cost airline says it will begin two weekly nonstop flights between Myrtle Beach and Niagara Falls, New York/Toronto (it's a stretch to call Niagara Falls New York part of the Toronto area, but can't blame them for trying I guess) starting February 15, 2013, with service increasing to four weekly flights on April 25, 2013