Disney World's 25th attracts vacationers

June 10, 1997


Staff Writer

Disney World is a popular vacation destination for area residents this summer, according to travel agency representatives.

Perhaps because the Florida park is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, it has

become "wildly popular" with Washington County residents, said Betty Rinn, a travel consultant for Travel Plans Inc. of Hagerstown.

"Mickey is always a winner," said Lindi Baker, owner, manager and travel agent for Ready-Set-Go Tours & Travel of Hagerstown.

Although Disney World has always been a hot spot for vacationers, travel agencies are finding airline and hotel bookings within the park are scarce this year.

June and July travel packages that include hotel rooms inside of the park are sold out at Budget Travel Inc. of Frederick, Md., but "you can now make reservations for Christmas if you want to stay inside the park," said travel agent Chris Waldron. "The earlier the better."


Advance planning is important for any summer vacationer who hopes to take the dream trip, travel agents say.

"They should book as soon as possible," Rinn said. "That's the only way we could give them the best airfares and accommodations that they want."

Baker said she could grab "some wonderful last-minute prices" for cruises to the Caribbean. "It depends on the destination," she said.

In fact, cruises are in second place for holiday travels, with Alaska as a targeted site.

"It's the only time you can go there," said Connie Richards, vice president and office manager of Richards World of Travel Inc. of Hagerstown. She said the agency sent about 800 people on a cruise to Alaska last year.

Because of the growing demand each year, several popular cruise lines send most of their ships to Alaska, which is their "best investment in terms of money-makers," said Bruce Rogers, owner of Cruise Holidays of Frederick.

"During the summer, it's very nice up there. It's in the 70s," Waldron said.

Alaskan scenery is among of the best in the world, Rogers said.

Cruises to the Caribbean have drawn several area tourists this year, especially Nassau, a more economic option for most travelers, said Mary Anne Recher, travel consultant of Carlson Wagonlit Travel of Hagerstown.

Cruise Holidays has been sending vacationers on cruises to the Mediterranean, Baltic region, Scandinavia, British Isles and the Fjords this year as well, Rogers said.

On the other hand, Antietam Travel Service Inc. of Frederick is handling an abundance of summer travelers requesting packages to Europe - unlike past years, said owner Linda Cleveland.

"It lulls in and out," Recher said. "I guess it's like a fashion."

Roxanne Powers, manager of Travel Funn of Hagerstown, said Las Vegas is a favorite spot for travelers who want to stick to the mainland. "There's a lot more to do there than just gambling," she said.

Package rates vary, depending on the date of departure, choice of accommodations and destination, travel agents say.

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