Travel Desk: news, deals and destinations with Fionn Davenport
The latest Harry Potter-themed amusement park attraction opens at Universal Orlando in July
Study shows passengers will pay more for access to in-flight drinks. The bar on the upper deck of an Emirates Airbus. Photograph: Andrew Yates/AF P/Getty Images
Affordable Michelin-starred lunch at The Breslin in New York
Last week, Universal Orlando announced the long-awaited details of its new Harry Potter-themed attraction, which will open in July. It is Diagon Alley, a recreation of urban London with a thrill ride based on Gringott’s Bank and a hidden alley of shops (selling wands, cloaks and other Potter gear), accessed through a magic portal. Universal are expecting it to exceed the popularity of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which opened in 2007, and has been largely responsible for a 30 per cent yearly boost in visitor numbers since 2010. But whereas the Wizarding World is in Universal’s Islands of Adventure park, Diagon Alley will open in the Universal Studios park, which means that you’ll have to buy a ticket to both parks – currently, single-day access to the two costs $136.32 (€99.68) including tax, for over-10s. But resistance will be useless: the two attractions will be linked by a train, so try telling your kids that they can’t get on the Hogwart’s Express.
A viral outbreak of chikunguya fever on the French Caribbean island of St Martin in December has spiralled into a much larger outbreak, with more than 480 confirmed cases spanning a number of islands in the area, including Martinique, St Barts, Guadeloupe and Jost Van Dyke in the British Virgin Islands. The virus, transmitted via the bite of an infected female mosquito, causes severe joint pain, nausea, fatigue and rash. With no vaccine, the only recommended treatment focuses on relieving symptoms. Travellers are urged to apply insect repellant containing DEET and sleep in air-conditioned rooms.
Colorado may have legalised marijuana from January 1st, but federal law makes it illegal for users to carry it on aircraft. The airport in Colorado Springs has introduced a drop box for passengers – to stop others going through the rubbish looking for discarded weed. Denver Airport is not so inclined to cater to smokers and has instituted a zero-tolerance marijuana policy.
Micro-guide: Berlin, your 60-second city guide
STAY Hotel Amano (Auguststrasse 43; amanogroup.de; from €90) Three-star designer hotel near the Hackescher Markt with free wifi and a nice rooftop terrace
EAT La Soupe Populaire (Atelierhaus, Prenzlauer Allee 242; lasoupepopulaire.de; dishes €9-€22) Michelin-chef Tim Raue oversees “people’s food” in contemporary art gallery
SEE Jewish Museum (Lindenstrasse 9-14; jmberlin.de; €8) Unmissable and uncompromising examination of the Jewish experience at the hands of Nazi Germany; Peter Eisenmann’s Holocaust Memorial outside has a profound impact.
Party time takes off
Millenials book at the last minute, don’t care if they’re seated next to the toilet and would pay extra for access to an open bar. These are some of the findings of a study done of Millenials (aged 18-34) and Generation Xers (aged 35-54) by online travel company Hipmunk (hipmunk.com). By contrast, 59 per cent of Generation Xers book their flights at least six months in advance, and only 18 per cent of them would pay for unlimited drinks. Studies like this are important for the airline industry, which traditionally operated on the assumption that the only thing that mattered were fares and schedules. This generation of tech-savvy passengers show that the in-flight experience is just as important.