Traverse City Record-Eagle

December 9, 2012

Books and Travel in Brief: 12/09/2012


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Monster Drawing Rally

DETROIT — The Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit was inviting visitors to come see art as it's born — and bought.

As part of a fundraising event, dozens of local artists were drawing live in the galleries of the museum on Friday. Around 30 artists were drawing simultaneously in three, one-hour shifts. As the drawings were completed, they were going to be hung on the walls and made available for purchase.

Proceeds from the Monster Drawing Rally went to support MOCAD's programs.

Fantasyland opens

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom marked the grand opening of its new Fantasyland Thursday with new and reimagined attractions inspired by Dumbo, "Beauty and the Beast" and "The Little Mermaid."

It's the largest expansion project in the park's 41-year history, doubling the size of the original Fantasyland. The central Florida theme park near Orlando is blending classic Disney tales and newer, popular hits with the multimillion dollar expansion.

The new Fantasyland sits just past Cinderella Castle, with two sections: Enchanted Forest, where visitors will find Belle from "Beauty and the Beast" and Ariel from "The Little Mermaid," and Storybook Circus, which is inspired by the Disney film "Dumbo."

Among the highlights: a ride called Under the Sea-Journey of the Little Mermaid, which tells Ariel's story, and Enchanted Tales With Belle, a walk-through experience that features a magical mirror and costumed characters.

Be Our Guest Restaurant is also new. Folks who eat lunch will be served at the counter, while dinner guests will be served tableside. It will also serve wine and beer with dinner, which is the first time alcohol is being sold at the Magic Kingdom.

Some of the old favorites have been improved. An additional Dumbo ride was added, two castles were built and the Barnstormer rollercoaster was remodeled. Other areas were spruced up and redecorated.

Two of Fantasyland's highlights have yet to open. A ride called Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is still under construction, as is Princess Fairytale Hall — where guests can go to meet all of their favorite Disney princesses at once. Disney officials said the princess experience will open next year and the ride is expected to open in 2014.

Houston valet parking

HOUSTON — Travelers having trouble finding a parking spot at some Houston airports have another option.

Officials with William P. Hobby Airport say valet parking has begun with online reservations. Hobby has partnered with USA Parking System for the Valet Premier Parking service.

The company in July began offering valet parking at George Bush Intercontinental Airport at a regular daily cost of $25 per day. Both airports until early January are offering special daily valet rates of $20.

Houston's airports served more than 50 million passengers last year.

New scenic byway

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — The Wyoming Transportation Commission recently designated a 28-mile section of Wyoming Highway 70 in the southern part of the state as the Battle Pass Scenic Byway.

It is Wyoming's 16th scenic byway and runs through the Medicine Bow National Forest between Encampment and Baggs.

The byway crosses Battle Pass at 9,955 feet in the Sierra Madre Mountains, through an area rich in historic and cultural sites, scenic vistas and recreation opportunities. The route passes between Bridger Peak and Battle Lake, and near the Huston Park and Encampment River wilderness areas and Hog Park Reservoir.

Writers workshop

traverse city — Michigan Writers will host Benjamin Busch presenting a workshop entitled "From Script to Screen." The author of the recent memoir, "Dust to Dust," will share his approach to screenwriting.

Busch is also a photographer, film director and actor who appeared in the HBO series, "The Wire." He is a U.S. Marine Corps infantry officer and served two combat tours in Iraq. The workshop will be held from 7 to 9 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 11, in Room 204 at the University Center on Cass Road. It's free and prior registration is not required.

For more information, call Betsy Emdin at 492-3260.