Pearl Jam and Britney in Vegas, The Lion King in L.A., Mickey Mouse in the Caribbean. Entertainment gypsies willing to surf the web can find world-class amusement via boat, plane, or train.
Single-resource sites abound, but good luck finding full-service websites where you can book an entire package with a single click of the ”Submit” button.
Suzi LeVine, marketing director for travel portal Expedia.com, acknowledges that ”online travel is still a relatively young business…. [The travel industry] is so fragmented and unconnected, we think of it as a $3.7 trillion market in chaos.” Here, we try to make some sense of the chaos.
Hardcore moviegoers planning to gorge themselves on a five-films-a-day feast need to make their own arrangements for the prestigious Park City, Utah, festival, which runs next year, Jan. 18-28. Buffs can opt for a more relaxing three-day package, starting Jan. 21, 22, or 23, at Sundance Ski Resort. The deal includes two screenings and can be ordered by phone. B
During Honeymoon in Vegas, Sarah Jessica Parker and James Caan whispered sweet nothings in the canoe now resting on the same beach where Gilligan’s Island was once filmed. Trivia freaks with a penchant for perfect weather can enjoy the view of this and other settings on the Hawaii Movie Tours. This site describes how Six Days Seven Nights and other movies were filmed on the island of Kauai. Drawback: Hokey ”tropical” music plays in the background and links to lodging and airfare reservations are nowhere to be found. D+
Las Vegas still serves a wicked gambling-and-showgirls cocktail, but these days more people go there to pretend they’re somewhere else — like London, Paris, or ancient Egypt. You can plan an entire getaway at Southwest Airlines’ convenient site. Buy airline tickets, book hotel rooms, and mix and match from a ”Total Experience Pass.” All the major resorts have their own URLs, but you can link to them easily enough from Las Vegas’ official tourist site, vegasfreedom.com. However, most hotels don’t list specific coming attractions. For those details, visit the Showguide in lvrj.com’s entertainment section. B
LIVE FROM THE HEARTLAND
Information about hotels and upcoming shows can be found at the branson.com site, and hotel and show reservations can be booked online or by phone. Loretta Lynn and Glen Campbell pump out classic tearjerkers in this live music resort town, and roots veteran Jimmie Rodgers performs in the Remember When Theatre at the IMAX Entertainment Complex. Two dead guys still draw big crowds — a damn fine Elvis impersonator (at the Owens Theatre) and bubbly bandleader Lawrence Welk (at the Welk Champagne Theatre). B-
At the Walt Disney World site, you can find various airfare-lodging-theme park packages, including admission to wholesome song-and-dance revues where you just might spot the next Keri Russell or Britney Spears. (Both apprenticed in Orlando as Mouseketeers.) A-
Universal’s theme park area offers a batch of packages that you can reserve online. One bundles hotel accommodations and studio admission with lunch or dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe; another promises celebrity gawking opportunities via a tour of Hollywood stars’ homes. A-
Hang out with actress Karen Allen as she reminisces about The Perfect Storm. She’ll set sail from New York City next spring on Cunard’s “QE2 Goes to the Movies” voyage (New York City-Fort Lauderdale-Southampton, April 20-May 3). Veteran hipster Dave Brubeck has jammed on the Floating Jazz Festival (New York City to Southampton, May 19-25). Embark on the Great Authors Literary Festival (Southampton to New York City, June 18-24); past guests have included Pulitzer Prize-winning author Frank McCourt. B
Call or e-mail the venue if there’s any confusion about the entertainment. You don’t want to see the Four Tops if you booked Christina Aguilera.
Plan ahead. Theme cruises are often booked as much as six months in advance.
Make sure you’re getting the lowest airfare by visiting travelocity.com, expedia.com, or priceline.com, which scour the Web for the cheapest tickets.
Be a purist about doing everything online. Many sites offer 800 numbers rather than e-commerce order forms.