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Renting mobile phones



Published: Sun, September 9, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Renting mobile phones

Foreign visitors, whose cellular phones often do not work in the United States, can rent mobile phones at a kiosk near the currency exchange in the arrivals level at Los Angeles International's Tom Bradley International Terminal. Tel. (877) 874-7835, www.trip tel.com.

Disney parks to salute 100th anniversary

Orlando's four Disney theme parks will be saluting the 100th anniversary of founder Walt Disney's birth, starting Oct. 1, with new attractions and entertainment lineup.

Memorabilia from the Disney archives will be displayed in the "Walt Disney: One Man's Dream" exhibit at Disney-MGM Studios. Also at Disney-MGM Studios, a daily parade of customized cars full of Disney characters will unfold.

At the Magic Kingdom, a new parade called "Share a Dream Come True" will present Disney characters from a child's point of view.

Disney's Animal Kingdom will get its first major parade with "Mickey's Jammin' Jungle."

At Epcot, the regular procession called "Tapestry of Nations" will be transformed into one called "Tapestry of Dreams," featuring new characters and a new float called the Dream Catcher.

Information: (407) 824-4321 or www.disneyworld.com on the Web.

Spam Museum to open Saturday in Minnesota

A much-ridiculed staple of the American diet is about to get some respect.

On Saturday, the 16,500-square-foot Spam Museum opens in Austin, Minn., 34 miles southwest of Rochester, headquarters of Hormel Foods Corp., which makes the pork luncheon meat. NBC-TV news anchor Tom Brokaw and the singing Spamettes will be among the celebrants. And it's all free.

The museum is 20 times bigger than the modest visitor center Hormel has run for 10 years in Austin. Via interactive exhibits, it opens up the can on Spam's 64-year history. Visitors can don rubber gloves and hard hats and join a "simulated Spam production line," play a game show based on meat trivia, view Spam fans on film, browse vintage advertising and peruse "an authentic meat counter from the late 1800s." Special sections are devoted to Spam around the world (it's said to be a gourmet treat in South Korea) and its World War II role in Army field kitchens. Items on display number in the thousands, the company says.

During the opening weekend, Brokaw is scheduled to help dedicate a memorial to World War II veterans at the museum.

The museum's regular hours will be 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays; closed major holidays. Admission will be free. Telephone (800) 588-7726, www .hormel.com on the Web.

Carnival Cruise Lines cuts deposit time

Carnival Cruise Lines, the world's biggest, has been giving customers less time to deliver a deposit after making a reservation.

Its latest cut was from four to three days; as recently as last fall, it was seven days, a typical period in the industry.

Some travel agents have complained that three days isn't enough time for consumers to get information and make an informed decision. Indeed, Carnival President Bob Dickinson, in announcing the latest cut, called it "a good tool for limiting the consumer's window of opportunity for shopping around." He said the company would like to eliminate so-called option periods, instead requiring a deposit at the time of booking, as do some resorts and hotels.

The latest cut "almost forces" customers to make their deposits by credit card -- or pay for Federal Express delivery of their payments, said Rick Kaplan, president of Cruise Masters, a Culver City, Calif.-based cruise seller since 1974. He estimated that 10 percent of cruise customers make deposits in cash.

For Carnival, the initial deposit is $100 to $300 per person, and it is refundable if customers cancel their plans 61 to 76 days in advance of the cruise, depending on its length, a spokeswoman said.

Space for local pottery

The Catalina Island Museum in Avalon devotes most of its exhibit space this month to tile and pottery produced on Santa Catalina Island between 1927 and 1937. Lectures and walking tours are also part of the third annual Catalina Pottery & amp; Tile Extravaganza. Tel. (310) 510-2414.

Excalibur opens service

A service that allows travelers to check in for flights from their hotel has opened at the Excalibur Hotel & amp; Casino in Las Vegas. Excalibur is the 13th hotel in Las Vegas to sign with Certified Airline Passenger Services, which charges $6 per person for the check-in, available for 11 airlines; www.capstravel.com.




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