Tag Archives: London

Pre-flight entertainment for the whole family

How family friendly facilities can make airport waits a hell of a lot easier

A guest post by Emily Taylor

I’ve probably been in transportation terminals rife with the cries of restless kids more times than I can count. Not that I don’t have a soft spot for children, because I do; but that doesn’t make the constant barrages of their whines and wails any less annoying.

Family in airport with bags and trolley

Which is why it’s great to learn that many major airports the world over are now integrating child-friendly facilities to their overall services. In the US, Chicago’s O’Hare International has a reputation for being one of the busiest airports in the country. With that many flyers coming in and out of its terminals, things could no doubt get too loud – or even downright frightening – for kids. Thankfully, the airport has a special play area designed to keep them preoccupied as they wait for their flights. O’Hare has a playground called Kids on the Fly that features interactive exhibits showcasing many facets of how airplanes work given in a fun and informative manner. I remember how I was easily marveled by these kinds of easy-to-digest information when I was younger; and I have no doubt kids nowadays get a kick out of them just as much as I used to.

Heading over to the UK, London’s flagship Heathrow Airport is undergoing a lot of major renovations, most notably an expansion of Terminal 2 – soon to be called the Queen’s Terminal upon completion – as detailed in a report by airport parking service site Parking4less. Along with the expected larger floor space to accommodate more people, Terminal 2 will also open a John Lewis outlet – allegedly the smallest yet of the department store chain brand. As per John Lewis’ usual wares, this outlet will include items for kids and toddlers. Just as well, the nearby Terminal 3 also houses the Jetterz Kids Club Lounge, which should keep the children preoccupied with books, toys, and video games.

Asia’s airports have also gotten in on the act, with Hong Kong International’s play area being one of the best in the world. The SkyPlaza at Terminal 2 has a section called the Aviation Discovery Center which has various fun activities for kids and adults alike, including motion rides, games that teach about the finer points of aviation, and even flight simulators. SkyPlaza also has the 4D Extreme Screen Cinema, a 300-seater movie theatre which features the largest 3D projection screen in the whole continent. Finally, the entertainment facility is also home to iSports, an area for sports enthusiasts whose simulators for basketball, football, skiing, and more should be more than enough to accommodate the young ones’ seemingly never-ending supply of energy.

For me, a complete flight experience is one that includes services designed to entertain people even as they wait in between flights. This is especially necessary for families who may have a hard time keeping their kids well-behaved for too long. Given that, to have these services cater not just to adults but to children as well is definitely something that every airport should consider.

Author bio:
Emily Taylor was inspired to be a backpacker by her dad’s amusing travel stories from India. At present, she’s having the time of her life experiencing Oriental cultures. She spends most of her time abroad checking out airports, having rural roadtrips and trying an unusual amount of street food, all while avoiding mosquito bites. Once her glory days as a travel nut is over or when her dollars run out (whichever comes first), she plans to build her own family. But she’d honestly love to keep right on traveling – even with little kids in tow.

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And all was well

At the end of my week in London in 2012, I visited the Warner Bros. studio tour of the making of Harry Potter. This was by far my most anticipated experience of the trip. If you’re a Potterhead and have the chance, this should definitely be on your bucket list! Get the audio-guide (narrated by Tom Felton) and immerse yourself for a few hours in the wonderful world of film and magic. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves. There are a lot of them, so keep scrolling!

Sets and set details

Costumes

Props and portraits

Artwork and odds & ends

 

Scale models

Hogwarts model

This is the crème de la crème of the experience. The entire model has miniature torches and lights simulating people passing in front of them. To appreciate the full-scale of the model, I’ve added a photo from the Daily Mail to the bottom of this post from their article on the model of Hogwarts. The lighting in the room where the model is kept cycles through a few phases, simulating night and day, showing  the model in all its immense glory.

From the Daily Mail article: Proud: Jose Granell, model supervisor, is pictured with the model of Hogwarts Castle. It has been used for every one of the Harry Potter films.

From the Daily Mail article: Proud: Jose Granell, model supervisor, is pictured with the model of Hogwarts Castle. It has been used for every one of the Harry Potter films.

All  images by the author: © catterflyworx 2012. Please contact me if you would like to use any images from this site.

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London in October

In October 2012, I spent eight days in a surprisingly sunny London. I was actually there to work with the Waggener Edstrom London team, but I made sure to have some extra time to explore the city and tick off an item from my (unpublished) bucket list. I arrived on a bright Saturday morning, ready to take on the city.

London has tonnes and tonnes of sites to see, museums to visit, and pubs to explore. I managed to see a lot taking into consideration that I only had the Saturday and Sunday of the weekend I arrived, and the evenings after work.

My first point of business was to buy a local UK sim card. After getting lost all over the show in Europe in April (with a husband to navigate), I thought I’d place my trust in the Google. The second point of business was an Oyster card. Clearly I had my priorities sorted out, and I strongly recommend that you do this as well if you’re unfamiliar with the city.

After checking into the hotel, I set out to “pursue that flighty temptress, adventure”, only to realise nothing has opened yet. After waiting around, a little tired from the long flight, things started looking up and I managed to visit the Jubilee market, Trafalgar square, the National Gallery (amazing!), the Houses of Parliament, and Westminster Abbey. I joined a Swede who stayed in the hostel with me, and we had a fantastic Indian dinner in Brick lane.

On Sunday I checked into the Charing Cross hotel, and ticked Tower bridge, Shakespeare’s Globe theatre, the Tate modern (holy crap, when can I go back?), Millennium bridge, St. Paul’s cathedral and Camden town off my list.

My week nights were filled with random pubs, amazing restaurants, and revisiting some of the sites I’d already seen to take a few photos of them at night. My last visit before departing London the following Saturday, was the National Portrait gallery and the very bright M&M’s World in Leicester square.

There is one other element that I’m saving for a post of its own, one that deserved taking a Friday afternoon off and going all the way to Watford. “To be continued…

Reflecting on London

M & Ms World, Leicester square

All  images by the author: © catterflyworx 2012. Please contact me if you would like to use any images from this site.

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