Starling Travel

August 28, 2013

Why The Disneyland Skyway Ride Was Closed

Filed under: Amusement Parks — Laura Moncur @ 8:59 am

I always wondered why the Disneyland Skyway ride was closed. Here is the explanation from Disneyland Guru. (via: WIL WHEATON dot TUMBLR)

Defunct Disneyland Skyway Ride from Starling Travel

The Skyway was closed because it was expensive to maintain, had higher costs than many other attractions, required a minimum of four castmembers at each end, and had very limited passenger per hour numbers. Access issues were also considered, as there was no real alternative for making this attraction ADA compliant.

I’m not buying it. The reason why the Skyway was closed is because it wasn’t USEFUL. It was a tad ironic that Tomorrowland had so many rides devoted to transportation that didn’t actually TRANSPORT you anywhere. It was ALWAYS faster to walk to Fantasyland than to take the Skyway to it. You’ll see why when you look at this map from Disney Stuff.

Magic Kingdom Map Skyway Highlighted from Starling Travel

It takes you a long distance. It LOOKS like it’s a useful ride, but when you just finished riding Mission to Mars and want to go on Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, it’s actually EASIER and FASTER to just walk there. The Skyway ride entrance was tucked into the back corner of Tomorrowland that took you as long to walk to as it did to walk around the Matterhorn into Fantasyland.

I find it interesting that the things that didn’t work at Disneyland actually WORK at other amusement parks. Take for instance, the Skyride at Lagoon in Utah.

Lagoon Skyride from becre8tv at Flickr

The Skyride is obviously styled after the Disneyland ride, but it is insanely useful. Tired parents can suggest the Skyride to their excited kids and get all the way across the park and REST while doing it. I’ve highlighted the route of the Skyride on the Lagoon map.

Lagoon Park Map Skyride Highlighted from Starling Travel

As you can see, the utility of the Skyride is indisputable and that’s why it still runs today, outliving its inspiration by decades.

The lack of utility is also what killed the People Movers at Disneyland. They never actually MOVED PEOPLE. They took you on a slow crawl through Tomorrowland, where you were to marvel at OTHER rides.

People Mover Route from Starling Travel

When Disneyland tried to put an exciting ride on the People Mover tracks with Rocket Rods, it was actually a fun ride. Unfortunately, the tracks couldn’t handle the physical stresses and they had to shut it down within a year.

Walt Disney was trying to showcase the methods of transportation for the future, but sadly, didn’t actually use them to TRANSPORT people, which is something the tired families visiting Disneyland NEED. The only vestige of this part of Tomorrowland is the Monorail, which is incredibly useful. At present, it takes you from Disneyland to Downtown Disney and the Disneyland Hotel.

Ironically, he did use the methods of transportation of the PAST to transport people in his original design for the park. The Disneyland Railroad provides the same utility as the Lagoon Skyride does. When parents are tired, but the kids want to run to the next section of the park, they can load the kids on the train and get from Frontierland to Fantasyland, Toontown, or Main Street, all while resting. Nostalgia aside, the Disneyland Railroad is a highly useful ride, which is why it’s still in operation today.

In the end, the Skyway ride was retired because of it’s lack of utility. It wasn’t about cast members. It wasn’t about ADA compliance. It wasn’t about low passenger per hour rates. It was about the fact that it was further to WALK to the Skyway entrance than it was to just walk to Fantasyland. Even so, I still miss being able to slowly ride through the Matterhorn and hover over the Teacups.

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August 27, 2013

Prolite Mini: Another Canadian Wonder

Filed under: Teardrops & Tiny Trailers — Laura Moncur @ 9:36 am

When it comes to lightweight campers, Canada is doing something right. While Mike and I were camping in the Yellowstone area, we saw this gem of a trailer at the West Yellowstone KOA.

Pro Lite Mini from Starling Travel

With an awning, this little trailer looked like my ideal.

Pro Lite Mini from Starling Travel

I was sure that I couldn’t tow it with my Prius, but after I looked at the Prolite website, I was SHOCKED at its weight. The Prolite Mini weighs only 950 pounds!

Prolite Mini Floor Plan from Starling Travel

This little trailer weighs about as much as our tent trailer. It’s substantially smaller than our tent trailer, but it does have the benefit of hard sides, so it could camp in places in Yellowstone where we weren’t allowed.

Here is a video tour of the camper (it’s in French because the campers are manufactured in Quebec).

Just when I think campers are as light as they can be, those guys in Quebec prove me wrong again!

August 26, 2013

M.O.A.B. Fort Campers

Filed under: Teardrops & Tiny Trailers — Laura Moncur @ 9:15 am

While perusing the KSL Classifieds, I found this listing for a M.O.A.B. Fort Camper:

M.O.A.B. Fort Camper from Starling Travel

The ad read:

Moab Fort Demo Trailer for Sale. Fully loaded with fresh water tank, Galley, BBQ, Hot water heater and shower, Onboard 12v system, AC Converter, Rear Galley Awning, 33″ Tires, 2″ Lift and more. Retails for $12000

M.O.A.B. Fort Camper from Starling Travel

It looked like one of those Australian off-road campers. Here is a video showing the setup of one:

Here’s how it handles off-road situations:

Before we bought our tent trailer, I would have been REALLY tempted by a trailer like this because it’s light enough to be hauled by any vehicle. Little did I know that a cheap used tent trailer could be light enough to be towed by my Prius.

The M.O.A.B. trailer looks awesome, but at such a high price, it’s pretty much only worth it if you camp off the beaten path.

August 25, 2013

How To Replace A Pump Faucet In A Camper

Filed under: Motorhomes and Campers,Teardrops & Tiny Trailers — Laura Moncur @ 12:08 pm

A few months ago, we realized that our old pump faucet was leaking. It was the standard 2-way pump faucet, which is completely useless if you only have one hand free.

How To Replace A Pump Faucet In A Camper from Starling Travel

The fact that it was leaking gave me an opportunity to change it for the kind of faucet I would have preferred. The same kind of faucet and pump system that I used on my old camp kitchen.

How To Replace A Pump Faucet In A Camper from Starling Travel

The first problem I ran into was the MASSIVE hole that the original pump faucet was going to leave. Removing it was simple, just unscrewing four screws and popping off the hoses.

How To Replace A Pump Faucet In A Camper from Starling Travel

Once the old faucet was gone, I had to decide where to put the new one. I would have liked to put it along the back of the sink, like my kitchen faucet at home, but it didn’t fit there, so I put it to the left of the huge hole. I made a paper template to mark where I would have to drill the two holes to attach the new faucet.

How To Replace A Pump Faucet In A Camper from Starling Travel

Here is a picture of the countertop after I drilled the holes.

How To Replace A Pump Faucet In A Camper from Starling Travel

The faucet fit nicely. If you notice, I popped open the Hot and Cold indicators and replaced them with City and Tank indicators. The City handle is used when we are connected to water hookups and the Tank handle is for the onboard five gallon tank.

How To Replace A Pump Faucet In A Camper from Starling Travel

Underneath the counter, the faucet is held on with the black screw-on washers, not screws. This is much more secure, considering that the particle board countertop is twenty years old and can’t hold a screw anymore.

How To Replace A Pump Faucet In A Camper from Starling Travel

On the City handle, we connected the hoses from the previous faucet using connectors from the lawn and sprinkler section. Honestly, it took THREE trips to the hardware store before we found something that connected securely and didn’t leak. Don’t forget to use plumber’s tape.

How To Replace A Pump Faucet In A Camper from Starling Travel

On the Tank handle, we connected a siphon pump (found at Harbor Freight). The connector was in the lawn and garden section and the pump uses standard tubing.

How To Replace A Pump Faucet In A Camper from Starling Travel

Once everything was connected, it looked like this under the sink.

I was very impressed with how good it looked.

How To Replace A Pump Faucet In A Camper from Starling Travel

That huge hole? We covered it with a plate of aluminum. You can find them in the hardware store near the door hinges. It covered the hole nicely and we have a tad more counter space than we used to have.

How To Replace A Pump Faucet In A Camper from Starling Travel

When we don’t have city water hookups, we can bring out the pump from under the sink, turn on the handle and pump it with our knee, leaving both hands free.

How To Replace A Pump Faucet In A Camper from Starling Travel

When we do have city water, the pump hides nicely under the sink. If you look closely, you can see the two holes we drilled for the tubing for the pump, but it’s not very noticeable.

How To Replace A Pump Faucet In A Camper from Starling Travel

Under the sink, the tubing fits well and no more leaking!

How To Replace A Pump Faucet In A Camper from Starling Travel

If you have come to hate your hand pump faucet as much as I did, don’t wait until it starts leaking to change it out. This job took only a few hours and has made using the water in our trailer SO much easier.

August 20, 2013

Carol Burnett Show’s No Frills Airline

Filed under: Airline Travel — Laura Moncur @ 9:04 am

I’m sure this sketch was hilarious in the Seventies when it was aired on the Carol Burnett Show, but from the seats of the airlines in 2013, it’s like looking at what airline travel was in the past versus how it is now.

Look how HUGE the seats are! Look how much room there is between the seats and in the aisles. I realize this wasn’t a REAL airplane, but they tried to make it look realistic so that the audience would recognize that they were on an airplane. Here’s an advertising photo from that age, the seats and aisles really WERE that big.

Seventies Airlines had tons of room and big seats

Even more humiliating was the scene where the stewardess takes his coat and mashes it up.

No Frills Airline is better than we have today

She used it for an additional pillow for the first class passenger, but how many of you have had security do this EXACT same thing to the clothing you’re wearing during a security check? Not only that, they picked through my suitcase as well, until they found my nail clippers and “graciously” offered to let me “surrender” them.

Sometimes I feel like we are like the proverbial frog in a pot. If airline travel had been as miserable back in the Fifties and Sixties as it is today, the airline companies would never have been able to convince anyone to shell out the money to fly. We have been stewing in water that has heated to a boil slowly and this little froggie has hopped out. If they want me to fly, they can give me back a comfortable seat with more than six inches between me and the seat in front of me. Until then, I’ll drive.

August 15, 2013

17 Air Travel Tips from Hank Green

Filed under: Airline Travel — Laura Moncur @ 1:14 pm

The ever-effervescent Hank Green has some travel wisdom to impart on us about airline travel.

I hate to travel by airplane so much that I’d much rather drive for THREE days. Not everyone has that extra time, though, so these tips can come in handy.

Before the Flight

  • Don’t try to pack everything you could possibly need. Make some hard decisions and leave some of it at home. Get everything you can in ONE bag.
  • You’re not your best self on travel days because you’re going to be tired, stupid, cranky and smell kinda bad. You have permission to be that way.
  • Give EVERYONE else permission to be that way as well.

At Security

  • Liquids and gels go into the little ziploc bag. If they don’t fit in there, you’re not bringing them on the plane.
  • Peanut butter counts as a gel.
  • Take EVERYTHING out of your pockets when you go through security. Even a small piece of paper can look like a rocket launcher.
  • Be nice to the security people. They don’t make the rules, they just get into trouble if they don’t enforce them.
  • Don’t joke about pocket rocket launchers unless you want to eat the carpet.
  • If you wear a hoodie, you WILL be pulled aside for further screening. This is not profiling. There’s just a lot of room in that thing to hide stuff.


  • If you don’t have a big carry-on bag, you don’t need to hurry to get on the plane to make sure that you find a space. Just RELAX, wait to board until final boarding. You have an assigned seat. It’s going to be less comfortable than the one you have right now, so just CHILL.
  • When you’re boarding the plane, GET OUT OF THE AISLE!! You’re blocking traffic.
  • The people in first class look unhappy because they travel A LOT. It’s a miserable life, don’t envy them.

On the Plane

  • They won’t feed you, so bring a snack.
  • Bring an EMPTY water bottle to fill up AFTER you go through security.
  • Bring a REAL book, because they won’t let you use electronics during take off or landing.

On the Ground

  • If you have a connecting flight, check where it is FIRST thing off the plane. Even if you’ve been delayed three hours and think you’ve missed your connection, for all you know, the other plane was delayed as well. You don’t want to miss it if you don’t have to.
  • If you DO miss your connection, while you’re waiting in line to get your stuff rerouted, check online on your phone to see what could be available or call customer service because it’s better to be waiting in TWO lines if you can do two at the same time. You never know which line you’re going to get through first.

Honestly, I have a few comments on this list.

  • Packing everything for a three week trip in one tiny bag might be possible for some, but I’ve never achieved it. What are you wearing, Hank? Magic squishable clothes?

  • It’s NOT okay to be stinky on travel days, Hank. Sorry, but we are all trapped in a tin can together. We need to be clean and free from smelly perfumes to make this whole thing bearable for each other.

  • It’s sad and pathetic that we have become volunteers for strip searches. We PAY for the privilege of flying and in return, they send us through scanners that mistake a piece of paper for a pocket rocket launcher.

  • I can’t stress how true it is that they DO NOT FEED YOU. Even if you are stuck on the tarmac for SEVEN hours. Even if it takes TWELVE hours to get from Salt Lake City to John Wayne Airport, they will NOT feed you. When this happened to us, I was so grateful that I had packed not just a snack, but an entire meal for all of us. THEY WILL NOT FEED YOU!

  • After paying all that money for the privilege of being strip searched, starved and harassed about our Kindles, the planes aren’t even on time and it’s OUR responsibility to reroute ourselves when THEIR planes are late. How is that acceptable?

In the end, that three day drive across the country doesn’t sound all that bad, actually.


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