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The AWOL News Wrap: Disney Updates, New Rules For Machu Picchu & HK’s New Sculpture Park

Keeping on top of all the changes and exciting updates happening in the travel world can be challenging.

That’s why, each week, we’ll be bringing you little tidbits of information that we hope will make your next trip easier, inspire you to book that dream trip, or just make you go, “Huh, that’s interesting”.

New Details Of Disney’s ‘Star Wars’ Hotel Emerge

Disney has revealed new details about its hotly anticipated immersive Star Wars hotel, which will be connected to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (which is, in turn, part of Walt Disney World in Florida).

“Guests’ journey through space will start when everyone departs together for a multiday Star Wars adventure by boarding a starship alive with characters and stories that unfold all around them during a voyage through the galaxy,” representatives for the company shared in a blog post.

That means visitors will become “active citizens of the galaxy” and will be required to dress in “proper attire” to complete missions over the duration of their stay. On top of that, Disney reps also confirmed every window in the hotel’s 400 rooms will provide a “view” of the galaxy beyond.

It’s going to be freaking awesome, but if you can’t wait for it to open, pass the time by checking out new photos of Disney’s Star Wars land and Millennium Falcon ride.

A Visit To Disney Just Got More Expensive

Walt Disney World

Image: Thomas Kelley

Speaking of Disney, a visit to the company’s Disneyland (in California) and Walt Disney World (in Florida) parks will now see you shelling out a little more.

A single-day pass for the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World has jumped from $160 (USD$124) to $165 (USD $129) for anyone aged over 10 years. Other passes, like the park-hopper pass, which allows visitors to visit all four parks at the Floirda compound, have also been affected, jumping by $12 (USD$10) to $237 (USD$184)

In California, single-day admission for adults jumped $14 (USD$11) to $173 (USD$135).

It’s worth noting that admission prices fluctuate according to demand, so try to visit outside of peak season if you can.


One Of Thailand’s Most Popular Beaches Is Closing

Koh Phi Phi Leh, Thailand

Image: Jakob Owens

Thailand’s pristine beaches are popular among travellers for a reason, but that popularity is starting to take its toll. Authorities on the island of Koh Phi Phi Leh – which you’ve definitely seen on your Instagram feed – have announced the island will close to tourists from June to September while they carry out much-needed restoration and conservation work.

According to The Guardian, the beach receives as many as 5000 visitors every day thanks to its appearance in Leonardo DiCaprio film The Beach. That volume and the industry it’s brought with it has seen coral reefs around the bay damaged and in need of help.

If you’d planned on visiting this year, rest assured, there are a bunch of amazing alternatives just waiting to be discovered.


Peru Has Introduced New Rules For Tourists Visiting Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu

Image: Babak Fakhamzadeh

A bucket-list item for many travellers, Machu Picchu’s immense popularity has put pressure on the ancient site. Now, the Peruvian government’s Ministry of Culture has taken steps to protect it from degradation caused by overcrowding.

“Machu Picchu is a great attraction, but we are worried about its sustainability,” Sandra Doig, incoming tourism deputy director of PROMPERU (Peru’s tourism board), said in a statement. “It is being affected by too many people at the citadel at the same time.”

Many of the new regulations – including when you can visit and how you can get there – are being trialled in July 2018. For example, you’ll now have to choose between two entry windows — 6am to 12pm or 12pm to 5:30pm – rather than hanging out all day.

In addition to that, it’s imperative that visitors are accompanied by a certified guide, who’s prohibited from leading groups larger than 16 people. They’ll have a choice of walking three circuits, varying in difficulty, and no others.

And, lastly, visitors are no longer permitted to being umbrellas, large bags, food and drinks (with the exception of bottled water), walking poles, photography equipment like drones and tripods, strollers, or spiked walking shoes into the site.


Hong Kong Just Got A Slick New Sculpture Park

Harbour Arts Sculpture Park 2018

Image: Harbour Arts Sculpture Park 2018

Victoria Harbour is the undeniable heart of Hong Kong, and the city has just unveiled a stunning new sculpture park, with works by local and international artists peppering Tamar Park in Central, Edinburgh Park and the lawns of the Hong Kong Arts Centre.

Works by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, US sculptor Jenny Holzer, and British artist Mark Wallinger all feature at Harbour Arts, with free workshops, tours, and public art symposiums to form what city officials are calling a “museum without walls”.

The park was unveiled ahead of Art Month, which takes place in March and includes festivals like Art Basel Hong Kong and Art Central.

It’s open until April 11, 2018. You can check out the full line-up here.

Check out Qantas flights and begin your next adventure.