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Why more air travel chaos is on its way

(CNN) — Now is the summer of our discontent, Shakespeare didn’t exactly write in “Richard III,” but for airline travelers in the US and Europe that’s exactly what this summer is shaping up to be. Flights are vanishing from the schedules — some at the last minute as airlines fail to offer the services that travelers have spent significant amounts of money on, often in the hope of enjoying their first escape in years. More than 1,500 flights were canceled in the US alone this past Saturday and Sunday, and the US is heading into its busy July 4 holiday weekend. Delta Air Lines has trimmed about 100 flights a day from its schedule in July to “minimize disruptions” and has issued a waiver for July 4 travelers as it braces for passenger volumes “not seen since before the pandemic.” Air Canada has said it will cancel up to 10% of flights in July and August, roughly 150 a day. At airports, scenes of passengers lining up out of terminal doors or camping out in departure halls are increasingly familiar as delays with security, check ins and immigration add up to more mayhem. Passengers have been asked to turn up even earlier to make their flight, and then to add to the confusion, asked again to turn up not too early. “Please consider that you are only welcome at the departure hall 4 hours before your flight,” Amsterdam’s Schipol Airport advised this week. And then there’s the luggage problem. At London’s Heathrow airport, photographs showing huge piles of bags separated from their owners have become emblematic of the experiences of many fliers facing the frustration of trying to claim lost possessions or wait days to be reunited with them. No quick fixesAirports and airlines have been struggling to replace trained workers let go during the pandemic.Chandan Khanna/AFP/Getty ImagesAll in all, air travel is a bit of a nightmare — even a gamble — right now. And high season is only beginning.There are apparently no quick fixes. This week, German airline Lufthansa warned passengers in an email that the situation was “unlikely to improve in the short term,” insisting stability would only be reached in the winter.”Too many employees and resources are still unavailable, not only at our infrastructure partners but in some of our own areas, too,” it said. “Almost every company in our industry is currently recruiting new personnel, with several thousand planned in Europe alone.”Even when the problem is principally airport-related, that can also mean flights delayed and canceled. Dutch carrier KLM was recently forced to scrap all inbound European flights to Amsterdam, apparently because of airport crowding.So what’s going on? Much of commercial aviation is almost actual rocket science, but the set of problems that airlines and airports are currently experiencing are not that. Instead, it’s about a much more normal business problem: staffing.And the aviation industry should’ve seen it coming.’No surprise”Crowds and queues at airport terminals are becoming a feature of air travel in summer 2022.Stephane Mahe/Reuters”Between their own research, research that my company and others have conducted, and their reservations systems, airline executives should have seen — and thus should have known — that there would be strong demand to travel again,” says Henry Harteveldt, principal at market research and advisory firm Atmosphere Research.”Either they didn’t look at their own data, or misread or misinterpreted it, but none of this should have been a surprise to airlines.”In almost every case, the problem is that too many experienced people were let go during the pandemic — either laid off or given a voluntary out — and that airlines, airports, and other key parts of the aviation system have not hired and qualified enough people to replace them. That qualification point is important. As airlines and airports know all too well, there’s a whole process involved to get someone the kind of security pass that allows them to work on an airplane or at an airport gate.In the UK, there’s also the fact that they can’t draw on the pool of European Union workers after Brexit. There’s also often some fairly complicated training involved in actually doing the work, not least since the look and feel of a lot of air travel computer systems seem to look more at home in the 1980s than in the modern iPhone or Android world.Addison Schonland, partner at aviation analysis and reporting firm AirInsight, sums up the likely affected sectors as “any part of the air travel system that has employees.””Layoffs are easy, bringing people back with appropriate security clearance is hard,” Schonland says. “Also the US airlines in particular have a reputation for being unreliable employers — the boom and bust cycles mean wobbly careers — plus the work requires skilled people and is trying work. These people have likely more attractive options now.”Some of the problems are around too much outsourcing. Recipe for disruptionMountains of bags separated from their owners at London Heathrow Airport have become emblematic of the current air travel troubles.Takuya Matsumoto/The Yomiuri Shimbun/Reuters ConnectAt many airports, particularly in Europe, key tasks like check in, security, baggage, gate and airport operations are done by staff who work for third-party companies that airlines and airports contract in. You’ll often spot them in a bland uniform that isn’t the same as your airline’s own employees. These folks do work that is actually pretty hard in some cases — like lifting bags outside in snow and sunshine, working before dawn and late into the evening, and dealing with increasingly frustrated passengers.Some of it is also a real question of labor relations. For example, during the pandemic, British Airways asked some UK employees to take a 10% pay cut. Some workers have since had their wages raised, but not check-in staff at Heathrow, who are now willing to strike to get it. British Airways has said it’s disappointed with the move and hopes to find a way to avoid industrial action. No matter which side of the Atlantic you’re on, it’s a recipe for disruption. In the US, the Federal Aviation Administration is facing problems due to a shortage of air traffic controllers, says Atmosphere Research’s Harteveldt. “Covid-related health restrictions limited the FAA’s ability to hire and train new air traffic controllers in 2020 and 2021,” he says. “Plus, air traffic controllers are required to retire at age 56, and the calendar didn’t stop during those two years.”The FAA is actively hiring people to become air traffic controllers, but the training process takes time. Meanwhile, airlines schedule more flights to some destinations, especially Florida, than the FAA can handle. “So even when weather is good, the FAA on occasion has to give some flights longer, less direct routings that may lead to delays, in order to spread the burden across their air traffic control centers.”So what should fliers do?The best advice I can give you as an aviation journalist who’s never seen this much disruption is to book defensively.– Consider alternatives to flying, if your journey is possible in under eight hours by train, boat, bus or car. If you’re not traveling with people who have to be back at school in the fall, consider a trip in September or October rather than July or August.– If you have to fly, choose nonstop flights over connecting flights if available and affordable. Connections add complexity and increase vulnerability to cancellation or delay, particularly those via places that can experience severe weather problems in summer. — In Europe, choose the smaller hubs with reputations for efficiency and no recent major disruption reported: Munich, Zurich and Vienna are the safest bets.– Choose flights earlier in the day rather than later — that’ll mean more options for travel that same day in the event that your flight is canceled or significantly delayed. Tight connections — anything less than a couple of — should be avoided if possible. — Opt for airlines offering many flights per day on a route rather than those with just one or two. — Research what other options are on a route. If you turn up on the day and there are thunderstorms in Dallas or Houston, can you ask the airline agent to route you through Chicago, Philadelphia or Dulles instead? — Some airlines offer fast-track check in and security, lounge access and priority boarding as a buy-up extra, and that’s a better deal than ever. Or in the US, consider TSA PreCheck. Log into your reservation every few weeks to see if there are discounted upgrade options: It’a a great time to splurge for extra comfort and fast-track benefits.– Join your airline’s frequent-flier scheme. Not only will you get some miles but most rebooking systems will prioritize frequent fliers in some way — even the ones whose mileage balances are low. Also use the airline’s app, which will make any rebooking easier.– In the event that the rebooking options in the app don’t work, phone calls or social media can work. Airlines often respond to direct messages via Twitter. The platform is also good for airline, airport or even weather updates. — Pack light and opt to carry-on only, if you can. If you need to check bags, keep a few days’ clothes and any essentials in your carry-on. Bring snacks, chargers and load up your devices with TV and movies. And bring the most important thing this summer — and any time you’re traveling: patience.Good luck, and feel free to ask questions on Twitter, where you can find me as @thatjohn.Top image: Passengers stand in a TSA screening line at the Orlando International Airport, May 3. Credit: Kirby Lee/APAviation journalist John Walton specializes in the passenger experience. With over a decade of experience spanning aircraft, seats, cabins, connectivity, digital, design, marketing and branding, he has a unique perspective on what makes the world’s biggest industry tick. He can be found on Twitter at @thatjohn.

How two women with the exact same name became best friends

(CNN) — Growing up in the US, Kim Pflieger always thought her name was relatively unusual. Sure, Kimberly was fairly commonplace, but it was one of those names with multiple available spellings, and she rarely came across another Pflieger. She figured her first and last name paired together was unique.But with the advent of the internet, Kim became aware of another Kimberly Pflieger. Whenever Kim created email addresses, she usually had to add a dot or a dash in there, as alternative options were already taken. As she established herself as a producer in the reality TV world, and later a life coach, this other Kimberly Pflieger, a Canadian health professional, often popped up next to her on Google, Facebook and LinkedIn.Kim always shortened her name, whereas the other Kimberly didn’t. Otherwise, they’d shared the exact same name with the same spelling since childhood, and even seemed to be a similar age — both in their early 60s.Naturally curious, Kim was intrigued by the other Kimberly. Pflieger is a German name that Kim learned originated from the region of Europe once known as Alsace-Lorraine, which swapped back and forth between France and Germany in the 19th and 20th centuries. Kim found herself wondering whether the two women had shared ancestry.Midway through 2019, Kim decided to drop the other Kimberly a friendly message on LinkedIn, explaining her reasons for reaching out, hoping the stranger wouldn’t find it odd.Less than an hour later, she received an enthusiastic response from Kimberly.Canadian Kimberly says she had also long been aware of, and intrigued by, her US equivalent, who she knew, thanks to Google, lived a glamorous life working in television in Los Angeles. “Wow, she has the exact same name as me, the exact same way,” Kimberly recalls thinking the first time she stumbled across Kim.Kimberly never expected to hear from Kim, but she says she was delighted to receive the message out of the blue that day in 2019.After a bit of back and forth on LinkedIn, the two women exchanged email addresses. Over long emails, they chatted about their respective lives as Kimberly Pflieger.It was quickly obvious the two Kimberlys shared not only the same name, but the same outlook on life. They were both deep thinkers, naturally inquisitive, sociable and keen for connection.”It was so easy and so fast,” Kim tells CNN Travel. “Kimberly is so curious, and so present and just so fun and so freaking smart, that we hit it off so fast.””We had a lot of the same values and morals and that sort of thing. So I think that sort of spurred on our conversation and created a bigger connection,” adds Kimberly.The Zoom calls became a regular part of each woman’s social calendar; they’d connect via video call and chat for over an hour about their lives, their politics, their families and their thoughts.”I found Kim to be a very open, warm person,” says Kimberly. “And I felt comfortable discussing aspects of my life, even though I really didn’t know her.”As time went on and the calls got longer and the topics deeper, the two women started planning to meet in person. Kimberly and her partner were mapping out a trip to Los Angeles when March 2020 hit, and the pandemic scuppered plans.”Canada closed its borders, so we just kept communicating through Zoom back and forth, getting to know each other more, learning about families,” explains Kimberly.For both women, keeping up this connection was a source of comfort during the subsequent two years of lockdowns and uncertainty. “Finding somebody you end up really connecting with at this age in our life is really, to me, rare,” says Kim. Meeting in-personKim, second from left, with Kimberly, and their partners in California this year.Courtesy Kimberly Pflieger and Kim PfliegerEarlier this year, as the pandemic waned in North America and travel opened up again, the two Kimberlys were finally able to meet. Kimberly and her partner Paul flew to California to spend a week exploring with Kim and her husband Troy.Kim and Kimberly say meeting one another for the first time in person simply felt like being reunited with an old friend, and this easy camaraderie extended to their partners too.”All four of us said, ‘Oh my God, I feel like we’ve known each other forever and ever,'” says Kim.The group enjoyed some great local food and bonded over a shared love of fine wine, they went on a long hike in Malibu and enjoyed lazy evenings walking by the water.”Zoom is nice and you can have great intimate conversations, but having shared experiences with somebody really deepens the connection,” says Kim.”And there was that physical connection,” adds Kimberly. “I’m a big hugger, so of course, as soon as we met, we had to hug, because to me, that physical connection is really important.”And the fact the two Kimberlys shared a name was also all the more apparent when they were hanging out together, in person. It was the source of much amusement.”That’s when it really hit me, because we’re now with partners who were calling us by our name, and I’m hearing my name,” says Kim, laughing.The group had a great time hiking and enjoying California together.Courtesy Kimberly Pflieger and Kim PfliegerKimberly brought with her to LA various information and research on her family tree. There wasn’t an obvious link to Kim’s family, but the two women are now planning to have their DNA analyzed. They’re still intrigued as to whether there’s a link somewhere down the line.The two women are also planning their next meet-up, with Kim and her husband set to visit Kimberly and her partner in Canada this fall, and they hope this will be the next of many vacations together. Their dream trip would be heading to Alsace-Moselle, the region of France once known as Alsace-Lorraine where they believe the Pflieger name originates. They like the idea of digging into their family tree together, while also enjoying plenty of good French wine.Kim and Kimberly have lots in common, including a love of fine wine.Courtesy Kimberly Pflieger and Kim PfliegerWhen Kim first reached out to Kimberly, she didn’t expect to find a best friend. The unexpected outcome confirms Kim’s belief in the importance of “being curious, trusting my intuition and being open-hearted.”Both women also say their unexpected connection has brought them joy and comfort in a destabilizing period.”I thought that it was just so heartwarming and delightful that you could make a connection with somebody that you didn’t know that lives in another country,” says Kimberly.”You could make a connection with somebody, despite all the turmoil going on, and you could foster that, and you could make a relationship and have it grow. And to me, that is, the biggest part about being human — it’s being open and being able to connect, because we all need social connections.”Top photo courtesy Kimberly Pflieger and Kim Pflieger. Kimberly is on the left and Kim is on the right.

Airline reveals bunk beds for economy class passengers

Editor’s Note — Monthly Ticket is a CNN Travel series that spotlights some of the most fascinating topics in the travel world. In June, we’re taking to the skies for a look at the latest developments in plane interiors, including the people working to change the way we fly.(CNN) — For the first time ever, economy class passengers are going to have the option of stretching out for some sleep on actual beds during their flights. Air New Zealand has announced its “Skynest” concept, which features six full-length sleeping pods, will be among the offerings included on its new Boeing 787 Dreamliners, due to enter into service in 2024. Each pod in the sleep zone will be located between the Premium Economy and Economy cabins and include a full-size pillow, bedding, ear plugs, a reading light, USB port and a ventilation outlet. The pods are stacked like bunk beds, with two rows each containing three beds. An Air New Zealand media representative told CNN Travel via email that the airline is still working through the exact details of how the pods will be booked but offered a few insights into how it may look. “At this stage, each passenger will be limited to a four-hour session in one pod, at an additional cost to their regular Economy class seats,” says the rep. “The airline did a fair bit of research around sleep cycles. A typical sleep cycle is around 90 minutes, so a four-hour session gives the opportunity for customers to wind down, fall asleep and wake up.” The bedding will be changed between each session. Considering Air New Zealand operates some of the longest flights on the planet, the beds will provide a welcome respite for travelers unable to sleep sitting up. In September 2022, Air New Zealand is launching nonstop flights between Auckland and New York’s JFK airport. The flight time? 17 hours — making it them the world’s longest regularly scheduled passenger flights. “New Zealand’s location puts us in a unique position to lead on the ultra-long-haul travel experience,” said Air New Zealand CEO Greg Foran in a statement. “We have zeroed in on sleep, comfort and wellness because we know how important it is for our customers to arrive well rested. Whether they are heading straight into a meeting, or to their first holiday hotspot — they want to hit the ground running.” New offerings include ‘Business Premier Luxe’ suitesAir New Zealand’s new cabins will also feature “Business Premier Luxe” suites, which offer added privacy. Air New ZealandCreating innovative new seating concepts is the easy part. Getting them into the skies is a long, complicated process involving mountains of tests and government approvals. CNN Travel first reported on the Skynest concept back in early 2020, when the airline filed patent and trademark applications following three years of research, development and testing based on input from more than 200 customers at a hangar in Auckland. As noted above, it will still be another two years before the Skynest is available to book. In addition to eight Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners, which will be delivered to the airline from 2024, Air New Zealand is also retrofitting its current 787-9 fleet. The planes will have either eight or four Business Premier Luxe seats, 42 or 22 Business Premier seats, 52 or 33 Premium Economy seats and 125 or 213 Economy seats. Aircraft used on the ultra-long-haul routes will include the six Skynest sleep pods. “Research shows us the first night away from home is the hardest to get a good night’s sleep so everything we do on board is to help create a sense of calm — from the lighting and sleep ritual including sleepy teas and balms, to the healthier food choices and breathable fabrics,” said Chief Customer and Sales Officer Leanne Geraghty in the statement. “Meditative onscreen content, Zentertainment, will also help customers unwind and get ready for rest.”Economy class passengers aren’t the only ones getting an upgrade either. The new cabins will also feature “Business Premier Luxe” suites, which offer added privacy. These will feature all the trappings of the airline’s Business Premier class, but with a fully closing door and enough space for two people to dine together. Top image: Air New Zealand’s Skynest sleep zones will be available to book in 2024. Credit: Air New Zealand

The couple who met at Disneyland

(CNN) — Renata Bastos always wondered if she might find romance at Disneyland.”On one hand, it feels almost impossible and surreal. On the other hand, it makes perfect sense. Where else was I going to meet the love of my life, if not at Disney?” Renata tells CNN Travel today.For Renata, Disneyland California is a home-away-from-home. She grew up some 20 minutes from the Anaheim resort. As a kid, she enjoyed many sunny family weekends soaking up the magic. As a teenager, she spent long Saturdays wandering the park with her school friends.By 2012, 20-year-old Renata was at a crossroads. She’d just got back to the US after an extended vacation to her birth country of Brazil. Reconnecting with her Brazilian culture and family was healing and revealing. Renata decided concentrating on herself, her family and her friendships was key to this stage of her life — romantic relationships were firmly off the table. With that in mind, Renata organized a big trip to Disneyland with her extended group of friends — an opportunity for a catch up after her time away. On the morning of Friday, January 13, 2012, Renata and her friends streamed through the Disney gates. They spent most of the morning people watching on Main Street U.S.A, and laughing and screeching as they rode the park’s roller coasters. By mid-afternoon, Renata and her friends broke off into smaller groups to accommodate everyone’s interests, but planned to reunite at Jungle Cruise, the water-based ride in Adventureland. The friends figured there was enough of them to take over a whole boat, to maximize the fun.When the group eventually reunited in the Jungle Cruise line, they’d grown in number. One of Renata’s friends had got chatting to some guys she vaguely knew while waiting for the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, and she’d invited them to join in the day’s fun.Among these newcomers was Brian Mehl. Brian grew up in a Disney-loving family, and, like Renata, spent much of his free time as a kid and teenager at Disneyland.Renata and Brian actually grew up in the same town. But as Brian was a bit older, and they’d attended different high schools, the two had never crossed paths,Like Renata, Brian was at a crossroads in his life in January 2012. He’d just left his job, and was questioning what came next.Brian and Renata met in 2012 at Disneyland California.@MagicallyRenataWaiting in line for the ride, the two groups of friends started chatting with a third group, the cast of a local production of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” In the end, the three groups boarded the boat in tandem.”So we did succeed at having our own private little cruise on the Jungle Cruise with just our now extraordinarily large group of friends,” recalls Renata.Swept up in the fun of the ride, and the excitement of meeting a bunch of new, like-minded people all at once, Renata only zeroed in on Brian when the group disembarked the boat.”I was like, ‘Oh, wait a minute, I decided I wasn’t gonna date anyone, but he’s kind of cute. I’m going to talk to him,'” she says. But there were so many people in the group, and so much going on, that her efforts weren’t very successful.”He couldn’t care less about me. He was completely oblivious. It did not work at all,” says Renata, laughing.Brian insists this isn’t true. He remembers meeting Renata that day. He thought she was “a bubbly fun person,” he says.As the day drew to a close, plans started to form for the group to watch their new friends in “Rocky Horror” the following evening. Renata jumped at the chance to host a pre-show party at her house, hoping Brian might come along. But the following day, as she got ready for the evening, prepping her costume — a silver corset, jeans and cat ears — Renata began to have doubts.”He’s not just going to show up to a complete stranger’s house,” she recalls thinking.But he did.’Rocky Horror’ romance”I decided to go because it sounded like a fun time,” says Brian. “Meeting new people is always a fun thing to do.”Renata was thrilled.”I was shocked to see him. I didn’t actually believe him when he said he was going until he showed up,” she says. “It wasn’t until then that I thought that maybe I had a chance with this guy.””So we went to ‘Rocky,’ and again, I orchestrated so I would end up sitting next to him.”Amid the raucous audience interaction at “Rocky,” Renata and Brian flirted. As the night went on, it was clear the interest wasn’t just on Renata’s end.”There was definitely a physical connection,” she recalls.”If I’m going to be honest here, there was not a lot of chatting. There was some dancing and some kissing. But he had my number and started texting me the next day.”It was over text that the two realized how much they had in common. The messages started, and didn’t stop.”I think that’s what started our big connection, that we started talking constantly right after ‘Rocky,'” says Brian. “I don’t think I ever had anyone truly communicate with me so much day to day.”As well as a mutual passion for Disney, both Brian and Renata shared a love of winter sports. Over text, Brian told Renata he was trying to get a group together to go out to the mountains for a day trip the following weekend. He invited Renata to come along.When no one else committed and it ended up just being Renata and Brian, alone, they were both secretly pleased.”We did a lot of the typical first date stuff, the getting to know you stuff, but instead of having those conversations across a table from each other we did it on a chairlift,” recalls Renata. “It was a really fun first date. I remember just talking,” says Brian.After the day of snow sports, Renata and Brian made plans to go see “Rocky Horror” again. This time, it would just be the two of them. Afterwards, they hung out all evening.”For me that was the moment,” says Renata. “We stayed up all night talking, and that was when we really connected, and we realized that we both have the same goals in life, the same interests.””That was that,” says Brian, who says that meeting Renata gave him a feeling of certainty and clarity he’d never felt before. Renata says she felt the same way. And this was only cemented when they introduced their parents at, of course, Disneyland. “It just felt comfortable and natural,” says Brian. “It wasn’t work.” A Disney proposalRenata and Brian spent a day enjoying snow sports on their first date.@MagicallyRenataThe first test of Brian and Renata’s relationship came two years in, when Renata accepted her dream role with the Disney College Program. The job involved her relocating to Florida, to work at Walt Disney World, for six months.”These six months apart are going to be the ultimate test,” Renata recalls thinking. “If it doesn’t work, then it’s not supposed to work, and it’s fine, and we’ll break it off — and good thing we found out now, instead of investing, you know, another three more years.”Brian helped her move, and the couple turned the drive across the country into a two week road trip, stopping off at landmarks and making the most of the time together.”But if it does work, if after six months apart, we come to the conclusion that we still want to be together, then that’s kind of it, that we found the person and from there on, our relationship is going to shift into a much more serious tone,” Renata remembers thinking.During their six month separation, the two busied themselves with work.”Life just happened and we just rolled through,” says Brian.When Renata came back, the relationship did shift. The couple decided to move in together, and Brian started cooking up plans for a memorable wedding proposal.Brian proposed to Renata in a creative, Disney-themed way.@MagicallyRenataThe location was a no-brainer: Disneyland, of course. The Californian park was where the two met, and it had a special resonance for their families, too.Renata had told Brian she liked the idea of a big proposal, with all her loved ones in attendance. So when Renata’s extended family were in town from Brazil, it was the perfect opportunity. The group made reservations at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel for a “character breakfast,” where diners brunch accompanied by actors dressed as beloved Disney characters.Brian got Renata’s sister involved, and the two did some research. They learned that if people propose at Disneyland, the characters are instructed to move out of any photos. Brian knew Renata better than anyone, and he knew Renata would love her favorite characters to be part of the moment. So Brian and Renata’s sister cooked up an idea: Brian would make a “marry me” sign and while Renata took a photo with her favorite Disney characters, cartoon chipmunks Chip and Dale, Brian would hold up the sign in the background.In the moment, these logistics proved a little complicated. Renata missed the sign altogether, and only realized what was happening when Brian got down on one knee with the ring.Still, when she put two and two, she was delighted.”It was really cute,” says Renata now. “And then we all went to Disneyland.”Renata and Brian enjoyed a Disney-themed wedding at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel.@MagicallyRenataFast forward two years, and Renata and Brian returned to the Disneyland Grand Californian Hotel to get married. It was a dream come true for Renata. “Since I was little, I used to say that I was going to get married at Disney,” she says.Her dad used to point out that she’d need to marry someone who loved Disney as much as she did. “If they don’t want to get married at Disney, they’re not the right person,” Renata would respond. Now, here she was. She’d found the “right person.” She was marrying someone who loved Disneyland as much as she did. And Disneyland was where their romance had begun. “Everything was perfect,” says Renata, who took Brian’s name, becoming Renata Mehl.”It was awesome,” agrees Brian.At the wedding, the two had several Disney characters in attendance, Mickey and Minnie Mouse, as well as Renata’s favorites Chip and Dale. Afterwards, the couple took advantage of Renata’s Disney employee discount to fly to Walt Disney World Florida and honeymoon at the park’s Grand Floridian Hotel.They enjoyed a morning train tour before the park opened, a firework cruise and dinner inside Cinderella’s Castle.10 years laterRenata and Brian on a recent trip to Brazil together.@MagicallyRenataThis year sees Renata and Brian celebrate 10 years since they first met at Disneyland. They’ve grown up together in that time, supporting one another as they’ve found their way.They still enjoy going to the theater together, and getting out in nature. They recently took up paddleboarding, and enjoyed a hiking trip to the Grand Canyon.And they still love Disney. The couple still live close to Disneyland California and say they never get sick of going there.Renata chronicles their Disney adventures on her Instagram account, @MagicallyRenata. Their goal is to visit all the Disney parks across the world, with Disney Tokyo and Disneyland Paris topping the list.Renata and Brian hope to have kids together one day, and they would like Disneyland to be as much a part of their future children’s lives as it is theirs.”I think for me, there’s so much nostalgia, when it comes to Disney,” reflects Renata. “I grew up on it. I was very lucky to get to go to Disneyland from a very young age. And so every time I’m there, there are just all these little callbacks to my childhood. But also, I’ve formed a new respect for it as an adult.”Brian agrees, suggesting the magic of Disneyland is it’s a place where adults can indulge their inner kid. That said, the two admit they might be a bit biased. Sure, Disneyland was special for them before 2012. But then it became the place where their romance began, and took on a new resonance.While Renata suggests “right place and the right time” played a part in their meeting, she’s also a Disney lover, so fairytale endings are her thing. She likes to think there was more at play than just coincidence. “I think we still would have met. I think there’s a little bit of destiny there,” she says. “It was meant to be. One way or the other we were going to run into each other.”

AMTRAK TO ASHEVILLE

Amtrak Connects US: A Vision to Grow Rail Service Across America
New or improved routes to add millions more passengers over 15 years
With a growing and diverse population, a global climate crisis and longer traffic jams, America needs a rail network that offers frequent, reliable, sustainable, and equitable train service. Amtrak has the vision and expertise to deliver it.