6 cartoon-inspired trips for year-end holidays

Trust us, your child will be thrilled to bits if you’re “in ’toon” with their fave flicks when you plan the year-end family vacay…

Animated films have sparked our little ones’ imaginations for generations. How often have little girls dreamed of playing Ariel, The Little Mermaid, with “thingamabobs aplenty” under the sea, while boys have fantasised about burning rubber, the way Lightning McQueen does in Cars?

Did you and your munchkin know that these well-loved animated movies were actually inspired by real-life locations? So, for a different kind of holiday this time, why not watch that movie with junior, then design a dream vacay for your mini-dynamo to one of these movie-inspired destinations?



VISIT Quebec City, Canada

FOR REEL Inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen, this animated musical feature tells the story of a fearless princess who sets off on an epic journey with a rugged iceman, his loyal pet reindeer, and a naïve snowman to locate her estranged sister, whose icy powers have inadvertently trapped the kingdom in eternal winter.

FOR REAL Do you wanna build a snowman? Then visit Hôtel de Glace in Québec City, Canada. While much of the film’s snowy scenery was based on locations in Norway, the lighting and arts team holed up in this ice hotel to study how light reflects and refracts on snow and ice. Located just 10 minutes from downtown Québec City, Hôtel de Glace is a must-see attraction if you’re visiting this neck of the woods in winter.

Made completely from ice, it features impressive snow vaults, crystalline ice sculptures, as well as 44 rooms and suites. A team of ice sculptors turn up every year to build the hotel based on a unique theme (2015’s was “Space Time”). Contests are also held to encourage artists to create rooms with different themes.

At season’s end, the entire hotel is demolished to make space for the new version. So, check out the website to make sure that you visit when the hotel is open for business! CAD$18.25/$20 for adults and CAD$9.25 for kids aged 6 to 12. Free for children 5 years and below.

GETTING THERE Fly to Quebec City via Delta Air Lines from around $1,500 (return).

You’ll often find children with their noses pressed up against the clear walls of the tanks at the aquarium shouting “I found Nemo!”

Finding Nemo


VISIT Sydney, Australia

FOR REEL In this adorable 2003 film, an overprotective clownfish named Marlin, accompanied by an fish with a memory condition named Dory, travels “across the entire ocean” to Sydney Harbour to look for his abducted son, Nemo. Along the way, Marlin learns to take risks and let Nemo take care of himself.

FOR REAL Bring your young ’uns to Sydney Sealife Aquarium (1-5 Wheat Road, Darling Harbour, Sydney), so that they can learn all about the incredible biodiversity in the Great Barrier Reef, which includes 2,000 species of fish and 350 types of coral.

Peer through the numerous windows of the main display and catch sight of hundreds of tropical reef fish living alongside sharks and sawfish. You’ll often find children with their noses pressed up against the clear walls of the tanks at the aquarium shouting “I found Nemo!” Indeed, junior will be able to see “Nemo” for himself right here, darting around the anemones. Tickets are priced at A$28 ($28.50) for adults and A$19.60 for kids 4 to 15 years old.

Organise a trip to the Sydney Fish Market  to chow down on the freshest seafood (but prepare an explanation for “panfried dory”), then take a stroll along the wharf to see the seagulls. Given a bad rap in the film as zombirds that can only say one word — “mine!” — you’ll see plenty of the real thing right here. Watch out if you’re carrying food!

GETTING THERE Fly to Sydney via Emirates from around $900 (return).

Four more “reel” destinations…