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Staycation with TravelZoo: Local Broadway Show for Less!

It’s not every day that Colorado sees a #bombcyclone – so it was a rare moment that we were forced to cancel our weekend trip.

The plan was for a daddy-daughter weekend of skiing in Vail — I teach snowboarding there — and it was to be our last trip of the season.

I’d been hearing the horror stories on social media of the storm in Denver, but also know two things:

  1. The media always tends to exaggerate weather impact.
  2. The storms would likely be clear by the time of our flight (more than 24 hours after the storm).

Both of these things were true, of course (note: that’s not to downplay the significant impact of this storm), but that didn’t stop Southwest Airlines from canceling our flight.

Just moments before I was preparing to check in online, I received an email: “Southwest Airlines Flight XXX on March 14 from MSP has been cancelled. To rebook go to …: ”

I’ve been traveling long enough to know there are few things that one can do when you hit this kind of wall — too many variables. Pulling off an effective trip is always a remarkable feat of aligning logistics you want to believe you can control — ground transportation; traffic; luggage; financial resources — and weather is something that can quickly sink them all.

So I didn’t even argue.

The bad news: Rebooking the next available flight would have meant flying to Denver the day I was scheduled to return. (Southwest quickly and very kindly refunded the amount of my fare, no questions asked. I love Southwest customer service.)

But that suddenly left my daughter and me with a dilemma: What are we going to do for three days?!?

As a parent I try to expose my daughter to culture as much as possible, and as it turned out the touring Broadway production of “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” was finishing its run in Minneapolis that weekend.

And here’s where selectively subscribing to various travel newsletters can actually pay off: Within minutes of searching my inbox for “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” I was able to find a TravelZoo promotion of Main Floor seats for $39.

Within three mouse clicks I was on Ticketmaster and, yes, the promotion actually worked.

I’ll spare you my review of the show — short version: disappointing; my friend and onetime newspaper colleague Ross Raihala at the Pioneer Press nailed it — but adults can’t go to shows like this expecting something too great. This was for my daughter, it was about the experience, and it’s not like she’s going to remember the cheap sets and unimaginative writing and story line.

She’s going to remember the poop jokes — which, of course, she did and repeated all the way home. For a 7-year-old, that’s pretty much worth the price of any admission.

In all seriousness: Props to TravelZoo. Nice work.


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