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TVL BRIEFS RANKING RESORTS

The top U.S. resort hotels (and 2003 ranking), from Andrew Harper's Hideaway Report:

1. The Greenbrier, W.Va. (1)

2. Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, Hawaii (5)

3. Four Seasons Hualalai, Hawaii (2)

4. Auberge du Soleil, Calif. (3)

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5. Blackberzy Farm, Tenn. (9)

6. Post Ranch Inn, Calif. (4)

7. Twin Farms, Vt. (6)

8. Ritz-Carlton Naples, Fla. (14)

9. Rancho Valencia, Calif. (19)

10. The Boulders, Ariz. (7)

CIRQUE DU SOLEIL

LAS VEGAS -- Cirque du Soleil is opening a new show on Nov. 26 at the MGM Grand hotel-casino, featuring pyrotechnics, puppets, graceful martial arts sequences and the use of multimedia, including video.

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The show will also include the Montreal-based troupe's trademark heart-stopping acrobatics.

In one scene, two performers duel with something called the "Wheel of Death," performing a variety of stunts as the wheel propels them high through the air.

The show, called KA, lacks a traditional stage, and instead relies upon a massive, retractible platform that almost seems to float in the void normally reserved for a stage.

This the fourth Cirque du Soleil show to open in Las Vegas. Following the lucrative "Mystere," Cirque du Soleil launched "O," a water-based show, and the risque "Zumanity."

Tickets are $99, $125 and $150. For details, visit www.cirquedusoleil.com/cirquedusoleil/ka/ or www.mgmgrand.com/, or call (877) 880-0880.

DIANA EXHIBIT

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- An exhibit of Princess Diana's belongings and family photographs opened Oct. 10 at Fort Lauderdale's Museum of Art.

"Diana, a Celebration," which includes her wedding gown, diamond tiara and 25-foot train, runs through Dec. 31.

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Photographs and home movies show Diana as a youngster, wearing ballet shoes or diving into a swimming pool. Her relationship with Prince Charles is shown in a 1980 Christmas card -- inscribed "from your tap dancing partner, Charles." Nearly a billion people watched their 1981 wedding, televised worldwide. The museum, at 1 E. Las Olas Blvd., can be reached at (954) 525-5500.

VACATION SURVEY

ORLANDO, Fla. -- The ideal family vacation? Seven nights or more.

The actual family vacation? Four nights or less.

That's the conclusion of a survey of 4,048 parents who took a trip in the past year.

A vacation of four nights or less was considered ideal by only 14 percent of those polled by the Orlando-based firm Yesawich, Pepperdine, Brown &; Russell. Yet four-night trips are what most people take on average, according to research by the Travel Industry Association of America.

An additional 32 percent said they'd prefer a vacation of five or six nights. But 54 percent said seven or more nights would be ideal.

Among those longing for more than a week away, 12 percent would actually like a whopping 11 nights or more.

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So why not take longer trips?

Time and money! Forty-three percent cited cost; 22 percent said it was too hard to find the time.

Two hundred people were interviewed from each of 20 major metropolitan areas around the country, and findings varied considerably by region. Among New Yorkers, only 28 percent said work demands prevent them from taking long vacations; rather, the biggest problem, cited by 59 percent, is money.

Who leaves the most vacation time unused? Residents of Sacramento -- 40 percent of them. In contrast, only 17 percent of New Yorkers fail to use up their vacation days.

Which vacationers are most strongly tethered to the office? Fifty-five percent of Houston residents say they cannot disconnect from work when on vacation; the figure was 37 percent for Chicago residents.

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