Thursday, July 28, 2011

International Food and Wine Festival at Epcot Part Two

International Food and Wine Festival at EpcotThis year promises to be a banner year. Let me give you a spoon taste of what’s next to come: Disney has added three more places into the venues around the World Showcase Lagoon. And, the “old” participant countries are changing their menus to showcase delicacies only found on their land.

For example, look at this “new” places:

Portugal -> it will offer a wine bar and also calamari salad with olives and smoked paprika…if that doesn’t sound yummy, you don’t know what you’ll be missing!

The Caribbean -> a plate that is synonymous to comfort food to the Hispanics, Ropa Vieja or many called it carne mechada (shredded meat) over rice, jerk spiced chicken drumstick…and who wouldn’t want to join it with a Frozen Rock Coconut Mojito (I heard that! I can feel your mouth is just waiting for this one!). this and many of the drinks in this stand will be sponsored by Bacardi, so you know is going to be delicious!

Hawai’i -> it will offer a plate that I am waiting to taste that is called tuna poke (poe-kay) with seaweed and kalua pork sliders (kalua is a bbq method used to cook the pork in the big island). And a drink to boot is this one, Seven Tiki Mai Tai, oh lordy lord just the thought of savoring a sip of this drink makes my mouth tickling with awesomeness!

And you cannot go wrong with some “old” favorites like going to Mexico in La Cava Tequila Bar, which offers one of my favorite sets which is the tequila tasting tray that brings like 6-different tequilas, it is to die for!

I tell you, cant wait to come with my friends and family to this incredible exposure of culture, culinary delicacies, and party-like atmosphere. This promises to be one festival not to be missed! Don’t forget is in Epcot in Disney between September and November. The international food and wine festival.

Fun Facts about Disney World

Perhaps it's not such a small world after all

A sprawling resort that covers some 40 square miles or 25,000 acres, if you were to stretch Disney World out, it would be the same size as California.

But who would have ever guested that Disney was the largest employer boasting over 62,000 cast members throughout the United States! Can can you imagine the task of washing all of the cast members outfits?

If you were to wash one load a day for the next 50 years, it still would not be equivalent to the number of garments washed each day. On an average day, Walt Disney's Laundry Matt washes in the order of 285,000 pounds each day! That's a lot of Suds.

A place where fans are encourage to dream, and a place where dreams really do come true, many of these magical moments are being captured on film each day. As a matter of fact, some 100,000 photos of guests are taken each day at Walt Disney World Resorts.

Hungry? Disney fans have a ferocious appetite. Imagine, Disney enthusiasts put away over 9 million pounds of French Fries including 10 million hamburgers a year, even Wimpy has nothing over that crowd!

Not to many Disney adherents would have imagined that the castle that shimmers each Christmas, the center of wishes fireworks, and the centerpiece attraction for one of the most famous princesses, was really made out of fiberglass.

Next time you take Expedition Everest's to come face to face with the world's famous Yeti, remember that it would take the force of a 747 jet liner to moves his arm while you are haplessly riding up a 200 ft incline on the tallest attraction at Walt Disney World Resort.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

International Food and Wine Festival at Epcot Part One

International Food and Wine FestivalI love food. When I was little, my sister and I used to watch my mom prepare the food in the house. The love she put in every plate and the amazing expertise which she poured in the ingredients without looking at a recipe, just by eye-measuring.

The love affair has grown to include incredible delicious treats from around the world. So, it is not surprisingly that one of my favorite times of the year is between September to November in which Disney throws its annual Food and Wine Festival, this year marking its 16th anniversary!

I’ve attended several of this festival, year in year out, pardon for using the lingo but it’s mouth-watering! This year the festival the dates are September 30th thru November 13th.

In the years since I been a regular to this event, I tasted food from Argentina, Australia, Greece, Mexico, Brazil, Ireland, South Africa, and Spain. I keep coming because every year the chefs and the different food marketplace raise the bar, not only on taste but also on countries. Certainly the title for this year’s festival touches my love affair of food and traveling, “A Passport to a World of Flavors.”

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Halloween Horror Nights Announcement

Halloween Horror Nights
I am not a major horror fan. When I was younger, I had my issues with horror movies, so I am very choosy. I can definitely count with two hands the horror movies I’ve seen. But one that stood out for me is “The Thing”, which I heard is getting its Hollywood remake this October. My personal way to rate if the movie is horrifically good is for the nights of unsettled sleep I have, (sounds funny, but its true!)

The images from this movie come in a rapid-pace one after the other. From the Arctic expedition going into a desolated scientific lab, to the dog in the cage, the alien who can get into all breathing thing, to the final confrontation…scary thing as hell! Three days of nights where I thought “the thing” will get into my skin and transformed me into a monster! Sounds hilarious now, but for a 10 year old you can bet your spider-man undies that it was darn scary!

Now back to balmy hot Florida 2011, 38 year old me is thrill with the idea of seeing the movie again. After a few impressive horror movies like the Saw series, to “I spit on your grave” to Cesar Romero’s Zombie movies, I am really wanna see what the remake will bring from the original.

However, since the movie is distributed by Universal, what better way to tie-in and add advertisement than to include as a major component of its Universal Studios Florida incredibly awesome Halloween Horror Nights in its 21st edition.

Jim Timon, senior vice-president of Entertainment at Universal Orlando says:
“Having recreated well known horror films in the past, the same level of attention to detail has gone into creating a house experience that will completely immerse guests into the storyline and environment of ‘The Thing,”

And the press release says as follow:

“The new haunted house will offer guests an unprecedented first-hand preview of the much-anticipated thriller in advance of its October 14 release. Guests will find themselves in a series of face-to-face encounters with “The Thing,” an alien creature that can transform itself into an exact replica of any living being. “The Thing” haunted house will recreate the spine-chilling suspense from the film, confronting guests with the paranoia and fear that comes from being trapped inside the film’s Antarctic Thule station.“

Well, for you hordes of horror fans and adrenaline junkies, here’s something to look for during September 23rd to October 31st. with the tag “Luck will run out” certainly many of you will roll the dice for this incredible experience that only Universal Studios Florida’s often replicated never duplicated Halloween’s Horror Nights can bring!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Re-imagined Pleasure Island

The future of Pleasure Island!
Here’s some news that certainly will really be awesome for the Bowling and Billiards enthusiasts. From the hot presses of Disney comes this incredible news:

“This fall, construction will begin on Splitsville, a 50,000-square-foot upscale entertainment center that combines bowling with billiards, dining, music and nightlife. To make way for this experience, RIDEMAKERZ, currently located on the West Side, will move to the Marketplace.”

This is awesome. You can do a night of dinner, movie and a play of either pool or bowling with your friends or loved one! Make it the perfect date! Another awesome information is this tidbit:

“Over on Pleasure Island, we’ve completed removing some of the buildings that aren’t part of our future plans. During the course of this site work, we identified opportunities to further refine our master plan and are pausing to evaluate them. What does this mean for you? While we’re moving quickly, it will admittedly cause a delay in construction. But we’re willing to bet that any delay will be worth the wait once we’re able to share details about the exciting work we’ve been doing.”

I can’t wait until the new and re-imagined Pleasure Island will be open…definitely this is what we been waiting for… not only awesome dining experiences, but also excellent entertainment district that will be a delight for the entire family! They even released the new name for Please Island, its going to be “Hyperion Wharf!”

You can see how Disney is inventively up-the-ante from the news of Universal Orlando’s mini-golf!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Sea World Orlando

Sea World OrlandoNow a few months back I wrote a blog about visiting Sea World on an afternoon to ride the roller coasters. But the short time I was there didn’t offer me much opportunity to see all the shows at the park, and to tell you the truth that’s probably the best part about the theme park. Most theme parks have shows that feature two or three people acting out a show, combined with special effects and audience participation you leave smiling. But here at Sea World the shows are incredible; I mean you leave in total awe.

The first show you absolutely need to go see is inside the massive stadium, something you can’t possibly miss. The name of the show has changed over the years, but it is currently called “One Ocean” and is a must see for anyone visiting the park. This great show is where you will find the popular Shamu doing incredible stunts. It always surprises me how high these massive killer whales can jump. The most amazing of stunts you will see though is when a trainer rides the nose of a killer whale that swims to the bottom of the massive pool, and then heads straight for the surface launching the trainer straight into the air. I swear they must fly five stories high!

Another great show at the park is Clyde and Seamore take Pirate Island. Most of the shows at the theme park showcase the animal’s physical abilities, but here you get to see some of their intelligence. These incredible animals will have you laughing the entire time; at least they have me laughing the entire time. It is definitely a comedy, with great jokes and comical pirates you just have to go see it while you are here.

Finally there is Sea World’s newest addition to the theme park, something I got to see for the first time. It combines incredible stunts by dolphins with incredible acrobatics by Sea World trainers. With music and special effects including flying characters and a storyline that follows the dream of a young girl this is really one show I have to suggest for you. I raise my cup to you Sea World, this was a great addition.

There are more shows and attractions at Sea World, I just told you about a few. So if you are planning a trip to Sea World I haven’t spoiled everything. But in my opinion these are three shows you absolutely have to go see if you visit!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Blue Man Group

Blue Man GroupNow I have been to Blue Man Group before, but I enjoyed it so much it was high time I took my family to see it! So I purchased all four tickets from GreatOrlandoDiscounts, would you believe they are almost twenty dollars cheaper than at the theme park? So off we set to see the show down at City Walk.

It really surprised me how much new content there was; I mean it felt like a whole new show to me. It opens with the three blue men coming on stage, no big surprise there, but then they launched into some hilarious comedic acts that I have never seen before. They had me laughing so hard I could barely breathe in no time at all. It amazes me how funny they can be without any of them speaking.

Then they started doing tricks, one of them painted a spinning canvas, and then he sets it on a podium and puts a price under it. At first he places a 10$ sign under it, then he puts a 100$ sign before finally stopping at 10,000$.

They even called one of my family up on stage. They sat her down at a table and began to eat Twinkies with her, then they spewed the food all over the table out of little holes on their shoulder. A trick I am still trying to figure out! I couldn’t help but laugh the entire time; it was so sudden and unexpected.

Blue Man Group is definitely my favorite show; I haven’t even given you a glimpse of the hilarity and comedy in the show, not the mention all the really awesome music, light shows and even a toilet paper… experience? Its something you gotta do if you are on vacation, and even more if you live in Central Florida!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Gatorland Screamin’ Gator Zipline

So I heard the new Screamin’ Gator Zipline course was just put in at Gatorland, an overlooked theme park in the Central Florida area the really deserves more attention. Gatorland has hundreds of Florida alligators and even crocodiles from all around the world. I even overheard one of the employees saying that the crocodiles they have in captivity will be nearly sixteen feet long by the end of this year! But the alligators aren’t really what I am here to talk about; it’s the new addition of zip lines to the theme park!

First they sit you down in a square room, right next to all your future equipment. They show you an instructional video that explains the ten safety measures that they have put in place to ensure that everything is safe. I kind of figured that once we were on the tower most of these rules would be neglected or even bypassed, but they enforced them all and were acutely aware of when they were being broken. They have two rules there, safety first and have fun, and I can assure you I did!

The new zip line course features five separate “Jumps” or “Zips” that will take you from tower to tower. All over the park now you can see these massive towers strung together by steel cables. At my first jump the only thing going through my mind was “Why am I leaving this perfectly good tower for a small steel cable?” But I can assure you it was good fun, in fact by the last one I was reaching speeds of thirty miles an hour.

It seems to me like the first three jumps were preparation for the last. There is 1200 feet of cable for you to traverse, and the last one is five hundred feet long, which means it is the longest of jumps! Not to mention it goes directly over their alligator breeding zone which houses anywhere between thirty to fifty alligators at a time. But I don’t think you will be paying that much attention to the gators; because it is a seven story jump and you will want to do anything but look down.

I will definitely be going back; this was an awesome adventure that I really enjoyed! Best of all at the end you can buy pictures of yourself flying over the theme park! I looked like a really beginner, but it was all in good fun! I will definitely be coming back here to do this again; I gotta get a more creative shot of me going down the line!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Miniature Golf: Disney Style

Are you looking to do something fun, that rises your competitive side, makes you feel like Tiger Woods (back in the days when he was really good!), and yet you don’t have to sweat a handicap of 80?

Well, there’s good news! Orlando offers a great variety of mini-golf places. Walt Disney World in Orlando offers great entertainment for the mini-golfer enthusiasts:

Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf CourseFantasia Gardens Miniature Golf Course, which is located near the Epcot Resort Area. Consist of 2 different courses that are unique and fun for the entire family! The first one, named Fantasia Gardens, like the name implies has as decoration many of the incredibly funny characters that fills the movie Fantasia. How would you feel reaching out to your mini-green and walking thru marching broomsticks, or Hippos Ballerinas, and who wouldn’t laugh and have a good time with a decoration of a pirouetting gators! Don’t forget to try to make a hole-in-one in the “Sorcerer’s Apprentice” where you can see Mickey in one of his iconic looks! Be careful as well, there are many nice “surprises” with water effects that will be a delight with the little ones. This one is for the rookies and beginners. The second one, named Fantasia Fairways, is for the skilled mini-golfers in the family. Offers many seriously wicked and exaggerated contours with “diabolical” (back with the Fantasia theme of the golf course) sand traps. The sight of the Tower of Terror looming in the back and names for the holes like Ballet of Bunkers, Ave Maria, and others will kinda be spooky and incredibly fun!

Winter Summerland Miniature Golf CourseWinter Summerland Miniature Golf Course, which is a whimsical take on the theme that a huge Blizzard filled Florida and then Santa made his vacation spot for all his elves and Mrs Claus. You’ll feel like is Christmas 360-days of the year! In the first course, fittingly named Winter Course, You’ll see decorations around the holes with Santa, the elves and some of your favorite Disney characters in their traditional winter-y attire. This is pure fun for the entire family, including the little ones. There would be surprises for them as well, so watch out if you see Squirty (Disney love those cute little fun names!), he’ll sprays water when golf balls pass beneath him! The second, Summer Course, it’s more according to the sunshine state. Sandcastles, surfboards, ornaments hanging from a palm tree, which will add to the fun and make for photo-wonderful memories to the entire family! Don’t forget that when you sink the ball on the 18-hole, you’ll get the chance to get a special greeting by Santa himself! And certainly don’t missed the opportunity to take a picture of yourself and your family sitting in Santa’s sledge!

What incredible fun awaiting to the entire family! In one of those days that you are using your water park tickets, or you are using one day to relax from the theme parks, come to any of the mini-golf courses in Disney and you’ll have an awesome time!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Eat to the Beat at Epcot

Eat to the BeatWhat goes best with great food and awesome wines? If you answer music, then you are totally right! Music can get you in the mood for a party and for having a good time with someone special or to reminiscence about special memories.

One of my favorite times of the year is the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival. This festival will take place during September 30th to November 13th, 2011. You get to go around the park and enjoy exquisite culinary confections that invites our palates to taste the flavors of the world. Imagine eating the best foods of countries like Spain, Argentina, Greece, Australia, and other of the more than 25 different countries around the globe!

And, what an awesome experiencing will be to taste the wines and other drinks from various countries around the world! How about drinking beer from Germany, or wines from France, or Sake from Japan…certainly will be a delight to many!

However, one of the wonderful things I always enjoy have been listening the incredible sound of musical groups that puts the rock and the fun in the American Gardens Theatre that is located across the American pavilion.

This year promises to be, simply put, amazing!

How about singing with Taylor Dayne (remember “Tell It to My Heart” or “Love Will Lead You Back”, staples of ‘90s radio!), or perhaps Sugar Ray (as my sister puts it the “super hunky-licious” crooner of songs like “Fly”, “Every Morning”, and others), and who cant remember singing at the top of the lungs “End of the Road”, yes! Boyz II Men will be there as well! But don’t think everything is 90s, for those searching the “classics” you got Billy Ocean (“Caribbean Queen”), .38 Special (“Hold on Loosely”), and those looking for romance cant get better than Air Supply (hold on tight to your ladies as they sing “Making Love Out of Nothing at All”). And many more!

Amazing performers, great food, incredible wines and other drinks, what more can be asked for! The only thing missing will be you, and that is something that can be arranged.

Don’t miss this incredible festival that has that amazing magical touch of Disney! It will be in Epcot and you’ll be having fun in this international setting!

Monday, July 4, 2011

4th of July Celebrations in Orlando

Orlando FireworksReady for some Fireworks tonight? There will be illuminations bursting through out the night sky at the major theme parks.

Sea World will be having the Independence Day Weekend & Summer Nights Fireworks, which will be an expanded fireworks and lighted fountains show (from the normal Reflections) with live patriotic music.

At Disney's Hollywood Studios there's a different spin on the traditional fireworks show with their Rockin' 4th of July Celebration. There will be a live rock band performing with special effects, lighting and (of course) fireworks to add some extra BOOM to the percussion.

Epcot will have the Illuminations: Reflections of Earth where those who will be watching the heavens can feast their eyes on spectacle that tells a story about the past, present, and future of the blue planet we call home using music, water, lasers, and pyrotechnics. And tonight the show will be enhanced with American themes displayed in laser light and pyrotechnic event called the "The Heartbeat of Freedom".

Independence day in Florida just wouldn't be the same without Magic Kingdom throwing down on the night sky. Tonight they will present Disney's Celebrate America! A Fourth of July Concert in the Sky. This show pays homage to America's founding fathers with a patriotic, pyrotechnic pizzazz like no other because the fireworks frame Cinderella's castle.

So, there's plenty to choose from here in Orlando. Make your choice and have a great 4th of July Celebration!