A delicious look at the Florida Restaurant and Lodging trade show

From the experts at Attractions Magazine…

The annual Florida Restaurant Association trade show was in Orlando this weekend. Owners, managers, chefs and students from all over the state were here to try the latest food from suppliers, and to be inspired to prepare the best food in the world.

Above is the dessert portion of the Loews Royal Pacific team entry in one of the professional competitions. It’s a Banana Brulee Tart, with Dark Chocolate Mousse, Peach Sorbet and Strawberry Coulis.

Students also entered in the culinary competition. This student is putting the final touches on the salad course.

Here’s the salad entry for that team. Looks very interesting and different.

The dessert course of the same team entry.

Each entry had an appetizer, a salad, an entre and a dessert.

Above, the complete student entry, and below is the dessert course.

Another great-looking student dessert.

Above and below, great-looking student entres.

An intriguing student salad.

The judges share words of encouragement to the students. The students seemed to have prepared outstanding meals.

Some of the entries in the chocolate competition. Each of these chocolate sculptures is about three feet tall!

Most of the show floor at the Orange County Convention Center hall was a vendor showcase, often with live demonstrations.

A popular booth was the Wisconsin Cheese, where several small cheese makers offered tasty samples.

One of the tastiest Wisconsin cheeses was this Cranberry Chipolte Cheddar Cheese.

There were a few other cheese vendors at the show and dozens of cheeses to sample.

Small samples were also available of many kinds of baked goods and prepared desserts.

The show had a special section of first-time vendors. Among the things to discover was a vendor selling chocolate pizza! One of the best flavors of the chocolate pizza was Sangria, and it was heavy with bits of fruit.

Also in the first-time exhibitor showcase was this vendor of edible real flower garnishes.

Another great find in the showcase were Yucca Fries!

Be on the lookout for these hand-crafted ice cream sandwiches.

The samples of these ice cream sandwiches were very professionally distributed in a small sealed cup, right from the freezer.


Note: the Florida Restaurant and Lodging trade show ended Sept 24th and it was not open to the general public.

Magic Kingdom Welcomes New Fantasyland Attractions This Holiday Season

Another great re-post from Jamie at OnlyWDWorld.com…

The Walt Disney World Resort will be receiving an early Christmas present this year in terms of new attractions that will be opening this holiday season. The Magic Kingdom will have several additional attractions open as part of the massive Fantasyland Expansion that has been underway.

Joining the Storybook Circus attractions of Dumbo The Flying Elephant, The Barnstormer Starring The Great Goofini, and Casey Jr. Splash “N” Soak Station will be several new attractions. With an official Grand Opening of December 6th and a Preview Date starting on November 19th, Disney World Guests will get to experience the new Under the Sea- Journey Of The Little Merrmaid, Ariel’s Grotto – meet & greet, Be Our Guest Restaurant, Gaston’s Tavern, & Enchanted Tales With Belle.

Here are details that were recently released by Disney about each of these attractions:

  • Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid, a major attraction where guests will travel with Ariel and her friends through their exciting adventures above and below the waves – all against a musical backdrop of songs from the film. The new attraction combines the enduring appeal of a classic Disney “dark ride” with wonderful technological innovations to offer guests a personal journey into the scenes of the film. Adventurers will feel as if they are descending below the ocean’s surface. Once “under the sea,” guests will find themselves immersed in the story of “The Little Mermaid,” sharing Ariel’s adventure through a magical cast of characters and a captivating musical score that will entice everyone to sing along. The fun continues at “Ariel’s Grotto,” a meet-and-greet with the mermaid heroine herself.
  • The castle of the Beast stands majestically upon a hill across an old stone bridge from Ariel’s new home. The Be Our Guest Restaurant will feature a lavish dining experience in the elegant ballroom, gallery, and mysterious “West Wing” of the castle. With seating for 550, this magnificent facility will offer “great food fast” service by day and full table service dining in the evening. Nearby in Belle’s Village, guests will find the rousing Gaston’s Tavern and Bonjour! Village Gifts.
  • Just outside the village is Belle’s cottage and Enchanted Tales with Belle. The adventure begins in Maurice’s workshop, where a magical mirror is the doorway to a captivating new kind of storytelling experience: guests will be transported to the Beast’s library to meet Belle and Lumiere, and share in a lively, interactive re-telling of the “tale as old as time.”

“Fantasyland is a place where a very special kind of memory is made: where children just old enough to understand the moment come in contact with princesses and heroes and meet their most beloved friends,” said Meg Crofton, president, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Operations, United States and France.
“We are excited about sharing our treasured stories in new ways and giving guests the opportunity to interact with their favorite characters like never before.”
Beyond 2012, there’s more in store for Fantasyland guests:

  • Located in the Castle Courtyard in the center of Fantasyland, Princess Fairytale Hall will be the new home for visiting royalty in the Magic Kingdom. The castle-like entrance will feature walls of stone and stained glass windows, opening up into a large gallery – an airy space with a high ceiling, where portraits of the Disney princesses adorn the walls. When it’s time for their audience with a princess, guests will proceed to elegantly finished rooms to meet Aurora, Cinderella and other Disney princesses, such as Tiana and Rapunzel (2013).
  • The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train will take guests on a rollicking, musical ride into the mine “where a million diamonds shine.” The coaster will feature a first-of-its-kind ride system with a train of vehicles that swing back and forth, responding to every twist and turn of the track. The journey will be accompanied by music from the classic Disney film and animated figures of Snow White and the Dwarfs (2014).

New Fantasyland Time-Lapse Video: Watch Two New Castles and a Disney Mountain Rise

Really cool video and post from thedisneyblog.com

Disney’s Imagineers smartly keep a record of their projects, often documenting them with photos taken at regular intervals. As it turns out those make terrific time-lapse videos too. That is the case with the New Fantasyland expansion at the Magic Kingdom. Here is the latest video from the project:

Congrats to Disney Television Team – 5 EMMYS!


A big night for Disney at the Primetime Emmy Awards tonight. Congratulations to the team at Disney Television who brought home 5 Emmy’s tonight. For the third year in a row, Modern Family on ABC was one of the big winners with four Emmys awarded. Tom Bergeron also got some gold for his role as host on Dancing With The Stars.

Winners list:

Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Comedy Series
Eric Stonestreet as Cameron Tucker
Modern Family
ABC; Levitan-Lloyd Productions in association with Twentieth Century Fox Television

Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Comedy Series
Julie Bowen as Claire Dunphy
Modern Family
ABC; Levitan-Lloyd Productions in association with Twentieth Century Fox Television

Outstanding Directing For A Comedy Series
Steven Levitan, Director
Modern Family, “Baby On Board”
ABC; Levitan-Lloyd Productions in association with Twentieth Century Fox Television
Steven Levitan, Director

Outstanding Comedy Series
Modern Family
ABC; Levitan-Lloyd Productions in association with Twentieth Century Fox Television
Steven Levitan, Executive Producer
Christopher Lloyd, Executive Producer
Danny Zuker, Executive Producer
Dan O’Shannon, Executive Producer
Bill Wrubel, Executive Producer
Paul Corrigan, Executive Producer
Brad Walsh, Executive Producer
Jeff Morton, Co-Executive Producer
Jeffery Richman, Co-Executive Producer
Abraham Higginbotham, Co-Executive Producer
Cindy Chupack, Co-Executive Producer
Chris Smirnoff, Producer

Outstanding Host For A Reality Or Reality-Competition Program
Tom Bergeron, Host
Dancing With The Stars
ABC; BBC Worldwide Productions

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party Returns To Disney World

Great re-post from OnlyWDWorld.com…

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party has returned to the Magic Kingdom at the Walt Disney World Resort for 23 nights of Halloween fun. This family friendly Halloween party is suitable for all ages and it also is one of the very few times where guests are encouraged to wear costumes in the Magic Kingdom theme park.

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party
In what is now a fall tradition Disney World has expanded the Halloween season to the middle of September to allow more Disney World Guests to partake in this fun event. Party goers young and old are encouraged to dress up in costume and have fun along with all of your favorite Disney Characters who are also in costume for the party.

The Magic Kingdom certainly gets a “Halloween” make-over that is apparent during the day, but it looks extra special at night as the decorations, jack-o-lanterns, and other effects look their best in the night time lighting. Even the night time fireworks presentation is re-worked to the Halloween theme (called Happy HalloWishes) that makes it extra special.

Boo To You Parade
The highlight of the evening is the Boo To You Parade which is shown twice at each party. Here you will see special floats and the Disney Characters in special Halloween Costumes. The Haunted Mansion also gets special representation in this parade with multiple floats.

The parade always starts off with a ride of the headless horseman.


Disney Characters abound during this parade both on the floats and walking the parade route.


MNSSHP is also a great time to see your favorite Disney Villains. They appear to be in an especially good mood during this event and there are chances during the evening to get your photo taken with them.


The ghoulish dancers that recreated the ballroom dancing of the Haunted Mansion precede the special floats dedicated to the featured Magic Kingdom Attraction for Halloween.
Speaking of attractions, most of the park attractions are open throughout the party, so make sure that your costumes are safe to wear on the attractions.

New this year: Main Street, U.S.A will be the place to be for some monstrous pre-parade entertainment, “The Not-So-Scary Street Jam!” The new activity will take place after the Headless Horseman races down Main Street, U.S.A. and before “Mickey’s Boo-To-You Halloween Parade” begins. Guests may learn the dance moves performed to the song “Calling All the Monsters” by China Anne McClain before the party starts, by watching the video on the Disney Parks Blog.

Plan Your Night To Attend
There are 23 nights to choose from to attend Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party for 2012:
  • Sept. 11, 14, 18 21, 25, 28, 30;
  • Oct. 4, 5, 8, 11, 12, 14, 16, 18, 21, 22, 23, 25, 28, 30 and 31;
  • Nov. 2.


This party is what is called a “hard ticketed event.” This means that a separate admission is required and your normal Park Admission will not get you in. The Magic Kingdom will close at roughly 7:00 pm each evening as the party begins. All who do not have a ticket will be asked to leave the park at the time. The MNSSHP will run from 7:00 pm until 12:00 Midnight.

Great Disney World Special Event

Like most Disney World Special Events, we would not recommend this for first time Disney World Guests. The reason is that there is so much of Disney World to take in you will already by overwhelmed and there is not a need to go to the extra expense during that initial visit. If you have been to Disney World a couple of times, then this party may be what you are looking for in terms of something different to try and experience. The ticket prices are steep, but it is a fun night. It is most enjoyed when you are in costume. It is not required, but if you are spending that much money to go to a Halloween Party, then by all means go in costume and enjoy yourself.
The only Haunted House during the party is the Disney World Haunted Mansion. You won’t find anything gory or bloody. The only scares are the Disney Villains being themselves.
Lastly, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention the trick-or-treating. Everyone, the young and the young at heart is given a bag for trick-or-treating and is welcome to go through the designated lines throughout the park to receive candy. You do NOT need to be accompanied by a child to receive candy.
The best advice is to go and have fun. It is a party after all!

The golden days of air travel: How glorious were they?

Great re-print from CNN Travel

The crowds cheered as the pilots and flight attendants of Delta Flight 295 cut a ceremonial red ribbon before the television cameras.

Water cannons sprayed the first official flight out of Atlanta’s new international terminal this month as the airplane headed toward the runway, bound for Tokyo, leaving behind airport guests to eat from an elegant buffet of Asian-themed hors d’oeuvres and drinks.

For a brief moment, the glory days of airline travel had returned to the world’s busiest airport. On this day at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the pilots were handsome, the flight attendants lovely and handsome (and no doubt could save a life) and the food and drink plentiful.

It was reminiscent of the golden days of air travel portrayed in the television series “Mad Men” and “Pan Am,” when travel was an upper-middle-class experience and people dressed up to fly. Even when air travel became affordable to the masses after Congress passed the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978, flight attendants still served full meals and baggage was included in the cost of a ticket.

No more. Even amid the celebratory atmosphere in Atlanta, it was clear that the impact of the September 11, 2001, attacks and the subsequent economic downturn are here to stay. Officers patrolled the halls with drug-sniffing dogs and armed police guarded the exits to the runway. Many travelers wore sweats and other loose, comfortable clothing to get through security.

While many grumble for the “good old days” of airline travel, their nostalgia usually doesn’t include the high prices, limited routes and cigarette smoke clinging to the air.

Travelers can still pay for the luxury of rubber chicken and checking two giant suitcases “for free” — it’s called first class. There’s certainly no policy stopping travelers from dressing up, but how fun are Spanx and heels on your next flight?

Here are some of the things we miss and why they went away.

Pomp and circumstance

Eva Brams remembers flying with Burt Lancaster in first class, eating caviar on the plane and dining on lobster in a gorgeous hotel in Puerto Rico before returning home.

That’s because the Austrian-born Brams was a flight attendant for Pan American World Airlines when flying was a glamorous experience. Brams, a former ballet dancer who spoke English, French and German, wanted to travel and see the world before deciding if her American-born boyfriend was “the one.” (She knew she’d have to leave the airline if she married him. That was company policy.)

“We met interesting people on the plane, and we always stayed in the most luxurious hotels when we weren’t in New York,” said Brams, who left the airline in 1971 when she married that boyfriend. (They live in Manhattan and have two grown children and grandchildren.) “We didn’t have as many flights as they do now. When we went to Brazil, we stayed for a couple days before flying out again.”

An airplane trip used to be an expensive and rare occasion, usually reserved for the upper-middle and upper classes, marked by dressing up and elegant service in flight. Aviation expert Janet Bednarek remembers her father flying for work two or three times per year in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and it always seemed like a special occasion. When he returned, the whole family would drive to the airport to meet him at the gate.

All that elegance came at a price. Before the airline industry was deregulated, a U.S. government agency controlled pricing, routes and other aspects of airline travel. Once airlines could increase and change their routes, they started to compete more on price and discount airlines started to pop up.

High prices made travel exclusive. Bednarek, now an aviation history professor at the University of Dayton, didn’t take her first flight until she was in college in the late 1970s. In 1960, U.S. airlines carried 62 million passengers on scheduled airline flights, according to a government data analysis by Airlines for America, an industry group. Fifty years later, U.S. airlines carried 720 million passengers. Now Bednarek is hard pressed to find a student in one of her classes who hasn’t always flown.

Greeting family at the gate

In a pre-9/11 world, families and friends regularly walked their loved ones to the gate to say goodbye or picked them up at the gate to say hello. The test of a new relationship was often the airport drop-off: Would your sweetheart pick you up at the gate, baggage claim or curbside?

No longer. It’s baggage claim or curbside for your love. In a post-9/11 world, airport security officials usually won’t let anyone clear security without a boarding pass. With would-be terrorists inventing new ways to try to blow up planes, that’s not likely to change.

However, it’s not a complete ban. Travelers who need help, perhaps because of disability or small children, can sometimes still have a nonflying companion come to the gate with them. It’s best to call the airline in advance to request that permission, although some airlines can issue special passes at the ticket counter.

Care-free packing

Travelers of a certain age can remember lugging overstuffed suitcases to the airport and talking airline workers into allowing suitcases over the weight limit onto the plane. Now most carriers are charging for baggage, and they made $3.4 billion last year on those fees, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. (Delta Air Lines topped the list at nearly $864 million.) Some, like Delta, will waive the fee if you have their frequent-flier credit card.

That has taught some travelers to pack light and wrestle for overhead bin space. If there isn’t enough space, flight attendants will often gate-check your luggage. There are plenty of travelers like library assistant Courtney Pricer, 25, who simply pay the fee.

“I try to carry on the least possible amount of material because I find it to be a bigger hassle to go through security with it all than to just pay the money for a checked bag,” says Pricer, a resident of San Clemente, California. “I try to just have a purse to take on the plane, albeit a really big purse. It usually just has my laptop or iPad, my wallet, my phone, the charger for my devices, and some snacks.”

Food and comfort

Kathy Tucker, who often flew from San Francisco to visit family in Hawaii in the 1970s, remembers a 1975 Pan Am flight where the stewardesses set up a coach-section buffet table with fresh Hawaiian fruits and walked through the aisles pouring free glasses of champagne.

“The cute young man sitting next to me decided we could finish of a bottle all by ourselves, so we went up to the table and slyly managed to swipe an opened bottle and bring it back to our seats,” said Tucker, a resident of Pacific Grove, California. “The stewardesses were so nice that they probably wouldn’t have cared anyway.”

Even after deregulation, when the champagne flowed less frequently, travelers used to be able to count on a decent meal (or snacks for shorter flights). Vegetarians and people who kept kosher could even request special meals. But as airlines cut costs, meals shrank down to snacks and then went away. Some flights still offer peanuts or pretzels in addition to food for sale. Other times there’s nothing to eat at all. Even first-class passengers on shorter flights might only get a choice of fruit, chips or a cookie. (The alcohol is still free.) While some planes still carry blankets and pillows for passengers, there are fewer to go around.

“I try to pack as much food as I can but you can’t bring water and sometimes I don’t have time to pack,” said Mira Patel, 22, a Baltimore-based first-year medical student who traveled a lot for medical school interviews. “I feel like I’m always hungry. With flights an hour apart, I can pay $7 for a can of Pringles or nuts that they used to give out for free. I’ll go nine hours without eating.”

Predictable security

In the pre-9/11 security days, people knew what to pack in their checked luggage and carry-on baggage (nearly anything, it seemed).

Travel experts say people can adapt to tighter security requirements if the rules are clear and consistent. It’s when officials enforce different requirements at different airports that travelers don’t believe the new procedures contribute to more secure flights. Some security officials want you to carry your boarding pass through security; others want you to place it in the bin to be screened. Some don’t like you to bring cupcakes or gun-shaped purses; others are OK with it.

“If people are anxious, it’s harder to detect if they’re anxious because they’re up to no good or anxious because of all the attention you are paying to them,” New York University professor Harvey Molotch said. “It makes the system less secure.”

The lack of predictability is maddening to Michael Flaherty, an Eckerd College sociology professor who studies the passage of time.

“The fact that we don’t know what to expect when we fly is irritating because it undermines our efforts to anticipate our experiences in the future and know how to behave,” Flaherty said.

Travelers don’t dare question security officials unless they’re willing to risk not flying that day.

“It’s threat rhetoric reminiscent of Orwell, all based on external threats,” Flaherty said. “We have your interests at heart, this is what we have to ask you to do, and we’re not going to explain it. If you don’t cooperate, you become part of the problem.”

For her part, the future Dr. Patel doesn’t care to travel anymore. “I used to love traveling but I hate it,” she said. “It’s totally exhausting, and I feel like I’m paying so much money for so little. It feels like you’re being herded through the airport like animals. I worry about what’s in my bag. I feel like I’m always hungry. I would much rather drive.”

Tips for Traveling with Kids – Car Trips with Toddlers

A family road trip can be fun, but when one thing goes wrong, you may see a domino effect, making the vacation not so enjoyable. To prevent disaster and misery, be prepared for the unexpected. Traveling by car can be more economical than flying the whole family to your destination and you’ll have the flexibility of having your own transportation.

Get Plenty of Rest

Before you start out on your trip, make sure everyone in the family is rested. Many toddlers become cranky when they’re tired, so make sure they have something they can associate with their naps, such as a favorite blanket or stuffed animal. Holding a familiar toy may help calm your toddler and promote car napping, which is a much better experience than crying.

If you’ve been thinking about taking away your toddler’s pacifier, now is not the time to do it. Don’t make any unnecessary major changes until you return home from your trip. The pacifier may be the only thing that will soothe your child when she’s over-stimulated.

Keep Your Toddler Comfortable

Make sure your toddler is comfortable while traveling in the car. If you want to put her in that lacy dress her grandmother made, wait until you’re close to your destination to change her clothes.

Ideas for toddler travel comfort:

  • Dress her in knits without scratchy embellishment.
  • Leave her in her pajamas until it’s time to get out of the car.
  • Layer her clothing so you can remove pieces if she gets too hot.
  • Bring a blanket for additional warmth if you’re traveling during the holidays.
  • If she squirms and seems uncomfortable, make sure she’s properly positioned in her car seat.

Bring Food for Your Toddler

A hungry child is a fussy one. Make sure you have plenty of nutritious snacks and treats for your toddler. Have an ice-packed cooler filled with anything that needs to be kept cold.

Ideas for food that travels well:

  • Pre-cut fruit in zip type bags
  • Single serving packages of crackers and cookies
  • Small size cartons of yogurt
  • Juice packs or sippy cups with milk or juice.

Take Breaks

When traveling with toddlers, plan to take frequent breaks. Many rest areas have large grassy areas where you and your children can run around and stretch your legs. Look for kid-friendly restaurants with play areas.

If your toddler is potty trained or in the process of being potty trained, stop frequently without being asked. By the time most toddlers let you know they have to go to the restroom, it’s probably urgent.

Toddler Activities for the Car

Have a variety of activities planned for when your toddler isn’t napping. Children in this age group often have very short attention spans, so be prepared with enough things to keep them occupied.

Suggested activities for toddlers include:

  • Board books
  • DVDs and CDs
  • Viewfinders
  • Stickers and sticker books
  • Crayons and coloring books
  • Stories told by parents and older kids.

Travel Emergency Kit

Pack a small emergency kit and make it accessible. You never know when you’ll need something, and there may not be a place to pull over.

Items to pack in an emergency kit include:

  • Band-aids
  • Wet wipes
  • Fever reducing medications
  • Plastic bags.

Additional Tips for Traveling with Toddlers

One of the purposes of a family trip is to bond and create memories. Getting to your destination is only one part of the excursion, so make car travel as fun and stress-free as possible.

More ways to make a road trip enjoyable and stress-free:

  • Have a backpack or small suitcase for each child.
  • Occasionally switch places with other family members.
  • Pack meals or stop at a deli and have a family picnic.
  • Rotate toys and activities frequently to prevent boredom.
  • Wrap some surprises for your toddler to open as a reward for good behavior.
  • If your child isn’t used to sleeping in strange beds, bring a portable crib or pack-and-play for hotels and your destination.
  • Avoid rushing and embrace each moment spent with the family.

Traveling by car with toddlers can be challenging, but if you follow a few tips, you can remove some of the stress and make it fun for everyone. Get plenty of rest, dress comfortably, have plenty of food, take frequent breaks and make sure you have a variety of activities for the trip. Don’t forget to pack an emergency kit that is easily accessible.