Saturday, 28 January 2012

Epcot Food & Wine Festival: Bottom 5 'I haz a sad' moments

No. 5

The Greece stall has no griddled halloumi!

The winning item on this menu - M.I.A.

Cheese Bankruptcy - Hoping Germany will bail them out with Munster. (Ha ha ha ha - I'm soooo topical!)
No. 4

French champagne lunch teaches me I will never truly understand champagne

Nicolas Feuillatte - an institution since 1976 - the 3rd largest volume sales of french champagne. Taking champagne to Infinity and Beyond!
They poured 4 glasses during lunch and I still didn't understand the appeal. I'll leave this champagne to the expert wine critics.

No. 3

Ireland Stall abuses its cheese!

What a winner of a menu - such promise in every line!
The efficient staff must have set out the cheese plates hours in advance. The bread was stale and the 3 cheeses had dehydrated. Hard lumpy chunks which sunk straight to the bottom when I threw them in Showcase Lagoon.

Looks so good, tastes so wrong

No. 2

Discovery of Chocolate discovers stodgy mousse

I sat there patiently watching the famous chef smash away and finally - we are served: Chocolate Mousse!

So it's your once a year food event - you are designing a brand new chocolate event to WOW the crowds - you're wondering "how can we rediscover chocolate? How can we bring a new chocolatey perspective for the anticipating, drooling hoards? I AM THE FAMOUS (in Orlando) CHEF! WHAT MASTERPIECE WILL I GIVE MY ADORING FANS?"

And somehow they decided on the single most unimaginative chocolate dessert possible - and wrecked it.
Big screen overhead shot - he's following the recipe.
$70 for thick, cloying, heavy, airless stodge. Also had that dry skin surface as if it was laid out hours in advance - probably by the Irish Cheese people.  Oh Look! Served with  - Chocolate Truffle!! YAY!!
No. 1

Thirsty? Want something non-alcoholic?

Too bad - buy water!

Driving?  Did that lunch in the Tequila Cave ? .... or perhaps you've been drinking for 10 days in a row.

If you didn't want wine, it was Dasani Water.  Yes ... I know ... WINE festival....and YES - easier to store bottles than make mocktails. I just wonder if there was some foreign sensation yet to tickle my tastebuds. Instead I was standing at the bubbler.

Oh sigh..... fortuntely it was hard to come up with this list.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Platnium Plan - Part 3 - Aren't you done yet?

Have you noticed?

I am up to Part 3 of this Platnium Plan trip report and so far nothing has taken me inside a theme park. I am keeping myself exhausted with plenty of other diversions.

So exhausted I fell asleep.

in the middle of my facial at the Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa

Hidden Mickey! (source:
This was another one of those little "Disney doesn't contact Australians" moments. In September Disney shut down the conveniently located spa (an entirely new built spa will open in 2013 - in time for you!) at the Grand Floridian and I did a switcheroo over to Saratoga Springs Spa. On arrival, they had no record of my booking - despite it being on the official Disney itinerary - but they found a room and a therapist and suddenly I was downstairs changing into a robe and indulging in gentle background  music, soft lighting and scented heated oils. In my robe and slippers I padded into the treatment room and laydown on the warm, towelled treatment table.

and with the gentle, relaxing face massage using cooling scented cream, I drifted off  to sleep.

(source: Walt Disney Company)
The spa is a large complex with an indoor swimming pool, sauna, hot tub, lounge, treatment rooms, and entrance with shop. It is a fairly new building so everything is very clean and maintained. The atmosphere isn't particularly plush - they maintain a certain level of spartan for easy cleaning. And yet it is not hipster modern. Sort of beige..... and lots of moldings around the doors and walls... and potted plants .. sort of middle of the road classic.

A booking also allows use of entire facility - but I had too much to do!After bringing myself back to life - and she probably did a good job - or she may have just set the timer and read a book for all I know - I headed off to my next event.

Follow me after me the jump to see what's next (hint: food porn is involved)

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Platinum Plan - Extreme Touring Part 2

OK - so I am still racing from one event to the next in my over-scheduled Platnium Plan 40 hour challenge. In Part 1, I checked into the Polynesian Resort, breakfasted at Kona Cafe, spent 7 hours on the Backstage Magic Tour, enjoyed the degustation dinner at Victoria and Alberts....

and the day is still not over.

Dragging my Mr Creasote body out of V&A I waddled down to the Grand Floridian wharf to meet the pontoon for my Fireworks Cruise!

The pontoon at the GF wharf. (source:
Fortunately warm fluffy fleecy blankets were provided cause once we were out on Seven Seas Lagoon it was cold enough to freeze your brass monkeys. But we had prime position to watch the 20 minute fireworks show - the last for the Halloween parties for 2011. The narrative and music is played on board the pontoon and the 5 of us enjoyed a prime view, directly in front of the Magic Kingdom. There's a bit of movement - well - I was on a boat!

So that back of that head you see in the video? That's a chick I met up with off the DISboards - by coincidence we found we on the same day, doing the same tours and staying at the same resort. So after wandering back from the GF to the Poly we went up into the Tambu Lounge and had a chat and drink.

Of course it had to be something in a pineapple - with a little umbrella. How could one resist? It is a "Lapu Lapu": dark rum with tropical fruit juices.
Then it was off to sleepy bo bo land in my Polynesian Room. And All Ears, of course, have a great room review video.

I LOVE the green marble in the bath/shower!

In Australia, the old shower curtain is virtually non existent in a decent hotel these days. But not so in the US. Even the most expensive hotels will use them, and Disney always print theirs to the theme.

Poly huts and palm trees with hidden mickeys.
But more important - some thing I have never seen before. Something that shows how Disney manage the little details .....

Mini suction cups! on the shower curtain! YAY!
Have I just revealed something about the standard of general excitment in my life?

To see what happened when I woke up the next morning, follow me after the jump. It is full of segways and jet skis and more excitement!

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Princess Wars - Zonta vs Disney

I don't know any real Princesses - either by birth or marriage.

I don't have any women in my circle of aquaintences whom desire to live a princessy lifestyle. Except my sister - but that's another story.

But at Disney the Princess franchise is one of its most successful money spinners - these chicks reign supreme. I am simply unable to tell you how much Disney Princess stuff there is in this world and how much more just keeps getting churned out. I don't really care for the princesses - I find them irksome and insipid. They just don't engage my attention.

Although these princesses are a bit more interesting

Your average Zontian is running an business and providing jobs or working on government policies that improve the way we live AND they are all doing vast amounts of volunteer community service - often through several outlets. Zontians provide a wide variety of female role models in our community. But the princesses - well they just wear big poofy frocks and do stage shows at 11, 3 and 5:30pm. Even Barbie has multiple careers. That bit of molded plastic has done everything!

I am pretty amivalent about the princesses. There are heaps of blogs that have already trashed them. Too many to leave links. There are plenty who argue how these chicks are strong and brave, loving, confident and work hard to realise their dreams. (Hmmm - except Sleeping Beauty - she kinda slept through the whole thing). And many mothers say it's just a phase their daughter grows out of and eventually reality bites.

Though some kids never buy the marketing

"Why do all the girls have to buy pink stuff!" Yeah!

I have the same ambivalence about Minnie Mouse. I can't quite work out what is her purpose. Yes - she's a foil for Mickey. For the first few cartoons Mickey had to win her affections, competing with Black Pete. Then she spent a bunch of time being in peril and Mickey having to rescue her. She never really is developed as a character in her own right, other than as Mickey's girlfriend.

Then last week Disney Parks Blog posted this about the release of new t-shirt designs.

Source :
Sure they are cute enough - the characters made up of words that "describe their personalities". This would be fine except the Minnie t-shirt describes her PHYSICAL ATTRIBUTES.

Mickey is a leader, clever, awesome, genuine, original, curious - and Minnie, lucky Minnie is cute, gorgeous, lovable, adorable, pretty, beautiful and hot. Except for Goofy being 'tall', physical attributes are not used for Mickey or Donald. So why the emphasis on physical appearance for the girl of the group?

I was contemplating letting this pass but two things happened.

First, I submitted a fairly benign comment on the Disney Parks Blog saying something like: "Come on Disney" but I got moderated! So stuff them - I'll just post on my own blog - for my one reader in Poland - so there!

And last weekend the shit hit the fan over at LEGO when they released girlie dolls in mini skirts - who don't build anything!
Apparently they just go to the cafe and gossip. (Source : - yep a finance blog told me!)
In the press release for the product, LEGO Group Chief Executive Officer Jørgen Vig Knudstorp said “We want to reach the other 50 percent of the world’s children.” I am rather hoping he does not mean "girls" rather just the other 50% of boys and girls who are not purchasing LEGO bricks for some reason.

This one probably goes a bit further than the Disney Princesses and Minnie Mouse. LEGO are being accused of pushing the border on the sexualisation of young girls.

"LEGO Simone de Beauvoir is super unhappy about this development" (source:

However you would be pressed to accuse Disney of explicitly going that far. The princesses and Minnie certainly trade on their good looks but it is all kept relatively tame.  Except for Ariel in her sea shell bra; oh ...and Jasmine in her veils - but they still own big poofy gowns to change into when they get cold.

Oh ...except for Jasmine again - sucked in chick! still bearing that midriff (source:

Perhaps I could be more radical feminist and rail against the machine! I like to think that in a small way I am finding my way to encourage others to think more about how buying or not buying a simple t-shirt can send a message to the multinationals. And perhaps sharing a few ideas in an easy palatable way will get more women and girls reflecting on their own perspective.

But I'll still go to Orlando and ride the rides.

Now excuse me whilst I go drink my milk, before I tidal wave a local village


Monday, 2 January 2012

A Very Merry Mickey Christmas

Did you enjoy your Christmas Parties this year?

Perhaps they are like mine - with dysfunctional family interactions and suspect catering

"We're gonna have the hap, hap, happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap-danced with Danny fucking Kaye. And when Santa squeezes his fat white ass down that chimney tonight, he's gonna find the jolliest bunch of assholes this side of the nuthouse."
So it is nice to have somewhere sane to seek asylum and just chill out for a while.

So I went to Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party! YAY!

Unlike Chef from South Park, Mickey's balls are big and shiny and projected up for all to see
MVMCP is, like the Halloween Party, a hard ticketed event held in the Magic Kingdom, where they sell "supposedly" a limited number of tickets and put on some exclusive activities. Compared with Halloween I didn't think the party was as inventive and engaging, but then again I wasn't dressed like a big red Sorcerer's Apprentice.

Let's have a skip through:

I arrived at just after 7pm and immediately got stuck for 30 minutes in the throng at the entrance all having their wristbands attached. Once through that I wandered around, admiring the decorations and planning what I was going to do.

Mickey head shaped wreaths everywhere - twinkling Christmas lights
Light up snowflake mickey balloons in your favourite Christmassy colours
A different sort of projection ... snowflakes were drifting across the building facades - see one exactly in the centre
 A Christmassy "where's wally" moment - can you spot Santa's elf? (clue - bottom RHS - Cast Member outfit)
And of the course the Castle was lit up in ever changing flashing lights.

At this party I rode a lot of rides and they were walk ons - no waiting! how good is that?! Unfortunately, WDW doesn't do the Christmas ride overlay's like Disneyland has - so it was just the normal rides. For example it was ordinary Haunted Mansion and Small World rather than (Tim Burton's) Nightmare Before Christmas and Small World Christmas.

The freebie at this party was hot cocoa and cookies - however I did not avail myself, fearing watery packet mix.
There were many stations where you could access your required dose of sugar, glucose, HFCS and colouring all in one beverage. (source:
Here you can see the cookies - large and plentiful. I LOVE the CM costume of Christmas trees and candy cane stripes. (source:
Then came the parade - this was great. Heaps of characters bouncing around -  more that appear at the usual parade and then supplemented with Christmas characters - most of which have now become iconic. Such as Santa, the Gingerbread Men, the reindeer and the Tin Soldiers - who have been appearing since Disney began Christmas Parades. So it is much longer than the normal parades they run every day - and it is more structured and choreographed. Again - really good fun to see different floats and characters not normally available. Also they do things like the gingerbread float smells of gingerbread and there is a candy cane float that smells of peppermint

Now about half way through the parade I discovered the secret to great photography. Don't stand directly opposite a blinding floodlight. So I shan't bore you with my light flooded blurry photos. Instead enjoy the magic that is a special Disney parade with this video from Laughing

Whilst I love the Gingerbread Men, I have to admit that I am a Scrooge McDuck girl.

Also - did you notice the "snow" billowing around? This is one of the other great touches - snow in Florida is completely incongruous (and half those Fort Fiends are in FW to avoid snow!).

This stuff is continuously pumped out - hmmmm .... just like Disney advertising ...anyway, I shan't ruin the magic for you by explaining how they do it!
Magical snow that doesn't melt!
More rides, and I admit that I did not queue up for character photos this time - I felt I had met enough at the Halloween party and various character dinners. Suddenly it was time for the fireworks show.

This was one of the best fireworks works shows I have ever seen.

It started with some magical projections onto the Castle - like this:

Gingerbread Castle. How amazing is this? All done with projection! Can you believe all this icing and candies just done with precision projection?!(source:
The fireworks show was a special one for the party - and it was one of the best I've ever seen. Timed perfectly to the music - when there was light twinkly music, there were dancing firefly type fireworks, when it was bold and dramatic, there were huge explosions. All done in lots of christmas colours - red and green. A real standout.

I've already bored you with a video of the parade and if you really like watching fireworks on you tube go and track it down.

Then, for me at least, a few more rides and I left. With 30,000 others. It took an hour to get to the Grand Floridan. I am never riding those little boats again.

Anyway - so where would you rather celebrate Christmas? Gingerbread cookies or a gingerbread castle! Family fireworks or Fireworks show! And maybe even the food could be better: