Met up with Clare tonight out at Downtown Disney. We started with dinner at House of Blues. I haven’t eaten here in a few years, but I had a Restaurant.com gift certificate to use. Unfortunately we just missed Happy Hour, but I wasn’t feeling up to drinking alcohol anyways. The food was good, as I remembered it, but it was a bit higher priced. My blackened Cajun chicken sandwich with a side of mashed potatoes was $13. Rhon’s sandwich was about the same price and Clare’s salad was a bit more..
Afterwards, we went over to the theater and decided to see Hot Tub Time Machine. Clare ended up having to leave after we just got into the theater, so it ended up just being Rhon and I watching it. Neither of us had any real expectations from the trailers we’d seen, but it turned out to be a rather funny film.
I think we enjoyed it so much because of the pop culture references to the 80s. A lot of the humor was non-PC, but it was kind of like if Judd Apatow directed an episode of VH-1′s “I Love the 80s.” We loved the cameo by William Zabka (still hot despite the moustache) and the soundtrack was great, too. The only thing I feel they missed the boat on was somehow working in a way for John Cusack (who not only stars in the film, but produced it) to parody his classic Say Anything boombox scene. This will probably be one we’ll get on DVD when it comes out.
I happened to be doing my daily quickscan of Facebook and Twitter for topics to write about when I spotted that Southwest Airlines was holding a “Tweet-up Meet-up” at the All-Star Music Resort at Walt Disney World. I happened to have the morning free, so I signed up to attend. I tried to get some friends to go, but either they had to work or they bailed on me last minute.
Well, today was the day of the event, so I got up and took Rhon to work by 6am, then went back home for a quick nap. The event started at 10:30am, and I got there at just that time, but it seemed I was one of the last to arrive.
To be honest, the event was kind of lackluster. Breakfast consisted of a few pastries, some bread pudding and some sliced fruit with a yogurt dressing to drizzle over it. I generally don’t like sweets for breakfast – would it hurt to have put out some scrambled eggs and bacon?? Or at least bagels and cream cheese? I decided on the fruit with a small blueberry muffin and washed it down with cranberry juice.
Most of the crowd there were families, so I didn’t really have anyone to chat with. I just sat in a booth and ate, watching the steel drum band they had for entertainment.
But at least it wasn’t a total bust. Just for showing up, I ended up taking home a $25 Disney gift card and a Southwest Air-branded laptop accessories kit that had a wireless mouse, thumb drive and a 4-slot USB hub extender. I had actually been thinking of purchasing a similar kit, so it was cool that I got one for free. Not a bad investment for an hour of my time.
After the event was over, I drove around the All-Stars and took some photos for possible future stories and went home. And now I’m blogging it all to you. LOL
Here’s a photo of the breakfast layout:
And one of my take-home goodies:
Oh and the funniest thing was even though it was a Twitter meet-up, not only did I seem to be the only person actually Twittering about it, I had to ask three Southwest employees what their Twitter handle was before I found someone who actually knew. Go figure.
Monday night I had the pleasure of spending time in the company of some of my fellow bloggers from UpTake. With several of the main office people in town for the PhoCusWright travel industry conference over at the Omni Championsgate, several of the Orlando-area UpTakers met up with them for dinner and drinks Monday, before the conferences started.
We met up at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, and ate at Boma’s dinner buffet. Boma is one of my favorite restaurants at WDW, and though I normally eat there during the breakfast buffet, the dinner version is just as good. Actually, this time I noticed a few small differences that made it a more enjoyable experience.
One pleasant change was at the carving station. The last two times I ate dinner at Boma, the beef was only served medium rare and you had to hae the chef cook a slice to order if you wanted it well done, as I do. This time, they had a second slab of well done beef ready to slice. I had a little bit of everything except the seafood items and the mushroom soup. Besides the beef, I enjoyed the Durban-spiced chicken, the bobotie (sort of a ground beef and lamb quiche) and of course the dessert spread. Especially once I poured the chocolate rum raisin sauce over most everything. LOL
Yes, I said chocolate rum raisin sauce.
It’s ok, I’ll give you a moment alone with your taste buds.
Anyways, the best part of the meal was the company. It was great meeting fellow travel writers, esp. since we all work together via telecommuting. I’m really hoping we can get together again, maybe make it a bi-monthly type of thing. So, a big hello to Elliott and Pat from the main office and my Orlando co-bloggers Britt, Shash, Brooke and Angela.
One of my favorite parts of the holiday displays at Walt Disney World is the archway of lights that greets visitors entering the World Showcase. Well, it seems that WDW has decided to retire the decoration as of this year.
From the official Disney Twitter feed:
Note: The Lights of Winter at Epcot has been enjoyed for years. But tech to operate the lights is obsolete, prompting us to retire the lights
That’s right. No official notice, just a quick Tweet that one of the most beloved displays of the season will not be put up anymore, as of this year.
I don’t know about you, but I really enjoyed sitting along the walkway and watching the lights dance to the holiday music. I know the Osbourne lights at Hollywood Studios do the same thing, with more oomph, but there was just something so graceful and even timeless about it being done with this archway of lights.
I certainly hope they change their mind and bring it back. Not sure about their “tech” reasoning – if anyone can figure out a way to upgrade the “tech,” it’s Disney – but if it’s about the funds to run it, how about installing solar-powered LED lights or something. I’d even settle for lights that didn’t dance. I just really like the archway all lit up.
What do you think about the absence of the Lights of Winter arch?
There’s just something about having a beer in one hand and something grilled in the other that is quintessentially summer. So when we (Rhon and I) were at Whole Foods a few weeks ago and noticed that they were holding a Summer Beerfest last night, we decided to go. It would’ve been nice to share it with a group, but since we found out last minute, everyone already had plans. Oh, well… more beer for us! LOL
We didn’t quite know what to expect, but we were caught up in the initial rush of people at the event start, so we just followed their lead. There was a $5 fee for the event and this covered all the beer and food samples. There were 15 or so different samples ranging from microbrews to imports – no PBR swill here.
I’m happy to say that I’d never tried any of the brews present, so my tastebuds really got a workout. I stayed away from the IPAs – I’ve never been a bitter beer fan, so I knew I wouldn’t like them. But otherwise, I did try at least a sip of the rest of the lot.
My favorites were (in order):
- Sea Dog Brewing Co. Apricot Wheat – I wasn’t sure what to expect from this, as fruity beer generally isn’t a fave with me, but I really liked this one. It really tasted like biting into a fresh juicy peach, with no bitter beer aftertaste. This would be a great beer to swig ice cold on a hot summer day. Oh wait… I just did that yesterday. LOL But seriously, if you like the taste of apricots, you’ll really dig this beer.
- Orlando Brewing Organic Red Ale – I’d been wanting to visit this local brewery/bar but just haven’t made it over there yet. So I was excited to see them represented here for sampling. Then I learned they were serving Red Ale from a keg no less — magic words! Paired with the grilled burger, it was heavenly. Reminded me of my much beloved Leinie Red from WI… which is really high praise if you knew how much I love that beer.
- Brooklyn Local 2 - A dark Belgian-style ale, this brew went really well with WF’s all-beef grilled franks. It had a subtle chocolate flavor with a hint of honey/caramel.
I didn’t realize that Whole Foods was serving actual grill items so we had eaten a bit before, but far be it from me to not sample some of the grill offerings in the name of journalism. Rhon liked the bbq ribs more than I did, but I really liked the franks and burgers – what can I say. I’m such a grill purist. LOL I also nibbled from the cheese and chocolate bar.
The evening was well worth the $5. Unfortunately, as we were trying to leave, my car decided to act up and not start. After 2 hrs, AAA finally came and told us it was either the fuel pump or filter. I’ll have to have it towed over to Tuffy on Monday. In the meantime he did get it running so I could get home.
In the words of Rosanne Rosannadanna, “…it’s always something…”
If you’re in Orlando tomorrow, you might be interested in this event being held at the IZEA offices downtown:
And note that above info also shows off a new feature at Metblogs that allows you to embed one of our posts into your blog. It’s in a “very beta” stage, but if it causes any problems on your site, you can simply remove the code and all should be ok. Pretty spiffy, eh?