Monday, October 10, 2016

Disney's CA Adventure Alfresco Tasting Terrace Review

Disney's CA Adventure Alfresco Tasting Terrace Review 

You can find the Alfresco Tasting Terrace at the California Adventure Park in Anaheim,CA. We had dinner at Carthay Circle so wanted something light for lunch. For the Carthay review you can click here

My husband is a HUGE wine fan so this was a must do for him. They have a lot of different choices. 

My husband opted for a wine flight of reds. 

I forget the exact name of the flight he chose. I am not a wine fan so I cannot comment on the taste myself but he said they were all very good. It looks the the prices have gone way up on the flights since we have been?! 

We got the meat plate as well as the cheese plate. 

Both plates were very good but I preferred the cheese plate personally. My husband loved both. Very high quality. 

You order at the bar pictured above. You can sit at the table
like we did or there is an upstairs area available as well. 

He was given this bread stick with his tasting.

If you are just looking for a light snack & enjoy some wine in the beautiful California weather then this place is for you! 

Please feel free to send me any questions that you may have. Thank you!

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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Disney's Pete's Dragon Review by Jerry Skids

Jeff’s Dragon: a review of Pete’s Dragon (2016)
Written by Jerry Skids

Pic courtesy of Disney

          Some people say that you should never COMPARE a reboot to the original...but how can that be possible, when the studio went through the trouble of securing the rights to the original franchise just to use the characters, plot and yes TITLE of the original film.  They are physically asking you to compare it, whether you like it or not.    In Disney’s journey in rebooting a plethora of their original films into live action, the most recent film was the not-very-well-advertised-and- therefore-no-one-is-talking-about-it Pete’s Dragon.  The original 1977 film, Pete’s Dragon, was fun, silly, out of control, humorous, and had tons of great songs to sing along to.  

The reboot was none of the above.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I actually had a good time watching this film, but it is a far cry from anything the original intended to be.  The story is mostly subdued, introspective and dramatic, with any inklings of comedy being few and far between. And that’s great if I was looking for that sort of thing, but when you bill a film with the SAME NAME as the original, you’re expecting the same intentions.  And while the 1977 film was original and fun, the 2016 film was safe, standard and as generic as it can get.

Comparisons aside, the new Pete’s Dragon’s biggest problem was not knowing what it truly wanted to be.  For instance, it is set amongst a group of lumberjacks and the main character, Grace (Bryce Dallas Howard), is a park ranger who is in love with the forest and its wildlife, as well as her husband, Jack (Wes Bentley) who just happens to BE one of those lumberjacks...  And that’s it.  There is no conflict revolving around these circumstances, with the exception of ONE random running gag that I won’t spoil in this review.  How do you create a film involving these two very opposite things, yet NOT have it be part of the actual plot?!  

Speaking of plot….At the climax of the film, I found myself asking “Wait...we’re here already?!  How is that possible?”  The reason being, there really is no semblance of a plot anywhere to be found beyond the main tired story.  Not one character had any sort of arc..except for Pete and Elliot (and even theirs is arguable weak).  And that’s the biggest issue this film has...There is NO character development and very little backstory for any of the characters.  You spend the entirety of the hour and 45 minute run time without knowing why anybody actually does what they are doing.   It’s such a shame because there are some really potentially interesting characters.  

Besides Grace and Jack, we have Grace’s “kooky” father (Robert Redford), who has been claiming all his life that dragons exist ...don’t worry, you’ll only see this interesting character for about 15 minutes because any sort of story would be too much for this film.  We also have Jack’s daughter, Natalie, who really adds to the film with her warming and unrestrained personality...but of course, you don’t learn anything about her beyond the fact that she has a good relationship with her father.  And finally, Jack’s brother, Gavin (Karl Urban), the lumberjack/hunter, who steals the show as the “villain.”  If only he were given some sort of motive to work with, or even a hint of backstory.  But no..that’s not happening.  Not in this film.

The one thing I did LOVE about this film was the music.  The soundtrack was made up of melancholy folk songs to really smack you with a feeling of loneliness...and that’s what really worked here.  The mood, the feeling, the attitude.  In a small town where everyone knows each other, they all seem to be so disconnected to the outer world...and the vast forest and mountains that surround them makes it even tougher.  While they don’t go into this in the film via dialogue or action, it is told solely through music and mood.  As happy and quaint as everyone might be, there will always be this disconnect from society.

 The music also contributes to the timeless feel of the film.  No one has cell phones, they listen to music on vinyl, the score is made up of folk songs and instrumentals, which could be from any time, really… and that works in the film’s favor.  It will never feel dated.  We are in a small town, in some time period, with bland people who live normal lives.

The final thing I do have to go into is the fact that this is titled Pete’s Dragon.  Yes, there is a boy named Pete...and yes, he has a dragon.  But that is the ONLY similarity to the original, plotwise.  The story is different, the setting is different and the characters are different, so why even bother using the same name?  Doesn’t it make more sense to have this be a sequel?  In the 1977 film, (do you have to say “spoilers” for a near-40 year old film??) Elliot leaves Pete in the end to go find a new boy to save.  Why not have this main character be the new boy?  Name him….I dunno...Jeff or something.  He’s completely different from the original anyway.  The original Pete was an orphan living with abusive foster parents, who was looking to run away from his horrible life, which factors into the plot throughout the whole film.  In THIS film,, Pete’s folks die in a car crash and he escapes into the forest, where he is raised by his it’s basically… Tarzan...or Mowgli… This film could have easily just been the continuing adventures of Elliot.  All they needed to do was slap on a different title like “Jeff’s Dragon” and all would have been resurrected.  In fact, I honestly have no clue why they didn’t.  The movie wouldn’t have been perfect either way, but it would have still had its own identity, which is what this version is absolutely lacking.  Instead, it was piggybacked onto the original as a reboot, which dragged it down a few notches, when it could have stood on its own.

Was Pete’s Dragon (2016) awful?  No.  Was it great?  No.  It was fine.  The dragon looked amazing, the effects were flawless, the mood was great...but the one thing it lacked, were the two most important things: character and story.  While Pete and Elliot were given distinct personalities, they were the only ones who didn’t come off as ancillary.  The audience cannot build any sort of connection to the other main characters, because they come off as two dimensional (sometimes even one-dimensional).  It’s definitely worth seeing for the effects and the general feeling of the piece - it’s always great to see a level of art to a major studio film.  But don’t expect any sort of development, because it’s just not there.   C-

Written by Jerry Skids

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Disney's Apple Vinaigrette Recipe from Boma at Animal Kingdom Lodge

Disney's Apple Vinaigrette Recipe from Boma at Animal Kingdom Lodge 

I have changed my eating habits in the past few months. I try to eat as much to the Paleo or Whole30 diet as I possibly can. I love that there is no added sugar in this recipe & you can whip this up in 10-15 minutes. I suggest that you half this recipe the first time you make it unless you are having a large party. This is a very light & refreshing salad dressing!

YT Video instructions on recipe:

Yield: 10 servings
Ingredients:2 each Apple, puree
1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
1/3 cup Cider Vinegar
½ cup Lemon Juice, fresh squeezed
2 cups Olive Oil
1 ½ each Lemon Zest, fresh
To taste Kosher Salt
To taste Fresh Ground Black Pepper
Method of Preparation:
1. Peel and shred about two apples through the mandoline and put in a stainless steel bowl with the Dijon Mustard.
2. Whisk in the cider vinegar and the lemon juice, and slowly add in the olive oil.
3. Stir in the fresh grated lemon zests and mix well.
4. Adjust the seasonings with Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper.

Shredded with my Mandoline
I would HIGHLY recommend you make this on the day that you use it. It does not store well in my opinion & tastes a million times better the day you make it. 

Please feel free to send me any questions that you may have. Thank you!

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Sunday, July 31, 2016

Disney Springs…All New

Disney Springs…All New

Written by: Christina Battista/ Travel Agent Information at bottom of page. She is amazing! 

Disney Springs, the reimagined Downtown Disney, is a one-of-a-kind free Disney area. Here you can experience delicious dining, great shopping, and entertainment on every corner. The best part is that you don’t have to purchase a ticket to enjoy all of the fun. The unique merchandise coupled with the Spanish Style buildings made me feel like I was in a totally different area in Florida. It was unrecognizable to me when I visited this summer.

Disney Springs has four different districts called The Landing, Marketplace, West Side and Town Center.

Each area is unique and each experience totally different. Here are my favorites


Michael Jordan’s Trophy Room
Michael Jordan’s son, Marcus, was inspired by his father’s real-life trophy room when he came up with the idea for this store. Unique and ultra-cool sneakers along with memorabilia make this store a must visit for any basketball fan.

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique
Now located behind Once Upon a Toy, Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique is a little girl’s dream. Here girls can get made up just like their favorite Princess. It is an amazing day whether you go out to dinner after or head over to the parks. Every girl will feel like a Princess after a visit here.

Chapel Hats
Every hat you could think of is sold here. Fedoras, floppy hats, sun hats, kids’ hats, etc. makes this stop a fun visit for everyone.

Coca Cola Store

Satisfy your Coca-Cola or Diet Coke habit at this unique store. You can shop for collectibles or head up to the roof top bar. Try all different types of flavored colas and pick out your favorite.

The Lego Store
Marvel in the larger-than-life Lego designs, purchase all kinds of different LEGO designs. Pick-a-brick wall and play tables makes a visit to this store a must do for families with little ones.

STK Steakhouse
This cool new modern steakhouse has fantastic food and a cool DJ spinning tunes nightly. The upstairs bar has sliding glass doors that open up to a beautiful outdoor patio with a stunning view of Disney Springs. Try the Bag O’ Donuts for dessert….scrumptious!

This store features the gourmet, world famous cupcakes. These cupcakes are baked fresh daily and have unique flavors. Visit the adorable pink ATM located right next to the store to get your own cupcake!

The Boathouse
This upscale waterfront dining is a must do when visiting Disney Springs. The menu contains American, Seafood, and Steakhouse cuisine. Try the Lobster Roll and fries…yummy. You can sit and watch the Amphicars take off. Better yet, ask to be seated in the boat (table) located in the middle of the restaurant.

Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar
Named after the pilot for Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark, the Hangar Bar is filled with artifacts from the Jock Lindsey’s travels. The inside only seats around 50, but outside has more seating. Serving appetizers and drinks, this is a great place to relax before your dinner reservations or show. Try the Hail Marty if you like single barrel straight Kentucky bourbon whiskey.

The Daily Poutine
The classic Canadian dish is fantastic at Disney Springs. Thick French fries are topped with all kinds of goodies from cheddar cheese curd to beef gravy. You can also enjoy a tasty frozen Sangria here!

*Menu items subject to change without notice.


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