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16
Oct 14

Family Photo: Second Baby in Month Born to Endangered Gorilla Family at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom Baby Gorilla

It’s another boy! Disney Cast Members, guests and animal lovers are celebrating the birth of the second gorilla in one month for the family of critically endangered western lowland gorillas at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Born September 3rd to mother Kashata and father Gino, the healthy infant joins another male gorilla who was born August 7th to Azizi and Gino. The family group also includes another adult female, Benga, and a four-year-old female named Lilly.

GORILLA FACTS:

  • After a pregnancy of nearly nine months, female gorillas give birth to one infant that typically weighs just four pounds. After birth, infant gorillas cling to their mothers’ fur for the first several months, then ride on their mothers’ backs through the first two or three years of life.
  • Gorillas are typically weaned between the ages of four and five years, but begin to eat solids between two to six months.
  • Troops are led by one dominant, older adult male, often called a silverback because of the swath of silver hair that adorns otherwise dark fur. Troops also include several other young males, some females and their offspring.
  • In the wild, western lowland gorillas are found in lowland tropical rainforests throughout western Africa.
  • Gorillas are the largest of all primates, standing up to six feet tall and weighing up to 450 lbs.
  • The gorilla habitat in Africa is quickly disappearing due to the mining of coltan, a mineral used to make batteries for electronics. Recycling cell phones or laptops may contribute to gorilla conservation.


14
Oct 14

Michael J. Fox and George Stephanopoulos Take a Family Photo In Front of Cinderella Castle at the Magic Kingdom

Michael J. Fox and George Stephanopoulos Take a Family Photo In Front of Cinderella Castle at the Magic Kingdom

Acting legend Michael J. Fox (3rd from left) and ABC News’ chief anchor/”Good Morning America” anchor George Stephanopoulos (3rd from right) posed this Saturday with their families and Mickey Mouse at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando.  Fox is married to actress Tracy Pollan (2nd from left), and Stephanopoulos, is married to actress Alexandra Wentworth (2nd from right).  Also pictured are Pollan’s and Fox’s children, Aquinnah (far left) and Esmé (4th from left); and Stephanopoulos’ and Wentworth’s children, Harper (front right) and Elliott (far right).


07
Oct 14

Why You Should Book a runDisney Marathon Weekends Race Package at Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek at Walt Disney World

runDisney Marathon Weekends at Hilton Bonnet Creek at Walt Disney World - Amanda TinneyI recently learned that two of my favorite pastimes have joined forces. runDisney + Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek. I mean seriously…how did I not know about this?

Marathon Weekends at Hilton Bonnet Creek at Walt Disney World runDisney

This past Saturday I checked in to the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort at Walt Disney World as a place to lay my head after the runDisney Tower of Terror 10 Miler, but checking in to the resort would yield more than just a place to bunk down for the night. My daughter and I were in for a runDisney race experience that started at the hotel and ran seamlessly into the race itself.

runDisney Marathon Weekends at Hilton Bonnet Creek at Walt Disney World - Runners Amenity

Upon check-in, my daughter Alexus and I headed up to our room to stow our luggage. Check it out! A special nutrition runner amenity! Two LUNA bars, two granola bars and two bags of trail mix. These would come in handy as we waited in our corral before the race start.

runDisney Marathon Weekends at Hilton Bonnet Creek at Walt Disney World - Tower of Terror 10 Miler

We sat for a few minutes and enjoyed a sunset from our 12th floor “Disney View” room. Yep, that’s the Tower of Terror attraction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios…the finish line of our 10-miler we were about to embark on.

runDisney Marathon Weekends at Hilton Bonnet Creek at Walt Disney World - Send Off Party

Next, we made our way down to the “Big Send Off” party which was set up especially for runners. It’s also where I got that first photo above withe the clever “Don’t be afraid! It’s only 10 miles!” sign.

The set-up for runners was a legitimate pre-game affair. Music pumping, employees cheering and everything a runner would want to nosh on before the big race event. Coffee, tea, bottled water, protein bars, granola bars and bananas. The team that sets this event up is comprised of folks that have actually participated in runDisney race weekends. They are runners themselves and so they know what runners want and need before a big race.

This is also the area where runners sign up for complementary event transportation. Hilton Bonnet Creek charters special buses to take runners and their families to the race venue. For the Tower of Terror 10 Miler, runners signed up for a scheduled bus time, slipped on a special rubber bracelet that was their ticket to board and then boarded the bus at their scheduled time for the ride over to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Once at the ESPN, runners would then take the Disney transfer to Disney’s Hollywood Studios and the race start line. Buses ran every 30 minutes from 6:30 – 8:00 pm to take runners to the start and then Midnight – 4:30 am for return back to the resort.

Here’s another killer photo opp right outside the resort where bus transportation was located.

runDisney Marathon Weekends at Hilton Bonnet Creek at Walt Disney World - Photo Opportunity

There were some special carb-loading opportunities pre-race, but I was only at the resort for one night. I will be staying several nights in 2015 when I participate in the runDisney Dopey Challenge and will be bringing you a review of those options in a few months.

The Marathon Weekends program is currently available for the following races:

Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend, November 7-8, 2014—Complimentary transportation is provided to and from the race on November 8.
Walt Disney World® Marathon Weekend, January 7-11, 2015—Complimentary transportation is provided to and from the races on January 10 & 11.
Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend, February 19-22, 2014—Complimentary transportation is provided to and from the race on February 22.

Marathon Weekends pricing and activities are open to all guests participating in select runDisney races and staying at the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek or Waldorf Astoria Orlando. Rates start at $129 a night. To make a reservation, please visit www.hiltonbonnetcreek.com/marathon or http://www.waldorfastoriaorlando.com/special-offers/marathon-weekends.

Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek
Inside the gates of the Walt Disney World Resort
14100 Bonnet Creek Resort Ln.
Orlando, FL 32821
407-597-3600
HiltonBonnetCreek.com

I was a guest of the Hilton Bonnet Creek and was provided with complementary accommodations for one night. I was not required to write this post and no monetary compensation has been received. I have thousands of Hilton Honors Points that I have earned by paying my own money to stay at this particular resort because I love it so much.


24
Sep 14

What Adults Do at Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party When the Kids Ditch Them

2014 Mickeys Not So Scary Halloween Party in the Magic Kingdom

Mickey’s Not-so-Scary Halloween Party at the Magic Kingdom is a family tradition. I don’t think we’ve missed a party in over 10 years. Of course ten years ago I had a kindergartner and now I’ve got a 15-year-old. Gone are the days of me holding her hand as she trick-or-treated through the candy stations. Now she brings a friend along. We enter the park, get banded and then we see the kids again at midnight for a ride home.

2014 Mickeys Not So Scary Halloween Party

What are a couple of parents to do when they get ditched by the kids?

First things first. Head straight back to “Be Our Guest Restaurant” for a two-hour dinner. Don’t have a reservation? See this post – How to Get a Dinner Reservation at Disney’s Be Our Guest Restaurant Without Booking 6 Months in Advance. These are the faces of adults who just had a spectacular dinner inside the Magic Kingdom with beer and wine without the kids.

Be Our Guest Restaurant During Mickeys Not So Scary Halloween Party

At this point in the evening you will be the last guests out of the restaurant and can take fun photos like this one without other guests getting in your shot.

Be Our Guest Restaurant During Mickeys Not So Scary Halloween Party

By this time it will be around 9pm. The first “Boo to You Parade” will have already run it’s course and some guests with very small children may have left the park already. You’ll be feeling pretty good at this point and will be tempted to immediately head over to Space Mountain. This is not a good idea after beer, wine, braised pork and cream puffs. Talk yourself back down. Take a nighttime ride on Seven Dwarfs Mine Train instead. It’s right there.

Mickeys Not So Scary Halloween Party 2014 Cinderella Castle

This will give you just enough time to briefly meet your teenagers at The Lunching Pad in Tomorrowland and buy them a Frozen Coke. You will tell them they need to watch the Hallowishes firework spectacular with you and the guilt from your Frozen Coke purchase will compel them to comply. They will be embarrassed half way through Hallowishes when you begin dancing and singing. “BEWARE! BEWARE! Pink elephants on parade. Here they come. Hippity Hoppity. They’re here. They’re there. Pink elephants everywhere. Pink elephants on parade!”

This will be the last you see of them til midnight.

The rest of your hours will be spent listening to Lady Carlotta heckle guests and sing Elvis songs in front of the Haunted Mansion…

Mickeys Not So Scary Halloween Party Lady Carlotta at the Haunted Mansion

…and blazing through all of your favorite attractions like Pirates of the Caribbean, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Splash Mountain, Space Mountain and Peter Pan. If you don’t want to see the second installment of the “Boo to You Parade”, no pressure.

Oh, and I almost forgot. Hit up every “Trick-or-Treat” Location for all the candy your arms can carry.

Mickeys Not So Scary Halloween Party 2014 Candy Haul

By midnight the kids will be searching for a ride home, or to McDonald’s.

Mickeys Not So Scary Halloween Party 2014

This is how the Tinneys tour Mickey’s Not-so-Scary Halloween Party. Your results may vary.

Mickeys Not So Scary Halloween Party 2014

Special thanks to Disney for hosting me and my family. I was not required to write this post. All opinions are my own.

For more info on Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party see this post: Dates and Prices for the 2014 Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party in the Magic Kingdom


22
Sep 14

Culinary Photo Tour of the “Global Venture Wine Pairing Dinner” at Bull & Bear Steakhouse in the Waldorf Astoria Orlando Resort at Walt Disney World

Global Venture Wine Pairing Dinner at Bull & Bear Steakhouse in the Waldorf Astoria Orlando Resort at Walt Disney World

After months and months of anticipation, Walt Disney World’s 2014 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival has begun. If you haven’t already booked your travel arrangements, consider the Waldorf Astoria Orlando Resort for your epicurean “home base” for this year’s festivities. Not only is this resort a cut above any Disney Deluxe Resort (here’s why), it is also offering it’s own complementary Food & Wine Experiences as the resort ushers in it’s fourth year of “Food & Wine Weekends” from September 19th – November 9th, 2014.

For eight weekends, the Waldorf Astoria Orlando Resort and it’s attached sister property the Hilton Bonnet Creek Resort will feature educated diners special programming and events aimed to complement and “fill the gaps” around the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival.

This weekend I attended a preview of “Global Venture – a Wine Pairing Dinner” at Bull & Bear inside the Waldorf.

Amuse Bouche

Global Venture Wine Pairing Dinner at Bull & Bear Steakhouse in the Waldorf Astoria Orlando Resort at Walt Disney World amuse bouche

Our dinner started of with not one amuse bouche, but two, along with a celebratory glass of champagne. Above is a beef and romesco sauce and below is a cheddar cracker with fennel confit and mushroom sausage.

Global Venture Wine Pairing Dinner at Bull & Bear Steakhouse in the Waldorf Astoria Orlando Resort at Walt Disney World amuse bouche

Bread Service

Global Venture Wine Pairing Dinner at Bull & Bear Steakhouse in the Waldorf Astoria Orlando Resort at Walt Disney World Bread Service

Next diners were presented with a beautiful bouquet of bread to choose from.

Starters

Global Venture Wine Pairing Dinner at Bull & Bear Steakhouse in the Waldorf Astoria Orlando Resort at Walt Disney World Wisconsin Pride

Wisconsin Pride – Cheddar (two and four year) Cheese Souffle, Roasted Fava Beans, Pumpernickel Croutons. Warm and gooey and definitely rich. The creamy cheese is broken up nicely with the roasted favas which reminded me of crisp pepitas as well as the croutons and cracker.

This first dish was paired with a 2011 Pouilly-Fuisse unoaked Chardonnay which was a beautiful complement to the cheese dish.

Global Venture Wine Pairing Dinner at Bull & Bear Steakhouse in the Waldorf Astoria Orlando Resort at Walt Disney World Pasta Explosion

Pasta Explosion – Pata Negra de Bellota, Parmigiano Reggiano. One of Bull & Bear’s signature starters. Brought to the table with a special spoon for consuming. Diners are meant to scoop each pasta pillow up with the spoon and let the bite melt in their mouth bringing a literal pasta explosion experience.

The Pasta Explosion was paired with a contrasting 2013 Triennes Rose.

Pasture

Global Venture Wine Pairing Dinner at Bull & Bear Steakhouse in the Waldorf Astoria Orlando Resort at Walt Disney World Fried Chicken

Bull & Bear Fried Chicken – Yukon Golden Mash Potato, Gravy. The preparation of this dish is painstaking. First the chicken is brined. It is then rolled and sous-vied. Finally it is coated and quickly deep friend so as just to crispen the exterior breading. The dish is carved table side.

The chicken came paired with a 2010 L’Ecole No 41 Syrah. This was a beautiful wine.

Beefsteaks

Global Venture Wine Pairing Dinner at Bull & Bear Steakhouse in the Waldorf Astoria Orlando Resort at Walt Disney World Tomahawk Steak

Tomahawk – 38 oz Allen Brothers Prime 32-Day Dry Aged. This cut is called a tomahawk for good reason. It looks exactly like the axe is named for. Offered and priced normally for two. This cut is basically a cowboy steak or ribeye. It is carved and served table side with a bulb of slow roasted garlic and a unique tallow candle made from the steak drippings which is meant to be poured over the meat for extra flavor.

Global Venture Wine Pairing Dinner at Bull & Bear Steakhouse in the Waldorf Astoria Orlando Resort at Walt Disney World Tomahawk Steak Tallow Candle

Global Venture Wine Pairing Dinner at Bull & Bear Steakhouse in the Waldorf Astoria Orlando Resort at Walt Disney World Tomahawk Steak

For this experience we were served sides of Wilted Spinach, Au Gratin Potato and my favorite B&B Frittes, which are Hand Cut Idaho Fries Cooked in Tallow and Sprinkled with Steak Seasoning.

The Tomahawk Steak was paired with a 2009 Hugh Hamilton Jeckyll & Hyde McLaren Vale Shiraz Voignier blend. I loved the label on this wine, which was a black sheep and the caption “Every family has one”.

Wines

Global Venture Wine Pairing Dinner at Bull & Bear Steakhouse in the Waldorf Astoria Orlando Resort at Walt Disney World Wines

Dessert

On the menu, our final course was listed as “Chef’s Choice Dessert“. Little did we know that this would translate to four of the top desserts served at Bull & Bear.

Global Venture Wine Pairing Dinner at Bull & Bear Steakhouse in the Waldorf Astoria Orlando Resort at Walt Disney World Creme Brulee Flambee

Creme Brulee Flambee – Presented to the table in it’s most literal form…flaming. This delightfully burnt cream has a hidden agenda…a small layer of chocolate on the bottom.

Global Venture Wine Pairing Dinner at Bull & Bear Steakhouse in the Waldorf Astoria Orlando Resort at Walt Disney World Chocolate Cigar

Chocolate Cigar – Crisp chocolate tuile cookie filled with decadent chocolate cream. Served with squid ink dyed meringue to resemble cigar ash.

Global Venture Wine Pairing Dinner at Bull & Bear Steakhouse in the Waldorf Astoria Orlando Resort at Walt Disney World The Lemon

The Lemon – Lemon Peel which has been cooked so that it is edible. Filled with lemon and chantilly cream and garnished with a shortbread cookie. Divine!

Global Venture Wine Pairing Dinner at Bull & Bear Steakhouse in the Waldorf Astoria Orlando Resort at Walt Disney World Napoleon

Napoleon – Puff Pastry filled with pistachio pastry creme topped with Caribbean 12 year old Rum sauce, crumbled meringue, macaroons and black walnuts.

Dessert was served with a small aperitif glass of 2002 Tschida Trockenbeerenauslese Sämling, which is a sweet Riesling.

Global Venture Wine Pairing Dinners are offered on Friday and Saturday nights at 7:30 pm at the Bull and Bear steakhouse inside the Waldorf Astoria Orlando Resort. Reservations are required. There is one seating per night of up to 16 guests and the dinner is served at one large table so guests are able to talk and mingle with one another. The cost is $110 per person, plus tax and gratuity.

Bull & Bear Steakhouse
Inside the Waldorf Astoria Orlando Resort
14200 Bonnet Creek Resort Lane
Orlando, FL 32821
407-597-5500
BullandBearOrlando.com

Special Thanks to Bull & Bear for hosting me at this dinner. I was not compensated to write this post and all opinions are my own.