Happy Halloween From Baymax!

Big Hero 6 Halloween Baymax

If you are anything like me, I am totally counting down the days until I get to #MeetBaymax! Can November 7th please hurry up and get here, because I am so excited to see Big Hero 6!

From Walt Disney Animation Studios, the team behind “Frozen” and “Wreck-It Ralph,” comes “Big Hero 6,” an action-packed comedy-adventure about the special bond that develops between Baymax (voice of Scott Adsit), a plus-sized inflatable robot, and prodigy Hiro Hamada (voice of Ryan Potter). When a devastating event befalls the city of San Fransokyo and catapults Hiro into the midst of danger, he turns to Baymax and his close friends adrenaline junkie Go Go Tomago (voice of Jamie Chung), neatnik Wasabi (voice of Damon Wayans Jr.), chemistry whiz Honey Lemon (voice of Genesis Rodriguez) and fanboy Fred (voice of T.J. Miller). Determined to uncover the mystery, Hiro transforms his friends into a band of high-tech heroes called “Big Hero 6.”


And to help bring a little Big Hero 6 to Halloween, I wanted to share a few goodies!

If you still haven’t carved your pumpkin for tonight, you may want to give the Baymax Pumpkin a try!

Big Hero 6 Baymax Pumpkin Halloween

What about trying your hand at some Baymax origami?

Big Hero 6 Baymax origami-page-001

Can you spot the difference in San Fransokyo?

Big Hero 6 Spot the Difference

The streets of San Fransokyo are pretty crazy!

Big Hero 6 Maze

I hope that you enjoyed these Baymax goodies and that you have a Happy Halloween!!!

To keep up with the latest Big Hero 6 News and Information, make sure that you:

Like BIG HERO 6 on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DisneyBigHero6

Follow Walt Disney Animation Studios on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/DisneyAnimation

Follow Walt Disney Animation Studios on Tumblr: http://disneyanimation.tumblr.com

Visit the Website: http://www.disney.com/BigHero6


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Fifth Annual Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic – Preview

Thanks so much to the awesome Amanda Higgs for attending the Fifth Annual Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic for us! Amanda is passionate about having fun and making magic. You’ll often find her in the local theme parks or searching for the next big adventure to go on. Make sure to give her a follow on Twitter, and join her adventures at the Food and Wine Classic this weekend!

Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic - Wines

I had the opportunity to attend the preview for the Fifth Annual Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic which is being held this weekend on October 31 and November 1. This annual event showcases the food offerings at Disney’s Swan and Dolphin and offers a distinctive dining experience for those who attend. 

Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic

The food offerings at the Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic are going to be unique each night, and we were able to sample a few of the dishes and all of them were delicious. 

Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic - Preview Sample

Housemade Bacon with Corn Bread Puree, Charred Corn and Smoked Tomato Bacon Ragout-which will be featured on Friday night- was a stand out from the samples offered. 

Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic - House Made Bacon

Chef Robert Ciborowski, who has been with the Swan and Dolphin since 2007, was on hand to answer a few questions about his passion for smoking meats and how he’s sampled and tested different kinds of Bar-B-Que around the world. He boasts that his is some of the best anyone will find and I have to say that I absolutely agree. 

Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic - Chef Robert Ciborowski

On Saturday, Todd English’s bluezoo will be featuring a Shrimp Cocktail Steamroller, which deconstructs the shrimp cocktail foodies know and love and turns it into a beautiful and simple sampler. The steamroller is a glass tube that is open-ended. Diners will have to place their hand on one end to cause suction and literally suck the cocktail out  the other to enjoy the food. This will be a highlight at the event for anyone who tries this interesting dish. 

Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic - Shrimp Station

Dessert offerings were beautiful and unique as well. I enjoyed the Banana Foster Panini which features homemade caramelized banana puree and vanilla ice cream in a brioche bun. It’s cooked for twenty five seconds to warm the bread but keeps the center cool for a delicious twist on a classic dessert.

Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic - Desserts

Also new to the event this year is the festival Beer Garden. This area will be featuring local craft beers and the roll out of the Swan and Dolphin’s own seasonal brew. Branded Fin and Feathers they will be featuring “Sweet and Mellow” which is a sweet potato and marshmallow flavored beer, which is sure to be a hit at the Classic this year. It also boasts the best pub snacks around like kimchi chips and other yummy treats.

Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic - Beer

Finally, there will be seminars taught during the event. From Modern Mixology, Wine Blending, and TQU: Tequila University to The Fine Art of Sake and Sushi and Pasta Making with Chef Cib the team who put together this event will share what they’re passionate about and give guests the opportunity to learn something interesting while  enjoying a night out. 

Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic - Chef

For ticket pricing and more information on the event go to www.swandolphinfoodandwineclassic.com. It promises to be an event to remember whether it’s a date night or a way to experience a different and exciting way to see food in Orlando, I recommend this event to anyone looking for something to do over the weekend! 

Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic

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Luke Bryan Coming To The Amway Center


Luke Bryan That's My Kind of Night Tour Amway Center

Luke Bryan | That’s My Kind of Night Tour

Amway Center | Orlando

February 21, 2015

Luke Bryan is extending his highly successful That’s My Kind of Night Tour with a winter leg in early 2015. The 2014 tour produced sell outs in each market it’s played including four sold-out stadium shows with crowds of 225,000 fans, two sold-out concerts in New York City’s Madison Square Garden, a string of double-play dates that broke venue attendance records and he became the debut country act to play Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. Randy Houser and Dustin Lynch will open the 2015 winter leg of this tour. Bryan performs at the Amway Center in Orlando on Saturday, February 21. 

Bryan wrapped his sixth annual Farm Tour performing for over 110,000 fans during the eight-city run. A portion of the ticket proceeds are granted for local college scholarships (Luke Bryan Farm Tour Scholarship) to students from a farming family within the communities the tour plays. Farm Tour 2014 was sponsored by 5-hour ENERGY®, Texaco, Cabela’s, Miller Lite and AT&T U-verse®.

Luke Bryan That's My Kind of Night Tour Amway Center

Since the debut of his first album in 2007, Bryan has sold nearly 6.4 million albums, 24.9 million digital tracks from his four studio albums and placed 11 singles at number one. Bryan’s current number one single, “Roller Coaster,” is from his “Crash My Party” album, which has sold over two million copies with 7.8 million digital downloads and was the best-selling country album in 2013. The album contains four additional number one hits including “That’s My Kind of Night,” “Crash My Party,” “Drink A Beer” and “Play It Again.” Bryan made history earlier this year by reaching the number one spot on Billboard’s Country Airplay chart with “Play It Again” and “This Is How We Roll.” Bryan became the first artist to ever hold the two top positions since the chart began in 1990.


Bryan will perform on the upcoming 48th Annual Country Music Awards (CMA) on Wednesday, November 5 and is nominated for three CMA Awards – Entertainer of the Year, Male Vocalist and Album of the Year for “Crash My Party­.”


Randy Houser took country fans and industry insiders by storm with the 2013 release of his Stoney Creek Records album, “How Country Feels.” Scoring three consecutive number one hits with the title track, “Runnin’ Outta Moonlight” and “Goodnight Kiss,” Houser also earned an American Country Award for Most Played Radio Track: Male (“How Country Feels”) and his first number one as a songwriter (“Goodnight Kiss”). His new single, “Like A Cowboy,” is the fourth release from “How Country Feels” and was written by Houser and Brice Long. Previous successes include Houser’s 2009 top five hit, “Boots On” and debut power ballad, “Anything Goes.” For more information and the latest tour dates visit www.RandyHouser.com.

Luke Bryan That's My Kind of Night Tour Amway Center

Broken Bow Records’ Dustin Lynch occupies a unique place in today’s country music. Thanks to his classic sensibilities, he’s been heralded as the heir to George Strait’s throne. Yet with one listen to his gold-selling, two-week number one smash, “Where It’s At,” it’s obvious the young Tennessee native knows how to combine his traditional influences with an edgy intensity that places him at the vanguard of today’s contemporary country scene. Since the release of his platinum-selling debut single, “Cowboys and Angels,” Lynch has surpassed 17.9 million views on YouTube/VEVO and earned multiple awards show nominations. Lynch’s new album, “Where It’s At,” debuted as the number one-selling digital country album in the U.S. and earned over 500,000 Spotify streams in its first week alone. Rolling Stone Country named Lynch one of “The Best Things We Saw at CMA Music Fest 2014,” while he was heralded as one of country music’s ‘Sexiest Men of 2014’ in People CountryUs Weekly and Closer Weekly.  For more information visit http://www.dustinlynchmusic.com.

The Farm Tour was sponsored by 5-Hour Energy®, Texaco, Cabela’s, Miller Lite, and AT&T.

Smackdown at the Amway Center Set-Up

TICKETS: $37.75 & $67.75. Buy tickets at amwaycenter.com, Chase Box Office at Amway Center, Ticketmaster retail locations, charge-by-phone at 800.745.3000 or at Ticketmaster.com.  All dates, act(s) and ticket prices are subject to change without notice.  All tickets are subject to applicable taxes, service, handling and facility fee charges.  For Amway Center box office and ticket information, visit amwaycenter.com (phone purchases are not available through the Amway Center box office).  The Amway Center is located at 400 West Church Street and the box office is located on the north side of the Amway Center, near the intersection of Church Street and Hughey Avenue. 

Amway Center
The Orlando Magic served as the developer of the Amway Center, which hosts major national events, concerts and family shows.  Opened in the fall of 2010, the facility is owned and operated by the City of Orlando on behalf of the Central Florida community. The Amway Center was designed to reflect the character of the community, meet the goals of the users and build on the legacy of sports and entertainment in Orlando. The building’s exterior features a modern blend of glass and metal materials, along with ever-changing graphics via a monumental wall along one facade. A 180-foot tall tower serves as a beacon amid the downtown skyline. The 875,000 square foot, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certified building features a sustainable, environmentally-friendly design and unmatched technology, including 1,100 digital monitors, the tallest high-definition video board in an NBA venue and multiple premium amenities available to all patrons in the building. Amway Center was recently honored with TheStadiumBusiness Awards’ 2013 Customer Experience Award and named SportsBusiness Journal’s 2012 Sports Facility of the Year. For more information about the Amway Center, visit www.amwaycenter.com.



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Bringing the Magic Of Disney To Your Home For Halloween

Bringing the Magic of Disney to Your Home for Halloween

If you are anything like me, you are continually looking for ways to bring the magic of Disney to your home for any holiday! Halloween is certainly no exception.

As you may have already seen, decorating Disney themed pumpkins is a huge way that we bring Disney to our home. In addition to that fun ritual, we enjoy hunting for Disney treasures along the way. Places like Walgreens, Wal-Mart, Menards, and Target often have fun and unique items.

Disney at Home Magic of Disney

Each year, we always add something new to our collection! From our large inflatable Mickey jack-o-lantern to our tiny Utz Halloween cheesy snacks, we are always finding something to add.  Although all of aspects of Disney are well represented, Mickey Mouse is the most popular in our home.

Disney at Home Magic of Disney

When the days get cooler, our children love to make hot chocolate after school. How do they add a Disney touch to a cool weather treat? With Mickey marshmallow shapes (created by them) in a Disneyland Haunted Mansion souvenir mug, of course! From jack-o-lanterns to yard signs, you never know where Mickey will pop up.

Disney at Home Magic of Disney

Every year it seems that Walgreens has a unique and fun selection.  If you are a Nightmare Before Christmas fan, they have quite the collection this year.  I mean, who doesn’t want a giant Jack Skellington hanging on their door?!

Disney at Home

Costumes offer another way to bring Disney to your family at Halloween.  The Disney Store has a well rounded selection, and even Target, Wal-Mart, and party stores carry Disney costumes.


Speaking of Target, take a look at the puzzles in the toy section.  We have a fabulous 3-D Villains puzzle that the kids like to put together and display each year.

Disney at Home Magic of Disney

Also, check out your local grocery stores.  Around each major holiday, you will often find Disney themed cookies that just need to be popped in the oven.  Easy peasy!

We would love to hear how YOU bring Disney to your home at Halloween.  Please comment below and let us know!



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Tin Roof Coming to Orlando

 Tin Roof Brings its “Live Music Joint” Concept to Orlando

Tin Roof selects I-Drive 360 for its first Florida location 

I-Drive 360 is about to get a little louder, a little rowdier and a lot more fun with the arrival of Tin Roof, a “live music joint” where people can hang out, enjoy some great food and listen to live music almost every night of the week.


 Headquartered in Nashville, the first Tin Roof opened in 2002 near Nashville’s famous Music Row. It quickly became a favorite for both performers and music fans. The parent company, Tin Roof Acquisitions, expanded the concept to other cities. Orlando will be the company’s 14th location.

“We think Orlando is a perfect fit for Tin Roof, for both tourists and locals,” said William Hodges, Tin Roof Regional Manager. “I-Drive 360 visitors can grab some food or listen to some great music before or after they visit some of the other new attractions there.”

The new Tin Roof – just steps from the Orlando Eye – is expected to open in December.

Tin Roof: The Music

Tin Roof puts a premium on booking top local and regional bands. Music fans will typically find bands playing from 10 pm – 2 am on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, with acoustic sets during the week. Types of music will range from rock to alternative to country.

“We’ll be bringing in all types of bands and singers, and even some national acts for special events,” said Hodges. “We also put a premium on being a place where local bands and musicians can find a home and showcase their talents.”

Tin Roof will not be a ticketed venue, but cover charges will apply at certain times.


Tin Roof: The Menu


Tin Roof will be open for lunch and dinner – but the food goes way beyond the typical bar fare. Guests can choose from a variety of gourmet grub, including these favorites:

Hot Chicken Torta – this Mexican-style sandwich features buttermilk fried chicken, served with pickles and potato salad.

Big Farmer Dave’s Quesadilla – filled with sausage, zucchini, pecan-herb pesto and cheese.

Kentuckyaki Wings – wings like you’ve never had them; the sauce includes bourbon, soy, sorghum, garlic and ginger.


“We can’t wait to open our doors and give people a place to unwind after a day at work or hitting the theme parks,” said Hodges. “We’ll be the place to hear the best live music in town.”


Facts on Tin Roof Orlando

Owners: Tin Roof Acquisitions LLC

Address: 8371 International Drive Suite 100
Square footage: 5000

Seating capacity: 210 (155 indoor, 55 outdoor)

Parking: Both free parking and valet parking will be available

Available for private events: Yes
Number of employees: 25-50

Management: William Hodges, Regional Manager; Patrick Nietzer, GM
Builder: Shaub Construction

Anticipated opening date: December 2014

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Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice at Krispy Kreme for Halloween!



Krispy Kreme

Not too long ago I had the privilege of tasting and decorating some doughnuts at Krispy Kreme at Millenia. Guys, let me just tell you how awesome it was!

Krispy Kreme Ghostbusters Halloween Doughnuts

First of all, Ghostbusters is one of my favorite movies and I was excited when news broke that Krispy Kreme had made and designed doughnuts for the film’s 30th anniversary. They’re super cute, taste amazingly good, and Krispy Kreme let me decorate my own!

Krispy Kreme Ghostbusters Halloween Doughnuts

Secondly, they let me taste their seasonal pumpkin spice doughnuts. They had two, pumpkin spice and pumpkin cheesecake. Let me just say fantastic!

Krispy Kreme Ghostbusters Halloween Doughnuts

Pumpkin spice will continue after Halloween, but Krispy Kreme’s “Krispy Skremes” and Ghostbusters doughnuts will end after October.

Pumpkin Spice

They all are extremely good! You must go and get your own!

Krispy Kreme

One last thing I know everyone will enjoy, on Halloween, kids of all ages can get a free doughnut if you go in costume! So get dressed up and go enjoy the wonderful yumminess of Krispy Kreme!

Krispy Kreme Ghostbusters Halloween Doughnuts


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Walt Disney World Swan And Dolphin Hotel Redesign

Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Redesign

Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel Announces $125 Million Redesign

Largest renovation in Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel’s 25-year history will transform every guest room


The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel is getting the largest makeover in its history. The hotel has launched a multi-phase, multi-year, $125 million redesign project that will transform every guest room in the 758-room Swan Hotel and the 1,509-room Dolphin Hotel.

“As we celebrate the hotel’s 25th anniversary, it is appropriate that we mark the occasion with a renaissance of our room product,” said General Manager Fred Sawyers. “Our guests will continue to receive the level of service and hospitality that comes with a quarter century of experience while enjoying a modern new guest room.”

The transformation will occur without disruption to the guest experience as the majority of guest rooms will be available throughout the process. The hotel’s public spaces, restaurants, meeting rooms, shops, pools and recreational areas will not be impacted and remain fully operational throughout the renovation.

Noted hotel and condominium interior design and architecture firm Garcia Stromberg/GS4 Studios, designers of the Conrad Hotel Ft. Lauderdale, the Waldorf Astoria’s Boca Beach Club and One Thousand Ocean condominium in Boca Raton, Fla., created the concept for the new rooms.

The new room design is inspired by the resort’s water-themed architecture. The goal was to create a serene and sophisticated atmosphere.

The guest room features upgraded furniture and all of the latest technology including large HD TVs.  Additional power outlets provide corporate executives and family travelers more options for use of multiple personal electronics.

Blending an artistic combination of whites, blues and grays, the design creates a tasteful ambiance that appeals to adults while abstract artwork playfully delights children as well.

The centerpiece of the room is the famous Westin Heavenly Bed with its all-white custom-designed pillow-top mattress set, cozy down blanket, a trio of crisp sheets, goose down comforter and four over-stuffed pillows.

The design continues into a completely new bathroom, featuring a back-lit mirror mounted on iridescent glass tiles.

The project started at the Swan Hotel, with approximately 500 of the 756 rooms redesigned by the end of 2014. The first phase of the Dolphin Hotel rooms will begin in 2015 with the entire rooms project currently scheduled for completion by the end of 2016. 

Walt Disney World Swan and

About the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel

In the heart of the Walt Disney World Resort, the award-winning Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel is the gateway to Central Florida’s greatest theme parks and attractions. The hotel is located between Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and nearby Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park and Magic Kingdom Park. Guests can discover 17 world-class restaurants and lounges, sophisticated guest rooms with Westin Heavenly Beds and the luxurious Mandara Spa. The hotel features five pools, two health clubs, tennis, nearby golf, complimentary transportation throughout the Walt Disney World Resort, extended park hours, a benefit where each day, one of the four Walt Disney World Theme Parks is open extra time for guests to enjoy select attractions (Valid Theme Park admission and Resort ID required) and the new FastPass+ service, where guests can reserve up to 3 select theme park experiences up to 60 days in advance of their visit. The hotel can be reached at 800-227-1500www.swandolphin.com or through Facebook at www.facebook.com/swananddolphin.

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Tinker Bell and the Legend of the Neverbeast

Tinker Bell and the Legend of the Neverbeast

Introducing Tinker Bell and the Legend of the Neverbeast

Ginnifer Goodwin as the voice of ‘Fawn’ and the all new character ‘Gruff’

DisneyToon Studios is pleased to announce that Ginnifer Goodwin (“Once Upon a Time”) will voice the character Fawn in the new Disney Fairies adventure, “Tinker Bell and the Legend of the NeverBeast”.

“Fawn is a character who loves all animals unconditionally,” said director Steve Loter. “She will help any animal that needs her, but sometimes Fawn thinks too impulsively, when she should be thinking with her head, as well as her heart.”

Tinker Bell and the Legend of the Neverbeast Gennifer Goodwin Fawn

Loter says there’s a lot of Goodwin in the character. “Fawn was inspired by my daughter and her unconditional love of animals,” he said. “But Ginnifer had a very strong hand in crafting the character. Her sense of fun and her wondrous view of the world gave Fawn direction. You can hear the smile in Ginnifer’s voice—this is a character that loves life and lives it to its fullest.”

Tinker Bell and the Legend of the Neverbeast

The heartwarming story explores the ancient myth of a mysterious creature whose distant roar sparks the curiosity of Tinker Bell’s friend Fawn, an animal fairy who’s not afraid to break the rules to rescue the NeverBeast before time runs out.   The fairies meet Gruff who is a massive creature and the subject of an ancient Pixie Hollow myth. Hidden in a dark lair on the fringes of the fairies’ beloved home, Gruff is discovered by curious and empathetic animal fairy Fawn, who sees something special in his glowing green eyes. His penchant for stacking rocks mystifies Fawn and her friends—but Gruff’s true purpose is the real surprise.

The film, releasing in-home March 3, 2015, also features the voices of Mae Whitman (Tinker Bell), Megan Hilty (Rosetta), Lucy Liu (Silvermist), Raven Symone (Iridessa), Anjelica Huston (Queen Clarion) and is directed by Steve Loter (“Kim Possible”) and produced by Makul Wigert (“Secret of the Wings”).


Disneytoon Studios returns to Pixie Hollow with the heartwarming adventure “Legend of the NeverBeast.” The new story explores an ancient myth of a fabled creature whose distant roar sparks the curiosity of Tinker Bell’s good friend Fawn, an animal fairy who’s not afraid to break the rules to help an animal in need. But this animal—massive and strange with glowing green eyes—is not really welcome in Pixie Hollow, and the scout fairies are determined to capture the mysterious beast before it destroys their home. Fawn, who sees a tender heart beneath his gruff exterior, must convince Tink and the girls to risk everything to rescue the NeverBeast before time runs out. Directed by Steve Loter (“Kim Possible”) and produced by Makul Wigert (“Secret of the Wings”), “Legend of the NeverBeast” roars to life in March 3, 2015.

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2014 Osceola Fall Art Festival

2014 Osceola Fall Art Festival

The 2014 Osceola Fall Art Festival, presented by Osceola Center for the Arts and Kissimmee Main Street, will take place in beautiful historic downtown Kissimmee on November 15 & 16.

Up to 150 artists will be invited to participate in this two-day event.  As an invited artists you will enjoy easy load in/load out, artists awards breakfast, free parking, $20,000 in cash prizes and excellent restaurants in a beautiful historic setting.

This year the Osceola Fall Art Festival has a new Patron Purchase Program, and it’s a great way to support local art!
If you are planning to make a purchase at the upcoming Osceola Fall Art Festival, please consider taking part in our Art Patron Program.2014 Osceola Fall Art Festival Art Patron

You can also head over to http://osceolaartfestival.com/ to find our more details.

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Mall at University Town Center Opens in Sarasota

Last week the new Mall at University Town Center opened in Sarasota as a new location for upscale shopping and dining. I had the chance to check it out this past weekend and thought I’d share a few pictures. My mom and I had seen the location last as a dirt patch before construction started, so it was quite impressive to see the change. The grand opening was last Thursday, with celebrities like our friend David Bromstad in attendance to celebrate the opening of the mall at their Macy’s location. Some of the stores are still not open yet, but I would say a good 80-90% are currently open.

Mall at UTC
Mall at UTC
Playground area from above
Playground area from above

The retail center has a range of stores throughout with anchor stores like Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue and Dillard’s. High end offerings also include Stuart Weitzman, Kate Spade, Michael Kors, Tory Burch, and more traditional mall mainstays like the Gap, Express, Banana Republic, and Victoria’s Secret. One of my favorite aspects of the Mall at University Town Center is the collection of home, kitchen and housewares stores like Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrel, and Williams-Sonoma. I could get lost in these stores along for hours checking out all the fun gadgets and gizmos as well as great decor.

For the opening weekend they had quite a bit of entertainment going on throughout the Mall. I don’t know if this will continue on a regular basis, but it definitely made this feel unlike any mall I’ve ever been to. There were living statues similar to those that used to appear in Epcot. Multiple musicians were spread out throughout the Mall at University Town Center playing music ranging from steel drums, to Celtic violins, to solo guitar players, and even some singing Jack Johnson. In addition to this there were a couple of gymnastic troupes performing in different locations. It made this much more than just your typical shopping experience. I even got to meet Hello Kitty!

Living statue
Living statue
Celtic musicians
Celtic musicians
Dude playing Jack Johnson
Dude playing Jack Johnson
Guitar player
Guitar player
Another musician
Another musician
Hello Kitty in Dillard's
Hello Kitty in Dillard’s
Selfie with Hello Kitty
Selfie with Hello Kitty

Setting itself further apart from most malls, the Mall at UTC for short, doesn’t offer a food court per se. There are tons of places to eat, but most of them are table service restaurants, with a few counter service locations with seating mixed in here and there. There are also counter location like Auntie Anne’s pretzels, Starbucks, and Cold Stone Creamery where you just walk up to the counter and order. We opted for lunch at Seasons 52, a restaurant that was first mentioned to me by our own Gail a while back when talking about their fantastic meals on twitter.

Being that this was the opening weekend at the mall, we decided it might be a good idea to get there not long after the mall opened at 11am on Sunday. This was definitely a good call because parking was even scarce when we arrived a little before 11:30. We also had the good sense to make a reservation ahead of time for lunch at Seasons 52 using the Open Table website. We actually checked in about half an hour before our reservation time since neither of us had eaten breakfast, and thankfully they were able to seat us right away. Others were being told the wait was about 45 minutes unless they could find a seat at the bar, so we were very happy to get in early.

I will say the service was a bit slow, and also our server wasn’t as familiar with the menu as we were from just looking at it online ahead of time, but I will give them a pass since it was only four days after opening. The food was all fantastic. We thought we’d prefer to try several small things, so instead of ordering any entrees, my mom and I split several appetizers.

We started off with one of the recommended flights and flatbreads, where you can choose from several flatbread options and three wine flights for either $15 or $20 for three tastes of different wines and then a full glass of your favorite of the three. This would be a great lunch in and of itself for future reference. We tried the blackened steak & blue cheese flatbread with the Acclaimed wine flight, which consisted of reds that were all rated 90 points or above by Wine Spectator, the Wine Advocate, Wine Enthusiast or International Wine Cellar. We liked the cabernet the best, but none of the wines were as full bodied as we’d hoped, so we probably wouldn’t choose that flight again. The flatbread was quite tasty as long as you like blue cheese.

Flight ... full disclaimer this was after several sips, so you get more than pictured here
Flight … full disclaimer this was after several sips, so you get more than pictured here

Next up we tried some of the seasonal appetizers on the Autumn menu. One that had caught my eye was the cider-glazed chicken skewers. They were served over a fuji apple slaw with sun-dried cranberries and toasted pumpkin seeds. This was our favorite selection we tried. Mom didn’t care for the slaw as much as I did, but still enjoyed the dish overall. We tried a cup of the porcini mushroom bisque in hopes that it might be similiar to the Portabella mushroom soup at Artist Point at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, but it was different. Good, but not as creamy as I’d hoped. I liked dipping the small garlic breadstick that came with it in the bisque to combine the flavors. Mom also ordered the carmelized brussel sprouts with crispy bacon, garlic and a parmesan crust. I’m not usually a fan of brussel sprouts, but paired with the bacon and cheese worked really well. We also ordered the organic baby spinach and carmelized pear salad with toasted walnuts, gorgonzola, and a sherry walnut vinaigrette. The salad was very good too, as long as you like blue cheese. I’m not the world’s biggest fan of blue cheese, in case you hadn’t guessed, but I did like what we had.

Chicken skewers
Chicken skewers
Mushroom bisque
Mushroom bisque
Brussel sprouts
Brussel sprouts
Pear salad
Pear salad

Last up was our dessert. Seasons 52 has a tray of mini desserts called mini indulgences that are about shot glass size and very affordable at only $2.75 each. These do change seasonally, so the offerings may very, but there were several intriguing choices. We opted to split the lemon and blueberry curd, and the pumpkin pie with a ginger snap cookie. We enjoyed both desserts, but mom and I both agreed we liked the pumpkin pie the best.

Our desserts
Our desserts
Seasons 52 mini desserts tray
Seasons 52 mini desserts tray

The food at Seasons 52 is all 475 calories or less per menu item, which is nice to know. They use seasonal and fresh ingredients to mix up the selections every few months. Their name, in case you were wondering where the 52 comes from, refers to the 52 different wines that are available by the glass. The food pictured above was enough for two adults to get two full meals each out of it and it was very reasonably priced coming to less than $60 before tip. The leftovers were even great the next day! I really enjoyed this restaurant at the Mall at UTC, and it will definitely be one of the reasons I come back. I’d also like to try their Kona Grill, The Capital Grill, and Brio restaurants. Friends have also recommended the Rise pizza restaurant here, which offers gluten free and traditional pies with your choice of toppings.

If you are looking for a different place to get some of your shopping done, the Mall at University Town Center offers a unique sense of style, mixed with Florida casual fun. This will now be my go to location for the Apple store, which cuts my drive time in half to the next closest location, and it is more than twice the size of the one in Brandon. I also like I can now go here for my Cheesecake Factory fix when I need one. Check this new mall out when you get a chance and let me know what you think.

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Orlando City SC Forms City Alliance

Orlando City SC City Alliance

Orlando City SC Looks to Build Business through the City Alliance Network

Connecting Businesses and Customers through their Passion for Soccer


Orlando City SC (OCSC) today announced the launch of City Alliance, a network of local Season Ticket Members developed to introduce customers and businesses through their common support of Orlando City.

Membership in City Alliance is complimentary for Club, Midfield and Sideline Season Ticket Members, as well as Orlando City’s corporate partners.  Benefits include networking opportunities and events, discounts to host events at OCSC’s City Pub, recognition on the City Alliance webpage and directory listing, and many more.

“City Alliance is yet another way in which Orlando City is helping drive the economy in Central Florida,” said Club President and Founder Phil Rawlins.  “A significant number of local businesses already recognize the opportunities afforded by networking and entertaining at our matches.  The City Alliance program provides yet another avenue for business growth by connecting potential customers and encouraging Lions fans to develop professional relationships.”

There are two levels of membership in City Alliance – Gold, which requires a minimum of four (4) Midfield or Sideline Season Ticket Seats, and Purple, which requires a minimum of two (2) Club Seats:

  • Gold membership provides access to networking events, online directory listing, a newsletter subscription, eligibility for a spotlight feature online and in the newsletter, and a preferred rental fee for City Pub in the Orlando City offices.
  • Purple members also get the opportunity to host an event at their place of business, prominent recognition on the City Alliance webpage, and complimentary rental of City Pub.

 Orlando City SC City Alliance Pricing

All Season Ticket Members that have already made qualifying purchases are automatically enrolled in the City Alliance program. More information on how to activate their memberships will be provided at a later date.

For more information on City Alliance, please visit www.orlandocitysc.com/tickets/cityalliance/ or call 855-ORL-CITY.

Orlando City SC

For more information on Orlando City SC or 2015 MLS Season Tickets, visit www.OrlandoCitySC.com or call 855-ORL-CITY. Also, follow the latest Orlando City news and updates via Facebook, TwitterInstagram, and YouTube.

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Sid the Science Kid Coming to SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular

Sid the Science Kid SeaWorld Halloween Spooktacular
Jim Henson’s Sid the Science Kid Live: Let’s Play! Performs this Sunday to help close out SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular

The popular PBS KIDS television show, Sid the Science Kid, is performing for one day only – Sunday, October 26 — during the last day of SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular.

Sid the Science Kid SeaWorld Halloween Spooktacular

Created by the imaginative minds of Michael Lewis (veteran Broadway performer and producer of ImaginOcean), John Tartaglia (creator and writer of ImaginOcean and Tony Award-nominated actor) and The Jim Henson Company, JIM HENSON’S SID THE SCIENCE KID LIVE: LET’S PLAY! is a live theatrical experience delighting kids and parents alike. Join Sid, May, Gabriela and Gerald as they come to Orlando to discover the excitement and curiosities of the world around them.

Halloween Spooktacular Sid the Science Kid SeaWorld Halloween Spooktacular

This weekend is also the last chance for guests to experience SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular. From trick-or-treating to bubble-filled dance parties, guests are immersed in an underwater “fantasea” filled with whimsical pumpkin fish, sea-themed arts, interactive crafts and all the amazing animals that SeaWorld cares for. Halloween Spooktacular takes place from 12-8 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Admission to both JIM HENSON’S SID THE SCIENCE KID LIVE: LET’S PLAY! and Halloween Spooktacular are included in regular park admission.


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New Look At Disney’s Feast

Disney's Feast Winston French Fry

Feast, a new short from first-time director Patrick Osborne (head of animation for Paperman) and Walt Disney Animation Studios, is the story of one man’s love life as seen through the eyes of his best friend and dog, Winston, and revealed bite by bite through the meals they share.

And I am really excited to share a special look at FEAST


I especially love this new clip! My dog Vito LOVES french fries (he might need to go to French Fry Anonymous), so I know that happy dog face all too well.

I also can tell that I will probably be bawling my eyes out…they always know how to get me!

Feast Winston Disney Movie News Disney Animation

FEAST will open in theaters in front of Walt Disney Animation Studios’ new action-packed, big-screen adventure BIG HERO 6 on November 7th.

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