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October 10, 2016

Pin Palooza How It Works!!! Read Carefully

Deb's Digest Blog

Greeting Everyone.

First and foremost - Please remember this is a fundraiser not a flea market :)

Your ENTIRE purchase price is a direct donation to my Avon Walk for Breast Cancer ! I WILL accept Paypal for payment and then make the donation on your behalf. Please let me know in your confirmation email you will pay via PayPal.

Here's how it works. READ CAREFULLY

** The pins are offered for sale at the stated price.

** You leave a comment below stating the ITEM number of the pin(s) you wish to purchase.

** I will go through the comments in the order they ARE received. This will take some time because they come in fast and furious!

** I will then put a SOLD with your first name and first initial last name just after the pin number.

** Within 72 hours I will send you the link information with instructions and you will have 48 hours to make your donation. Once that happens Avon will send you an email confirmation. Forward me a copy of the donation receipt along with your shipping address -- pins will be mailed in approximately 3-14 days I will pay US and Canada shipping of pins.

Your ENTIRE purchase price goes directly to my Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Account. I pay postage and WILL SHIP TO CANADA AND US. You get pin(s) you want and a charity deduction too! I raise money and reduce my pin collection.

Thank you PinPics.com - Links on the pin names go to the PinPics.com website (with their permission) so you can learn more about the pin. Also PinPics.com has given me permission to use photos and/or descriptions.

PLEASE refresh your browser to make sure you have the most current page. I have been known to discount pins remaining at the end of the sale so check back!

SALE ENDS AT 3 p.m. Eastern Time October 15, 2016

October 8, 2016

Pin Palooza Tips

Deb's Digest Blog

Pin Palooza is a week away (October 15) and thought you might want some helpful tips!

** The Link to the Live Pin Palooza will be on the AllEars Home page: http://allears.net

** As you are scrolling through the list and selecting your pin wishes (comments), so are a couple hundred other folks. I go through the requests in the order they are received.

** In the comment box, simple put the number of the pin(s) you are interested in:
EXAMPLE: 2, 33, 95, 200

** Once I get to your request I will publish your comment with notations of what is already sold and what is yours.
EXAMPLE: 2 Gone, 33 Yours, 95 Yours, 200 Gone

** I will also update the blog to show you have pledged for that pin.
EXAMPLE: Item # 95 SOLD DEBW

** It takes time to go through each comment and respond what is available and adjust the spreadsheet.

**Patience is the key!

** I will continue to update the main Pin Palooza Page during the day and announce when things have concluded for the day.

** On Sunday I will offer the remaining pins for a few hours.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

October 4, 2016

Pin Palooza Preview!

Deb's Digest Blog

Greetings Everyone!

My next Pin Palooza fundraiser is fast approaching (October 15th). This is a great win -win opportunity for both of us. You get some great pins AND your entire purchase price is a direct donation to my Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. I pay for mailing to US and Canada.

Pin Palooza - How It Works!

Pin Palooza TIPS

Here is a look at what's to come:

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OVER 300 Pins in this fundraiser:

Cast Member
Walt Disney Imagineering
Attraction Openings
Limited Edition
Adventures by Disney
Disney Cruise Line
Disney Auctions
Press Events
Japan
Food and Wine
WDW Tour pins
Flower and Garden
Annual Passholders
Anniversary Pins for Parks/Attractions
Euro Disney and Disneyland Paris
Special Cast Lanyards

Characters include: Mickey, Stitch, Figment, Tink, Chip and Dale, Olaf, Dreamfinder, Pluto, Goofy, Mr. Smee, Donald's Nephews, Lady and the Tramp, Tigger, Anna, Elsa, Belle, Beast, and more!

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Mark your calendars for October 15th at 1pm Eastern Time!

Join the Facebook Page!

September 27, 2016

Brunch at the Top - California Grill

Deb's Digest Blog

Late last year, the Disney Parks Blog announced that a new "Brunch at the Top" dining experience would be starting at California Grill in February 2016.

I read the description with great interest, because I love a great brunch. But, I will admit, the $80 price tag had me stop and wonder. It seemed really expensive just for brunch.

Fast-forward to a couple months ago when friends we hadn't seen in a long time invited us to join them at, you guessed it, Brunch at the Top. We thought, "Sure, why not?"

So what exactly is Brunch at the Top? Let me say at the outset that this is a VIP experience. From the moment we arrived at the Contemporary we were treated like extra-special guests, which took us somewhat by surprise. At the security gate, the guard smiled and told us that with this brunch we received complimentary valet parking, and we were to proceed up and to the right. He then instructed us to go to the second-floor check-in for California Grill. Valet parking? Complimentary? At the California Grill? Our eyes lit up and we started to get excited -- not just about seeing our friends, but about what was starting to feel like a very special experience.

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We arrived before our friends, texted them, and headed to the second floor to check-in. The cast member smiled and greeted us warmly. We explained we were early... she quickly said, "No problem, you can wait upstairs for your friends." Sounded good to us.

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Once the elevator doors opened, we were greeted by wonderfully soothing sounds of a pair of musicians, one playing the bass and the other, the keyboard.

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We both looked at each other, smiled and nodded, knowing that we had been right. This was going to be an out-of-the-ordinary experience.

A hostess came right over to assist us. When we explained we were waiting for our party, she said, "No problem, allow me to show you to an area to wait for them." (It was located in between the musicians and the two dining areas.) Along the way, she stopped at the bar and offered us a mimosa. I asked if I could have the beverage without the orange juice, and we were soon handed two glasses of pure bubbly.

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We sat back to enjoy the ambiance and talked about how wonderful it was to be at the California Grill for a more refined, adult experience. In fact, I could feel tension leaving my body and I smiled. The fact that it was a picture-perfect day outside with a wonderful view of the Magic Kingdom, Grand Floridian, and Polynesian Village Resort added to our enjoyment.

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Soon our friends arrived and we were escorted to our table. There we met Tommy, our server for the brunch. He gave us menus and explained how things would work. I let Tommy know about my shellfish allergy, and he said there were no "hidden" shellfish items, but would have the chef come over to speak with me. It was great to see Chef Jonathon again!

Linda had her eyes on the Bloody Mary bar until Tommy explained that our welcome beverages would be refilled throughout the meal, at no additional charge. It almost seemed too good to be true: complimentary valet parking, bubbly refills during brunch... Yes, this was really going to be fun.

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By now you're probably thinking, "OK, Deb, get to the food!" All right, I will.

The meal is a combination of self-serve selections, entrees and dessert. The self-serve selections, appetizers in a sense, ranged from assorted sushi and smoked salmon to a charcuterie area and salads. We all thought we could have made a meal of those items alone.

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A board of pastries was sitting on the table when we returned from the buffet area. It included a nice selection of Tillamook Cheddar biscuits, caramel-apple monkey bread and gluten-free scones.

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We each made at least two visits to the self-serve selections, all the while chatting over our bottomless drinks. Tommy asked a couple times if we wanted to order and we put him off for a few more minutes. At no time did we feel rushed or pressured to place our entree selection.

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Finally, it was time to decide on our entrees. Among the four of us we ordered:

Lobster Eggs Benedict:

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Shrimp and Grits

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and two of us selected the Grilled Hanger Steak and Eggs.

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You can find the full menu HERE, along with additional food photos.

Our friend Mark savored his steak, but unfortunately I had to send mine back as I had ordered it medium and it was too rare. Tommy took the steak back to the kitchen without issue, and I enjoyed my eggs along with another helping from the self-serve selections. Soon my steak returned and I was satisfied that it was prepared properly.

There was no clear winning entree -- it actually was a tie between the Lobster Eggs Benedict and the Grilled Hanger Steak. Linda also enjoyed her Shrimp and Grits, a dish that seems to be popping up all over Disney World these days. (I'm trying to get her to decide on the top three places for Shrimp and Grits so that we can share that with you.)

We had such fun while noshing with our friends that time quickly got away from us and soon our dessert plate arrived.

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All of us agreed the experience was awesome and we had a marvelous time. Each of us left relaxed and smiling, with our bellies full of excellent food.


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BOTTOM LINE:

COST: Adults $80, children $48, plus tip and tax.

You get complimentary valet parking (which is worth $25, plus tip).
Tables in Wonderland is accepted, which gives a discount of 20 percent.
You receive refills of your welcome beverage.
You have great foods to savor while enjoying the spectacular views.
Return in the evening with your receipt and enjoy fireworks from the outdoor areas.

If you are looking for a wonderful "adult" experience at Walt Disney World this is it.

We found the entire experience lovely and plan to return in a few months.

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September 3, 2016

Magical Dining Month in Orlando

Deb's Digest Blog

Every year for the last several, September has been designated Magical Dining Month in Orlando. Over 60 restaurants offer special prix fixe dinners (appetizer, entree, dessert) for only $33. Tip, tax and beverages are extra. One dollar from each meal goes to charity, this year, The Russell Home for atypical children.

This is your opportunity to try out some restaurants you may not have otherwise visited. The menus offered (although they are subject to change) are on the Magical Dining Website.

The whole idea is for the restaurants to offer you a great representation of their menu so you will taste, love and return!

Here are the restaurants right on Disney Property.

The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin have 2 restaurants on the list:

Il Mulino New York Trattoria in the Swan. Italian

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Todd English's bluezoo in the Dolphin Seafood

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Over at Disney Springs you can dine a la Magical Dining Month at:

Morimoto Asia! - Asian and Pacific Rim Cuisine

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and

STK Orlando Steak and Seafood

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Last but not least, head over to the Four Seasons

Ravello! with fine Italian cuisine.

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I highly recommend you make a reservation through the Magical Dining website via Open Table. When you arrive at the restaurant, let them know you wish the Magical Dining menu!

Go out and explore and let me know what you will be trying! I already have reservations at a few places I have not dine at yet.


August 24, 2016

Walt Disney World - End of Summer Roundup

Deb's Digest Blog

Summer is nearing an end as the kids are heading back to school. Summer weather is still in full swing in Central Florida! If you are in town, here are some events happening in the next couple weeks you may want to be aware of.

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SANDTASTIC WEEKENDS -- August 26-28 and September 2-4
The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort have a brand new event called Sandtastic Weekends! It is free and open to the public! A gigantic sand sculpture will be created out of 100 tons of sand. Lots of activities for all ages. Get the details HERE

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The Great Irish Hooley returns to Raglan Road September 2-5th!

New live music and dance entertainment, fresh menu creations and plenty of craft beer and cocktail options are on tap. To celebrate the Hooley’s fifth year, Raglan Road will present a brand-new, 90-minute live show of music and dance – The Rhythms of Raglan – produced in Ireland, exported to Raglan Road and directed by David Hayes (Riverdance, “The Voice” Ireland edition) with guest choreographers including Michael Donellan (Lord of the Dance). The music festival’s multi-band lineup will feature headliner Screaming Orphans and other bands popular on the festival circuit. I have attended the Hooley in the past and it is lots of fun!

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Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party Begins September 2nd!

It's a hard ticketed event at the Magic Kingdom featuring HalloWishes Fireworks, the Boo to You Parade, and the Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular. Be sure to enjoy these 3 happennings instead of riding attractions. You won't see them any time except during the Halloween Party!

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Club Villain Reopens September 2nd at Disney's Hollywood Studios!

Club Villain at Sunset Showcase at Disney's Hollywood Studios will return on Friday and Saturday nights from September 2 to October 29, and on Halloween night, October 31. The specially ticketed event features performances, food, cocktails and encounters with some of the greatest Disney villains. There is a special Tables in Wonderland discount available.

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The Jungle Book Alive with Magic Show ends September 5th!

This limited run show took over when the Rivers of Light was unable to open due to technical difficulties. It has Indian dancers, musicians and music highlighted by water screens showing highlights from the Jungle Book movie. Be sure to get a FastPass+!

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The 2017 Mom's Panel Selection Process Begins September 7th!

Calling all Mom's Panel wannabees! Get ready, get set, type! The application process for the 2017 Disney Parks Moms Panel begins at noon EST Wednesday, Sept. 7, and those interested have until noon EST Wednesday, Sept. 14, to express their interest.

August 8, 2016

REVIEW: Flying Fish Reopens After Lengthy Rehab

Deb's Digest Blog

Flying Fish Cafe on Disney's BoardWalk was my go-to dining place for the last several years. Whether it was for a relaxing fine dining experience with friends, or for sitting at the bar having an appetizer and wine, I loved the atmosphere, the cast members, the food and beverage. It just felt like "home."

So I was a bit apprehensive when I learned both the restaurant and menu were going to be totally redone.

Here it is, many, many months later, and the new Flying Fish debuted on August 3. In fact, Linda and I dined on reopening night with our friends Steve and Vickie.

First, let me sum up the look of the new Flying Fish in one word: WOW!

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When I walked through the door. I was immediately transported to a brand new restaurant. The new decor is stunning and classy! Gone is the whimsical Coney Island feel, but there are a few nods to it remaining. The transformed space has an elegance that matches the new menu. I walked around the restaurant several times with my mouth open in awe... I could not believe the transformation.

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The redesigned open kitchen still allows for great views, but with a much classier look and feel.

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The "Chef's Table" no longer has a "bar feel", as it is now made up of tables adjacent to the kitchen. This still allows for interaction with the chefs, but guests now face each other, making it easier to converse with your dining partners. There is seating for 12.

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Overall, the restaurant has a more intimate feel, with booths that seat four to eight diners.

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The tables are now draped with tablecloths, and the silverware has a fish theme.

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The former wine room (Cabana Room) with horrible acoustics has been made over into a private dining space with doors that close it off from the main dining area. The problem with the acoustics has been fixed and it looks like it will be a wonderful place in which to have an intimate dining experience.

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There are state-of-the-art wine coolers with space for 250 bottles of red wines and 300 for whites. There are also a few smaller coolers for certain varietals.

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The bar area has the same basic layout as before, but it's been refurbished with new, upscale decor and seating.

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The bar features the WineEmotion™ system, with a dual-temperature zone for four whites and four reds. The WineEmotion system allows pours of one, two or three ounces. If you've ever wanted to discover what a $200+ bottle of wine tastes like, here is your opportunity.

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Beautiful glass chandeliers combine elegance and whimsy, as sea bubbles and schools of fish float above you.

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There are numerous artistic tributes to the Flying Turns, the Coney Island coaster from which the original restaurant derived its name.

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As you can see, the physical changes to the restaurant completely overwhelmed us. But what about the food and the completely new menu?

The seafood-centric menu features entirely sustainable fish and shellfish.

The bread service now nori bread made of semolina, and arrives hot with a side of butter topped with a delicious sea salt.

Bread Service

For an appetizer I chose the Mesclun Salad with petite lettuces, market vegetables, fines herbes, barrel-aged feta, and torn focaccia for $12. The portion looked on the small side (I had this complaint at Animal Kingdom's new Tiffins, too -- is this the new normal?), however the flavors blew me away. I savored each bite.

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My other dining companions chose the Blue Crab Bisque -- jumbo lump crab, melted leeks, aged sherry, tarragon creme fraiche for $15. The Crab Bisque was tasty with a sufficient amount of crab. Normally a bisque has a small clump of meat in the center of the bowl, but this bisque had the clump plus crab meat throughout. Linda also enjoyed the presentation of the sherry drizzled on the bisque tableside.

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Now for our entrees. I selected the Bison Strip Loin with ancient grains, salsify, cipollini onions, haricots verts, sun-dried tomato choron sauce for $49. I am SO disappointed my photos of this dish did not turn out. This was a very, very tender cut of meat that melted in my mouth. The accompaniments perfectly complimented the bison (although I skipped the onions). While it came rare (I prefer medium), one bite of the perfect blend of flavors quickly put me at ease.

Steve ordered the Wild Alaskan Coho Salmon, which came with pancetta-laced ivory lentils, wilted varietal kale, Meyer lemon, and a garden vinaigrette for $41. As a person who frequently orders salmon out, he deemed it one of the best salmon dishes he has ever had.

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Vickie chose the Wagyu Filet Mignon with Okinawan potaotes, chanterelle mushrooms, romanesco and Bordelaise sauce for $55. While flavorful, the dish did not arrive hot so she sent it back. Those kinds of things happen on opening night.

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Linda selected Plancha-Seared Hokkaido Scallops, with Antebellum grits, Brentwood sweet corn and a peppadew emulsion for $46. She said that she enjoyed the dish, which featured four scallops, seared to perfection, nestled on a bed of creamy grits. The only negative she expressed was that perhaps there was a bit too much peppedew sauce.

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After such filling entrees, we didn't have much room for dessert, but wanted to at least sample them... so we ordered ALL of them. While beautifully presented, the desserts were our one disappointment of the evening. They just didn't live up to the quality of our appetizers and entrees. Among the five sweets we tried, we agreed that the Florida Reef was our favorite.

Under the Sea - Valrhona Manjari chocolate, chocolate coral sponge, pistachio sand, dehydrated milk foam, tasting of three sea salts $12

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Cherries, Peaches, and Sea Shells - mascarpone cream, Georgia peaches, cherries, hibiscus meringue, rye bourbon caramel $9

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Panna "Carpa" - buttermilk panna cotta, rhubarb, strawberry-lime consomme, basil sugar; no sugar added, sugar-free and gluten-friendly $10

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Florida Reef - lemon tart, toasted meringue, Florida citrus salad, ruby red grapefruit sorbet $9

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Chocolate-Banana Napoleon - banana-raspberry mousse, slow-cooked vanilla rum caramel sauce $10

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The Bottom Line:

Linda's overall thoughts:

When I stepped into the restaurant I was wowed. The decor is beautiful and gives the Flying Fish a more upscale feel. While dining I noticed that the noise level was not as loud as it used to be -- but then again the restaurant was not full. I was pleased with the food quality and presentation. I miss some of my favorites from the previous menu, like the tomato and mozzarella salad, but with time I am sure I will find a few favorites on Chef Tim Majoras' menu.

While I enjoy all types of seafood, several of my dining companions do not or are allergic to seafood. One of the nice features in the past was that those folks were able to dine at the Flying Fish because of the alternatives available. With the current menu, that is difficult to do. I hope this will change sooner rather than later. It was wonderful to dine once again in one of my favorite restaurants on property. I always enjoyed the warm, welcoming family atmosphere that the entire staff brought forth. I hope that feeling continues and that, with all the changes, I will still be able to call this one of my favorite "go-to places."

Deb's overall thoughts:

The new Flying Fish has certainly met the raised bar that has been set by several of the newer restaurants around Walt Disney World property in both decor, quality of food and, yes, also price. As I said earlier, the place is just stunning. It is hard to imagine there are two theme parks within walking distance.

I do miss my favorites from the old menu, as most of us will, but I realize there are new favorites to be discovered and savored. My biggest concern is that as a non-seafood lover with a picky palate, my options are more limited. In the past there were several appetizers for me to choose from. Now I have two choices (three if I include the dessert menu's cheese selection), the Mesclun Salad and the Peaches and Prosciutto. I'm not a fan of pork belly, which is the other non-seafood option. On the other hand, the bison strip loin was so amazing that I quickly forgot my old favorite the char-crusted New York Strip.

The staff tells us that the Flying Fish menu will change often depending on the availability of sustainable products. I look forward to the creativity of the kitchen team. Creative Imagineers and Chef Tim Majoras have brought us a wonderful new upscale signature dining location at Walt Disney World and I look forward to a return visit.

Full Dinner Menu
Child's menu

Questions? Leave them in the comment section below. Once you've dined at the new Flying Fish, head to our Rate and Review section and enter your review!

July 6, 2016

Did You Know....

Deb's Digest Blog

I post on the Picture This Photo Blog on Wednesdays (like today). This week our theme is the Disney Magic!

Scott Thomas and I post a Photo of the Week on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. In fact, my newest Photo of the week is live today!

June 17, 2016

Recent Tragedies in Central Florida

Deb's Digest Blog

It has indeed been a very tragic and sad week in Central Florida. First, I, and the entire AllEars team send love, strength, prayers and support to everyone affected by the recent events.

This is not meant to be an exact accounting of everything that has happened. It is meant to alert our readers to three tragic events that happened in Central Florida.

You may know that on Friday night, June 10, a man shot and killed "The Voice" singer Christina Grimmie while she signed autographs after her concert. Horrible, senseless violence. Our hearts go out to her family, friends and fans.

Then, there were the horrendous mass killings at the Pulse nightclub in the early morning of Sunday, June 12. This is a tragedy beyond belief and I still don't have coherent words. To bring it even closer to our "home," the news has reported that the gunman scoped out parts of Walt Disney World, including Disney Springs. (For an official accounting of what transpired, read the national and Central Florida news websites, which have documented everything.)

As if that wasn't enough, on Tuesday night, June 14, a toddler was suddenly attacked and killed by an alligator on the shores of the Seven Seas Lagoon at the Grand Floridian Resort. (You can read an official accounting of exactly what happened on the national and Central Florida news websites.) It appears that the family was on the beach watching the nightly Movie Under the Stars. According to reports, they were at the water's edge and the 2-year-old was ankle-deep playing in the water. An alligator jumped out of the water and grabbed the boy, dragging him under the water and carrying him away. Hours of search and rescue efforts, followed by search and recovery, ensued. The boy's body was recovered the next day. I can't even imagine what the family has been and will go through. All of us at AllEars.net send love, strength, prayers and support to the family.

Walt Disney World spokeswoman Jacquee Wahler gave a brief statement early Wednesday, saying, "Everyone here at the Walt Disney World Resort is devastated by this tragic accident." She said Disney was doing everything possible to help the family and law enforcement. Disney is working closely with Florida's Fish and Wildlife Department. She added that the company also was conducting a "swift and thorough review of all of our processes and protocols."

All Disney resort beaches were closed and personal watercraft use has been suspended. The Walt Disney Company has said it will add alligator warnings to signs.

Update: Here is a photo of the new signs Disney will be posting :

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There has been much discussion online as to whether Disney signage should have been more specific than it was, simply stating "No Swimming". People who live in Florida are very aware of the presence of alligators. They were here long before us. They are able to move from body of water to body of water over land. Someone told me long ago if you are in Florida and there is a body of water, there is a good chance it has a gator. I have watched one cross the street where I live. I know not to go near the water's edge at night. Even during the day, out walking in my community, I am very alert to my surroundings, as we have lots of lakes and ponds.

At the same time, I understand the family from Nebraska probably had no idea about the danger of alligators in Florida.

I have started writing a new page for AllEars talking about the wildlife in Central Florida -- in addition to alligators, we have venomous snakes -- in the hope that folks will become a bit more aware of potential dangers, even when under the magical spell of Disney.

Be kind to the cast members and residents of Central Florida this week. Be kind to each other. Nothing could have prepared anyone for the tragedies we've suffered in these last several days.

Deb

May 30, 2016

Review: Tiffins at Animal Kingdom

Deb's Digest Blog

Friday, May 27th, was the grand opening day for the Nomad Lounge and Tiffins restaurant in Disney's Animal Kingdom. I'll have a separate review on the Nomad lounge in a few days, but the bottom line is we LOVED the Nomad Lounge! This review will cover Tiffins.

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The word "tiffin" means a midday meal or type of container used to carry food while traveling/trekking. Accordingly, the restaurant Tiffins celebrates the art of traveling. Drawings, photographs and notepads from the Imagineers who worked on Animal Kingdom can be found in the restaurant.

First, and perhaps most importantly, the decor, theming, lighting, music, artwork, and woodwork in this space are absolutely stunning. As we walked into Tiffins I got chills similar to when I first stepped into Animal Kingdom in 1998. The place is breathtaking and there is so, so much to explore..

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We spent an hour enjoying the Nomad Lounge until our reservation time at Tiffins. Even the check-in podium is beautiful, with artwork and placards that begin your transformation from theme park-goers to trekkers.

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There are three dining rooms, each with its own unique theme.

** The Grand Gallery - Indigenous artists from around the world have lent their talents to Disney's Animal Kingdom. This gallery reflects on some of the folk influences that have led to the design of the park.

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*** The Safari Gallery - Imagineers and animal scientists have explored the towns and savannas of eastern and southern Africa to collect the details that give rise to Harambe. These artworks represent the translation of our overseas adventures into the experiences of Disney's Animal Kingdom.

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*** The Trek Gallery - Imagineers and animal scientists have traveled throughout South Asia, from Bali to the Himalayas to create the world of Anandapur. These artworks represent the translation of our overseas adventures into the experiences of Disney's Animal Kingdom.

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As we were escorted to our table there was much to look at and explore. The Grand Gallery has a full wall representing Rivers of Light. The 3D artwork is beautiful. The centerpieces are five wood-carved totem poles that were relocated here from another area in the park. Can you remember where you saw these before?

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The background music is perfect, soft the way it should be in a signature restaurant. We were able to enjoy the music and talk in normal voices instead of shouting.

Tables are nicely appointed with dark woods, comfortable chairs, silverware, a wine glass and the Tiffins' napkin.

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The menu is presented in a beautiful leather travel journal, continuing the storyline perfectly.

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In reviewing the food we tried to keep in mind it was opening day (although there had been soft openings with Cast Members), which always means tweaking needs to be done. At the same time, given the price point (and no discount) we reviewed the experience accordingly. As a signature restaurant, we compared it to other Disney top tier restaurants such as California Grill, Flying Fish, Citrico. It is important to note that the Tiffins menu is all day, with the same prices for lunch and dinner. This is my one huge complaint.

Our server, Bob, was excellent. We explained that we wanted to sample a number of items and wanted to take our time. He was most accommodating. To begin, we decided on two appetizer courses, an entree and then dessert.

As we contemplated what to order, Bob brought us the bread service (you can purchase Tiffins Signature Bread Service for $10). The pomegranate foccaccia came with a dipping sauce of molasses and oil. We both enjoyed the bread a lot. It has a mild South African flavor like you might find at Boma or Jiko.

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Linda ordered the Lobster-Popcorn Thai Curry Soup - lime-basil emulsion, popped sorghum $13.00. The presentation was wonderful, the bowl arrived with two lobster pieces and the lime-basil emulsion. The server then poured the soup into the bowl.

The soup was tasty and had quite a kick that hit the back of the throat. The flavors of the lobster and popcorn were present. Only order if you like spicy hot foods. Linda does and recommends this.

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I began with the Archaeologist Salad - Spring vegetable variations, pumpernickel soil, champagne vinaigrette $12.00. I did inquire as to the nature of the pumpernickel soil prior to ordering and it was explained that pumpernickel croutons were grated. Again the presentation was beautiful. I loved the champagne vinaigrette, and thought the salad was light and flavorful, although the portion was on the small side. The "soil" was under the greens so I initially thought perhaps I should mix them together. Glad I only did a forkful of that. I felt it took away from the delicate salad.

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Three wine flights are available; Aromatic Whites, Silky Reds and Robust Reds. I love red wines and especially love the South African wines. I was disappointed that the wine flights and the wines by the glass offerings were so heavily South American wines instead of South African wines. Not sure how I missed the full wine list so I can't comment on that, but I did.

Linda ordered a glass of South African Spice Route Chakalaka ($11) (a favorite of ours). I ordered the Silky Reds Wine Flight ($21). It included a 3-ounce pour of the following red wines: Pinot Noir Alot Limay Select, Argentina 2014, Pinotage Painted Wolf The Den, South Africa 2013, Tempranillo Altocedro Ano Cero, Argentina 2012. I enjoyed the three wines with my appetizers and entree.

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For the next appetizer course, Linda ordered the Blacked-Eyed Pea Fritters - Zhough, Yogurt, Peppadew Puree $11.00. The three fritters are lightly breaded and fried, accompanied by spicy peppadew puree and tangy Zhough yogurt (both had heat). The fritters, while delicate and tasty, needed the accompaniments. We both liked them well enough.

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I chose the other salad on the menu Roasted Beet Salad - Goat cheese crema, walnut granola, sun-dried cherry vinaigrette $14.00. Roasted beet salads have become a favorite of mine and I have ordered them in a wide variety of restaurants. Once again, the presentation was beautiful, with yellow and red roasted beet chunks with green leaf garnish on a light wisp of crema. The granola was a bit sweet and crunchy. Unfortunately, as with the Archaeologist Salad, I felt the serving size was very small.

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For entrees Linda ordered the Hoisin Glazed Halibut - Forbidden Rice, steamed bok choy, turmeric sauce $42.00

As a picky eater, I had a difficult time deciding on an entree. I considered the chicken but am not an couscous or olive fan. I considered the pork but was concerned the sauce would be too spicy. So, I opted for the Wagyu Striploin and Braised Short Rib - Rainbow carrot, roasted Peruvian potatoes, chimichurri $53.00.

We felt the entree portion sizes were perfect.

We each took a bite of our entrees and looked at each other -- the food was lukewarm at best. Our server was apologetic and asked if we wanted fresh entries prepared. At the price, yes, we did. He explained it would take some time and we said we totally understood that. As an "apology" for the entree issue we were served an intermezzo sorbet of Passion Fruit and Kulfi.

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Once our entrees arrived again, we were both anxious to try them. Linda said her halibut was indeed hot. Sadly, my Wagyu beef striploin was lukewarm once again. The short rib, however was closer in temperature to what it should have been.

Linda enjoys halibut, a mild, flaky, white fish. The portion size was comparable to what she's had elsewhere and it was cooked perfectly. The halibut sat on the Swiss Chard, which had the Forbidden Rice inside, placed on the turmeric sauce. Again, great plating! Where it fell short for Linda was the super sweet Hoisin glaze, although others may love it. The sweet glaze helped balance the bitter Swiss Chard, but overpowered the fish. Linda had never had Forbidden Rice before, and found that she didn't care for it -- but it may be your favorite.

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My Wagyu Striploin and Braised Short Rib was a disappointment. Neither of us cared for the Wagyu striploin. I have enjoyed Wagyu burgers before but I have never eaten the strip. I can't really give a fair indication of the quality; just that neither of us liked it. I was surprised by the looks of the braised short rib. What I am used to is basically a nice "chunk" of falling apart beef that is quite tender and tasty. The Tiffins version was different and I'm not even sure how to explain it. Hopefully the photos will show you. In my opinion, it was good, just not great, especially for $53.

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Time for desserts. The menu arrived in a similar leather bound "travel journal." There are several coffee options, including two press pots. For those looking for a sweet beverage for dessert there is also the Mustang Coffee, which is Crown Royal, brown sugar, butter, and organic Columbian coffee ($9.50). There is a nice selection of loose tea, five dessert wines and of course, dessert.

Linda chose the Lime Cheesecake - almond-sesame tuile, green tea sponge $10.00 and I ordered the South American Chocolate Ganache - caramelized banana, cocoa nib tuile $12.00.

The cheesecake itself was very creamy and tasty, and the almond-sesame tuile was a nice accompaniment. The sponge "crust" and topping, however, are just not our thing. We have had a similar sponge on desserts at Morimoto Asia in Disney Springs and didn't care for that either.

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The chocolate ganache was very good. The chocolate was deep, rich, creamy and powerful; just like I would expect it to be. The accompaniments blended nicely together. Linda didn't care for it, but she is not a ganache fan.

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Particulars

Cost: Let's break down the per person cost, including only one appetizer each:

Linda's meal (appetizer, entree, dessert) came to $64 before tip and tax. Add $11 for the glass of wine, which brought the total to $75. A tip for excellent service at 20% ($15) brought her lunch to $90 plus tax.

My meal came to $77. Adding the wine flight of $21 brought it to $98. Then I added a 20% tip for excellent service ($20), which brought my lunch total to $118.

WOW! This is a very expensive lunch!

Discounts: At this time Tiffins only offers a discount for Cast Members. It is two entitlements on the Disney Dining Plan. Ther are currently no discounts for Annual Passholders, Tables in Wonderland or Disney Vacation Club.

Dining Package: You can purchase a dinner package that includes reserved seating for the new show Jungle Book: Alive with Magic. The price doesn't really save you any money but it does allow you to avoid standby lines for the show. The package includes your choice of appetizer, entree, dessert and non-alcoholic beverage at either lunch or dinner. The Dining Package is $67 for adults, $32 ages 3 to 9, plus tax and gratuity.

Are advance reservations needed? At this time, lunch walk-ups for groups six or fewer shouldn't be an issue. Dinner, on the other hand, especially with the Jungle Book: Alive with Magic package, will probably keep Tiffins busy, so reservations are highly recommended.

Bottom Line
On a scale of 1 - 10 (my rating first, then Linda's)

Theme 10 / 10
Service 10 / 9
Food presentation/plating 10 / 10
Food Quality 8 / 8
Lunch Value 4 / 4
Dinner Value 9 / 8
Overall Experience 9 / 9

We enjoyed our experience, but this really is way too expensive for lunch in our opinion. Lunch specials would make things more affordable. Given the all-day menu, dinner would have been the same price as lunch.

Some items on the menu are vegetarian and several can be made vegan.

Tiffins is beautiful and the cast members are knowledgeable. It is refreshing to have a dining experience of this caliber inside a theme park. Only time will tell what the evening ambiance will be like at a crowded Tiffins with families and folks who may have spent the day in the park. We hope to return at some point in the future.


Check out the full menu and photos!

Leave your review of Tiffins and read others!
PS We absolutely LOVED the Nomad Lounge and look forward to returning there soon! Review coming in a few days.

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