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Celebrate Food and Wine at Disneyland - April 16 thru May 31st

April 2nd, 2010

This spring in Anaheim, CA Disney’s California Food & Wine Festival Celebrates the ‘Art of Flavor’ April 16-May 31. The full menu features events like cooking demonstrations, celebrity chef lessons, and signature ticketed experiences. It’s basically a mecca for the west coast foodie.

Look for chefs Guy Fieri and Cat Cora of Food Network, along with Disney culinary masters and special guests as they present their gastronomic talents in a full menu of complimentary demonstrations and signature paid events. The signature events include winemaker dinners, Sweet Sundays, Napa Rose Cooking School and Taste Food-Wine-Life, a night that celebrates the essence of the festival with a mosaic of food, wine and live entertainment.

Disney’s California Food & Wine Festival includes experiences for anyone who appreciates the art of food, wine and beer.

  • The Hollywood Pictures Backlot comes to life as the new hub of energy and excitement, complete with artists, musicians and an international beer menu at the Brewers Collection. At the new Festival Showplace located in Stage 12, guests will sample from the delicious tapas menu at the Taste of California Marketplace and relax at the new Hollywood & Wine Lounge.
  • Among the most popular events at the festival are live culinary demonstrations and autograph sessions with popular celebrity chefs. Along with Guy Fieri and Cat Cora, those scheduled to present include Robert Irvine, Jeffrey Saad and Kerry Simon.
  • Hundreds of complimentary experiences and cooking demonstrations will entertain guests during the 46-day festival, many featuring the talents of Disneyland Resort chefs. Guest will also enjoy seminars that feature outstanding wine, spirits and beer.
  • At the spectacular ticketed events, food and wine aficionados will collect cooking tips from chefs, mingle with noted winemakers and celebrate the palette of flavors presented by culinary masters.
  • Also new this year is a Brewmaster Dinner on May 7.  The ingredients for this memorable evening include savory seasonal fare artfully paired with handcrafted Karl Strauss beers.

Events returning for 2010 include the gala Taste Food-Wine-Life” and other popular experiences:

  • Taste Food-Wine-Life: This fun, high-energy evening combines the best elements of the Food & Wine Festival into one grand celebration, May 29.  The immersive party has live entertainment, an outstanding selection of wines and colorful décor. Guests will stroll from station to station sampling delectable food dishes created by the chefs of Disneyland Resort.
  • Sweet Sundays: The sweetest of all events features a light buffet breakfast and sparkling toast at the new Festival Showplace in Disney’s California Adventure. Guests will see demonstrations and taste signature desserts created by acclaimed pastry chefs, including Richard Ruskell of Montage Beverly Hills.
  • Winemaker Dinners: Disneyland Resort chefs partner with premier California winemakers to prepare outstanding culinary delights at exclusive Winemaker Dinners on selected Friday nights.  Each festival meal is paired with award-winning vintages and served at Steakhouse 55, inside the Disneyland Hotel.
  • Napa Rose Cooking School: Disney Executive Chef Andrew Sutton will once again lead this hands-on course that sells out quickly.  Each class will create and enjoy a four-course meal, expertly paired with wines, and each class member will go home with a white chef’s coat embroidered with the festival logo. This rare opportunity takes place in the show kitchen of the renowned Napa Rose restaurant at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa. Guests must be at least 18 years old.
  • Introduction to Wine Tasting: In this entertaining class, Advanced Sommelier Joy Cushing introduces guests to the joys of wine tasting. Guests will learn about wine regions, varietals, growing and harvesting techniques and then test their skills with a blind tasting.

Festival events held in Disney’s California Adventure may require park admission, which is not included in the event price. Some events, including culinary demonstrations, are included with admission to Disney’s California Adventure park. Signature events are separately ticketed and require reservations. For details and pricing information, visit www.disneyland.com/foodandwine.

If this his has wet your appetite, like it has mine, you’ll be happy to know that rooms are still available in one of our ‘Best Value’ 4-Star hotels is available for less than $80 a night with a popular 3-Star ‘Best Value’ available for as low as $60 a night.

JFrost Events , , , , , , , , , ,

Race to the Daytona 500

December 28th, 2009

Known as “The Great American Race”, the Daytona 500 places 43 of the best stock car drivers in the world together on the same track for the ultimate prize, the title of Daytona 500 Winner after your name. Unlike nearly every other sport where the penultimate event is at the end of the season, in NASCAR you have to come out of the gate hot to win the most desired title short of season champion. Speaking of champion, Jimmie Johnson, who strung together enough accomplishments to be named the AP’s 2009 Male Athlete of the Year, will be kicking off the hunt for his fifth consecutive Nascar championship title at the Daytona 500.

Everyone may come to see the big names on race day, but what makes the Daytona 500 such a spectacular race event is the unparalleled access race fans get to the drivers and the track. In the recently remodeled pit row fans can stand practically in the same garage of their favorite driver. Throughout the week there are special meet and greet sessions, exhibits, other races to enjoy. Plus there are special opportunities to become part of the storied history of the super speedway, such as signing your name on the start finish line.

So how do you get in on this action? Well, first you have to secure a hotel room in the Daytona area. It’s not too late to make your reservation. Not only does LastMinuteTravel.com have some of the best hotels in the Daytona area, we have the best deals too. The big race is on February 14th this year (how sweet!), but qualifying actually starts on February 4th with Wednesday February 10th kicking off the final week of practice and races. Don’t forget that this year there’s a new 1pm EST start time for the race. That will leave you more time to party afterward, or perhaps get started on the next leg of your vacation at the themeparks in nearby Orlando.

Photo credits:

JFrost Events , , , ,

Most Popular New Year’s Eve Destinations

December 18th, 2009

2010 is shaping up to be a New Year’s Eve like no other! It’s not too late to book a trip and get in on the fun. To help you decide, LastMinuteTravel.com presents North America’s most-popular destinations for ringing in the New Year!

Using our proprietary technology, we’ve collected destination data from our website to find out where North Americans are going to celebrate this New Year’s Eve. The top 5 are:

Orlando
Nobody parties like Mickey and Minnie – and recently Shamu and Spiderman have been getting in on the act too! The Orlando parks go all out for the important night with special fireworks spectaculars and great food and dancing. If crowding into the theme parks will thousands of your closest friends isn’t your thing, there are plenty of fabulous New Year’s parties all across central Florida. Right now flights to Orlando are very affordable, so why not experience some of Disney’s magic for yourself.

Las Vegas
One of the most exciting and colorful places to celebrate New Year’s, Las Vegas attracts the wildest people to their growing number of clubs. There are so many options for the New Year in Vegas; toast the “nouvelle année” from the top of the replica Eiffel Tower, party with thousands of others on the Strip as midnight approaches, or watch the festivities from a private suite in your favorite resort. Any are great locations to watch the massive fireworks show that will launch from the rooftops of seven hotels along the Strip.

New York City
The traditional place to ring in the New Year is Times Square. The Big Apple is the center of attention if you want to experience the festive throng and the famed “ball drop”. If being outside in NYC’s winter weather isn’t your thing, there are thousands of great parties to join after you take in a Broadway show or catch the Radio City Rockettes.

Chicago
New Year’s revelers flock to Chicago for the great food and the fun parties. Whether its luxury you want or a party in a penthouse club, you’ll find it in the windy city. Just bundle up as it can get a bit chilly out there. Other popular parties include a river cruise or a concert at Grant’s park. Both provide you with a front-row view of the fireworks.

Los Angeles
Westcoasters in the know flock to the city of fun and sun for one last fling before the New Year begins. Popular places to party include Disneyland in Anaheim, the Together As One festival to dance into the next decade, and any of the hundreds of trendy clubs in Santa Monica or Beverly Hills where you can see or be seen. My favorite LA parties let you ring in the New Year twice, once at 9pm when NYC drops the ball and again at Midnight west coast time.

Other hot party cities include Miami, San Diego, New Orleans, Myrtle Beach, and San Francisco.

JFrost Destinations, Events , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Neptune Festival Sand Sculptures of Virginia Beach

July 9th, 2009

The Neptune Festival Sand Sculptures of Virginia Beach is an annual festival. The festival is 10 days long and includes sport competitions, arts and crafts,the King Neptune’s Grand Parade and the sand sculpture competition. Here is a video displaying some of the finished sculptures.

For more information on the Neptune Festival Sand Sculptures of Virginia Beach visit: http://www.neptunefestival.com/news.php?s=17&nepfest_main_PSID=tbuf8rntopo7g9ktipic9avt86.

LMT Clock Events

Top 10 Places to Celebrate the 4th of July

July 2nd, 2009

Here are the top 10 places to celebrate the 4th of July and some of their best events:

  1. Boston: Over 200 events including Boston Harborfest and the Boston Chowderfest
  2. Cape Cod, Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard: Nantucket’s Independence Day Celebration, Hyannis Boat Parade and Old Whaling Church Barbecue.
  3. Chicago: Navy Pier Beer Garden, Music Shell and Millennium Park
  4. Mount Rushmore: Tons of events; see them all here www.nps.gov/moru
  5. Philadelphia: Visit the Liberty Bell and the historic sites in Independence Mall. Extended viewing hours over the holiday. Here’s a full list of events: www.americasbirthday.com
  6. Queen Mary 2: Board the Cunard line’s newest prestige cruise ship for a 5 day Independence Day Sampler.
  7. San Diego: Freedom Days Parade, San Diego Country Fair and Big Bay celebration. For more events visit: www.signonsandiego.com
  8. San Juan Islands: San Juan Island, Fourth of July Beach and Pig War Picnic. For more events visit: www.guidetosanjuans.com
  9. US Virgin Islands: Parade on St. John. For more events visit: www.usvitourism.vi
  10. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Folklife Festival and National Independence Day Parade. For more events visit: www.washington.org

LMT Clock Events

New Orleans Mardi Gras

September 3rd, 2008

New Orleans Mardi Gras

Also know as the “carnival” of the northern hemisphere, New Orleans Mardi Gras is one of the largest free events of the year. What can you expect to find at this event? Food, parades with creative floats and about 700,000 people in the streets of the French Quarter wearing colorful beads, costumes and having a really good time :-)
Here are some tips for getting the most out of your Mardi Gras experience:

  • Dress comfortably
  • Make sure to pack toilet paper to use in the port-a-potties
  • LMT Clock Events, Travel

    Olympic Torch Relay in my hometown!

    May 14th, 2008

    It is amazing, but realistic that the Olympic Torch Relay was there yesterday in my hometown, Fuzhou, a city with a history of more than 2300 years! The whole nation witness the symbol of peace spreading around the world and finally coming to the ancient land.

    When you see the happy faces along the street when the torch passes by, you come to realize that the civilization of western world is warmly welcome by the eastern culture with new concepts and contents. It is part of the stride of human being when entering 21 century.

    The peaceful flame discerns those attempts to challenge basic human rights. It takes masks off those people who pretend themselves to be Mr. Saint.

    The torch relay continues its way to the next city. I wish the hope for peace is handed down without an end.

     

    Brista Events, Travel

    Experience the True America: Travel ‘off the beaten path’

    May 8th, 2008

    Having a few international friends, I often consider where I would recommend they travel to have a TRUE American experience. With the current economic situation, some of these off-the-beaten-path destinations are looking better than ever. Here’s proof that the Mid-West should no longer be called the ‘fly-over-states.’


    Madison, Wisconsin:

    A gorgeous college town of 200,000+ situated between 2 lakes. Imagine a white capitol building and 5 blocks from its 3 and 9 o’clock positions are lakes and at the 6 o’clock position is State Street: a pedestrian-only street with bohemian shops (and the Gap), local bars and international restaurants (E. African, Afghani, etc). These 10 blocks lead straight to the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus.

    Experience America in Madison:

    1. Go in the Fall for colorful leaves and the amazingly large farmers market around the capitol square every Saturday.
    2. Madison Wisconsin

      Madison Wisconsin

    3. Get there in time for the Halloween bash (Saturday before the holiday). Voted the #1 Halloween party by Playboy several years, it’s not really a family-friendly event.
    4. Madison Wisconsin Halloween Bash

      Madison Wisconsin Halloween Bash

    5. In the summer, the capitol square hosts Concert on the Square (free) every Wednesday night, bring a blanket, picnic and wine.
    6. Check out the Kohl center for concerts and sporting events
    7. Eat and Drink! Around the capitol is typically more upscale then on State Street.
    1. State Street and Campus

    i. The Memorial Union – that’s right, the student union. Sit on the famous Terrace and have a beer (you might have to have a student order for you from the Ratskeller as you need to be a member or student!)

    ii. Himal Chuli – Great Nepalese food

    iii. Chautra – Hole in the wall Himalayan food, don’t get scared off by the wild plants in the entrance.

    iv. State Street Brats – so wisco! Have a brat and stay for the bar atmosphere. Be sure to try a ‘Spotted Cow,’ a great local brew.

    Now drive around Madison:

    1. Visit the many wineries and breweries such as Capital Brewery (www.capital-brewery.com or www.wollersheim.com).
    2. Head to the American Players Theatre in Spring Green for Shakespeare under the stars! (www.americanplayers.org)
    3. Also in Spring Green is Frank Llyod Wright’s famed home and studio, Taliesin (www.taliesinpreservation.org).

    Budget Travel (www.budgettravel.com) had an article about Wisconsin in their May issue. Before you go, learn more about the Wisco-basics: http://www.youmightbe.com/pages/wisconsin.html


    Chicago, Illinois

    This is the city I recommend all foreigners visit (over New York) if they really want to experience the America not found in movies. Stay a few nights in the downtown area and a few in one of the neighborhoods like Wrigleyville or Lakeside. I will only add 2 notes about downtown as the sites are quite well known: try it before Christmas; cold yes, but also beautiful and, second, music lovers check out: www.lollapalooza.com. Now, more on the neighborhoods:

    1. Go to a Cubs game at Wrigley Field (Wrigleyville)
    2. Before the game, have a few at one of the designated ‘Cubs bars’ near the stadium. (Wrigleyville)
    3. Every neighborhood has unique, local bars and restaurants. Some worth mentioning: Sheffield’s just off Belmont for a drink, Orange for amazing brunch, Joey’s Brickhouse for a great burger (all in Lakeshore)
    4. Go to the Weiner’s Circle late night (post bars), the busty lady behind the counter will verbally abuse you like its going out of style. (Lincoln Park)
    5. The shopping is great down town, but check out the boutique stores tucked inside the neighborhoods.

    Louisville & Lexington, Kentucky

    Known as the blue grass state, Kentucky is rich in history, beauty and Southern hospitality. All of Kentucky can get behind a 2 things – horses and basketball (if you are in Louisville cheer for the Cardinals, in Lexington, you are a UK fan!). The two cities are only 1.5 hours away by car.

    1. Lexington
      1. Keeneland – this small but beautiful horse track is only open in April and October. Although all walks of life are in attendance, I suggest dressing up (no hat required) and bringing $2 for a bet and $4 for a drink. www.keeneland.com.
      2. Keeneland Horse Track

      3. Afterwards head to Murray’s (www.murrays-merrick.com) for a drink on the patio and the food is great too (upscale southern food in an old Horse Manor). Go to Dudley’s downtown for brunch. www.dudleysrestaurant.com
      4. Wineries – have lunch and a tasting at Chrisman Mill, then at night, head to Talon Winery for its Summer Concert Series (tickets in advance for dinner and a concert: 859-971-3214).
      5. Bourbon! You can order a glass anywhere or tour the many distilleries such as Makers Mark. Dip your own bottle in the famous red wax.
      6. Right outside of Lexington you can’t miss the Shaker Village.
      7. Visit the Liquor Barn (I would live there if I could) the only thing to rival its selection of booze is the selection of amazing foods.
      8. Liquor Barn

    2. Louisville
      1. The Kentucky Derby – start with Keeneland then finish with the Derby. Unless you are young and stupid (and drunk), don’t opt for the infield. Be sure to wear a hat and order a mint julep.
      2. Don’t miss the Mohammed Ali Center, is interactive and really more about life and about a boxer. www.alicenter.org. There is also a Children’s museum in the area.
      3. Mohammed Ali Center

      1. 21c Museum Hotel – whether you stay here or just visit for an hour the art is too cool, and free. Visit the bathroom before you leave. www.21cmuseumhotel.com
      2. Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory is a must for any sports fan. All these museums are within walking distance too each other too. www.sluggermuseum.org
      3. Fourth Street Live – This is a street of bars and restaurants that is a lot of fun to eat during the day and drink during the night.

    Before you leave this great state, be sure to ask someone what ‘corn hole’ is. Don’t worry, its not dirty. Your kids will even like it!

    Traveling is all about your experiences, so whether you head off-the-beaten-path in Wisconsin, Illinois or Kentucky, you will be able to experience the beauty, culture, tradition . . . and various accents of the TRUE America.

    i. Great Dane Pub- the best and most eclectic bar food and great beer! Get the beer sampler and sit in the outdoor beer garden. (www.greatdanepub.com)

    ii. Restaurant Muramoto is a favorite – atypical Asian fusion with a very unassuming entrance.

    iii. Marigold for breakfast or brunch. Café Continental is solid too.

    iv. Harvest and L’Etoile are fine dining but worth it - the seasonal menus use local foods from local farms.

    lvolcheff Destinations, Dining Reviews, Events, Featured, Tips, Travel , , , , , , , ,

    Lollapalooza 2008

    April 15th, 2008

    Chicago is a city of immense culture and entertainment. Two such events that any music or arts lover should enjoy are Looptopia, going on its second year and Lollapalooza now running its third set as a staple festival in the city.

    An all night party called Looptopia will be coming to Chicago in May of 2008. Chicago has become one of the prettiest cities in America with all it’s new planting and flowers but now its time to party. This is going to be one of the best block parties in a city!

    The Loop will be bustling with activity from 6 PM Friday till 6 AM Saturday as the city stages its second year for Looptopia multidisciplinary arts festival. Modeled on dusk-to-dawn cultural extravaganzas staged annually in Paris, Rome, and Madrid, the completely free event comprises roughly 75 offerings, including live music, theater and dance performances, film screenings, art exhibits, workshops, and more.

    There will be showings by many different artists all through the night. For the inaugural offering, Redmoon staged many sites all over the Loop and MFChicago held a huge dance party with dueling DGs and video projections. Turning the streets into Club Looptopia.

    The whole thing culminates in a sunrise celebration in Millennium Park, with music, yoga, and free breakfast.

    If this event does not get you to the city I would suggest Lollapalooza 2008. This will take place in Chicago’s Grant Park the first weekend of August. Lollapalooza 2007: 3 days, 8 stages, and 130 bands.

    In its third year as a destination festival, Lollapalooza bestowed a musical experience unlike any other to the city of Chicago. For three days, Grant Park will be transformed into a celebration of music, food, arts, technology, and community, where fans gathered from around the world to catch one of the summer’s most powerful line-ups.

    After all that is done, enjoy the wonderful shopping and attractions this New York of the Midwest has to offer.

    ryannovak Destinations, Events, Travel ,

    New Orleans in Spring - French Quarter Festival

    April 2nd, 2008

    Springtime means festivals in New Orleans, celebrating the trinity of favorite things in New Orleans: food, music and culture.

    The French Quarter Festival is a free three-day party in the French Quarter in late April. It’s the biggest free music festival in the South and there’s always great music and great food in a historic setting. There’s music in the streets, on the banks of the Mississippi River, an area for kids behind the St. Louis Cathedral and two largest jazz brunches in the world. Watch the video below for some footage of the 2007 French Quarter Festival opening parade.

    Food: There are two areas for food. Jackson Square is lined with food booths from everything from crawfish pasta to alligator sausage. There’s also a line of food booths in Woldenberg Park.

    Music: Ten stages are set up in Woldenberg Park, on Royal and Bourbon Street and at the old mint at the edge of the French Quarter. Music ranges from country to Zydeco to classic to jazz. Here are my top picks for music at the 2008 French Quarter Festival.

    For the kids: At the Aquarium of the Americas Plaza there’s an area just for kids with face painting, hat making and a chance to play in a Jazz band. There are also several special events for the whole family.

    2008 dates: In 2008, the French Quarter Festival will be held from April 11-13th Plan to come! There are great deals available from www.lastminutetravel.com.

    mattwhipple Events, Tips, Travel