Archive for November, 2009

Preview of ICE 2009 at Gaylord Palms

November 17, 2009

Huge, Brightly Colored ICE Eskimos

Two million pounds of ice blocks stacked and carved into a wintery wonderland–welcome to the Gaylord Palms Hotel & Convention Center’s annual winter attraction:  ICE 2009!

ICE Polar Bear and Cub

Located at the corner of Osceola Parkway and International Drive South right next to the Disney World Resort, this is a spectacle for the entire family. 

We recommend rounding out your ICE experience by having lunch or dinner at the Villa de Flora–a mediterranean marketplace buffet, also located within the Gaylord Palms Hotel.  Stations of fabulous food representing Italy, France, Spain or Greece (depending on which day you visit) in a casual yet elegant all-you-care-to-eat atmosphere makes for a scrumptious day.

Sign in Front of ICE Santa

In addition to ICE and your meal, stroll around the exquisite four acre covered atrium located in the center of the hotel.  Snack at the chocolate store, shop for gifts and/or clothing, enjoy the lush, tropical landscaping and water features.

When you are ready to go through ICE be sure to bundle up.  There’s a reason the ice blocks do not melt!  Brrrrrr…

Mrs. LanceAround Sits on ICE Santa's Knee

ICE is open daily from November 13 to January 3rd.  Hours vary by day and prices vary depending on the day of the week and your age; from Free for 3 and under to $28 for adults on the weekend.

Here are some things to keep in mind during your visit:

–It is REALLY cold inside ICE–9 degrees farenheit.  They provide you with a parka, but you might want to bring a hat, scarf, gloves and wear long sleeves and long underwear.  It costs a lot of money to enjoy ICE, so you don’t want to have to rush through it.

–Just to park at the Gaylord Palms costs $12.

Sliding Down the ICE Slide

–If you are like Mrs. LanceAround, you’ll want to walk through quickly and get out of the cold as fast as possible.  If you’re like me, you’ll want to take your time, examine all the sculptures and enjoy sliding down the ice slides.  There is a warm seat at the end of the exhibits for the Mrs. LanceArounds to relax and wait for the hubbies to finish playing!

–In addition to the ICE attraction, plan some time to walk through the tropically decorated indoor atrium of the hotel.  Enjoy lunch or dinner at one of the hotel restaurants.  Bring some extra money for a souvenir at one of several stores inside the atrium.

–We enjoyed ICE.  But our reactions were a little mixed.  We have seen ice sculptures before that were real works of art; graceful, delicate, beautiful and intricate.  The sculptures in ICE were made from large blocks that were somewhat simplistic.  We thought the cost was a little high.  Nonetheless, we do recommend that you experience ICE at least once.

Festival of the Masters 2009 at Downtown Disney

November 15, 2009
A Couple of Masters Take a Break

Each November, Downtown Disney hosts the Festival of the Masters open-air art festival.  Now in its 34th year nearly 150 artists display their work.


A Master Creates a Painting Using Coffee

In order to qualify for the festival, an artist must have won a primary award in a juried art festival within the last four years.  This ensures that guests have access to some of the finest artwork in the nation.  Many artists compete for the opportunity to display at the festival.

Mrs. LanceAround, Number One Daughter and her B.F.F. took the time to walk with me through the festival Saturday afternoon.  It was a typically beautiful Floridian day with slightly cooler temperatures, a gentle breeze and the usual breathtaking sunset.


Mrs. LanceAround Admires the Intricate Woodwork

Watching the rays of the setting sun glisten off the exquisite artwork was transforming.  There were artists of every kind, featuring such diverse talents as wood carving, sculpture, painting, photography, folk art, jewelry making, furniture, pottery, and mult-media just to name a few.


# 1 Daughter and Her B.F.F. Were Enthralled by the Artwork

It was easy to understand just how talented these artists are when Mrs. LanceAround and I observed Number One Daughter and her B.F.F. continually losing their way as they became spellbound over the incredible displays of artwork.


Artwork of All Shapes, Sizes, Colors and Materials

The few photos on this blog give only a hint of what this festival has to offer.  When planning your Disney vacation, it is well worth the effort to schedule it for the week in November when the festival occurs. 


Mrs. LanceAround Loved Showing # 1 Daughter and B.F.F. These Paintings. They Were Her Favorite!

Who knows, you may wind up with a one-of-a-kind souvenir to forever recall the most memorable vacation you ever had!  Most of the artwork is for sale.  As you might expect, the prices range dramatically from artist to artist and piece to piece

The festival is free and open to the public.  This year it was Friday, Saturday and Sunday November 13-15, 2009 from 9:30am to 5:30pm.

Venezia Bakery & Cafe

November 10, 2009

European & Latino Cuisine in an Italian Atmosphere

Warm, Fresh & Unique…Every Day!

That’s what the sign says outside the Venezia Bakery & Cafe.  And it’s true!

Mrs. LanceAround and I had the pleasure of speaking with Ignacio Plaza, the Managing Partner of the Venezia Bakery & Cafe


Did We Wander Into Venice?

Ignacio’s grandparents immigrated from Spain to Venezuela where Ignacio was born and raised.  He created the Venezia using the same concept as the bakeries found in his native Venezuela.  His cuisine is a mix of European and Latino influences and the decor of his restaurant makes you feel like you have wandered into Venice, Italy.

He explained that when Europeans first came to Venezuela, they discovered an area where the natives had built their dwellings right on a lake.  This reminded them of Venice, Italy, so they named this new land “little Venice” or Venezuela.


Ignacio Bakes Everything Fresh From Scratch

Ignacio is very proud of his shop. 

 He insisted on taking me back to the kitchen to demonstrate how he and his cooks create everything from scratch.  The refrigerated walk-in was filled with freshly made products ready to be placed in the oven.

The Venezia specializes in ham and cheese rolls made the same way they’re made in Portugal, breads, empanadas and rows and rows of freshly prepared pastries and other desserts.

Mrs. LanceAround had a huge egg and cheese sandwich (which only cost $4.50 and she couldn’t even finish it) while I enjoyed a spinach empanada.  The food was wonderful.  Mrs. LanceAround also ordered an expresso which, she claims, was the best coffee she ever tasted; not a hint of bitterness.


Live Music Every Sunday

Enhancing the experience, every Sunday the Venezia features live music.  This week, a group with a mandolin player, a guitar player and a harpist skillfully entertained the patrons.

A big Thumbs Up for the Venezia Bakery & Cafe
13586 Village Park Drive
Suite 302
Orlando, FL 32837

Phone: 407.851.1148
Web: Coming Soon!


Rows and Rows of Fresh Baked Food, Breads & Desserts

Located in Hunter’s Creek Village, just south of Hwy. 417 on John Young Parkway about 10 minutes east of Disney World.

Photos From Orlando Japan Festival 2009

November 8, 2009

Today was the annual Orlando Japan Festival.  Here are some snapshots from this wonderful event.


"Look At The Little Japanese Doggie...Good Doggie...Good Doggie"


Lots of Fun for Everyone!


"100 Japanese Drums"


Montessori Students During the Drumming Show


# 1 Daughter Displays Her Japanese Ramune Soda Pop


Pretty Kimono


Good Luck Kittys For Sale at the Asian Trend Magazine Booth


Lots of Interesting Gamers...


Authentic Japanese Cusine...


...Fresh Sushi...


...And Lots of It!


Another Pretty Kimono


Games For All Ages


Hard To Find Japanese Books


Japanese Carnival Masks


Yet Another Pretty Kimono


Lots of Pocky, Of Course!


There's a Booth For Everyone


Japanese Beer For Sale


Flute Vendor


And Yet Another Pretty Kimono...Whoops...Is That Really a Kimono?


# 1 Daughter Proudly Shows Off Her Pocky and Ramune


Children's Play Area


Enjoying the Cusine by the Fountain


Using Chopsticks on the Lawn


# 1 Daughter Practices Her Jutsu with Naruto