* Wordless Wednesday: Sunset Dinner at the California Grill
* Wordless Wedneday: Prayer Flags
* Wordless Wedneday: FastPass Fail
In honor of the EPCOT Food and Wine Festival that is currently happening but I cannot attend (sob), today's Dulce de Leche recipe comes from the land of Argentina. It's a great dessert that will satisfy your sweet tooth but isn't made with chocolate. It's also incredibly easy and quick to make.
As I mentioned earlier, I'm going to be recapping Dancing with the Stars over at The Disney Blog every other week. Check out this week's result show recap here.
Also, I totally called this one. I'm going to enjoy this victory now, since I'm sure this perfect record won't last long.
* Dancing with the Stars: Len is Grumpy Edition
* Dancing with the Stars: Razamatazz and Man-Boobs Edition
* New Dancing with the Stars Cast Announced
After last night's cornucopia of corny goodness, the ladies of Season 9 are strutting their stuff in the second half of the longest season premiere in television history. Historically, the female contestants tend to go home first for a myriad of reasons - the focus in ballroom is on the woman, women's mistakes are more obvious , dancing in heels, being partnered with Alec Mazo, etc.
The show opened with another Vegas-like routine, this time involving lots of feathers and sparkles and "She's a Lady," because ZOMG LADIES NIGHT. As usual, Dancing with the Stars is as subtle as Bruno's accent. Next week, I expect the opening numbers will be danced to "Let's Hear It for the Boy" and "She's Always a Woman to Me." Or "The Boys Are Back in Town" and "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun." Take your pick. Oh, and I meant to point this out last night, but I miss Julianne already.
Debi and Maks: When I heard these two were dancing together, I approved. Shauna from Entourage meets Maks "Dancing is not a democracy" Chmerkovskiy? Perfection, assuming they don't out ball-bust each other. Maks thinks she talks too much because he'd prefer a partner that doesn't talk back (like a mirror), and I think Debi should just kick his ass and call it a day. Salsa: Debi really needs to work on her arms, and Maks is under the impression that Shirtless Suspenders Chic is still in style. I think Debi may be better suited to the classical ballroom dances, because her limbs are so long that she doesn't quite know what to do with them. Carrie Ann wants more sass, Bruno likes her boobs. I say, judge the dancing! And what was with Maks trying to bogart her interview with "you have lipstick all over your face"?! Is he drunk? Or just a bigger egomaniac than usual?
Melissa Joan and Mark: Yay, I love Melissa Joan! Having Mark Ballas as a partner as a huge advantage since he's a two-time winner/hottie. Granted, the last two women he took to the finals were Olympic champions, but I'm still rooting for these guys. Viennese Waltz: This was so much better than I thought it was going to be. Her shoulders kept creeping up, but she has a lot of natural grace and elegance that I think will serve her well going forward.
Mya and Dmitry: I expect Mya to be good, seeing as she's a performer and she was in Chicago and all. Plus, the producers owe Dmitry one after sticking him with Holly Madison last year. Either way, Dmitry is a wayyyy more likeable Russian than Maks. Viennese Waltz: Um, wow. Is it really only week one? LOVED this routine - Mya looked like a princess, and Dmitry is such a perfect Prince Charming. The choreography was fabulous too, and the routine got a well-deserved standing ovation. Len claims it didn't adhere to the rules of the American Smooth Waltz or some nonsense, which caused Bruno to get all shouty and yell ZHAT WAS AHTISTRY and other unintelligable things. Carrie Ann and Bruno give them well-deserved 8's, Len takes his cranky pants to the bank and gives them a 5.
Breaking News: Baz Luhrmann is guest judging next week. SQUEE!
Kathy and Tony: Models traditionally go home early, so I had my doubts about Kathy from the start. The rehearsal footage was not encouraging, especially when Kathy said she was once asked to leave an aerobics class. Making her do Latin dance seems cruel. Salsa: Painful. Mess. Painful mess. And the fact that she's taller than Tony isn't helping. "Salsa is sex," claims Bruno, "with no sex it doesn't work." Strange, but I know what he means. It's happening, I am becoming Bruno. In her interview, Kathy claims she has never walked in high heels and says that her dancing is God's work. I doubt either of those things are true.
Natalie and Alec: Aww, what did Natalie do to deserve Alec? Natalie's a beautiful girl, but will she be more Misty-May than Kristi/Shawn? Signs point to yes. Salsa: Most. Annoying. Song. Ever. Natalie has lots of potential and is in perfect physical condition, but needs to get more comfortable onstage. Len, for once, is complaining that it's not sexy enough. Not to agree with Len, but it was a little tame.
Macy and Jonathan: This had trainwreck written on it from the start. I can't watch. Viennese Waltz: Strange. Just .... strange. The judges seem confused, but Bruno manages to sum up the dance perfectly: "It was like a child taking his first steps into a scary new world. What is happening here? Who am I? What am I doing?" You know things have taken a turn for the crazy when Bruno starts making sense.
Joanna and Derek: Oh look, it's Barbie and Ken. Derek, stop flirting with the models, you're making everyone uncomfortable. Salsa: AAA FRINGE JUMPSUIT! BURN IT WITH FIRE! Joanna is definitely the best female dancer out there, and the judges went wild, but I thought Derek's routine didn't use the floor enough. But it's pretty obvious these guys will be around for awhile.
Kelly and Louis: Aww, Kelly I love you already! Also, Ozzy Osbourne is on Dancing with the Stars. I don't know what the hell is happening, but I like it. Viennese Waltz: Louis is known for pushing his partners, and it seems to have paid off with Kelly. They even did the first illegal lift of the season! And as weird as it sounds, the Osbournes are kind of adorable. Len proclaims it the best Viennese Waltz of the night. I concur.
Relay dance time - the foxtrot is up first. Turns out Natalie and Debi are much better at this style, while Kathy and Joanna got a little tripped up. The judges think Joanna was great, which is strange since she missed so many steps and her arms were wild - are they to be this season's producers' pets?
Cha Cha relay! Watch yourself! I had a feeling Mya was going to kill this, and she did. Macy killed too, but for a different reason. Kelly and Melissa Joan are infectiously cute. The judges gave Mya the win here, which was on point.
So who's going home tomorrow night? I'm thinking Macy Gray and/or Ashley Hamilton.
* Dancing with the Stars: Razamatazz and Man-Boobs Edition
* New Dancing with the Stars Cast Announced
A comprehensive collection of all the recipes featured on this site:
Apple Cobbler - Liberty Tree Tavern
French Toast Loaf - Main Street Bakery
Gourmet Double Chocolate Chunk Cookies - Main Street Bakery
Ooey Gooey Toffee Cake - Liberty Tree Tavern
Sweet Potato Fries - Various WDW Restaurants
Cheddar Cheese Soup - Le Cellier
Dulce de Leche - Food & Wine Festival
Flourless Chocolate Hazelnut Cake - Food & Wine Festival
Guinness Stew - Rose & Crown
Honey Sesame Chicken - Nine Dragons
Mango Mousse - Food & Wine Festival
Princess Cake - Akershus Royal Banquet Hall
Sam Adams Chocolate Cream Stout Cake - Food & Wine Festival
Disney's Hollywood Studios:
Grapefruit Cake - Hollywood Brown Derby
Chocolate Cookie Mousse - Cafe May Cafe, Beach Club Resort
Curry Butternut Soup - Boma, Animal Kingdom Lodge
Honey Coriander Chicken Wings - O'hana, Polynesian Resort
Garlic and Herb Polenta - California Grill, Contemporary Resort
Macaroni and Cheese - Jiko, Animal Kingdom Lodge
Melktert - Boma, Animal Kingdom Lodge
Roasted Garlic and Gruyere Cream Soup - Victoria & Albert's, Grand Floridian Resort
Shrimp and Proscuitto Penne Pasta - Grand Floridian Cafe
Shrimp with Tomato-Feta Compote - Citricos, Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
Strawberry Banana Bread - Whispering Canyon Cafe, Wilderness Lodge
Tillamook Cheddar Mac and Cheese - Artist Point, Wilderness Lodge
Twinkie Tiramisu - Pop Century Resort
Labels: disney recipes
It's another season of Dancing with the Stars, with a fun twist: I'll be co-blogging this season over at The Disney Blog, one of my absolute favorite sites, every other week. That fun starts next week, and on the weeks when I'm not recapping across the mouse-o-sphere, you can find me here. So without further adieu ...
The sequins are back. The awkward first-time dancing is back. Bruno is back. Season 9 is here. And it brought Tom DeLay.
This season is "supersized," which roughly translates to "we cast 16 celebrities to make up for the fact that 1/4 of them will injure themselves at some point." Point taken, Season 8.
Oh dear oh my oh God oh no, Season 9 is kicking off with the professional male dancers being lowered from the ceiling while awkwardly mugging for the camera to the sounds of "The Boys are Back in Town." What is this, a Cher concert? Mark, as usual, has let his hamminess get the better of him and appears to be doing his own dance ... Maks may be drunk? Season 9 is beginning to frighten me.
Aaron and Karina: Aaron Carter, I saw you in concert when you were 8 or so. You threw Hershey bars into the audience while singing "Candy Girl" or something. And now, here you are, wearing lacy shirts and failing to impress with backflip-laden rehearsal entrances. Cha Cha: Aaron seemed more disco than cha cha at times and Karina's pants were horrendous, but all in all I thought this was a solid first run. I agree with the judges that he has plenty of potential - it's up to Karina to mold him.
Chuck and Anna: Foxtrot: What do you get when you cross Chuck Liddell with a foxtrot? A boxtrot! It wasn't terrible, just clunky - which, in a foxtrot, is a bad thing. He's an obvious fan favorite, and could end up being the Ty Murray of this season. I find his awkwardness sort of endearing, and I can't wait to see him do Latin ballroom.
Mark and Lacey: Cha Cha: In case the music, costumes, and light show didn't make it clear, Mark does kung fu. And whoa, Mark has some hips - he has huge potential and a really good partner in Lacey. I think the judges were a little harsh given that it's only the first week, but this is a couple to watch.
Ashley and Edyta: Ashley has been through all kinds of injuries over the course of his life, which makes him adequately prepared for this show. Foxtrot: He's not a bad dancer, just a little awkward at times, and I agree with the judges that he needs to find some grace and showmanship.
Donny and Kym: Donny could barely contain himself when Marie was on this show, and was prone to fits of hysterical crying and occasional stage-rushing. In other words, this man was made for TV. Donny has a real shot to win, given his huge fan base, and I'm glad he's paired with Kym. Foxtrot: Holy cow, this was a smart routine. Well. Done. Kym. A well-deserved standing O - he's going to be a huge contender this season. He has some technical issues, but nothing that can't be fixed.
Louis and Chelsie: Louis, I am a little bit in love with you. And Chelsie, I'm still your biggest fan. She's a great teacher and he's adorable - they make me all smiley. Foxtrot: Awww, kitties! So sweet. Grandpa Len thinks Louis's hair is too long, and also to GET OFF MA LAWN. Bruno called Louis a dancing hobbit, which is actually a perfect description. Love love love - wtf 6's? EPIC FAIL, judges.
Michael and Anna D: Michael chose to do the show because of Jerry Rice - if he's not careful, he's going to end up co-hosting future editions of DanceCenter. Michael is also prone to screaming in rehearsals - it's week one and he's already coming unhinged. Cha Cha: Michael has been taking hamming lessons from Mark Ballas, and the effect was less Dancing with the Stars and more Dancing at a Wedding. Anna gets her wrist slapped for making the dance too easy (she's new, so we'll forgive her), and the judges were on point with their mixed reviews.
Tom and Cheryl: This season's clown, following in the footsteps of such DWTS greats as Wayne Newton and Cloris Leachman, is almost too painful to watch. Cha Cha: Of course. It had to start with a butt wiggle. After Cheryl's last season with Gilles, it seems the producers want to make things even by pairing her with the least sexy man they could find. This routine featured air guitars, unfortunate lip synching, and a come hither wink at Bruno. "Bloody hell, what is going on?" our resident Italian cried. I couldn't have said it better.
And then, the relay dances. I think it's a little early for the celebs to be doing two dances, and the first go-round (salsa) was pretty unremarkable, except for the part where Louis is way better than everyone. Donny is proclaimed the winner by the judges, proving that - as I say every season - this show is rigged. But at least he's more likeable than Gilles.
In the Viennese relay waltz (just what American television has been missing), Mark gets a cookie for the best line of the evening - "Remember Tom, this is a RElay, not a DElay" - as well as having the best mini-routine. Michael also did well, Tom was ... Tom, and Aaron - I keep looking at him hoping Cody Linley will appear. Aaron is deemed the winner, but this was a close race.
Tomorrow, it's up to the ladies to show their stuff. See you then!
* New Dancing with the Stars Cast Announced
Back in January, I shared my thoughts on the arrival of The American Idol Experience to Disney's Hollywood Studios. You can read that post here, but to sum it up, this Idol nerd was underwhelmed by the idea. And after visiting the attraction on my last trip, I'm sorry to say that opinion still holds. Or as Randy would say, "You did your thing, dawg, but it wasn't hot for me tonight."
The basic idea is this: guests audition at the beginning of the day for a spot in one of the afternoon shows, where three selected hopefuls will get their 90 seconds in the spotlight and a chance to be judged by three Cast Members doing non-impressions of the Idol judges. The winners of each afternoon show then face off in the finale show that evening for a chance to win a Golden FastPass that allows the winner to jump the line at any of the actual American Idol auditions where they will find out that winning approval at a theme park does not guarantee you approval in front of Randy, Kara, and Simon.
I didn't audition because 1. I am a terrible singer and 2. I have better things to do in the morning at Hollywood Studios - namely, scoring FastPasses and early morning rides on Rock n Roller Coaster and Toy Story Midway Mania. But I did get a look at the song list the hopefuls have to choose from, and while I don't have the photographic evidence to share, it's a collection of the most treacly Disney ballads, plus songs off the adult contemporary Top 40 list. And a Fergie song. Seriously.
Disney has done a good job of trying to get the look and feel of the show, but the whole thing feels like a cheap imitation of the real deal. Since the American Idol Experience isn't a ride, there's not a lot of room for interpretation, and because Idol has been around for so long, I'm so intimately familiar with it that it's hard not to focus on all the discrepancies. (I'm using myself as an example, but based on Idol's ratings - I cannot be alone in this).
You enter the attraction over by the ABC Commissary and stand around watching the preshow, where you are greeted by ....
... not Ryan Seacrest. Hey Justin, long time no sing.
Finally, you file into the auditorium, which boasts an impressive set.
The three contestants we saw were a teenage girl, a birthday boy, and a high school heartthrob type. The teen girl sang "Big Girls Don't Cry" by Fergie (I guess Disney couldn't get the rights to "London Bridge") and was understandably nervous-sounding. It's like if you invited 200 WDW guests to hear you sing in the shower.
Next up was a super-excited guy who turned 23 that day and was obviously allowed through so that the show could reiterate that point over and over. Rather than riding the party train, he sang "Amazed" by Mercy Me and butchered it. I voted for him anyway.Last up was a fresh-faced Troy Bolton type who belted "Go the Distance" from Hercules with every last breath his lead-in-the-school-play-future-regional-theatre-director self could muster. During the preshow, a Cast Member who appeared to be impersonating Ryan Seacrest on acid tried to get the women present to yell "(Teen boy's name), you're my American Idol!" so that it could be edited into the show and so that WDW and the folks at 19 Entertainment would have footage of me screaming my love for an underage boy. Um, no.
Today is the one year anniversary of this blog, and this site has been such a blessing. When I was first kicking around the idea of starting a blog, I wasn't sure where this site would fit into the blogosphere, or worse, if anyone would bother reading it.
Since then, I've learned to cook Disney-style, shared some of my favorite WDW memories, viciously campaigned for Wall-E's Oscar nod, sputtered general nonsense about Dancing with the Stars, and more. Much more.
I'm so happy to say that I've discovered a wonderful group of fellow Disneyphiles both through this site and on twitter that inspire me, teach me, and make me laugh every day.
So, thank you. Thank you for reading, and here's to another year!
* Can Wall-E Really Win an Oscar?
* Disney Tip #297: Children are Precious Commodities
* Greetings and Salutations
Labels: celebrate today
Last week I took the Disney Princess brand to task for being shallow and promoting a lifestyle that involves underage marriage and a tendency to be useless. And the response I got from Twitter was amazing and I'm so glad to see I'm not the only one who's a bit put off by all the princess hoopla. But I want to devote some time to the female characters that Disney got right - the ones who are good role models, and have something to offer beyond pretty dresses and falling asleep at whim. It's interesting to note that most of these women are fairly recent creations, but still - they're not the subject of merchandise, DVD spin-offs, and boutique makeovers. And it's a real shame, because they deserve to be:
(Note: this roundup is limited to women and humans only - with apologies to Wendy, Alice, Miss Bianca and Nala)
Prior to visiting WDW this past summer, I was lucky enough to spend a week in Ireland back in May, where I fell in love with Guinness Stew. This version is served at the Rose & Crown in the United Kingdom pavillion in Epcot. It's easy to make and reheats well.