Friday, June 24, 2016

Disney Recipe ~ Cinnamon Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Cinnamon Spiced Applesauce ~ Contemporary Resort

Homemade applesauce is so good and really easy, so keep this recipe handy for the applesauce part alone. The dish is simple, and nice enough for a company meal or holiday.

Cinnamon Spiced Applesauce

 2 Granny Smith Apples, peeled, cored and diced
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 cup apple juice
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Place all ingredients in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Cook 3-5 minutes or until apples begin to soften.

Place apple mixture in a food processor or blender and puree.
Return to pot and simmer another 3-5 minutes or until the liquid is reduced.
Pour into a small bowl, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Cinnamon Grilled Pork Tenderloin

1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon fresh oregano
1/4 teaspoon coarse ground salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
24-ounce pork tenderloin, cut into 4 equal pieces

Place olive oil, cinnamon, garlic, thyme, oregano, salt, and pepper in a blender and mix on high speed for 5 seconds.
Place pork in a zip top bag and add marinade. Seal bag and place in a bowl or pan to contain leaks. Refrigerate at least 3 hours, or overnight.
Preheat a gas grill or stovetop grill to low heat. Remove pork from bag and discard marinade. Grill pork for 20-25 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 160 F, turning often.
Serve with cinnamon spiced applesauce.







Thursday, June 2, 2016

Adventures By Disney ~ Central Florida Vacation ~ Price Breakdown

Adventures By Disney is the Disney company's version of tour group travel. Naturally, the adventures offer wonderful experiences for kids, but adults should not be put off by the name, and in fact, there are many adult only departures. Being Disney, guests know they can expect high quality and experiences, and it isn't a stretch for folks to also realize that these are expensive trips. As in Expensive with a capital 'E'. Most folks throw up their hands and walk away at this point, but if they do, they're making a mistake.

I've been on two Adventures By Disney trips with a third planned for October of 2017. A year and a half away at the time of this writing. That whole planning ahead and saving up thing rears its head again.

What makes these trips worth the fore thought and the saving? Besides having 2 guides who treat you like VIPs, all details and most meals taken care of, and great accommodations, Disney does as only Disney can with access and experiences not available for any price.

Still, a price point of about $5,000 per person for a 7 day vacation can initially be viewed as steep...Matterhorn type steep. By planning ahead and taking advantage of an early booking discount, I was able to book a trip next November for $4,539 per person, saving $800 right off the bat, so my total for two was $9,078.
But couldn't you duplicate this trip for much less? I broke it out as well as I could. Read on.

The 2017 Central Florida Adventure has you staying for 6 nights at the Yacht Club. Cha ching, that's $2,948. You also each receive 7 day Park Hoppers that will run you $878.00 (at current pricing).
Opening night you are treated to a private dinner in the Chef's Kitchen at the Contemporary. You can't do this on your own, so a meal at a signature restaurant (including appetizer, main dish and dessert, plus alcohol and gratuity) will easily run you $230.

The next morning is a private breakfast at Tony's in the Magic Kingdom. Again, you can't do this outside of the adventure, but let's guess $70. You then have an Imagineer tour of the Magic Kingdom (good luck booking this on your own, but the closest you can do is to hire a VIP tour guide at the rate of $400 an hour), you also get to ride Seven Dwarfs Mine train with no wait, and lunch at Jungle Navigation Co, Ltd Skipper Canteen. Let's say 3 hours VIP for $1,200 and lunch running $60. You also get a VIP viewing of Festival of Fantasy Parade.
The next morning you have a Cape May CafĂ© breakfast, $70 value, then are off to Kennedy Space center with a Space Shuttle Launch Experience and loads more, all with an Astronaut tour guide and lunch with an astronaut. Pricing this out as best I could, this would run you $320 at minimum.
Then off you go to Disney Springs for who knows what as it isn't spelled out. You may as well know right now that Adventures by Disney trips are loaded with surprises.
The next morning you're off bright and early for a privately guided safari. The only thing I could find even close to comparable would run you $140 for 2. Then you have a private breakfast at Tiffins. Well, Tiffins doesn't normally serve breakfast, so just a guess at $80.
 Next up is more at Animal Kingdom with tours and backstage at Rivers of Light. Here comes that VIP guide again for probably another 3 hours worth  $1,200. How about a private catered dinner at Rafiki's Planet Watch Conservation Station and VIP seating for Rivers of Light? $300 is probably low balling it on this one.
The next day is full of true adventure. First up is a room service breakfast at Yacht Club, $80, then off to Shingle Creek to kayak. This would run $140 at least, counting transportation. Naturally, all needed transportation on an Adventure is included. After kayaking you are treated to an airboart ride on Lake Tohopekaliga, $130. Then you head to Forever Florida to Zip Line ($180), buggy tour ($50) and horseback ride ($180). Do all three if you wish, but save room for the cowboy barbeque lunch, which is not available to an average guest, but surely would run $80. Is the day over?
 Nope, you still have a Fastamsic Dinner Show to look forward to. $100.
Yes, you have yet another day to look forward to. Get your Grab and Go breakfast, estimated cost of $30, then explore with your guides the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and Toy Story Midway Mania. Then you head backstage at The Seas with Nemo and Friends where you have a private catered lunch ($80) and continue your backstage access at American Adventure Pavilion.

Yep, 4 hours of that VIP guide would run $1,600. You aren't done yet. Your adventure wraps up  with a visit to the Disney Vacation Club Member Lounge in the Imaginations Pavilion and a farewell dinner, $230, with one last experience of viewing Illuminations with a wine and dessert party, $100.
If my calculator didn't explode, I come up with a total of $10,486 to duplicate this as well as I could, not counting any surprises along the way, and realizing that I can't really match many of these locales and experiences.

So yes, it's expensive, but once you take the plunge and experience an Adventures by Disney trip, you'll find yourself feeling that it is worth every penny and looking forward to booking your next Adventure.