Summer in Orlando at DisneyVisitors to Orlando will have another reason to celebrate this summer, as Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek presents SummerBlast!, May 25 through Sept. 4, 2012.  This summer-long schedule of special events, activities and programs will celebrate 104 days of summer vacation.

The Summer Blast! program is for guests of Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek, conveniently located inside the gates of Walt Disney World® Resort.   The summer-long schedule for SummerBlast!  includes ongoing events, as well as special activities throughout the season.  Highlights include:

  • SummerBlast! Pool Parties:   Celebrate summer in style with DJ Splash!  Join the crew for the summer’s hottest hits, Orlando-inspired games, and special prizes!  [Saturdays: 12:30-2:30pm]
  • Ducktona 500 – The Great Summer Blast! Duck Race:  You’ve got to see this to appreciate it!  Guests can “adopt” a rubber duck during our race around the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek lazy river pool!   Winners will draw a special prize, which could include a return weekend stay at the resort!  [Saturdays; weather permitting; 2:30pm]
  • SummerBlast! Dive-In Movie Nights:  End the night with a family movie on our big screen, located poolside.  Grab a lounge chair or relax while floating inside the pool.  [Nightly, weather permitting; May 25- Sept. 4; See schedule for times]
  • SummerBlast! Arts and Crafts:  Kids love to bring home souvenirs, and the recreation team will be ready to help them make something special to remember their visit.  Projects could include:  Beach Bag Art, Treasure Box Creation, T-shirt Design, Color Me Bears, Backpack Art, Florida Gecko Craft, and Animal Art.  [Arts and Crafts sessions vary daily, weather permitting.  See schedule for exact activities and times – there is a fee for arts and crafts sessions.]
  • SummerBlast! Pool Activities:  Our recreation team is ready to rock, making your summer a blast, with a full schedule including activities like mini-football games, water basketball, float races, Marco Polo, candy bingo, beach ball dodge ball, H20 Pac Man, line dance fun, hula hoop games, pool relay games, line dance fun, float races, etc.  [Activities vary daily, weather permitting.  See schedule for exact events and times]
  • Cupcake Crazy:  On Friday evenings after check in, join our team in the lobby for an opportunity to decorate your own cupcake.  It’s like edible arts and crafts!  Don’t forget to take a picture to post on Facebook!
  • Poolside Barbecue:  Join us as we crank up the barbecue poolside with your favorite summertime favorites available hot off the grill, including a selection of gourmet hot dogs!
  • S’mores:  Gather around the fire pit and roast your own marshmallows, and make the perfect s’mores! [weather permitting.  See schedule for exact events and times]
  • Golf Getaway Package at Waldorf Astoria Golf Club: Enjoy a relaxing 18 holes for $95 including rental clubs and a $20 food/beverage credit at the cart. Package available from 9am-12pm Saturdays & Sundays.
  • Saturday Golf Clinics:  Enjoy small group golf instruction from our PGA Golf Staff at Waldorf Astoria Golf Club.  Taylor Made golf clubs provided if needed.  Beginner to moderate-based instruction. 10am-11am, $35 per person, sleeve of logo golf balls included.
  • Specialty Weekends:   Throughout the summer, we will feature several specialty weekends with additional activities or entertainment.  For further details, visit the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek website
    • Memorial Day Weekend, featuring SummerBlast! Fireworks (Saturday May 26)
    • Cupcake Lovers Weekend (June 15 and 16), featuring activities with America’s favorite snack
    • Smokin’ Hot Dogs & BBQ Weekend (August 10 and 11), featuring the “Smokin’ Hot BBQ Buffet” and a selection of mind-blowing gourmet hot dog treats!
    • Fourth of July Weekend, featuring SummerBlast! Fireworks (Saturday July 7)

In addition, one family every weekend will be randomly selected to be the SummerBlast Weekend Ambassadors of FUN, and will receive special prizes and experiences throughout their stay.


Enchanted Evenings at Waldorf Astoria Orlando

Waldorf Astoria Orlando is celebrating summer with Enchanted Evenings, running weekends May 25 through Sept. 4, 2012.

Twilight is a magical time during this summer-long schedule of special events for all guests staying at Waldorf Astoria Orlando, located inside the gates of Walt Disney World® Resort.

This year, the resort will host the Waldorf Astoria Enchanted Glow at sunset on Friday and Saturday evenings, featuring a brilliant display of Chinese wish lanterns on resort waterways. Guests will have opportunity to purchase their own wish lantern during the day. According to legend, the wish will be granted when the lanterns is set afloat that evening, creating a beautiful candle-lit spectacle.

We’ll provide more complete updates in the coming weeks.  But, to whet your appetite, other Enchanted Evening highlights currently include:

  • Weird Science Ice Cream Social (Fridays Only);
  • Champagne Check-In (Fridays Only);
  • Evening Entertainment at Peacock Alley;
  • Mojito Madness at Peacock Alley (Saturdays Only);
  • Artist in Residence Program (select weekends);
  • Live Entertainment at the Pool;
  • Kids Club Astoria After Dark: Kids Night Out;
  • Family S’more Night;
  • Twilight Golf at Waldorf Astoria Golf Club;
  • Saturday Golf Clinics;
  • Astronomy Walk at Island or Promenade;
  • Enchanted Evenings Horse and Carriage Rides;
  • Chef’s Cooking Demo: Organic Food & Wine Tasting;
  • Jazz Under the “Full Moon” (Select Dates)

*program elements subject to change.

You’re Invited.

Peacock Alley
Waldorf Astoria Orlando
Sunday, May 6, 2012
3 o’clock pm until 5 o’clock pm

NEW!  Due to its popularity, A Royal Tea at Waldorf Astoria Orlando
is now presented every Sunday afternoon.

Treasure time together as you nibble on finely prepared tea sandwiches
and house-made sweets, while sipping premium hot tea and
listening to live music on the piano.

Add a glass of champagne for a “Grand Royal Tea.”

$30 Adult Royal Tea
$15 Children’s Royal Tea
$35 “Grand” Royal Tea

Reservations highly recommended.  Please dial 407-597-5409.

To preview the menu for A Royal Tea, please click here.

La Luce by Donna Scala, the award-winning restaurant at Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek, is searching for art students who wish to create a unique piece of art on the restaurant’s signature chalk art display boards.


La Luce - Italian Restaurant at Disney World


The restaurant, which Orlando Sentinel named the best hotel restaurant in Orlando, is known for its seasonal menus, inspired by the changing palette of produce available every season.  Likewise, the artwork in the restaurant changes by season, displayed on three enormous chalk art display boards.

Since the restaurant opened in the fall of 2009, there has been an ever-changing display from Orlando artists Edwin Campos and Kathleen Brodeur.

Here are a few of our favorites:

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Donna Scala, the celebrity chef behind La Luce, always envisioned one of the display boards dedicated to Florida art students, as a opportunity for budding (and talented) artists to gain local fame by displaying their artwork in a public place.

We’re ready to start the program, and are searching for the best artists in the region.  Here are some of the details:

  • This program is open to any artist who is currently enrolled in any art education program.
  • If you wish to be considered, you must first submit a rough sketch on paper (using chalk as a medium), to show your concept and artistic ability.
  • The artist must be able to create their artwork on site using chalk, typically during daytime hours (as the restaurant is open only for dinner).  The boards are permanently mounted and require climbing onto temporary scaffolding.  (It worked well for Michelangelo, after all.)
  • While solo projects are preferred, we will consider projects co-created by up to two artists.
  • The artist(s) must agree to sign a waiver of publicity and liability.  The artist also gives us right to use images of the artwork in hotel marketing and publicity.   Artists under the age of 18 must have the permission of a parent or legal guardian.
  • In exchange for their hard work, here is what the artist(s) will receive:
    • A two-night stay at Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek, during the installation.
    • Dinner for two at La Luce by Donna Scala.
    • A $200 stipend to cover travel expenses.
    • A photo and listing on the La Luce website, as well as the Bonnet Creek Blog, and other publicity opportunities, as appropriate.
    • The opportunity to promote your participation to hometown media.

For complete details, and to participate in this exciting opportunity, please contact Hilton Orlando Bonnet director of restaurants Anthony Colandro, using the following email address:  anthony.colandro@hilton.com

Waldorf Astoria Orlando General Manager John Carns presents Carolyn Moncada with her pins from Les Clefs d'Or, USA.

Waldorf Astoria Orlando General Manager John Carns presents Carolyn Moncada with her pins from Les Clefs d'Or, USA.

Carolyn Moncada, Concierge, Les Clefs d'Or, USA

Waldorf Astoria Orlando General Manager John Carns presents Carolyn Moncada with her pins from Les Clefs d'Or, USA.

We are proud to announce the induction of Carolyn Moncada, concierge at Waldorf Astoria Orlando,   into  Les Clefs d’Or USA.

You can recognize Les Clefs d’Or concierges by the keys they display on the lapels of their uniforms. These crossed gold keys are more than just the symbol of the organization; they are the symbol of excellence and quality service.

Les Clefs d’Or, pronounced “lay clay door,” is French and literally translates as “keys of gold.”  Les Clefs d’Or USA  is the only national organization of hotel lobby concierges.

Having an office next to the director of Food & Beverage for Waldorf Astoria Orlando and Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek  has it perks.  Especially when that office is occupied by Francis Metais, one of the most brilliant minds in food and beverage today.

Sometimes, Francis would emerge from his office and make an official pronouncement of the day’s conquest, often to nobody in particular.  It was a ritual to mark the beginning of his latest project.

This happened time and time again, always with amazing results… and a parade of “test meals” fresh from the Waldorf Astoria kitchens, located one floor below.

These were innovative  ideas that eventually became menu staples, along with raves from our guests – items like “The Lemon” and “Pasta Explosion” at Bull & Bear, for instance. Sometimes they were twists on a favorite, like hummus made from edamame, or a chocolate dessert made from lentil beans.

I didn’t always comprehend his vision, partially because of his perfectly thick French accent.  But the proof, as they say, was always in the pudding.  And I (as well as other members of the Marketing and PR team), made sure we were readily available to lend our taste buds to the cause.

Bonnet Creek Cinnamon Rolls But one day, I understood Francis loud and clear:  “Keith, this week we will make the most amazing cinnamon rolls you have ever tasted,” he said.  “I will bring you one.”

As you can imagine, it was difficult to work that morning.  I love cinnamon rolls, and I had no doubt these would dazzle.  Francis is a classically trained pastry chef from France, and his work alongside executive pastry chef Kurtis Baguley is legendary.  He is the pastry team’s biggest cheerleader, as they have developed new menu items that lead the Orlando market.

That afternoon, I heard the door open, and a team of chefs came in, led by chef Kurtis.  I could smell the sweet aroma of cinnamon.  My mouth began to water.

I heard muffled conversations, followed by a click.  The door closed. The cinnamon smell slowly faded away.

Oh no.  Panic set in.   I could hear the ticking of the clock.  My mind raced.

Confused, I stuck my head in Francis’ office.  “Where’s the cinnamon rolls,” I said, hoping to find a platter in his office.

“They were good – really good,” he said.  “But we had some more ideas.  We’ll try again tomorrow.”

This happened several more times that week:  a team of chef came in… followed by discussions… and the team of chefs would leave with an unfinished platter of cinnamon rolls in tow.

I could barely stand it.

Then finally one day, Francis appeared in my office:  “Keith, we are ready,” he proclaimed.  “Take a bite.”

The magic hour had arrived.  It all came down to this.

And one bite was all it took.  I was in love.

I could see the smile on Francis’ face.  “Now that is a Waldorf Astoria cinnamon roll,” he said.

If this were a movie, there would have been a crescendo of music.  People would have applauded.  Tears would have been shed.

Me?  I took a second bite.

Wow.  The dough,  a wonderful mixture of textures similar to that of a croissant or a Danish, was extremely light, airy, and flaky.  The icing soaked into the dough, creating, well, the perfect cinnamon roll.

Hungry?  You can experience for yourself what we refer to as the Bonnet Creek Cinnamon Roll.  At Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek, they are served warm at MUSE, the lobby coffee and sweet shop.   Guests come down early in the morning to claim their treat before we sell out for the day.   Yes, they are that popular.    At Waldorf Astoria Orlando, they are often found on the breakfast buffet at Oscar’s, where a pastry bar is filled with the many of innovations of Francis and Chef Kurtis… all developed with enthusiasm and baked with love.

A visit to either hotel just isn’t complete without a bite.  And listen for the crescendo of music in your head!

Sushi Restaurant at Disney World

Zeta Bar Serves the Best Sushi inside the gates of Disney World.

Did you know Zeta Bar at Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek is Orlando’s newest place for sensational sushi?

The man behind the sushi at Zeta Bar is Chef Daniel Ling.  Chef Daniel was born in Hong Kong and came to the United States in 1988 to work as a server in Epcot’s Nine Dragons Restaurant.

After Disney, Daniel decided to further the hospitality education that he started in Hong Kong by attending Mid Florida Tech, followed by  the California Sushi Academy in Venice Beach.  After graduating, he worked as a Sushi Chef in California before returning to Central Florida, where he was Sushi Chef at Kimono’s, a popular sushi establishment.

Daniel left Kimono’s after 12 years to join us in Zeta Bar as Sushi Chef Extraordinaire.

Be sure to say hello to Chef Daniel at Zeta Bar… and we recommend the Dragon Roll!