World of Color Dessert Party Review

first_imgShare This!On a recent visit to Disneyland my wife and I decided to splurge a little and try out the World of Color Dessert Party at Disney’s California Adventure. Much like the Wishes Dessert Party at the Magic Kingdom, it is an opportunity for reserved seating and snacks to a popular nighttime spectacular. Of course, this all comes at a price–and what a price–so let’s start there.Cost and ReservationsI’m not going to dance around this: it costs $79 per person. That includes tax and gratuity, but $79 is the price for both adults and children. That means my family of 4 had to pay $316 for this opportunity. Later I’ll discuss whether I think it even remotely approaches a good value and after I finish writing this I’ll research tax exclusions and the warning signs of financial stress-related heart problems.When you book the dessert party, full prepayment is required. It can still be cancelled without penalty up to 24 hours before the reservation, but it must be paid in full upon making the reservation. If there are two World of Color showings in one evening, the dessert party is only offered for the first one.Location, Seating, and ArrivalNow that we’ve gotten through the worst of it (the cost), let’s discuss the best of it. The site for the dessert party is on the second tier, right in the center of the viewing area. It actually is behind the best, front-and-center viewing spot reserved for those with the dining package, but that’s not the whole of it.If you get dining package reservations, you are in the best section, but it is a deep area and all standing room only. Therefore, if you’re not waiting to enter at least 60 minutes before the show you will be packed in behind many other people. The dessert party is raised slightly above the dining package area so the effects are fairly easily seen above their heads.I’m slow-rolling the best part here, though: everyone at the dessert party is seated. Yes, you can sit at your table in relative comfort looking above the heads of other guests. It does inflate the ego a bit. Specifically, the party area is a long section with two rows of tables–some high tops and some low. Where you sit is based somewhat on when you arrive.For instance, we arrived at the check-in area around 8pm–one hour before the World of Color scheduled show time. The reservation when we booked was for 8:15pm, but it also tells you to arrive an hour before the show, so we’re starting off a little confused. When we got there at 8, we were behind a handful of groups already waiting.At about 8:15pm, they began to actually check people in which involved checking names on a list and putting wristbands on everyone. The bands allow you access to the actual party and re-entry if you need a bathroom run. From the check-in podium, you head down to the actual party area, where they check your name again and assign a table. There were 2 front-row tables left when we got there–a high top and a low. We chose the high table assuming it would give a better vantage point. I don’t know if that’s true because I didn’t sit at a low table, but we had no problem seeing, including the children.I didn’t count the tables, but I would guess there are around 20, with 10 being in the front row. While the people behind us said they had no issues with the view, I would still recommend getting in line early enough to try to get a front row table.One other thing I’ll mention is that we were firmly in the “mist zone.” We didn’t get what I would call wet (the people way up front did that night), but we often got misted. As it was a pleasantly cool evening and we didn’t have jackets, the mist got a little chilly. Be ready for that.Dessert and DrinksIf I set the cost aside for the moment, the actual food and drink offerings were what I was most disappointed in. You can look at the menu for yourself in the image, but it lacks what I would consider simple desserts–thing like cake, cookies, or pastries that are common flavors. I am neither a food snob nor an anti-snob (that can’t be the right phrase). The desserts offered were not fantastic, but they were decent; however, I would prefer a mix of more common desserts with these fancier ones. My kids would certainly have enjoyed a sugar cookie or chocolate cake more.I was personally more excited about the drinks, since an alcoholic drink was supplied to all over 21. I was less excited by the 1 drink limit, but our server told us that she could bring 2 for each adult if we wanted. The only drinks offered were some sort of blue concoction that tasted like mostly Blue Curacao and Sprite (I don’t remember the name) and champagne. The blue drink contained almost no alcohol, and the champagne was likely the bottle you buy for $4.99 to mix with orange juice and drink while you type blog posts in the morning…wait, just me? Anyway, I was not a fan.The kids were given gigantic plastic things that blinked and glowed with the show lights. They were fine, but too big to pack in the suitcase and full of a soda-based concoction that neither of my kids really liked, so the gains were short-term.VerdictIt is very hard to recommend this based on the price, the desserts, and the drinks. However, as we sat there in comfort watching World of Color, looking over the people who rushed and bumped and got annoyed on their way to their spots, it felt worth at least a portion of the money. I doubt I’ll ever do it again–with this menu, anyway. In short, if you can afford it and were considering the World of Color Dessert Party, you’ll likely enjoy it, at least somewhat. There is absolutely no way that it is a good value, but it may be worth it.last_img read more

SA’s emergency power plan

first_img25 January 2008South Africa’s Cabinet emerged from a two-day meeting on Friday with a top priority plan to tackle the country’s “national electricity emergency”, saying it was confident that SA’s healthy economic growth could be sustained, and stressing that there would be no freezing of new investment projects.Speaking to journalists in Cape Town after the Cabinet meeting, Public Enterprises Minister Alec Erwin said the “unprecedented, unplanned” power outages that have hit South Africa over the last two weeks “must now be treated as a national electricity emergency that has to be addressed with the urgent, vigorous and co-ordinated actions commensurate with such an emergency situation.”Erwin conceded that the government had been caught wrong-footed by the increased demand for electricity spurred by the robust economic growth of recent years, saying its instruction to state company Eskom to embark on a massive infrastructure building programme in 2004 “was, in hindsight, late.”Eskom plans to invest R150-billion in its power supply infrastructure over the next five years, mostly on new power stations, including the return to service of three mothballed power stations.In addition, the government made moves towards the end of last year to fast-track electricity projects by independent power producers, as well as electricity co-generation projects involving both Eskom and private industry.“Both of these are now receiving urgent attention, and announcements will be made as we are able to provide certainty,” Erwin said.In the meantime, however, it was crucial to bring South Africa’s electricity supply and distribution system “back into balance”, both to reduce the need for power cuts and to allow for system maintenance to take place without putting the system under even greater stress.Key to this, Erwin said, was reducing demand. As an immediate, “quick hit” measure to achieve this, the government would soon introduce a power-rationing programme, setting quotas for industrial, commercial and residential users and using both incentives and penalties to ensure that these quotas are met.Minerals and Energy Minister Buyelwa Sonjica, briefing journalists alongside Erwin, said the examples of countries like Cuba and Brazil had shown that an energy crisis “can be turned around to make a country grow even more economically and save substantial amounts of money if a nationwide energy efficiency drive is politically driven.”Erwin said the government viewed the next two years as being critical.“We must stress that the successful implementation of these programmes will give us much more comfort within a two-year period,” Erwin said. “It is also critical to stress that the growth of South Africa’s economy at the current healthy levels can continue if we change our behaviour and become more energy efficient.“This emergency must entrench energy efficiency.”Erwin said that South African consumers, long used to getting their electricity extremely cheaply by international standards, would also have to face up to the reality of “further significant increases in electricity prices.“However, such increases will be implemented so as to significantly lessen their impact on the poor,” Erwin said, adding that despite the increases South Africa would still remain “the most competitive large energy system in the world”.Regarding the 2010 Fifa World Cup, Erwin said the Cabinet was fully briefed on the electricity situation “as it specifically relates to the World Cup and on general progress with the preparations for infrastructure for 2010. There is no threat to the successful holding of the event, as plans to ensure electricity security in that period are well advanced.”Other measures the government aims to implement in order to reduce South Africa’s demand for electricity include:Increasing the use of more efficient lighting, replacing incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent light fittings.Increasing the use of of solar water heaters.Increasing the use of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LP Gas) for domestic cooking.Converting traffic and other public lights to solar power with battery backup.Introducing smart metering to enable Eskom, or municipal power distributors, to remotely manage residential customer load during times of peak demand.SAinfo reporter Want to use this article in your publication or on your website?See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

A hairy anthropological puzzle

first_imgThe brown hyena – prime suspect in theancient whodunnit. (Image: Richard DuToit, Nature Picture Library) Electron microscope scans of fivefossilised human hairs.(Image: Born Animal – Discovery News) Gladysvale has yielded thousands of fossilsof man and beast, with millions more stillin place. (Image: Gladysvale)Janine ErasmusThe World Heritage Cradle of Humankind site has yielded another important archaeological find, with the discovery of what is very probably strands of ancient human hair in a fossilised piece of hyena dung – dating back to around 200 000 years ago.The strands are the oldest examples of their kind, surpassing the previous oldest known specimens of human hair by 191 000 years. The latter were found on a 9 000-year-old Chinchorro mummy from Arica, Chile.The Chinchorro culture was prevalent in northern Chile and southern Peru between 5 000 and 3 000 BC. Mummies from this epoch are the oldest examples of mummified human remains, much older than even the Egyptian mummies. However, the new find makes the hair from the Chinchorro mummies seem positively youthful.The strands were found in a hyena latrine – typically used by a single animal – embedded within a fossilised clump of dung known as a coprolite. Appearing to the untrained eye to be nothing more than a group of round white rocks, the coprolites each measured roughly 2 cm in diameter.The high calcium content in such biological objects, and the calcium-imbued drip from the cave roof, facilitated the fossilisation and preservation of the hairs. After carefully extracting the delicate specimens with tweezers, researchers placed them under an electron microscope. Scans revealed external wavy scale patterns that are characteristic of primates – these, and the size and shape of the hairs suggest that they are human in origin.The hyena species in question is the brown hyena (Parahyaena brunnea), a canny opportunist that derives most of its nourishment from scavenging, although it has been known to occasionally hunt small mammals.Although they consider it most likely that the animal stumbled upon its last meal, scientists have not ruled out the possibility that a hyena attack was the cause of death. Brown hyenas are found in the area still today.Rich source of fossilsThe exciting discovery was made at Gladysvale Cave in Gauteng, located about 45km north-west of Johannesburg. The cave, which sits in the John Nash Nature Reserve within the boundaries of the Cradle of Humankind, has been a prolific source of fossilised specimens since the first fossil, that of a baboon, was found in 1946.The complex consists of three underground caves containing a substantial amount of breccia – that is, a clastic (fragmentary) rock composed of angular gravel-size fragments in a matrix or cementing material. Sediments in the cave date from as ancient as three million years to as recent as 250 years ago.Since 1946, thousands of fossils have been recovered from the Gladysvale deposits, both inside and outside the cave, including rare remains of hominids. The first hominid remains – two teeth of the early human species Australopithecus africanus – were discovered in 1991.The famous fossils of the Taung Child and Mrs Ples are both fine examples of A. africanus. The good news for the scientific community is that there are still millions of ancient bones in place in the cave, waiting to be unearthed.International collaborationPaleoanthropologist Dr Lucinda Backwell of the School of Geosciences at the University of the Witwatersrand headed the study, together with a team of South African and international colleagues from Switzerland and the UK.Their findings are due to be published shortly in the print version of the Journal of Archaeological Science, but for those who can’t wait, the article has been available on the journal’s website since 31 January 2009.The owner of the hair has not yet been established but, said Backwell, the hyena dung falls within the period of existence in Africa of early species of humans such as Homo heidelbergensis. This period, which spans 195 000 to 257 000 years in the past, also saw the emergence of the first anatomically modern humans.“The hairs could belong to either of them or, of course, to a species not yet recognised,” explained Backwell.Although there are no hairs from early human species to use for comparison, and DNA sampling from the hairs was not possible, there is a plethora of coprolite material in the cave. Further analysis of the fossilised dung may well lead to a better understanding of the environment in which our ancestors lived, and their interactions with the creatures around them.Significant findThe hairs are significant in a number of ways. They represent a soft tissue find from a period, said Backwell, which rarely even yields skeletal material.Furthermore, commented biological anthropologist Pat Shipman of Penn State, “The hair is an especially exciting find because it raises the possibility that there are other coprolites with other hairs, which would give us a new and quite accurate means of looking at the composition of ancient animal communities.”Hyenas search for food in their immediate surroundings, she added, so at that time a human lived, or at least died, close to Gladysvale cave.This also raises the possibility that at that time humans were preyed upon or scavenged by hyenas, or that they competed with them for food resources.Do you have queries or comments about this article? Contact Janine Erasmus at storiesUnearthing our human ancestors Ancient arrows a clue to the pastTracing the origins of humankindUseful linksBernard Price Institute for Palaeontological ResearchWits University School of GeosciencesDiscovery ChannelHyena – African Wildlife FoundationBrown hyena – IUCN specialist groupGladysvaleMaropeng – Cradle of HumankindCradle of HumankindTransvaal Museum of Natural HistoryJournal of Archaeological ScienceSmithsonian Institution – Human Origins programmeUnesco – Cradle of Humankindlast_img read more

Pick Your Passion or Poison

first_img[vii] [iv] [vi] [iii] [v] [ii] Advocate: it’s a noun and a verb.  And we are going to need both in 2016.  HR advocates need to advocate for shaping public policy.  There are many predictions for what the year will bring. This is just one more list focused on HR and employment issues that may be coming to your town soon if they have not arrived already.Consider just a few snippets of data related to increasing employment mandates.The Hill reports[i], “2015 was a record-setting year for the Federal Register, according to numbers the Competitive Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C., released Wednesday. This year’s daily publication of the federal government’s rules, proposed rules and notices amounted to 81,611 pages as of Wednesday, December 30, 2015 higher than last year’s 77,687 pages and higher than the all-time high of 81,405 pages in 2010 — with one day to go in 2015.” This does not include the 60 Executive Orders and Memoranda some of which mandate paid leave, overtime, non-discrimination and other employment provisions.The categories of protected classes continues to increase as 22 states currently have with laws barring discrimination based on sexual orientation with more reportedly [ii] on the horizon in 2016, including those adding gender identity and/or expression.  The National Partnership for Women and Families reports[iii] that as of July 2015 paid sick leave mandates had been enacted in 23 jurisdictions in the U.SBe an Advocate!  Think about all that you currently do for and offer your employees. Do you stand above the market?  How do you carve yourself out from the competition?  Once you have defined your “best practices” ask yourself, “Do I want my state elected officials to flatten the market and make every other business do what I’ve already created, paid for and administered for the benefit of my employees?” For many employers that is not the desired result. Think of it. How can you shine in a flattened market where all employers are required to meet the standards of the highest or those deemed to be the best? How many awards currently recognize employers that are outstanding?  Chambers of Commerce, professional and trade associations and many more recognize employers for all sorts of “best” or proactive practices. The When Work Works awards[iv] are a great example. As the market flattens through regulatory and legislative mandates the opportunities for recognition are reduced.  There are many lists touting projected employment trends for 2016.  Here’s mine in no particular order other than alphabetical.1.      Ban-the-box laws prohibiting or limiting employers’ ability to inquire about criminal history prior to extending a bona fide offer of employment.2.      Decriminalization and legalization of (medical) marijuana will continue to impact workplace policies and practices on substance use, abuse, testing and fitness for duty.3.      Fair or Predictive Scheduling bills propose to require employers to pay an employee whose scheduled work day or hours are reduced or cancelled with minimal notice to pay the employee for the day’s wages or a portion thereof.4.      Healthy Workplace Bills (anti-bullying legislation) – at least 31 legislatures[v] have introduced legislation that would increase liability for employers for workplace bullying, which is defined more broadly than workplace harassment.5.      Minimum Wage increases – In just the last two years 13 states plus the District of Columbia have enacted minimum wage increases[vi], not to mention similar requirements under Executive Order for covered government contractors.6.      Paid (family, sick) leave proposals to require certain employers, including some with as few as ten employees to provide specific amounts of paid leave under specified terms.7.      Pay Transparency legislation gives employees the legally protected right to discuss their own wages or those of a coworker with other coworkers (often with or without the coworkers permission).8.      Pregnancy Accommodation to provide even greater protection and accommodation for pregnant applicants and employees than is currently provided under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.9.      Shared Economy – as Uber receives continued scrutiny of its worker classification, pay practices and more the impact may be felt across industries and sectors by employers that outsourcing one or more of their core functions to contractors.10.  Workplace Flexibility – BYOD, flexible staffing, electronic messaging and all the wage and hour implications that come with these practices will continue to have the attention of the US Department of Labor, which is expected to issue a Request for Information (RFI) in early 2016. Stay tuned for related regulations.11.  Workplace wellness programs – as of this writing the U.S. EEOC is poised to release related regulations[vii], while states and local jurisdictions consider related issues such as bans on electronic cigarettes and vaping.Now Advocate!  Whether you support or oppose a proposed initiative, advocacy is the message here.  Remember ATP. HR professionals need to advance the profession and employers need to shape public policy that works for them and their employees. No one knows that better for your practice or business than you.  How? Identify the sponsor of related legislation, whether it is a US Congressman, state or local representative.  See them in person or, where that’s not feasible call them to schedule a conversation.  Draft your talking points in advance.  Connect with and follow the elected representation on Social Media: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.  This will help them connect your name with your face – making the in-person dialogue more familiar.  Tell your business story; explain what your position is and why. Don’t forget the “Why”; it can be a powerful tool in negotiation. Don’t want to go it alone?  Attend SHRM’s Employment Law & Legislative conference[viii] in March and partner with an HR colleague for the Hill visits on March 16th!  See you then.[i] [viii] read more

Toronto FC appeals Altidore red-card suspension

first_imgToronto Toronto FC appeals Altidore red-card suspension Rudi Schuller 07:18 11/8/17 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Jozy Altidore Tyler Adams Toronto FC New York Red Bulls MLS Dan Hamilton Toronto Toronto v New York RB MLS The U.S. national team striker was ejected from Sunday’s conference semifinal second leg after getting into a scuffle at halftime Toronto FC has appealed a red card shown to striker Jozy Altidore at halftime of Sunday’s 1-0 loss to the New York Red Bulls.Team officials confirmed they will be presenting video evidence to MLS that they believe will exonerate Altidore and lead to a reversal of the ejection. A red card carries with it an automatic one-game suspension, which would see Altidore miss the first leg of the Eastern Conference final against the Columbus Crew on Nov. 21.”We think the security footage speaks for itself,” TFC president Bill Manning told reporters.  Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player A scuffle ensued at halftime of Sunday’s game after Altidore and Red Bulls player Sacha Kljestan were involved in an on-field incident during the first half that saw both players receive a yellow card. The halftime incident, which took place just outside the TFC locker room and involved several players and staff from both teams, resulted in Altidore and Kljestan each receiving a second yellow and missing the remainder of the match.In his post-game comments on Sunday, Toronto head coach Greg Vanney accused the Red Bulls of instigating the incident and hinted at security cameras in the area that could back his claim. On Monday, Vanney reiterated his take on the sequence of events, and confirmed that video is being presented to the league.“There is ongoing discussion and a collection of as much evidence as possible, and we’ll see where that goes,” Vanney said. “All that stuff is being collected as part of an ongoing look at what might have transpired in that space.”TFC is facing the prospect of meeting Columbus without its two top scorers, as striker Sebastian Giovinco is also set to serve a one-game suspension for yellow card accumulation after the Italian picked up his second caution of the postseason in the second half of Sunday’s game.Vanney hopes that enough evidence has been presented that will allow him to utilize Altidore, who scored 15 goals in the regular season. “It’s in the hands of the league now, and we are giving them as much information as we have, and everybody’s account of who was in the area, and it will go from there.”last_img read more

Road to Pan Am Games for Aboriginal volleyball player wasnt easy

first_imgAPTN National NewsKnown for her blocking abilities on the volleyball court Jaimie Thibeault is a force to be reckoned with.A member of the T’souke First Nation in British Columbia Thibeault has her final match at the Pan Am Games coming up.But the road to the games wasn’t always easy.APTN’s Delaney Windigo reports Thibeault hopes to inspire other young Indigenous athletes.last_img