New For Us Fridays are back, and what better way to is kick ’em off than with our trip to Disney?
Last week, our family had the incredible opportunity to be a part of the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration, which will probably trump all of the NFUF’s from here on out.
As our first family trip to Walt Disney World, it was completely and totally incredible. I can only briefly touch on the highlights of the experience for us, what I learned (you can’t take the teacher out of the girl, no matter what), and what we will never forget.
- The Hotel: Disney’s Polynesian Resort. After literally re-booking flights that would take us to sunny Florida since our flights out of Maryland were canceled, the Polynesian was a perfect landing spot after a long travel day, and it couldn’t have been a more ideal place to stay for our first trip to Disney.
Being on the monorail line made getting to the Magic Kingdom easier, and every single time Owen saw a monorail arrive or depart, he did a dance. The rooms were gorgeous, the people there were helpful and kind, and they have a sushi bar.
- The People: We had the opportunity to hear some incredibly inspiring speakers, ones who are using social media to do great things.
- Maxine Clark, Chief Executive Bear of Build-A-Bear Workshop: Aside from loving her because she runs a top-notch company that we all already adore, I loved that Ms. Clark couldn’t speak highly enough about educators, and (gasp!) recognized me and reads teachmama. Happy, happy day.
She stressed doing what you love and loving what you do; she stressed dreaming big, putting your heart into everything you do, and letting children inspire you. She mentioned sharing your ideas with people who you believe will add value to your thoughts. And she emphasized the importance of creating a business plan. She blogs, and sheTweets. She gives back to the community in more ways that I can count. She totally rocks.
- Kathy Ireland: Gorgeous, yes, and so together in every way possible. She is the creator of the billion-dollar company, kathy ireland, and she told us to ignore the noise of negativity and focus on moving toward your dream. She emphasized the importance of family time but also time for yourself. She was one of the most eloquent and graceful speakers I have ever seen, and she addressed every person’s question by first asking the person’s name. And she remembered every single name as she answered each question. Amazing. She’s on Twitter.
- Guy Kawasaki: co-founder of Alltop–among other companies–and smarter than a whip. He shared his ideas on using Twitter as a marketing tool, along with using smart brief, StumbleUpon toolbar with Firefox, objective marketer, and twitterfeed to help promote yourself. His energy and love for all things Twitter and social media was contagious. On Twitter, he’s @guykawasaki.
- Chris Brogan: social media king and New York Times best-selling author, Chris is a great speaker who emphasized the importance of relationships, community, and love in the social media world. He is a proponent of concise blog posts, which I’m totally not doing in this biggie. . . (find him in Twitter as @chrisbrogan).
- Marissa Jaret Winokur: actress and Tony Award winner for her role as Tracy Turnblad in Hairspray. Funny and charismatic, her work ethic, drive, and frankness about weight struggles and mommy-stresses were endearing and inspiring. (@MarissaJWinokur)
- Mary Ellen Hooper: comedian and mom of two, Mary Ellen Hooper had us on the floor with her hysterical reflections of marriage, parenting, and life. And she blogs.
- The Events & Extras: Nothing compares to the way Disney throws a party. From the decorations to the food to the surprises, it was incredible.
- Tailgate party after the media event at ESPN Wide World of Sports: Walt Disney World Resort President Meg Crofton unveiled some things new to Disney: Summer Nightastic (return of the Main Street Electrical Parade!), a 3-year Fantasyland expansion (more chances to interact with Disney Princesses!), and the addition of the Disney Dream to the Disney Cruise Line. Mickey, Minnie, and the whole gang stopped by, the kids danced to a dj, and everyone left with a smile.
- Epcot Evening: Dinner prepared by Robert Irvine of Food Network’s Dinner: Impossible (it was awesome!), we saw a concert by All Star Weekend, and an appearance by Joe Jonas and Demi Lovato. Okay, so Cora was asleep in her stroller, but the rest of us were jammin’.
- Dinner and dance party in Hollywood Studios: More characters, great food, more dancing, and a special chance to have Toy Story Mania! all to ourselves.
- Oh, my gosh, the Gifts: Disney generously gave all attendees many gifts, but most importantly, they gave us a Media FASTPASS which got us on any FASTPASS ride at any time. On top of seven day park-hopper tickets, this was more than we could have ever expected for a very minimal conference fee.
- The Big Thank you: I am grateful and honored to have been a part of this event. Thank you to:
- Disney World, Leanne and Laura;
- Resourceful Mommy Media, Amy Lupold Bair;
- 5 Minutes for Mom, Susan and Janice (and also for some of the pictures posted here);
- Mom Bloggers Club, Jennifer James;
- Mom Select, Maria Bailey;
- all of the crazy-cool moms, dads, and kiddos we met during the event.
Full Disclosure: I was invited to attend this event, and after paying the conference fee, my family received three nights at the Polynesian Resort, 7-day Park Hopper tickets, entrance into each event, several meals, gifts, memories, and the experience of a lifetime. Plus it gave us an excuse to run away from two more feet of snow.
My opinions are solely my own and are influenced only my my three sweet kiddos and my incredible husband who rolled solo with three kids in the Magic Kingdom one whole, long and rainy morning.
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