Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I'd rather be at Disney Social Media Moms Celebration

I love Disney World.

I loved it when I went as a kid.  I loved it on my Honeymoon.  I loved it when I got to see it through my children's eyes.  I will always love it.  My husband and I joke about how we will grow old and retire to Disney World - wouldn't that be fantastic?

I didn't think I could love Disney any more.

Turns out, I can.

The Disney Social Media Moms conference has reinforced just how much I love Disney.  I could write a book on that week, but instead I'll try to condense it here.  (Try is the operative word.)


Before we even saw one sign for the conference, Disney was making magic.  They immediately credited back our money (via the Disney travel insurance) for the days that we missed due to the blizzard in MD.  They managed to combine our two reservations so that we could stay in the same room of the hotel for our whole stay.  They gave us our magical package of goodies, filled with credentials, park passes, gift certificate, lunch voucher, and the unbelievable media fast pass.  (This fast pass is better than the normal fast pass, as it lets you get in the past fast line immediately - that allowed us to virtually walk on several of the rides.)  All this happened well before I even parked my suitcase in my room.

We spent time riding all the great rides - Expedition Everest, Space Mountain, Tower of Terror, and so many more.  We had amazing meals at the California Grill (fireworks and sushi and dessert = heaven for all) and The Hollywood Brown Derby.  We got to meet Mickey and Minnie, and ride the Barnstormer 3 times in a row, thanks to rain and a sparsely populated Magic Kingdom.  We had lunch with princesses.  Princesses!

The conference hadn't even started!

Day One

The first day was set aside for attendees to check in and get their goodies, while the night was the official start of our event.  When I went back to the suite to make sure I had all the info I needed (I had already been hooked up with that great packet of stuff) I was given more swag - incredible gifts of watches, games, and more.

Later, we were transported to the new ESPN Wide World of Sports complex.  There, we watched a media press conference sneak peek at all of the great things coming to WDW.  (Princesses galore, a magical cruise ship, and amazing summer nights are all coming soon.)  We then met up with our families and had a dance party extravaganza.  My girls danced their hearts out up on that stage!

That night, as we left, we got two surprise gifts: a nice baseball hat for each of us, and new friends!  The friends came in the form of Janice (from 5 Minutes for Mom) and her family.  I said before how much my kids loved hers - but I neglected to say how much I liked them.  Janice and her husband were so nice to me and my family.  Even though 5 Minutes for Mom was one of the organizers, with a huge blog (and I, in comparison, am definitely on the low end of the bloggy popularity contest,) they were warm, and friendly, and helped settle my nerves.

Day Two

This day was started with an early breakfast (pre park opening) at the America Pavilion in Epcot.  The food was great, but listening to Guy Kawasaki was better.  Just a few things I got from him, particularly good for new bloggers like myself:

  • Tell those people who don't like the way you tweet to "UFM."  (Un.Follow.Me)  
  • Tweet your feed
  • Retweet every 8 to 10 hours (four times) in order to reach your whole audience.
  • Study new sources (like Guy's Alltop site) to figure out what your audience may find interesting.
After breakfast, we went over to the Family Volunteer Announcement at the World Showplace.  We heard more about the "Give a day, Get a day program."  We got to cheer for all the families who had gone above and beyond in volunteering.  Kermit and Ty Pennington were there to present the worlds largest (Guinness certified) sculpture made out of canned food. 

After playing in the parks, my family and I went back over to that location and got to participate in the volunteer activity.  While the canned goods project was too full of fellow bloggers and volunteers for us to jump in, we did get a chance to help plant trees.  That turned out perfectly, because my girls planted with Dan Curtis Lee (of "Zeke and Luther" on the Disney Channel) and Alyson Stoner (of the Disney movie Camp Rock!)  They took a quick break to grab some autographed photo's of Disney Channel stars, then came back just in time to see Joe Jonas and Demi Lovato!  It was a great treat for them.

Later that night, we were treated, once again, to a fantastic dinner.  Only this time, the chef was Robert Irivine, and the meal was a challenge for his show Dinner Impossible!  (I hear this episode will air in April, and I can attest that some of his food was quite yummy.)  After dinner, we got another special treat - Demi and Joe came on stage and sang songs from the "Friends For Change" spots and songs from Camp Rock.  An amazing night for young girls and parents alike.

Day Three

On this day we had breakfast (with some roving "characters" that cracked me up,) then two sessions, broke for lunch, had two more sessions, broke for for a quick mingle, then finally came back for happy hour.  While there, I won an adorable Ariel Build-A-Bear for my girls, a sweet Minnie Mouse, and received a comfy fleece jacket that really came in handy at the park.  I also got something even better - the chance to make friends with lots of other bloggers.  I sat at a table with lots of new faces, at every point of the day, and every one of those ladies were friendly and sweet.  In particular, I really want to thank Kim Tolander of Kimworld for being so nice and friendly.  She even snapped a picture for me (see below) when my little cellphone camera wasn't cutting it.

This day was the bulk of the conference sessions.  It was really just jammed packed with incredible information.  The speakers included Maxine Clark (Chief Executive Bear at Build-A-Bear); Tony Award winner, broadway mama Marissa Jaret Winokur; Model, Mom, and Entrepreneur Kathy Ireland; Social Media Guru and author (and very funny guy,) Chris Brogan; and Maryellen Hooper, comedienne extraordinaire. 

I did two very stupid things at this point: one was forgetting the battery to my good camera, and the other was not taking more notes.  But again, I did retain some great information:

  • Maxine Clark taught me that you can teach your employees to work the register, but you can't teach them to care.  You (and your employees, really) must do what you love.  She also told us a bout a wonderful young girl that she has been in contact with for a while.  It taught me that you can learn and gain so much inspiration from children.
  • Marissa Jaret Winokur taught me that mom's are strong! (Did you know she is also a breast cancer survivor?  I would have loved to interview her for The Pink Purpose.)  She makes things happen - always knocking on doors, putting herself out there.  She heard a lot of "no's" but never gave up and never turned down an opportunity for good PR. ;)
  • Kathy Ireland taught me that even us girls with high, squeaky voices can do big things.  She knows that the job of motherhood is the most important job - but one we don't have to do alone.  She also, like Marissa, got a lot of "no's" but didn't give up, in modeling or in business.
  • Chris Brogan taught me that no one turns away business.  If you go to a company (sponsor) with a way for them to sell more product, they won't turn you down.  He taught me to continue the conversation - and that is what social media is about, after all.
  • Maryellen Hooper taught me that she is freaking hilarious.  She joked about motherhood, being a wife, and being a woman.  All of it was funny, and all of it was so true!

After a quick chance to recuperate at the hotel, we rallied and went back out to the final family dinner at the Hollywood Studios.  Again, we feasted and danced the night away.  This time, though, we got to meet back up with our buddies from night one!  It was so fun to watch them all dance together.  (Janice has great pictures of Olivia, Jackson, Sara, and Riley all breaking out fantastic moves!)  Later, we were all able to ride Toy Story Mania (and over and over again) as the park was shut down to all but the conference attendees. 

Believe me, we all slept very well that night!

I know this post is ridiculously long.  And I know that I didn't even scratch the surface of everything I did and learned.  You can find even more coverage from fellow attendees of the event over at the link-up hosted on 5 Minutes for Mom.  

Thank you so much to Walt Disney World, Resourceful Mommy Media, Mom Bloggers Club, Mom Select, and 5 Minutes for Mom for putting this all together.  

It was simply amazing. 

Please remember, FCC, that while I did pay for this conference, it might be also considered a sweetheart deal as I am getting tons of lovely perks at such a low price - the same as the rest 100 or so conference attendees.  Know that also, all statements I offer on this blog (or elsewhere) about this event are my own, forthright opinions. Got it? ;)

Monday, February 22, 2010

I'd rather be mingling 2/22

Howdy Minglers and looky-loo's.  Happy Monday!

Please consider joining us - I want to know who you are!  (And your freeze frame can't be much worse than mine...)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

I'd rather be more "bring it" than "bleh"


That's what I want to say in this post.

Well, mostly.  I'm actually in a really weird in between spot.  I'm half "bleh" and half "bring it."

Bleh because I have been coasting.  Sometimes not even coasting.  And it's so stupid.  I sit here, every Mamavation Monday, seeing the great things you all have done the previous week, and I feel jealous.  I want to have lost pounds.  I want to have eaten that well.  I want what you where able to do.  And yet, the next day comes, and I don't do it.  I get lazy, or overwhelmed, or bored, and then I cop out.  I do workout.  I do eat well.  But not all the time, only sporadically.  And doing it "when I feel like it" isn't getting me anywhere.


I just don't know how to force myself to always want it.  And it is so funny - I'm sure if you went back and analyzed my posts - half of them would be upbeat and "bring it," and the other would be "bleh."  So, I'm a little bit of both this time.

My "bring it" attitude is a way to force myself into doing it.  (Shhhh, don't tell that party of me that I don't really want to "bring it.") It is a way to force me into action.  This time around I've made a mini competition with my husband.  One point for each time we work out, one point away for each time we even mention going out to eat.  I plan on kicking his butt. *Hi boo, glad you're reading this, and yes, I am smack talking via my blog. muah.*

Bleh and bring it.  Feeling one more than the other, but I guess the trick is to force "Bleh" into submission....for as long as I can.

(Bet you can guess I didn't lose pounds this week.  I'm around 194.  Bleh.  Bring It.)

Friday, February 19, 2010

I'd rather be reminded why being a mom is SO important

Sometimes you need a reminder of why your are a mom.  Because the job is hard, and long, and unforgiving.

But it is also so beautiful.  So very, very beautiful.

I'm not at Mom 2.0 summit.  But this sure makes me wish I was:

Monday, February 15, 2010

I'd rather eat more disney food, but with out the weight gain.

Alright, I confess, I did HORRIBLY at policing myself at Disney World. They just made it so hard with all that fantastic food they gave us!  Breakfasts of quiche, croissants, sausage, etc. etc.  Lunches of italian comfort food, snacks of antipasti and cheeses.  Dinners of burgers, bbq, and hot dogs.  Not to mention the cheesecake, the adult "lemonade" and other goodies.

It was all really, really good.

And I really, really enjoyed eating it.

The upside, was all that walking.  Walking, walking, walking.

So I'm back now, hopping back on this wagon.  I gained a pound or two from the trip, but that's okay with me.  Tomorrow I start all the new exercises I recorded while I was gone, and attempting to get my gruve to green everyday (along with Jen and Trayce.)

The countdown to Fitbloggin' begins!  I'm racing to lose more to look even better when I get to meet so many of you! Woot!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I'd rather be wordless wednesday 2/10, Disney Social Media Edition

The excitement builds on the bus on our way to the first event for Disney Social Media Moms.

Right after a great sneak peek at what's to come at Disney (hello awesome cruise ship and fantastic summer nights,) we were treated to an incredible party at the ESPN Wide World of Sports, complete with food, dancing and FUN!

I didn't get a chance to snap any pictures of another favorite part of the night - watching my kids meet the sweet kids of Janice, from 5 Minutes for Mom on the way back from the party.  (Wow, how nice are her and her husband - loved that!)  My daughters fell immediately into a friendship with her kids (My eldest said to their eldest, "are we going to be friends?  I need an answer now." I was on the floor over that one.) And they were so happy to run into part of their clan later at the food joint.  I love meeting such nice new people, and the conference just started!

Please remember, FCC, that while I did pay for this conference, it might be also considered a sweetheart deal as I am getting tons of lovely perks at such a low price - the same as the rest 100 or so conference attendees.  Know that also, all statements I offer on this blog (or elsewhere) about this event are my own, forthright opinions. Got it? ;)

Monday, February 8, 2010

I'd rather be mingling 2/8

Hey guys!  I appologize in advance for two things, both related to the fact that we are in Disney World for the a combo vacation and Disney Social Media Moms Conference.

First:  My kids are all up in this video.  It is distracting.  And really funny.  Sorry!
Second:  I probably won't be able to get to the Mingle's in a timely manner.  But I'll do my best to get to them eventually!

Have a great week!

PS - I found it really easy to Make Monday More today at Disney - returned an almost lost sweater, picked up a little girls special card, and just smiled a whole lot.  Everyone deserves a better Monday in Disney! :)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

I'd rather be wordless wednesday 2/3

Since there are mere DAYS before we leave for Disney and the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration, I thought I'd make my first (semi) wordless wednesday a few pictures from our last WDW trip, taken at the Polynesian!

The girls' favorite room pastime - bed jumping!

Where is my daughter?  Playing hide-n-seek in the night stand, of course!

The best spot to relax - on the beach, in a hammock, still in Disney.  Perfect.

We can't wait to do it all again!