DisneySMMoms Celebration 2011: A Day of Disney’s Magic of Healthy Living ~ Part Two

DisneySMMoms Celebration 2011
A Day of Disney’s Magic of Healthy Living ~ Part Two

After spending a fabulous afternoon playing at EPCOT, we headed over to World Showplace for a special Magic of Healthy Living press event and dinner. I also had the privilege of attending an informative question and answer session with some of the Disney Channel Stars as well as some other folks involved with the MOHL campaign.

While there, we learned that Walt Disney World has fed over 440,000 guests that have a food intolerance of some sort. We also learned that WDW is changing their options in restaurants to offer more healthy choices to guests. Alyson Stoner joked around saying that cake is an important part of a healthy diet. Then on a more serious note, explained that health is not an appearance but a lifestyle, rather than a fad.

There was also a young lady on the stage named Katie Stagliano who had lots to tell us about gardening at home. She was literally a book of knowledge about growing your own vegetables, entertaining kids while teaching them to eat healthy, and using food as a vehicle to talk about history, science, and culture. I had a chance to speak with her after the session and she was truly an amazing girl. She donates a lot of the vegetables she grows to local food kitchens. She even has her own website called Katie’s Krops! You should really check out her site and read her story!

In between the press conference and dinner, we had a chance to mingle with the celebrities. Our kids have been HUGE Wizards of Waverly Place fans for years and they were INSANELY excited to meet and have a picture with Jennifer Stone, who plays Harper on the very popular series. You can tell how excited Zach is simply by his smile, teeth showing and all!

Next, we met Daniel Curtis Lee, who plays Kojo on The Disney Channel’s Zeke and Luther! Sorry about the blurry/dark pics! They were taken on my blackberry with no flash, but, you get the idea!

The tables for dinner looked so beautiful and each had a gorgeous flower bouquet in the center.

This was our menu for dinner:

Heirloom Tomato Water with Basil Essence and White Balsamic

Fregola, Lentils, Quinoa, and Burgundy Amaranth

Watermelon Radish, Rainbow Carrot, and Quick Pickled Cucumber Summer Roll with Ponzu Sauce

Pan-Seared Poulet Rouge Breast with Heirloom Beans

Paired With

Slow Poached US Wild Caught Striped Bass with Preserved Lemon and “EPCOT The Land” Harvested Greens

Mickey Mouse Polenta with Toasted Flaxseed

House Made Multigrain Baguette with Edamame Hummus

I have to admit, when I saw this, I was a bit scared. I didn’t really *get* what most of it was.

Our kids ate the Mickey Mouse Polenta and their carrots but that was about it. My hubby and I picked at some of it, but it wasn’t really our cup of tea. So, we went and grabbed a quick service meal at La Cantina De San Angel on our way out to the Illuminations Dessert Party location, but not before Mickey and his friends came out to play with the Disney Channel Stars for a bit!

After all of the dancing was finished and people were starting to head outside, Molly spotted Kenton Duty who plays Gunther from The Disney Channel’s Shake It Up and made a new buddy for the rest of the evening!

We were excited to go to the special Illuminations Dessert Party where they had all sorts of healthy choices that were really good! Every time I looked for Molly, she was standing in the middle of a group of the Disney Channel Stars, but RIGHT next to Gunther always!

We have always enjoyed Illuminations at EPCOT and this night was especially wonderful! What a great way to end another fabulous Disney Social Media Moms Celebration!

Disclosure: I paid to attend the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration. In exchange for my registration fee, I received deeply discounted rates on hotel, park tickets, events, meals, and swag. I am not required nor was I asked to write about the events by Disney or any other party affiliated with the event. Thoughts are 100% my own.

DisneySMMoms Celebration 2011: A Day of Disney’s Magic of Healthy Living ~ Part One

DisneySMMoms Celebration 2011
A Day of Disney’s Magic of Healthy Living ~ Part One

As most of you know, I had an amazing time and learned so much at last year’s Disney Social Media Moms event. Well, they stepped up the Disney magic this year…BIG TIME!

One of the many things they did was giving us the option of choosing one of three great events for the last day of the celebration. The choices included going on Disney’s new Wild Africa Trek tour at Animal Kingdom, Food Talk with a Disney Chef and Disney Restaurant Manager/Sommelier, or Disney Magic of Healthy Living: Play Your Way kids’ games.

We chose the MOHL Play Your Way kids’ games because it was the one where our entire family could participate. The event took place in the grassy area right outside of the International Gateway entrance to EPCOT. Our kids were really excited and they had a great time, plus, they got some great MOHL swag to take home on top of the experience! A healthy lunch was served to all the kids and families afterwards too! Here are a couple of examples of the offerings:

It was really a great experience to mingle with everyone who attended while we all ate lunch. I also had a little bit of chat time with Laura Spencer and her family who I absolutely adore!

Laura and I

We had a really fun and active morning and spent the rest of our afternoon enjoying EPCOT! I’ll be back tomorrow to tell you about our evening!

Disclosure: I paid to attend the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration. In exchange for my registration fee, I received deeply discounted rates on hotel, park tickets, events, meals, and swag. I am not required nor was I asked to write about the events by Disney or any other party affiliated with the event. Thoughts are 100% my own.

DisneySMMoms 2011: Private Backstage Party at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

DisneySMMoms 2011
Private Backstage Party at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

 

After our very fun day of conferences and amazing speakers, we headed over to Disney’s Hollywood Studios for a backstage dinner party RIGHT on the Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show set! Holy cow! We actually walked over the bridge that the car drives on in the finale! It was awesome!

We were treated to an awesome introduction to Disney Junior and a description of all the fun new shows that would be on! Even though our kids are a bit old for the new Disney Junior shows, our 9-year old really enjoyed watching the younger kids dance and she even got in on the action a little too! I just love that she gets a kick out of the characters at Disney. She is the one who took this next set of pics of the Jake and the Neverland Pirates characters! She’s doing such a great job with her new digital camera!

Bucky and Jake

Captain Hook

Mr. Smee

I can’t believe how cool it was to actually be ON this amazing set! I’ve always loved this show and being able to have dinner and a party there was just amazing!!

Disclosure: I paid to attend the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration. In exchange for my registration fee, I received deeply discounted rates on hotel, park tickets, events, meals, and swag. I am not required nor was I asked to write about the events by Disney or any other party affiliated with the event. Thoughts are 100% my own.

DisneySMMoms Celebration 2011: A Magical Day of Learning

Great Company!

 

DisneySMMoms Celebration 2011
A Magical Day of Learning

Our conference day started out with a fabulous breakfast at Citricos, one of the Signature restaurants on the second floor of Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. I had never eaten there before so I was pretty excited. There was a fabulous buffet breakfast set up for us and everything was delish! I also got to sit with Lou Mongello of WDW Radio, Chris Brogan, and Cindy who writes Mom Maven! Very fun!

After breakfast, we headed over to the Convention Center. We were welcomed to the conference by Meg Crofton, President of the Walt Disney World Resort. She is always so sweet and excited to see us all.

Our first speaker of the day was Matt Jacobson, the Head of Market Development for Facebook. He offered some helpful suggestions to make Facebook work better for you by using available social plug-ins on your blog, advertising effectively by targeting the right audience, and separating your personal page from your business page. He also pointed out that there are 500 million Facebook users and 1 million users are added daily. He reminded us that “the world is stunningly small when we are all connected.” Makes sense to me!

Next, we had the pleasure of meeting Rene Syler of Good Enough Mother. She was amazing from the first moment she took over the stage. She talked about parenting and how none of us are perfect, we just do the best we can. She spoke to us about how she found her voice through the use of social media. She made us all laugh by saying she is an over-achiever because she was fired from a job not once, but twice. She brought tears to our eyes with her personal story of surviving breast cancer and how she made the decision to have her breasts removed. She was an inspiration and reminded us that “no one will ever believe in you as much as you believe in yourself” and “real growth hurts, you will not grow when you’re comfortable” and my favorite, “don’t spit fire with your message because your message will be lost.” She truly made me feel like it doesn’t matter how big or small of a blogger you are, YOU are important! You should really follow her on twitter at @ReneSyler and @goodenufmother.

Me with the lovely Rene Syler

Next up was Chris Brogan. I was thrilled when I learned that he would be returning this year because I loved his talk last year. If you go to Chris’s website, you’ll find that he uses video a lot, video of himself, so people can see and hear who he is. He’s very genuine and REAL. He told us that seeing someone is so much more important than simply putting your words out there. He thoroughly enjoys meeting each and every person he interacts with online. He even remembered me from last year and I was completely tickled!

Chris Brogan and I

Chris continued to give us all more pointers about blogging. He said that we need to “ask ourselves why a hell of a lot…how is easy to answer.” He told us to focus on the top three things that really matter, customer service, sales, and marketing. He reminded us that EVERYTHING is content when you are a blogger and that “you need to take care of you first…you can only do so much…the you will eventually turn into a community.” Most importantly, he said to figure out distribution, if you want to be remembered, do different things. Then he talked a little CRAP with us:

C = Connections
R = Referrals
A = Attention / Awareness
P = Presence

An important motto of his is “Always Be Connecting” and I strive to connect with more and more people each day. You live or die by your database! My very favorite take-away from Chris’s talk was when he talked about supporting each other. He talked about how the competition in the blogging world gets so ugly sometimes and recommended that everyone just come together and support each other. I personally have felt like a huge underdog in the blogging world, often wondering why anyone would care about what I have to say. I’ve often felt like I’m just repeating what other bloggers have already said in their blogs that are much bigger than mine. I’ve often not posted articles I’ve written just because I felt like it had already been said, just in a different way, by a different person. What I learned from Chris (and a couple of my dear blogging friends) is that everyone has their own take on everything and we all need to “raise each other up…give it in order to get it.” Think about how many Facebook “likes” we would have if we all just returned the favor! By the way, Chris said these “likes” are a great distribution tool, more powerful that re-tweets! He also told us that it took him eight years to get his first hundred readers!

Chris’s talk was broken in half around our fabulous lunch! We walked over to eat at Citricos again! Amazing! When we came back, Duffy was in the hallway waiting for us! I had never met him before so that was a real treat!

Meeting Duffy!

When we went back into the conference room, we all had a stuffed Duffy to take home with us and he was wearing a very fancy DisneySMMoms T-Shirt!

Surprise Duffy!

We were welcomed back from lunch and there were some raffle drawings for some VERY fun things. One of which, was a night’s stay in the Cinderella Castle Suite! You can read about my friend Amanda’s experience over on her blog.

All of a sudden, a lady from one of the back tables started talking very loudly and fast as she approached the stage! It took many of us a few minutes to figure out that she was part of the show! Her name is Fran Capo and she is the Guinness World Record Holder for the fastest talking female. I highly recommend that you check out her website and you’ll get a bit of a taste of her! She was hysterical, although she spoke too fast for me to take notes! LOL! You can follow her on twitter too, she’s lots of fun and full of great information…trust me, it’s much easier to read! LOL!

When I saw on the agenda that Georgia Stitt and Susan Egan were going to be there, I wasn’t really sure who they were exactly…shhh…don’t tell them. Well, they were truly amazing singers! I’m so glad to be able to share a video of Susan Egan singing “I Won’t Say I’m In Love” from the movie Hercules, that a fellow blogger posted on YouTube…

The wonderful day ended with Susan singing “The Mom Song.” If you have never heard it before, you will laugh your head off! Even if you have, you will still laugh your head off. Promise. Susan Egan is amazing! Thanks to ThemeParkMom for sharing this video with us!

What a fun day!

Disclosure: I paid to attend the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration. In exchange for my registration fee, I received deeply discounted rates on hotel, park tickets, events, meals, and swag. I am not required nor was I asked to write about the events by Disney or any other party affiliated with the event. Thoughts are 100% my own.

DisneySMMoms Celebration 2011: Private Party Along the Shores of The Grand Floridian

DisneySMMoms Celebration 2011: Private Party
Along the Shores of The Grand Floridian

 

Have you ever been riding the monorail and noticed that sandy beach area next to the Wedding Pavilion just before the Grand Floridian stop? Well, that is where our dinner party took place on the first night of Disney Social Media Moms. If I tell you it was amazing, that wouldn’t even begin to describe it!

Disney had a sand sculptor make a sculpture of the DisneySMMoms logo! How cool is that?

The food was amazing! They had these great little salads served in cones and they had watermelon in them! YUM-O!

Since this event was not only for the conference attendees, but the families as well, of course there was lots for the kids to do! There was a carnival set up on the other end of the beach with games and characters roaming around in their carnival attire. My kids both won a bucket load of prizes including a fabulous sandcastle-shaped bucket with a matching shovel! They had so much fun!

There was also live music!

My daughter was very chatty with the musicians and HAD to have her picture taken with them. She really enjoyed listening to them!

The people of Main Street were there too, having a great time chatting with everyone.

We had plenty of casual time to walk around and connect with some of the bloggers we’d interacted with prior to the celebration. I was really excited to meet Ashley, Lori, Amanda, and many more of my tweeps! It was so much fun to not be rushed and our kids were having the time of their lives with the characters and games. What a wonderful experience!

We could have gone to a park after that evening’s festivities but we decided to watch the fireworks from the shore and just soak in everything the Grand Floridian had to offer us that evening. It was amazing.

Disclosure: I paid to attend the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration. In exchange for my registration fee, I received deeply discounted rates on hotel, park tickets, events, meals, and swag. I am not required nor was I asked to write about the events by Disney or any other party affiliated with the event. Thoughts are 100% my own.

DisneySMMoms Celebration 2011 ~ Disney’s Fairytale Weddings & Honeymoons Platinum Soiree {Part 4 The Speakers}

Photo Credit: The Walt Disney Company

 

DisneySMMoms Celebration 2011
Disney’s Fairytale Weddings & Honeymoons
Platinum Soiree {Part 4 The Speakers}

So, after filling our colorful take-out boxes with some amazing goodies and touring Franck’s beautiful studio, Franck himself announced that we should start making our way over to the Wedding Pavillion for some more surprises!

Let me tell you, it is beautiful in there! We were all seated and just looking around in awe at how gorgeous everything was. I’d never been inside there before, however; a friend of mine had her wedding there two years ago so I’d seen pictures, which don’t do it justice. It was so amazing that you could actually see Cinderella Castle right through the stained glass windows! Breathtaking!

We were treated to a great introduction from Korri McFann Spolar, who began her career with Disney in 1995. Korri has been working with Disney’s Fairytale Weddings and Honeymoons for the last 13 years.

Photo Credit: The Walt Disney Company

She gave us a sneak peak of the wedding and honeymoon options that would be offered in the fall of this year in Hawaii at the new Disney Vacation Club property, Aulani.

Next up was Michael Shettel, the Vice President of Alfred Angelo Designs.

Photo Credit: The Walt Disney Company

He gave us an inside look into the Disney Fairytale Wedding Collection as well as introduced the Cinderella Platinum Anniversary Gown! It was magnificent!

Photo Credit: The Walt Disney Company

Photo Credit: The Walt Disney Company

Before we saw this dress, the Sleeping Beauty inspired dress was my favorite. Now I have two favorites because this one is right up there!

I just love the way the Cinderella Platinum gown looks as though it has cascading waterfalls of ruffles while the Sleeping Beauty gown has whispy, feathery ruffles with that gorgeous rose on the hip and another one up by the left shoulder! Aaah! Just beautiful!

Ok, now on to our next speaker! Carley Roney of TheKnot.com came and talked to us about social media and how making your audience your obsession in giving them what they want will ignite their passion and they will keep coming back! Don’t forget to check out her two sister sites TheNest.com and TheBump.com.

Photo Credit: The Walt Disney Company

For our next surprise, David Tutera from My Fair Wedding was introduced! My friend Kristen was so excited to see him that she got up and hugged him on his way up! It was adorable!

Photo Credit: The Walt Disney Company

Now, mind you, I’ve been married for nearly 18 years so even though I’d heard of his show, I’d never seen it before (shh…don’t tell). He talked to us about how he works hard to keep things trendy and is always looking ahead to see what color/style weddings are up and coming.

Photo Credit: The Walt Disney Company

Next we were introduced to a lovely couple who had gotten married at Disney’s Wedding Pavilion just two years ago. Their story was shared with us and we were shown beautiful pictures of their wedding. Much to our surprise, they were about to renew their vows right before our eyes! They were whisked away by Franck and Edna to go get ready. All of a sudden, you would have thought that a dance party broke out right there! The bridesmaids came through the doors and danced down the aisle and they were shortly joined by the groomsmen while they danced together as couples down the aisle. Next, the bride came and she danced her way down the aisle! It was really cool! If you want to see the video of all this fun, click here!

We got to watch their beautiful vow renewal ceremony and then we went outside to watch the Cinderella Coach pull up to whisk them away to their happily ever after! But, not before there were fireworks! Ah-mazing!

Photo Credit: The Walt Disney Company

Photo Credit: The Walt Disney Company

Next up was our dinner party along the beautiful sandy shores of the Grand Floridian! I’ll tell you all about that in my next post!

Disclosure: I paid to attend the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration. In exchange for my registration fee, I received deeply discounted rates on hotel, park tickets, events, meals, and swag. I am not required nor was I asked to write about the events by Disney or any other party affiliated with the event. Thoughts are 100% my own.

DisneySMMoms Celebration 2011: Rocking Disney’s Wedding Pavillion!

DisneySMMoms Celebration 2011
Rocking Disney’s Wedding Pavillion!

I’ve told some of you how the vow renewal we witnessed during the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration was my VERY FAVORITE and here, my friends, is a video of the entire thing! It’s incredible and FUN!

I would seriously consider having this “dance party” for my own wedding if I were to do it all over again…our 18-year wedding anniversary is next week! So much fun! What a fabulous memory to create of your wedding day! I just love the non-traditional feel of this.

Leave it to the fine folks at Disney’s Fairytale Weddings & Honeymoons to think of such a clever experience!

What are your thoughts on this? Would you ever step out of the box and have a non-traditional wedding like this?

Disclosure: I paid to attend the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration. In exchange for my registration fee, I received deeply discounted rates on hotel, park tickets, events, meals, and swag. I am not required nor was I asked to write about the events by Disney or any other party affiliated with the event. Thoughts are 100% my own.

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa – Photo Tour And My Thoughts

Photo Credit: Marc Lorenzo

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
Photo Tour And My Thoughts

I have read many reviews on Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa and I’ve heard that it is a wonderful place to stay for many reasons, one of the biggest is that it’s right on the monorail line. I have to be honest though, I have never been able to wrap my head around the rates there until now.

I recently had the opportunity to stay there, along with my husband and our 2 kids, ages 9 and 13, during the Social Media Moms Celebration. I must say that from the moment we checked in, we were all in awe of the amazingness that IS the Grand Floridian. It is a completely different feeling walking in there to check in as opposed to walking in for a dining reservation. Just look at how beautiful their check-in folders are!

We were given a room that was in between the main building and the convention center in the “Sago Cay” building. Our room wasn’t going to be ready for a while, but that was fine because we’d left all of our things in the car. One thing about parking at the Grand Floridian is that it’s a pretty good distance away. We were discussing how we’d get all of our things from the car when a Cast Member from Bell Services heard us and came over to say that they would be more than happy to take us to our car in one of their “golf carts” so we wouldn’t have to carry it all! How cool is that? We didn’t even have to ask!

Anyhoo, when we got the message that our room was ready, we were pretty excited! Well, let me re-phrase that just a little, I was EXTREMELY excited! I snapped a few shots of the beautiful details in our room the minute we walked in.

Gorgeous already right? That is some beautiful marble! Isn’t that flower on the top of the white porcelain tissue dispenser just beautiful? I love the little things, what can I say? Even the toilet paper wrap had a gold-colored logo on it!

We walked around the corner and there was this HUGE hidden Mickey on one of the beds. Just look at how thick those towels are!

I have to tell you, I never appreciated the towels at Disney’s Deluxe Resorts so much until I went from staying in a Saratoga Springs Treehouse Villa to the All Star Sports Resort. Wow.

This picture was on the wall, and I LOVE it! I would hang it right in my living room if given the opportunity. For real.

And this mirror would go beautifully in my bedroom!

Ok, I know shared our view with you already, but I must show you again because it was simply amazing.

A Room With A View!

Each night when we came back to our room, we had a “Kiss Goodnight” on our bed which consisted of a cute little card and a special Grand Floridian chocolate.

I have always adored the attention to detail at Walt Disney World and I found that the Grand Floridian is no exception. I spent more time in our room this time than I ever have before because it was so magical and beautiful with the monorail gliding by and hearing the whistle from the WDW Railroad…..ahhhh….until next time.

Disclosure: I paid to attend the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration. In exchange for my registration fee, I received deeply discounted rates on hotel, park tickets, events, meals, and swag. I am not required nor was I asked to write about the events by Disney or any other party affiliated with the event. Thoughts are 100% my own.

Wordless Wednesday…From the Disney’s Fairytale Weddings & Honeymoons Platinum Soiree(sort of)

Wordless Wednesday
From the Disney’s Fairytale Weddings & Honeymoons
Platinum Soiree!

DisneySMMoms Celebration 2011: Our First Event – Disney’s Fairytale Weddings & Honeymoons Platinum Soiree {Part 3 The Gowns}

DisneySMMoms Celebration 2011: Our First Event
Disney’s Fairytale Weddings & Honeymoons
Platinum Soiree {Part 3 The Gowns}

 

After the completely amazing candy buffet and tour of Franck’s Wedding Studio, we made our way over to the Wedding Pavilion. We were able to see the Disney Princess inspired wedding gowns by Alfred Angelo placed strategically (on mannequins) around the pavilion. They were gorgeous!

The Cinderella Platinum Anniversary Gown was revealed to us live for the 20th anniversary! It was breathtaking!

I bet you’re wondering about that handy little flash drive I talked about a couple posts ago? Well, below are some of the pictures we were given to share with you that showcase each of the gowns. My own pics of the REAL ones hardly do them justice, so, while I wait for the professional ones to come from Disney, I figured I’d share these with you instead of holding you in suspense! Remember, click on the pics to enlarge them.

Ariel

Aurora

Belle

Cinderella

Jasmine

Snow White

Tiana

Let me know in the comments which one is your favorite!

Disclosure: I paid to attend the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration. In exchange for my registration fee, I received deeply discounted rates on hotel, park tickets, events, meals, and swag. I am not required nor was I asked to write about the events by Disney or any other party affiliated with the event. Thoughts are 100% my own.