When I received my invitation to the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration, nobody was more surprised than I. I had never applied in years past, I wasn’t following the chatter about this year’s registration process, so it really wasn’t even on my radar. But when my friends started saying that they were finding invitations in their Spam folders, I decided I might as well check mine.
Lo and behold, when I looked in my long-forgotten spam folder, I found the most coveted invitation in the blogosphere with my name on it!
There wasn’t even a moment’s hesitation. I knew I would go.
Since we are planning a family vacation for October, and this is a busy time for my husband’s job, I decided right away not to bring our family. Instead, I brought along 3 of my bestest blogging buddies — Sarah, Debbie and Melissa. We had SO. MUCH. FUN.
We arrived on Thursday afternoon, after almost missing our plane — no, were not running late to the airport; rather, we thought we had SO much extra time that we decided to get manicures at the XpresSpa in the airport. Big mistake. HUGE. (Bonus points for the first person to name that movie!)
After a lengthy wait for the Magical Express, and an even lengthier bus ride, we checked into the Yacht Club – one of Disney’s Premium Resorts.
That night we were treated to a very fun Pirate Party on the beach by the Beach Club, located next door to the Yacht Club. Families were welcome, and there was music, games, food and drink for all. We had a blast connecting with old friends and putting names with faces.
Afterwards we literally ran to Epcot (it is within walking distance from the Yacht Club and Beach Club resorts — so convenient!!) and made it onto Soarin’ with our media Fast Passes just before it closed. Soarin’ is my favorite ride in all of the Disney Parks, and I wasn’t about to leave without getting my fix.
As we exited the ride, we caught the tail end of the fireworks display. I never cease to be awed by a good fireworks display. It is one of my very favorite Disney attractions.
Friday was a day full of conferences, with the likes of Chris Brogan, Peter Shankman, Amy Jo Martin, and Maryellen Hooper. After a few hours in the late afternoon lounging by the hotel pool, we headed over to Magic Kingdom and caught their Electrical Parade. Mel and I marveled that we hadn’t seen this show since we were kids and happily took it all in while snapping photos with our iPhones.
On Saturday, I got to experience the Wild Africa Trek at Animal Kingdom. This was by far the highlight of the weekend. The Wild Africa Trek is a privately guided small group tour that takes you on a VIP safari through the “African savannah”. You get to see the animals up close, you take a death-defying trek (okay, you are safely belted in, but it FEELS death-defying at times!!) across a high rope bridge suspended above a riverbed teaming with hippos and crocodiles, and then you get to experience an African-inspired lunch in a safari camp. It is a 3-hour experience that is the next best thing to being IN Africa.
That night, we got a sneak peak of the Art of Animation Hotel — Disney’s newest resort, scheduled to open in May 2012. It is spectacular. More on that later.
Sunday we had a lazy breakfast on the Boardwalk before gathering our belongings for our trip back to Philadelphia. As seems to be our habit, we had our fair share of drama before boarding our plane, but all’s well that ends well. We arrived home, safe and sound, just in time to tuck our little ones into bed.
I’ll be writing up each of the hotels and experiences in separate posts with more detail, but I wanted to post a quick recap and bive a big shout out to all those involved in planning this conference and making it such a treat. I was thoroughly impressed. Everything was impeccable from the quality of food to the scheduling to the way they managed such a large group of families and friends without making you feel like you were part of a mob.
Only Disney could pull this off so effortlessly. (I am SURE it was not effortless, but it sure felt that way, and THAT is what counts!)
I can not WAIT to return in October with my family for full week of Disney magic.