Saturday was the last day of the conference. It was an interesting day because bloggers were given a choice of what they wanted to do that morning.
If our children were between the ages of 8 – 14, we could have attended the Magic of Healthy Living Expo at Epcot where they had a chance to interact with Disney stars and a few professional athletes while competing in fun games.
Or we could have signed up for the Wild Africa Trek, a 3-hour behind the scenes tour at Animal Kingdom.
Our third choice was a food and wine talk by a Disney chef and a sommelier. Or if none of these options was a fit, you could spend the day with your family.
I decided to attend the food and wine talk while the rest of the family visited Hollywood Studios.
I headed down to Citrico’s in the Grand Floridian. I was happy to learn there would be a continental breakfast provided. I walked in to find a delicious spread of fruit and pastries as well as fancy drinks in champagne glasses complete with strawberry on top.
I put together a plate of food and was happy to see the lovely Lorie Shewbridge of The Shewbridges of Central Florida. Lorie and I have known each other online for awhile, but this conference was our first time meeting. We ate many of our meals together along with the fantastic Connie Roberts of Brain Foggles and Jennifer of The Dirty Shirt. All three women are just as wonderful in person as they are online and I’m so excited to have had the chance to finally meet and spend time with them.
Lorie and I sat near a window soaking up the sun and enjoyed a chat and breakfast before the talk began. Chef Bryan from California Grill and Sommelier Meg from Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Jiko spent an informative hour talking to us about Disney food and wine. We learned that Walt Disney World Resort works hard to accommodate those with food allergies. We also learned that, while some restaurant staples like hamburger maybe mass ordered across the resort, specialties come from specific vendors. They also talked about how Disney attempts to stay on top of food trends including many of the healthier options being offered now.
After the talk, I met up with my family at Epcot. The conference took place during the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival and it was beautiful and so fun!
After a wonderful morning at Epcot where, aside from lunch, we almost felt like the only people in the park, we went back to the Grand Floridian for a swim.
After naps it was time to head back to Epcot for the last dinner and event of the conference. We went to the Epcot Showcase East Hall which was tucked between Canada and the U.K. The dinner was part of the Magic of Healthy Living Event. While I sincerely appreciate all of the work it takes to plan an event like this, I have to admit, it was our least favorite dinner of the conference.
The hall was so large and so intermingled with Magic of Healthy Living attendees and other press that we didn’t get a chance to hang out with other bloggers and their families at all – which is what we really enjoyed about the other two dinners.
A lot of people also felt the menu was too sophisticated for young children and while Kora was adventurous and tried it, Logan was a 4-year-old being asked to drink Heirloom Tomato Water with Basil Essence and eat White Balsamic, Fregola, Lentils, Quinoa and Burgundy Amaranth, and Pan Seared Poulet Rouge Breast with Heirloom Beans.
While Logan wasn’t a fan, Traveling Dad Dave loved the meal and I thought it was pretty good. A simple solution would have been to offer healthy living choices for children to show how their typical favorites can be made healthy and still enjoyable.
Again, we were happy to have the chance to attend the conference and participate in every event and dinner and I hope this doesn’t come across as complaining, just our experience of the dinner. Having done some event planning work myself in the past, I can’t even fathom the extent of the work put in to plan the Disney Social Media Moms Conference and I also realize that not everything is going to appeal to everyone.
We did all enjoy the attention to detail at the dinner that Disney is so famous for:
Even though the dinner wasn’t Logan’s favorite part of the conference, he (as well as the rest of us!) loved, loved, loved, the private dessert party during the Epcot Illuminations Fireworks show. It felt like a once-in-lifetime experience and gave us that chance to mingle with other bloggers, enjoy delectable desserts, and watch an incredible fireworks display.
After the Illuminations Dessert Party we somehow missed the guides directing us to the Disney Social Media Moms buses and got caught up in the massive crowd of people all exiting the park at the same time. The line for the monorail was crazy long, so we decided to grab a cab back to the Grand Floridian.
I think we found the nicest and funniest cab driver ever. He kept us laughing the whole way back and insisted he would only charge us what we felt appropriate to pay him! It just goes to show that even the cab drivers embody the Disney spirit of “the happiest place on earth.”
By the time we walked back to our room, Logan could barely walk. So Traveling Dad Dave put him on his shoulders where he promptly fell asleep on top of Dave’s head. It was so funny!
After a good night’s sleep, it was Sunday and time to check out of the Grand Floridian and head back to our Villa. We extended our stay until Wednesday and were so glad we did. We had a great time park hopping the rest of our time at Disney and even finished up the trip with Kora and Logan’s first ever game of putt-putt where Kora got a hole-in-one!
We had an incredible time at the Disney Social Media Moms Conference and feel so lucky & grateful to have attended. Will we register to attend again next year? In a hearbeat. It was such an extraordinary trip and conference. Sharing the entire experience with my family made it unforgettable. I’ll be keeping my eye on the #DisneySMMoms Twitter hashtag for conference updates and hope to be first in line to register next year.
Catch up on Parts I, II, & III of our exciting experience at the Disney Social Media Moms Conference 2011 here Disney Social Media Moms 2011 – Villa, Hospitality & The Magic Kingdom, here Disney Social Media Moms 2011 – Platinum Soiree & Family Dinner, and here Disney Social Media Moms 2011 – Speakers, Animal Kingdom Lodge, Hollywood Studios Dinner & Grand Floridian Fireworks.
Disclosure: As participants in the Disney Social Media Moms Conference 2011 we paid our conference fee, received hotel accommodations, park tickets, meals, admission to private parties, and other gift items. I was not required, or asked, to write about the conference, events, or speakers. The honest opinions are my own and that of my family.