One of the most exciting things about Disney's Social Media Moms Celebration - aside from the networking and being surrounded by all thing social media - was the chance to stay at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. For years I've looked at it longingly as we passed by on the Monorail (and even got a "sneak peek" inside the resort two years ago when we dined at 1900 Park Fare)....but never in a gazillion years did I ever DREAM that I would get to stay at the Grand Floridian!
When we arrived at the resort Thursday morning it was all I could do to contain my excitement as we walked through the doors and into the beautiful lobby. It really was one of those "pinch me....oh my GOSH...are we really HERE?!?!" kind of moments.
Our room was spectacular - the view was incredible...we looked out across the water to The Polynesian and to the right was the Monorail. I really could have sat on the balcony for an entire week and never been bored with that view. It was so relaxing, so beautiful, so .... MAGICAL.
The lobby of the Grand Floridian has a very distinct 'smell' to it - the scent of fresh flowers surrounds you....and it just adds to the beauty of the resort. I really have never stayed anywhere like the Grand Floridian and can only hope that some day soon I can stay there again.
And so....moving right along to the rest of the Day 2 events...
After our conference sessions we had a few hours of "free time" - some people went to the parks for a bit, some went back to their rooms to relax...I chose to go shopping! Oh, and grab a Mickey Rice Krispie Treat and sit by the marina and listen to the train whistle at the Magic Kingdom and watch the Monorail go by. (Now that is a great way to spend an hour or two...).
Then, it was time to PARTY!
We all hopped on buses and headed over to Disney's Hollywood Studios for a party INSIDE the Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show. Yes, you read that right. Our party was on the stage for the show. Once again, Disney had outdone themselves. One of the many highlights for me was going 'behind the scenes' at the park to enter the party. We were THISCLOSE to the Disney plane that Walt himself used to fly on as he traveled from California to Florida!
Once we were inside the stage area, it was time to party! Buffet lines were set up with amazing food selections (prime rib, roast pork, chicken, pasta, veggies, bread, and kid's food too, including chicken and green beans). The dessert table....all chocolate!
Here's a couple photos....
We heard some news about the "new" Disney Junior and there was a crazy dance party going on for the kids with pirates and other Disney Junior characters....but the best part of the night for me? Spending time with friends....
And really....this is one of the most valuable 'take aways' I have from this entire experience - the incredible friendships I have thanks to social media. Yes, we all learned valuable, relevant, life-changing (perhaps) lessons during the conference sessions. We are all becoming better "social media mavens" because of this event. Our blogs are growing, we're tweeting more and using Facebook the "right" way.
But more important than all of this knowledge are the friendships we all made at this event (or even at the first Social Media Moms Celebration in 2010) and the friendships we all formed before the event on Twitter or Facebook or on our blogs. [I have blogged about them here, here, and here....].
All of the friends I've made ....intelligent, beautiful, strong, amazing, funny women....these are the people I look to for advice, wisdom, laughter, or a shoulder to cry on if needed. These women inspire me every day with their blogging. And I am honored to call you my friends (and you know who you are).
Disclosure: While I paid my way for this event, we were given an incredible deal by Disney. The conference fee included three nights at the Grand Floridian, 7-day park hopper tickets, the conference, most meals, several special events, and other 'goodies' to take home. All opinions expressed in these posts are mine. Disney did not ask that we blog about the event. But as a lifelong, dedicated Disney fan, I am more than happy to share my experiences with you.