I think I may have finally digested enough of last weekend’s amazing experiences to be able to start sharing them with you, I hope I can do justice to the magic we experienced.
We left the house at about 8am for the very familiar drive to Walt Disney World…but something was different. We make this drive regularly, we are passholders and have been on and off for years, but something was different. My teenage boys were almost giddy with excitement, I was giddy with excitement…even hubby was excited for the weekend ahead (I’ve never seen him giddy in the 21 years I’ve known him). We were going to a familiar place but we expected to experience new things…and we did.
We arrived at the Grand Floridian by 10am and as I got out of the van I saw Jackie Gailey, who started my weekend off with a smile and a big hug, I knew this was going to be a great trip! Bell services whisked our 11 pieces of luggage away to be stored while hubby parked the van and the boys and I checked us in. Since we were so early our room wasn’t ready so we went outside to wait for hubby to make the trek from self-parking. While waiting we saw Shannan Powell and her lovely family, another big hug…my boys were counting but even the college student stopped after a while because there were too many hugs to count on this magical weekend! Hubby arrived and we headed to the Grand Floridian Conference Center to check in for the conference and get our credentials and amazing gifts! We checked the 2 large gift bags with bell services and headed on the monorail to the Magic Kingdom.
Arriving at the Magic Kingdom we came upon the largest crowds I think we have ever seen. We never travel to WDW during peak season so this was new and kind of stressful for us. We spent about 3 and a half hours in the park, rode a few rides and ate lunch at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe before heading back to the resort.
At 3pm hubby called bell services to deliver our bags to our room. I had a 4pm reception to be at and I needed to clean up and change. Bell services said 10-15 minutes, no problem…right? Well my bags finally arrived to the room at 4:20pm! I have never dressed and done my make up so fast in my life. I quickly walked to Disney’s Wedding Pavilion but, because I was so late, I missed the yummy candy buffet and the beginning of the presentation.
I was whisked to an open seat in the back of the pavilion where Michael Shettel, Vice President of Design for Alfred Angelo was introducing the Cinderella Platinum Anniversary Gown. A model enetered wearing the dress to a chorus of “Ooos” and “Aahhs”. We also heard from Carley Roney, Co-founder and Editor-In-Chief of TheKnot.com. She spoke about community and how TheKnot grew from its humble beginnings on AOL to the mega-site it is today, because of the community it built. Next was David Tutera of My Fair Wedding on WE TV. He spoke about setting your own trends not following what is already out there. Our event concluded as we witnessed a wedding vow renewal by a couple who had been married at Disney 2 years earlier. I wished I had my video recorder running because I loved what the officiant said about renewing your vows, his words were wonderful! This September hubby and I will be celebrating our 20th anniversary, what a dream it would be to renew our vows at Disney’s Wedding Pavilion.
Next we headed to the lawn between the Grand Floridian and the Wedding Pavilion where we met up with our families and enjoyed a delicious dinner buffet, great music from Main St USA, lots of catching up with friends and even carnival games for the kids! Dinner was wonderful and it was a great time to reconnect with old friends and make some new ones. Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Goofy and Pluto even stopped by for some of the fun! As the party wound down several of us had the brilliant idea to hop on over to the Magic Kingdom to catch Main Street Electrical Parade, The Magic, the Memories & You and Wishes.
This was not the wisest decision we have ever made. We arrived in the park by 9pm, a full hour before the parade started and there was no room to stand anywhere on Main Street. We finally found a spot on a walkway to the left of the hub and we claimed it. We didn’t have a great view of the parade, since it goes around the hub and never comes by where we were standing but…we had a great location for The Magic, the Memories & You! which is what I wanted my family to experience. They were entranced by the beautiful show and the technology behind it. They agreed with me that Magic Kingdom has the best overall night time experience with the 3 evening shows. Due to the humongous crowd, we decided to leave before Wishes started so that we wouldn’t have to wait forever to get back on the monorail to our resort.
We arrived back at the Grand Floridian and snuggled into our comfy beds to dream about what Day 2 of Disney Social Media Moms would have in store.
Disclosure: Although we paid for our own trip to Disney World, we were given an incredible deal thanks to Disney. The conference fee included 3 nights at the Grand Floridian, 3 dinners for my entire family, 7 day park hoppers for everyone, conference/meals for me and some other items to take home. Also note that Disney never asked us to blog about this event. As a lifelong Disney fan it is my pleasure to share my experiences from the event.