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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Disney Social Media Moms Conference - Part 2

So you are back for more, right? Well here goes.

Friday
It rained all day Friday and that was okay because we were mostly indoors all day long listening to speakers and such. Friday we headed off to the Contemporary Hotel for breakfast and lunch and cool stuff.

I had breakfast with Nicole, who I adore. She is such a sweetheart and I love her daughter. Not only is Angelina the cutest thing but she is sassy. I found out her birthday is February 8 and I should have known she was an Aquarian because when Nicole writes about her antics, she totally reminds me of me when I was little. Also joining us were Connie from Princess Time Toys, who was so super duper nice. Kristen from Tinker Tell's Pixie Dust Express, Elizabeth from Party Planning Professor and Kristin from Our Ordinary Life who has 2 of the cutest little girls I have ever seen. It was fun.

We were then ushered into another conference room after breakfast. I sat with Melanie, Denisse, Stefanie from Mommy Musings and Paul and Lee from a Couple Dumb. I swear I am a good judge of character and when we sat down and were introduced to Paul and Lee, I immediately liked them. They were so open and friendly that I knew these were people I wanted to know better.

The MC's were the Twitter Sister who were funny as hell and kept things moving. We heard from Meg Crofton the head of Disney and then Maxine Clark the CEB of Build-A-Bear spoke. Now I know you all know about Build-A-Bear. I have always heard of it and always wanted to go but never have. Let me tell you that Maxine rocked the house. What a cool lady. She gave a wonderful heart felt speech and it was inspirational. She created and built this company and after listening to her, next time I see a Build-A-Bear store, I am so going in and getting one! Plus, she was probably the only other non-mom in the room!!

After Maxine spoke, one person at every table won a Build-A-Bear. Denise won the Ariel bear from our table. I bet her daughter was thrilled when she saw it!! Then we had Marissa Jaret Winokur speak to us. She is a Tony Award winning actress for Hairspray and she was also on Dancing with the Stars. After she spoke, Cinderella and Prince Charming came out because someone in the room was going to win a night in Cinderella's castle. I didn't win. Boo! That would have been awesome!! But some lucky lady did and I am sure it was a dream come true.

We then had a lunch break and I ended up having a Latina Power lunch with some wonderful women. Included, of course, was the Latina contingent but we also lunched with Lorraine and Christie from the The Blog Rollers and Laura Spencer from Disney. It was fantastic and we are in the process of planning some cool stuff.

After lunch it was back to hear more speakers. We first heard from Kathy Ireland, yes the Kathy Ireland and let me tell you that woman looks fantastic! Then we heard from Chris Brogan. Okay, I also had no idea who he was either. But again, I heard he is someone you need to know about if you are in social media. I was actually speaking to him on a break and had no idea he was our speaker. DOH! Yes, folks, I am clueless.

Chris was actually hilarious and casual and in between his jokes and stories, he gave some valuable info. I have to admit he made me laugh quite a few times. And I am going to have to read his book Trust Agents because I think it's probably something I need to read. He was a great speaker for a social media conference.

We had another break were I finally got to see and talk to Christina from Cutest Kid Ever. I met her in Asheville and she is great! I met James from James Andrews who I had tweeted with a while ago about restaurants in Santa Fe. He is a sweetheart. I also met Connie from Brain Foggles who I always tweet with. I saw Felicia from Go Graham Go. I had met her in Asheville as well. Jerri Ann from Mom-E-Centric. I also met The Angel Forever, Val from Mom Knows it All, Bay from The Queen Mother Blog, Naomi from Superdumb Supervillian, Janet from @janetandmaya, what a sweetheart Janet is and Maya is a doll. I know her because she enters my giveaways at The Art of Random Willynillyness! Love that!

The finale included a nice little cocktail party with some nibbles and drinks! YAY! And they had a stand up comedienne, Mary Ellen Hooper on stage. OMG she was so funny. I loved her. She made me crack up. Visit her site and if she is ever anywhere near your town, go see her. She also blogs at Stinky Flowers. I have to say that Disney knows how to do it up right. We all got some cute pink fleece jackets and at the end of the conference we all got a gift to take home aside from the bags we received the first day. I won a Mickey doll! I was so excited since I love plush dolls!! Then I headed back to the hotel and got to talk with Amy a little bit. She was one of the coordinators and I actually was invited by her. I am so glad I was because it was so much fun.

Back at the hotel, I rested a little but then we were off to Hollywood Studios for our final dinner and Toy Story dance Party. Since it rained we all got moved inside to a restaurant in the park and it was great. I was hanging out with Melissa, Kim, Sandy from Organize with Sandy, Zippy and Shannon. Again, the food was plentiful and I stuffed my gob once again. Hot dogs, pasta salad, regular salad, mac and cheese and a cupcake! Oh yeah and beer.

I also have to thank Melissa for urging me to get up and dance something I rarely do nowadays but we had a blast!! I forgot how much I love dancing. So after dinner and some dancing, we headed off to the new Toy Story Mania ride at Hollywood Studios. OMG this is one fantastic ride. It's a 3-D arcade type ride where you get to shoot at targets and rack up points. I was sitting with Melissa and she beat my score but we beat Zippy and Shannon! This ride was even better than Buzz Lightyear. I know Tom would have loved it.

But all things must come to an end so we all headed back to the bus but before that we stopped to get some Bailey's coffee. There we met Pedro who works for Disney. He was a cutie. I actually thought he was someones son. Let's face it folks, I could have been his mother and he was probably almost 30. I tell you, it's sad when anyone under 30 can be your child. But he was very nice and we chatted with him at the park and the bus ride back to the hotel. I left the girls at the hotel to go get some sleep and finish packing. They went upstairs to continue the party. But I had to be ready and out the door by 7:30am and I had to find a way to jam everything I got at the conference into my already stuffed suitcase. I did it.

That was the end of my Disney adventure but as always, I always seem to have random adventures where I go so yes, the story continues! The Disney Magical Express picked us up in front of the hotel 3 hours prior to the flight. I was so glad to see that Nicole was there with her hubby and Angelina. I got to talk to the sassy girl and then was able to have some time to talk to Nicole on the bus for a while. I really like her and I know we will be friends for a long time. Sometimes you just click with people and like I said in the other post, it's fate when the first person you see at 2 conferences is the same person.

When I got to the airport the line was huge so they said go outside and do the curbside check in. So I go out there and I was told that I needed to go indoors. I knew that was the start of a very long day. I had checked all flights before I left the hotel but when I got to the airport I was told my Atlanta to Asheville flight was cancelled. So I smiled and asked what can you do for me. I was told that they could send me to Charlotte. So I asked then to Asheville right? Nope just Charlotte. WTH? I told her I needed to get to Asheville not Charlotte. SO then I was given the option of flying to Detroit, spend the night on my dime and then fly the next day to Asheville. WTH? So I said can I get to Atlanta and was told yes, so I decided to take my chances and get to Atlanta and see if I could catch a flight on standby.

Oh the hell that is flying. I am so over it. I hate it and it sucks but what can you do. So the line for security was super duper long and willy nilly. I got through although the metal detector went off wen I went through because I have a little metal wallet I use. No one stopped me because the security checker was talking to her friend. So I walked right through. Thank gos I am not some wack job. (no comments from the peanut gallery).

So we board the flight on time and we all get settled and then after 20 minutes of us sitting there waiting to take off we are told we are waiting for other passengers and oh yeah a flight crew. WTH? So we wait then another 15 minutes pass and we are told that guess what folks, someone forgot to tell the flight crew they had a flight and they are still at the hotel but they did talk to them and they are on the way in? WTH? Now I applaud Delta for their honesty but WTF? Someone forgot to get a flight crew? So then we are all told we must get off the plane and wait. While I appreciate that, why would you board the flight if you have no idea if you have a freaking pilot to fly the plane.

So we all take all our crap off and sit outside for another 25 minutes until the pilots show up. Luckily, the Orlando airport has Wi-fi. After the pilots arrive, we are herded like cattle back on the flight and are finally on the way to Atlanta. I was on standby for a 2:00pm flight and I was going to miss it. Once at the Atlanta airport I was told to go to some gate. So I go and wait. The 2:00pm flight was kicked back to 3:30. Then the 3:30 flight was kicked back to 4:30 and we were sent to gate D1. Of course, we were at the farthest possible gate so I had to drag all my crap miles to the other gate. Then the 4:30 flight was changed to 5:30. By this time, if I didn't catch this flight I would have to wait until 9:30pm and see if I got onto that one.

While sitting at the gate, a soldier came by and sat next to me and we chatted. He actually had a more hellish story. He had started out in Arkansas and had been at the Atlanta airport since the day before. He and a buddy wanted to drive home but they would not change their orders so if he did drive back not only would he have to pay for the car but for the leg of the flight he didn't use. I was like WTF? These guys put their life on the line for this country and we nickel and dime them while we give non-military companies billions of dollars. Whatever. Don't worry, I won't go on a rant.

But the cool thing besides him giving me gummy bears was that in our conversation, I asked if he lived in Asheville and she said no he lived 40 minutes west of Asheville and I was like OMG where? It turned out he lived in Canton and was probably one of the very few people I meet that knew Sylva, where I live. So we chatted some more. Then he was boarded on the flight. I was worried because there were tons of standbys that had been there since the day before. I spoke to another lady who had slept in the airport because Delta would give her nothing since this was a weather problem. Can I go on a mini-rant and just say Delta sucks big hairy balls?

So anyway, I almost cried when I heard them say Gonzalez because I had made it onto the flight. I finally got into the seat and shoved all my crap under the seat since those puddle jumpers have no space. The woman sitting beside me was sleeping but then we ended up chatting. She had been there since the night before trying to get a flight back. With more chatting I learned that Trisha had actually flown in from Santo Domingo after 2 weeks in Haiti. She was a nurse who worked with Doctors without Borders.

Commercial Break here: Okay, if you give money to non-profits, consider Doctor without Borders. After seeing some news stories on them, checking out their website and leaning about them, I think they do some great stuff all over the world. Done

So Trisha was telling me about her work in Haiti and the conditions. I tell you that I was sad the flight was only 40 minutes because she was so interesting and nice. And the stories she told were sad but I have to applaud her and anyone who does this type of work. It takes a special person to give up their life to go help others. It was a nice end to a long, frustrating day. And I realized that I should stop being a whiny baby and be thankful for all I have. Okay, I am on the edge of singing Kumbaya and holding hands but it's true. Sometimes my small black withered heart beats. LOL

Guess what, the story continues! Oh you knew it would. We finally make it to Asheville and it is not snowing but it was 25 degrees and dark. I was freaked out because I had to decide whether to try and drive home or stay in Asheville. I saw the Sgt. by the baggage claim so I asked his father in law how the roads were from Canton and he said that although it had snowed the day before, the roads were dry and clear. When I got my bags and went out to find the car, it was icy and scary. Tom had left that same day so he drove to the airport parked the car so I could take it home and then pick him up at the airport.

I was so scared getting out of the parking because it was sheet of ice but I made it. When I paid I was chatting with the man in the booth and he told me the interstate was clear but he couldn't be sure of the smaller roads. Luckily, the interstate goes right to Sylva. So I made the decision to get on the highway and drive home at 8:00pm at night. It was scary and I was driving like an old lady but I made it home in one piece.

It was good to be home especially since I had a scratchy throat. Sunday I slept in to about 8:30am until the cats went crazy outside the door and woke me up. But since I had woken up at 6:00am for 4 days straight, I was glad to sleep until 8:30am. I woke up sick though. I have a cough and do not feel well but at least I am home. It snowed Sunday and it is supposed to snow more. I am so over the freaking snow. I can't wait until Spring.

So this ends my adventure. I probably won't blog too much this week as I am going to try and get rid of this crud. But I knew if I didn't tell my story now and waited, it would be a bad thing.





I want to thank Amy Lupold Blair with Resourceful Mommy Media (for the invite). Also thanks to the other coordinators of this great event Janice & Susan from 5 Minutes for Mom, Jennifer James with Mom Bloggers Club, & Maria Bailey with Mom Select/Mom TV. Thanks to Leanne Jakubowski and Laura Spencer from Disney. These ladies made it possible for all of us to experience a little Disney Magic this winter.

Disclosure: I paid my own way to the conference and for the conference. As part of the conference, I received complementary items, special discounts, and other benefits.

2 comments:

  1. I want to go back. We had SO much fun.

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  2. Fun! It's nice to see so many nice bloggy ladies getting together having a great time. :)

    ReplyDelete