Downtown Disney

Shop Downtown Disney!

Downtown Disney is nice because you don’t have to pay to go in.  Parking is free, entrance is free, it’s just a nice place to be able to shop and take pictures and eat!

downtown disney

The Lego store there is the coolest one I’ve ever been to.  The Lego sculptures are amazing, like the dragon in the water.  Elise had never seen anything like them.

downtown disney

We went to the Rainforest Cafe for dinner.  It was around 3:30pm, so you could consider it either a late lunch or early dinner. We got a seat (which I was thrilled but surprised at, even at 3:30pm).  What a cool experience for a child (and adult!)

rainforest cafe

rainforest cafe

We did some pin trading with the Disney employees.  Did you know that the employees who have pins on a vest or lanyard will trade you any authentic Disney pin for free?  You decided which one of theirs you want and you can pick any of your pins to trade back. It is so cool, you ask one and a couple others in the area will come up and show you their pins.  Elise and I both had fun doing that.  One of the things I did on another trip was to buy some of the “surprise” dollar bag of pins at the counter and use those to trade with. This time I had ordered some trading pins off the internet for Elise to have fun with.

We had some Ghirardelli  ice Cream after dinner. Yum!

We did some shopping in one of the Disney stores and bought the boys a couple pins for their lanyards since they weren’t with us.

There is a new T-Rex restaurant that looked cool. We didn’t go in, but by the looks of the line, it looked popular.

Downtown disney

We had a lovely evening at Downtown Disney. This is an easy must do on any day of your trip. I’m glad we did go in the afternoon rather than in the evening, because a storm let loose right as we were leaving.

 

 

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Universal Studios

July 18, 2012 by  
Filed under Attractions to See, Blog, Explore Florida, Travel

Who doesn’t love Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida?

universal studios

Our last day of vacation and we had our day planned for Universal Studios.  The weather was great, a little cooler with a nice breeze.  We went to the ET ride first. The ET ride was so fun. Riding our “bikes” on a chase and then we took off flying. lol… so fun.

universal studios

universal studios

We had to stop by the Barney display.

universal studios

We talked about going into Men in Black, but the line was too long, so we walked on by.   We did go into the Twister show.  It was strange seeing all the special effects they used to make you feel like you were in a real twister.

Onward to Island of Adventure.  I think we had a little more fun over there than we did at Universal Studios.

island of adventure

We made our way around most of the park because we wanted to see the Harry Potter castle.

cat in the hat

We bought Thing 1, Thing 2 and Thing 3 T-shirts for the triplets…. how fun.  Everything in the Cat in the Hat area was so cute and fun.

island of adventure

We went on to The Lost Continent area…. a really neat looking area.

universal studios

We got to the Harry Potter Hogwarts. I thought we could tour through it. There was some kind of simulator ride inside. I often don’t do so well with those because I get motion sickness… so what do I let Elise talk me into instead?….

harry potter

A roller coaster! LOL  Now does that make any sense?  It was out near Hogwarts.  I think Elise had a fun time on it…. I survived it. lol

There were several things about Universal Studios that I really liked.  Parking was in a parking garage.  It was nice to come back to my car and not have it be SO hot inside.   They also seemed to be better at trying to help you stay cool while you waited in lines. There were more fans and covered waiting areas, that we experienced.  It wasn’t nearly so crowded either…. all of what made the day seem much nicer.

We had a one day 2 park pass that was complimentary thanks to Universal Studios.  The opinions and pictures were all my own.

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Fantasy World

June 29, 2012 by  
Filed under Blog, Explore Florida, Hotels & Resorts, Travel

Fantasy World Resort Great – Swimming Pool For Kids

One of the things I looked for when I searched for a place for Elise and I to stay was a really awesome pool.  Since she was going without her triplet brothers, I was hoping to have a pool that she would be entertained in and hopefully meet some other little girls to play with.  I was really excited when I found the Fantasy World Resort online. fantasy world resort This pool is really wonderful.  It is large, there are nice chairs to lounge in around the pool for those of us who sit on the sidelines or sunbathe. fantasy world   There are cabanas that you can rent for $40/day from 9am-5pm. We didn’t do that but I was amazed, they have flat screen TV’s and ceiling fans in them!  If we would have had an entire day to stay at the pool, I would have reserved one.. that is for sure!

fantasy world Now check out the slide at this pool!  There is also a small kiddie section, that lights up at night with fun colored lights.  There are a total of 3 pools and 3 hot tubs in the entire complex. But this is the main one with all the fun stuff! fantasy world resort

fantasy world

fantasy world I particularly like the lazy river

It is huge!

The pool gets an “A” from me! Really awesome. There is a nice outside bar also. I didn’t check it out to see what kind of drinks they have, but I saw some people carrying some fruity looking drinks, so I assume it’s a full pool bar.

fantasy world

The two bedroom condo is ok.  It is a two story condo, which is really nice and I’ve heard very little “neighbor” noise.  The decor is a little older, but clean and neat.  This isn’t a gated complex. Upstairs are two small bedrooms.  Elise had 2 single beds in her room. She loves the Disney pictures on the walls over her beds. fantasy world My room has a nice looking king size bed. I was shocked when I sat down on it and realized it is two twin mattresses. There is a big ridge in the middle of the bed. Not a problem for me since I’m sleeping in it alone, but I wouldn’t have been very happy if I was here with my husband.  There is no master bathroom, but there is one bathroom upstairs with tub and the downstairs bathroom has a small shower. The kitchen has a dishwasher, microwave and full refrigerator. It’s nice that there is a roll of paper towels and all the basics we need to function for the week, or until we can pick up our own supplies at the store. There is a dining room table with two extra chairs. My evaluation is that if you have kids, then this would be a great place to come. The pool is wonderful! I give it a full thumbs up!!  The condo is very ample, but hopefully your master bedroom will have a regular king size mattress rather than what is on this bed.

I also did a post on the Fantasy World Resort on the i.seeKissimmee Blog. On that blog, a woman commented that she had a condo here that they own. She said that they stay there from December to April every year and rent it out the rest of the time.  The thing that I really liked was she said that they have updated many of the condos. She said this was one of the ones that had not yet been updated. She said the others were much nicer than this. I would suggest that if you plan a stay here, you request an updated unit.

Our room was provided at a discounted rate for our stay.  The opinions and pictures are all my own.

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Gator Land!

June 27, 2012 by  
Filed under Attractions to See, Blog, Explore Florida, Travel

Want a Land of Gators? Go to  Gatorland in Orland, FL!

gatorland

I loved Gatorland when I visited back in 1998 with my boys.  It was lower key than all the big Disney parks, but was so fun.  The first thing I noticed as we drove up was that it looked much nicer than it did when I was here before. They have done a lot of improvements and updated things.  I had a vision of a place that was a bit run down, but it wasn’t run down at all.  Everything looked fresh and in great shape. I was really glad about that.

gatorland

gatorland

gatorland

The first thing we did was go to the Gator Jumparoo show.  It was a very entertaining show. They had a contest between the two “new people they were going to hire”, Bubba & Cooter,  to see who could get the gators to jump the highest for the raw chickens.   They divided the crowd into two sides to cheer their potential employee on.

gatorland

You wonder how they don’t loose a hand, don’t you?

gatorland

gatorland

gatorland

Elise got to hold a small gator and snake for a picture. We did buy the keychain and magnet. There several options of things you could purchase and a couple other photo opps while you were in the park.

gatorland

We headed over to the Gator Wrestlin show. It was nice seating in the small four side seating arena.

gatorland

gatorland

If you purchased the “Grunt package” you had a chance to be a rookie gator wrestler before or after the show.  I think you could also pay to do it (I’m thinking $10/person, but don’t hold me to that) on the spot.

gatorland

On the grunt pass we also had a chance to ride the train, so off we went. It lasted about 10 minutes and the train took you around an part of an  area that I don’t think is accessible by foot (not positive on that) to see a few other gators. The train conductor was a hoot.

 

We climbed up the observation deck. I remember there being a huge number of gators that we saw from there.

gatorland

The view was great, on the opposite side of this view you also have  a good view of the zip liners that zip by.

gatorland

gatorland

Elise spotted these birds in one of the trees as we were walking by.

gatorland

 

Elise wanted to see the white alligators, so we made sure we saw them before we left.  I was amazed that they were real – they looked so fake. Until I saw them move, I wasn’t so sure. lol

gatorland

I like when I see signs for social media up in the park! Way to go @Gatorland!

gatorland

There was a very nice gift shop to stop in when you left. I was very impressed with Gatorland and would tell (and have) anyone to be sure to visit if you are going to be in the Kissimmee/Orlando area.

I was provided with two Grunt package tickets for our visit today.  The opinions and pictures are my own.

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Chevy Cruze Eco Review

My Review of the Chevy Cruze Eco while in Florida!

Elise and I were excited to review the Chevy Cruze Eco during our week in Kissimmee, Florida last week.

Chevy Cruze

Of course one of the things we both were wondering was what color it would be.  It was a really nice blue tone.  It was a sharp looking car.  I tend to not look at all the info on cars that I look at because I want to tell you my thoughts on the Chevy Cruze Eco… off the top of my head. So please excuse me if I don’t describe something properly.

I’m not sure what size they consider this car.  To me it is inbetween a compact car and a mid size car.  Larger than what I consider a compact car, but probably not quite large enough to be called a mid size car.

chevy

Chevy Cruze

chevy cruze

The trunk was a decent size.  We were able to fit my mega suitcase, Elise’s medium suitcase and my rolling computer bag.  When we went to Cocoa beach we rented a beach umbrella, beach chair and a boogie board.   We were not able to fit the umbrella, the pole was too long, but it was close.  We were able to fit it in the back seat at an angle. Everything else fit fine.

Now I will admit that as I look at this picture I took, it appears that there is a split seat (that I didn’t realize before). I bet we could have pushed down on at least the smaller section and fit the umbrella much easier.  I didn’t think to take a picture when I had the trunk full, but you can tell we had already gone to the beach… see the sand? lol

chevy

We drove the Chevy Cruze Eco ALL over! We went to Cocoa Beach from Kissimmee twice (an hour & 15 minute drive one way).  We drove to Disney, Universal, Seaworld, Gatorland, out to dinner etc.

The car ran great and I was very thankful for the GPS.  Without looking at the manual (did I say that?) we managed to get it working pretty well. I’ve dealt with other GPS’s that are so confusing that you have to get out that 2 inch thick manual to use it.  It took a little bit of pressing the wrong buttons, and because the GPS is set in just a little bit, you don’t want to have long finger nails to use it.

In the picture it shows 1-4 East and I really think that was the only road that it announced the actual name of the road.  That was my biggest frustration with it, it didn’t announce which road we were going to turn on. It would just say, “Turn right in 500 yards”, “next right”. There were times that I wasn’t sure if a small road before was the “right” turn or not and we took a few incorrect turns.

But it was much more of a help than that frustration, and to be honest, if I had read the manual, I might have found an adjustment for that.

Chevy Cruze GPS

Elise loved the key! It folded in and would pop out like a little knife when you clicked the button.

chevy cruze

I was REALLY thankful for the 32 mile per gallon that we got driving it.  Who doesn’t love that when gas prices are over $3 per gallon!!  It was nice to see the display letting you know what kind of gas milage you are getting at any point.

chevy cruze

There were two cup holders in the center console, there was also enough room for a closed bottle of water or pop (but it would lean, so you couldn’t have it open).  There were no cup holders in the back seat, according to Elise.

chevy cruze

I liked the over all look of the inside of the Chevy Cruze Eco.  It gave you the feel of a much larger, more expensive car.

chevy cruze

chevy cruze

chevy cruze

I’m 5’10″ tall and I had plenty of room in this car.  It drove every nice. I didn’t have any issues at all with all the driving we did all week long.  I was thinking, “Darn, Dave just bought a little truck and isn’t happy with the gas milage with that, too bad I hadn’t reviewed this prior, I would recommend this for him.”.

I don’t know if in the winter with high snow or if there was high water, if it would be a problem or not, but it seemed like there wasn’t a lot of ground clearance.  It just seemed like it sat low.

chevy cruze

If you are looking for a nice size car that gets great gas milage… I would definitely recommend you look into the Chevy Cruze Eco.

Thank you to Chevy Florida for allowing me to drive this car for our week while in Florida.  You can find them on Facebook here. The pictures and opinions are all my own.

 

 

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SeaWorld in Orlando, FL

June 19, 2012 by  
Filed under Attractions to See, Blog, Explore Florida, Travel

Gotta love Shamu! We did in Orlando, FL Seaworld.

seaworld

Elise and I headed to SeaWorld later in the day today. We walked in the gates around 4pm and thought… wow, this is the way to do it – go a little later and you don’t have the crowds.  There was a Shamu show starting in about 2o minutes, so we went right to the stands to get seats.

I know I was a bit boring, but I told Elise we weren’t going to sit in the “splash zone”. I did tell her she could walk down and get wet when they were going to splash, but she didn’t want to.  I knew that walking around totally soaked (down to your panties) was not real fun, even as hot as it was.

seaworld

seaworld shamu

It was a really good show.  I think there for a total of five whales in the show. They did lots of splashing the crowd and jumps and flips.

seaworld

shamu

shamu

 

After the show it looked like it was going to storm, so we decided to go into the Wild Arctic to get out of the rain.   There were two options, to go on the helicopter simulator or walk through.  I asked the attendant if the simulator tended to make people sick to their stomach ( I get motion sickness). He said, without a pause, yes!   So we went for the walking option. I again told Elise she could go on the other if she’d like (heck, she went on Tower of Terror by herself), but she wanted to walk also.  We saw some arctic animals, polar bear, walrus and a couple others.  It reminded me of our zoo at home. They said the helicopter simulator people saw the same things we did, I’d be interested to know how it worked.

wild artic

When we came out into the gift shop, it was absolutely pouring, really windy and storming.  We made ourselves at home on the floor of the gift shop, along with many other people.  We hung out for about 45 minutes, and as we sat there deciding on what we’d go see when it stopped raining, we made the discovery that SeaWorld closes at 7pm!  I was shocked.  I guess that wouldn’t surprise me during the off season, but in June?

seaworld

We bought some ponchos and started out in the rain since we only had about 45 minutes now before Seaworld closed.  We went to the dolphin encounter.  It was neat, there were a bunch of dolphins and you were allowed to lean over and touch them from the blow hole back. They didn’t want you to touch their faces at all.

She never did get to touch one, but it was fun watching them and trying.  They have the option to feed the dolphins, but that was closed by the time we got there.

seaworld

The other thing Elise really wanted to do before we left was to see the dolphin nursery.  The dolphins were a little bigger than we expected them to be, but they were still small… and cute.

seaworld

Be sure to check Seaworld hours before you go.

I was given two tickets to visit Seaworld with Elise.  They did not influence my post. The pictures and my opinion are my own.

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Mystic Dunes Resort

Great Condos at Mystic Dunes Resort In Kissimmee, FL

mystic dunes

Driving into the Mystic Dunes Resort and Golf Club is impressive. There is a manned gate attendant (that always makes you feel more secure doesn’t it?) and with the major speed bumps mountains, you have to go slow through the complex.  It is large with several pools and all entangled with a golf course.

We were on the 2nd floor of building 11.

Mystic Dunes

We walked into a nice cool condo that was really large.  The tile floor was nice, it just felt cleaner than carpet.

mystic dunes resort

There was a dining room table large enough for most families and an entire mirrored wall that gave the room even a larger feel.

mystic dunes resort

There was a nice size kitchen with a dishwasher, coffee maker (and coffee for 2 days) full size refrigerator and all the dishes we needed.

mystic dunesThe master bedroom was impressive! It connected to the lani and had an open large soaking tub with clear glass shower.  Nice.  The mattress was awesome! There was plenty of space to unpack and I had a TV in the room.

mystic dunes resort

Check out the bathroom in the master suit.

The room Elise stayed had two double beds and a TV.  It had a window that was right next to the front of the condo by the walk way.  That was one thing I didn’t really like. My friend stayed with us the first two nights and stayed in that room with Elise, but the 3rd night she slept by herself in there and it made me just a bit uncomfortable to be on the other side of this large condo and have her right by the front door and window where everyone walked.  But of course everything was fine and we both slept great.

mystic dunes

The lani was very nice with a table and four chairs that overlooked one of the golf course ponds. mystic dunes resort

This was our favorite pool, although we never did get a chance to use it.  We were just too busy.  But doesn’t it look awesome?  There were cabanas you could rent and when we stopped by to take this picture it sounded like they were conducting an aerobics class.

mystic dunes pool

The Mystic Dunes is located only a couple miles away from Route 4, which is the main way to get to all of the major theme parks. It would be an idea place for a couple, especially if you love to golf, or a family.  If you would get a unit like we had (flat in a building with 3 floors), I would recommend a 3rd floor condo.  We had someone moving into the unit above us one night at around MN (at least I think that was what was going on). There were kids running, and a lot of noise.  I think because the floors are tile and not carpet, you hear a lot more than you might in other condos.  So if I had children I would want to be sure they were quiet to be considerate of others.  I think the resort is kid friendly, but I can also tell it gives a feel that if you are a couple without children with you, you wouldn’t feel over whelmed by children either.  Nice combination.

Everything was extremely clean and crisp. You didn’t get any of the hibbie- jibbie feel that some places can give you.

Our stay was not comped, but we did receive a discounted media rate.  All the opinions and pictures are my own.

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Hollywood Studios at Disney World

So excited To Visit Hollywood Studios at Disney World

hollywood studios

I promised Elise we would make it over to Hollywood Studios at Disney World. I actually think if we could have only gone to one park, she would have picked Hollywood Studios over Magic Kingdom.  I’m glad we were able to get to both. I wasn’t sure if we’d be able to or not.. but we did.

hollywood studios

hollywood studios

The atmosphere was calmer and less chaotic than Magic Kingdom. That was a nice break right off the bat. We loved Magic Kingdom, so don’t get me wrong, but it was very crowded and hectic.

Hollywood studios

There was one thing Elise really wanted to do -The Tower of Terror … and one thing I really wanted to do… the Toy Story ride. So we did them both!

The Toy Story ride said there was an 80 minute wait, but it ended up being about a 40 minute wait instead.  There was talking Mr. Potato Head to entertain us as we waited…. lol  I love Mr. Potato Head!  I tried getting a couple picks of the ride, but wasn’t able to get any that turned out. But trust me…. very fun ride!!

Mr. Potato Head

We wore 3-D glasses during the ride where we hot these little shooter things. There were four people in the car, two on one side and on the back side (we couldn’t see them) there were two more.  The ride would zip you around so that you would stop at these virtual targets where you’d shoot your shooter.  It kept score (I won by the way out of the 4 in our car).

She was so excited that we were able to get one of the Toy Soldiers to take her picture with.

toy story

I was amazed that Elise didn’t mind going on the Tower of Terror by herself!

Tower of Terror

I just can’t do scary things like that. But she was all about it!  So off she went on her own to ride this ride.  She came out just so excited and exhilarated. There was a couple there who took her under their arm on the ride, which was so nice of them.  But she wasn’t scared…. just excited.  It did win out for the best ride for Disney World, for her.

We headed to the Sci-fi diner for dinner.  It would have been better if we made reservations, but I didn’t think about that. We had about 30 minute to wait, and I think we had a shorter wait because there were only two of us.

sci fi diner

It was fun watching the old sci-fi movies on the drive in movie screen while we ate. What a fun place to eat.  It is all set up like a drive-in movie theater from the 1950′s.  We sat in the middle of a car.

There was much more to do at this park, but we wanted to try and get back to Magic Kingdom for the electric light parade. (We didn’t make it, but we did get to ride the ferry, run through Epcot in the dark… trying to beat the crowd after the fireworks as we made it to the tram)

mickey mouse

My tickets from Disney World for the day was a one day – 4 park hopper  pass that included Hollywood Studios. My opinion and pictures are all my own.

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Disney World

 Magic Kingdom in Disney World

I love Disney World! I’ve been there a few times and love the feeling of being able to be a kid again, and it’s totally accepted! Everyone else is with you, enjoying princesses and fantasy.  I loved that I was going to get to introduce Elise to the magical world of Disney.

Who doesn’t love Disney World’s Magic Kingdom?  We decided to make this our first park adventure this week.  We had a list of several rides and attractions we wanted to see.

I knew it was going to be hot, but I didn’t realize that every ounce of sweat I owned was going to drip off my body as we waited in lines of about 50 minutes to get the tickets to get into the park (which by the way were complimentary and VERY much appreciated) and then we had another 45-50 minute wait to get onto the tram…. all before we ever walked into the actual gates of Magic Kingdom.

I’ve never come in the summer before. I’ve been in January, March and November before…. and I can appreciate those crowds and that heat much better. lol It’s a mind set that you have to get yourself into so you can enjoy the experience… there will be LONG lines and it will be Hot with a capital “H”.   We just kept buying bottled water.

Elise decided the two main parks she wanted to see were Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios.  We started off with Magic Kingdom.

We had to walk through Cinderella’s castle and ended up in Fantasy Land.  We decided to use the ever popular “Fast Pass” method where we could.  We looked on the guide and saw that Peter Pan’s Flight had the “Fast Pass” option, so we got the FP for that ride and had a few hours before we had to be back.

We then went over to It’s a Small World (such a classic!) and Elise loved it.

Its a small world

We’ve already downed several waters by now and I think I’ve probably lost 5 pounds in sweat at this point.  It was hot!  But when we saw there was only a 20 minute wait for Tomorrowland Speedway… there was not a choice in the matter….  That is one memory that I have of going myself when I went to Disney the first time, when I was 18 years old and also of taking my older boys to Disney back in 1998.  I was so excited we’d get a chance to go on the raceway.

disney grand prix

After lunch we went back to wait for Peter Pan Flight and saw that the Winnie-the-Pooh ride was down to a 20 minute wait instead of the 80 minutes it had been. We still had 15 minutes before we had to go to Peter Pan, so we though we’d go on it .

We ended up in Mickey’s PhilharMagic 3-D movie by accident. We got mixed up and we were thinking we were going into The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. But we really enjoyed the movie.  There were things “shooting” into the audience you know! lol  Well, it sure appeared that way with the 3-D glasses we had on.  Elise loved it!

Onward to Peter Pan’s Flight… and Elise loved that too… and so did I!  It is one of my favorites.  Well, I have SO many favorites.

The only other thing that she really wanted to do while we were in Magic Kingdom was to go on Splash Mountain.  I used the Disney Mobile Magic app and looked at the wait time for Splash Mountain.  It was going to be 120 minutes. What?  No way. That ride was out for us.  Too bad too because it was SO hot… it would have felt great to get soaked!  We wanted to get over to Hollywood Studios.

If you have several things you “have to see” in any one park, I would highly recommend getting more than a one day pass if you want to get them all in.

I know the heat and lines will be forgotten, and only the awesomeness of Disney will remain in our memories… and that’s part of the magic of Disney!

You can find all the info you need on the Disney World websitehere 

Our tickets for the day were complimentary from Disney World.  Thank you so much for the awesome day & memories, they did not alter my opinions, as you can see I was very frank with those. The pictures are my own.

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Cocoa Beach Florida

June 12, 2012 by  
Filed under Attractions to See, Blog, Explore Florida, Travel

Beach Time at Cocoa Beach in Florida!

We decided to go to a beach on Sunday, since we know the parks will be much more crowded on the weekends.  We looked at both coasts in Florida and decided to go to Cocoa Beach. It was only 1 hour and 15 minutes away, and an easy drive.

My friend, Karla from the west coast of Florida came over yesterday to see us and spent the night. I hadn’t seen her in several years, so it was great for her to visit. She was well equipped with beach chairs for us.

cocoa beach

The beach was really nice.  There were chairs, umbrellas, surf boards that you could rent.  We went into a gift shop before we got to the beach to ask where to find a public beach (and to get some more sunscreen).  She told us that right behind them, there was a nice one. It was $10 to park, but there were showers, gift shops and places to eat on the pier.

I wish I had some pictures of Elise out in the ocean.  I didn’t take my camera down to the beach because just the smallest amount of sand in them can really mess them up.

cocoa beach pier

We had an awesome time in the ocean.  Elise didn’t want to get out, and she didn’t for much of the day.  The water felt cool, but once you got in, it was very comfortable.  The waves were huge! I don’t know if this is how they always are, or if all the rain and storms had them larger than normal… but they just didn’t stop.  I’m used to going to Myrtle Beach and the waves aren’t nearly as big. You can go out past the breakers and just float and relax. Not today! It would be too deep to go way out past the breakers… they were all breakers! lol   The wind was up and it kept you very comfortable sitting on the beach.  There wasn’t yucky seaweed, just nice sandy bottom when you were in the water.

If you are a shell hunter, than this probably isn’t the place for you. There were very few shells, but my feet were very thankful for that.

cocoa beach

While we were eating up on the pier we watched the two wind surfers.  That looks fun, but difficult.  The white wind surfer (way out in this pic) got in close and he did a jump and fell.  He then spent the next 10 minutes trying to get back to his surfboard that he lost in the fall.  He would have to turn the sail (kite, I dont’ know what they call them) to take him one way, then turn it again to take him another. He kept missing the board.  He finally got it and came right into shore.  I think he was exhausted. he just sat on the shore for a few minutes on his knees. Not sure if he was kissing the ground or not.

We were at the beach from about noon until 4pm (yes I had on massive sunscreen) and decided to go get a bite to eat. We went to the Cocoa Beach Pier.

There were a couple bars, and then we saw some tables to sit out and eat while watching the beach. Perfect.  We all got fish sandwiches that were huge!  They were also really tasty… with fries that were great. Lots of water later and I know I felt much better.

cocoa beach pier

Karla will say, “Oh why did you post that, my hair looks terrible”.  But I think she looks great, and it was super windy, so that is why her hair is blowing.  Plus the fact that was just spent 4 hours in the ocean and sandy beach.

Had to get another shot of Elise out on the pier…

Elise had to try her hand at surfing. They had this fun photo opp set up right in front of the pier. lol….  she has on her cute beach dress that I just found for her at a gift shop.

We then had to go to the famous Ron Jon surf shop, right? lol  We didn’t buy anything, but it was fun looking around.  It is just a really big gift shop and most of the products have the Ron Jon brand on them.  Kids love it though.  When our high school band went to Disney this last spring, they made the Cocoa Beach run and took all the kids into the surf shop… and they did shop. lol

I can highly recommend Cocoa Beach and the public beach at the pier for a beach adventure when you are visiting.  It is about the closest beach (I think) and it was a really nice one.

It might be something Elise and I decide to do again while we are here.  We’ll have one extra day to just “play” at this point.  So not sure what we’ll do.

I was not compensated in any way for our time at Cocoa Beach or Ron Jon.

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Downtown Kissimmee Florida

June 11, 2012 by  
Filed under Attractions to See, Blog, Explore Florida, Travel

Shopping District of Downtown Kissimmee, Florida

We got into the Orlando airport at 8:30am in the morning and had until after 2pm before our condo was ready, so Elise and I went exploring. I know I wanted to see Downtown Kissimmee, but we first went to iHop for bunch after doing a pre-registration at our condo. We didn’t want to go too far in case our condo was ready early, so we drove into Kissimmee, Florida and discovered a really cute downtown shopping district there.

Downtown Kissimmee

We got out and walked up and down store fronts to check them out.  I love small towns like this that feel comfortable and “draw you in”.  For a Saturday morning it also seemed like things were hopping, so I’m sure that on a nice evening, there is a lot of activity.

Of course you have to have a nice coffee shop in town.

Downtown kissimmee

There were a couple antique stores.

Downtown kissimmee

 

Downtown kissimmee

For some reasons I love old barber shops, the look of them with the barber pole outside.  This was a busy place, once we walked by it, we saw at least 3 people waiting their turn for a haircut.

Downtown kissimmee

 

We walked over into what we thought was a park.  It wasn’t really a park (with grass and trees etc), but a memorial with benches to sit down.

Downtown kissimmee

We didn’t stop to read the history of Bette Sprinkle anywhere (I’m sure there was something there) but we did see Bette sitting on a bench. Elise went over and chatted with her a bit.

Downtown kissimmee

I don’t think any town is complete without an ice cream shop either.

Downtown kissimmee

We then went a little further down the road to check out Lake Tohopekaliga. They call it Lake Toho for short.  I saw that there were several airboat ride companies that ran out of Lake Toho.

We didn’t find where the airboat companies were, but we did see one out on the water. But you can’t even see it in this picture. lol

lake toho

We heard new bird noises that we didn’t know existed from this, I think maybe, blue heron.

I know there was so much more to explore in this lake than we did. We went out on a dock for a only a few minutes. Then we got the call that our condo was ready, so we were off.  Getting up at 3am this morning for our 6am flight, we were really tired.

But we had to get this shot of these birds as we were walking back to our car.

You can also follow along with our Florida trip if you go to the i.seeKissimmee blog where I’m a featured guest blogger this week.

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Heading to Kissimmee, Florida!

Ready for the Fun & Sun in Kissimmee Florida!

I am going to be heading to Kissimmee, Florida with my daughter Elise soon! We are so psyched!  We decided to take a “girls” vacation, since later this summer my hubby and the boys are taking a boys fishing trip to Canada. We weren’t excited about a “fly-in” fishing trip, so we had our pick of vacations.

Sandy and Elise

We could have gone basically anywhere, but we decided to head to Florida. I wanted to take Elise on an airplane (she has never been on a plane before) and I wanted to take her to Disney.  I started checking out the i.seeKissimmee Blog and saw that a blogger I knew @DebThompson posting on the blog and I contacted to her to see how she got to have such a fun assignment. She explained and I applied to also be a blogger for the i.seeKissimmee Blog and was chosen (Happy Dance).

After that I started looking for things for Elise and I do to while we were in Kissimmee.

First off…. where are we going to stay?   I wanted to find a place that had a cool swimming pool! Since it will just be Elise and I, I wanted a pool where she could have a good time and hopefully meet some other kids to play with on our down time.

We are going to split our time between these two awesome resorts! We will have 2 bedroom condos in both.

Fantasy World Resort 

Mystic Dunes Resort

I also have four great adventures that have been so kind as to give us tickets to visit.

Disney World  – We have one day to explore as much of which ever of four parks we’d like! Oh… can’t wait! Thinking Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios for sure.

Universal - Excited to check out the new Harry Potter exhibit!

Sea World - We have to be sure to see Shamu!

GatorLand   - I loved Gatorland several years ago when I took my (now older) boys. They loved it.

And the whole time I’ll be driving a…

Chevy Cruze! - So happy that GM was kind enough to loan us a car to use for the week. I’m excited to see what this car is all about and of course excited that I should be getting great gas milage!

We will have a couple free days that we can go to places we find interesting. I want to get Elise to a beach while we are there. Not only has she not been on a plane, but she’s never been in Florida. I don’t it’s right to visit Florida and not go to a beach, right?

Be sure to also follow our adventures on the i.seeKissimmee Blog, Facebook and Twitter. I’m @OrganizerSandy and I’ll be using #VisitKiss and #SandysFLTrip, so you can follow easily along with our adventures.

Elise is ready!!

 

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Disney World

Who Doesn’t Love to Go To Disney World?

Just about one year ago today I was posting about Disney World on a trip with Murphy USA and Collective Bias.  This post was originally posted on my Chat with Sandy blog on 1/30/11. Enjoy the sites of Disney again.

disney worldI was asked to attend the Murphy USA National Manager Meeting in Orlando FL (Disney world Coronado Springs resort to be exact) this last week, you might have seen my last post.
They asked six blogger to go to their meeting so we could help educate and sign up their mangers with whrrl and discuss how social media could benefit their business.

We were all paired up with a manager from Murphy USA that we would be traveling with. We were asked to be sure to take lots of pictures and whrrl them along the way. I was paired up with a manager from my area and met her at the airport. Jennifer Davis was my manager.

Disney WorldI had no idea there were 40 Murphy USA gas stations in Ohio. I only know of 2, one in Newark in front of the Walmart and one in Whitehall.  (I’ve not been to that one)

We arrived in Orlando and were all staying at the Coronado Springs Resort. There is a convention center attached to it, so it was perfect. It was so beautiful.

coronado springs resortWe had a meet and greet with some of the managers before dinner the first night. I am not sure if it was the regional managers, but it wasn’t a huge group (and there were over 1000 managers there). I know the president Hank Heithaus was there and the new president Tom (from Scotland) was there. Hank is retiring and just announced it. This picture was at one of the general sessions where Hank (left) is basically saying goodbye and introducing Tom on the right.

Disney WorldTheir theme was “We The People” because they were making sure their managers knew that it was all of them that made Murphy USA successful.

murphy usaJay Staggs who I had a picture of in my last post, was in charge of running the show.  They had a good time with it, bringing in Tammy and Tommy through out the conference along with “their parents” for comic relief.

Disney WorldThey had a speaker Peter Wahl do a speech/painting… lol  He is a motivational speaker and he painted these 3 paintings during his talk. He would have a music video on the screen while he was painting (in like 2 min) these paintings. He used his fingers (Bruce Springsteen’s hair) and spattered paint… really incredible to watch.

peter wahlEach of us bloggers had to work a 2 hour shift in the Murphy Whrrl booth in the expo hall on Tuesday. It was a lot of fun. Teaching the mangers how to sign up for Whrrl and helping to try to get them to understand how it could help their business. This was my manger Jennifer on the left.  She had been signed up for FB already and I think even signed up for whrrl.. or did it at the airport. But she was all for it and was great to travel down with. We ended up not getting to really see each other much once we were there. It was crazy for both of us.

murphy usa boothWe had managers signing up via their smart phones, via text on their phones, or by computer. They could also sign up for a Facebook or Twitter account.

Melissa Garcia from the Consumer Queen had several managers recognize her from her picture being on the pumps or her fun Murphy videos.  Ok.. Melissa on the left.  The Red Strike girl on the right. Disney World

John Kim from Whrrl was there to help the managers and he also helped me… as usual with my problematic phone.

john kimThe managers could win a $50 gas cards and chances to win this autographed  Slash guitar worth over $900 just for signing up and checking into Whrrl.

murphy usaI took this picture of Casey from Murphy USA with the Slash guitar and then posted it to Whrrl.  The screen it came up on was just outside the booth in the expo hall.

murphy usa We had time to go and check out the rest of the expo hall. It was really huge and there were a lot of fun things to do. Wii games were set up, prizes to win… hippies to see

hippiesMars Candy  and Wrigley’s were there in a both together. Neither of them knew much at all about social media or how it could help their business.  Melissa and I talked to them about it and told them bloggers would love to work with them!

M&MI mean.. really? Who doesn’t love M&M’s?  They had a new candy bar for us to try, actually 2.  There was the new 3 Musketeers Truffle Crisp and the Peanut Butter Snickers.

3 musketeersHere is my verdict.  Loved the 3 Musketeers.  I was actually surprised. Well… I mean I love # Musketeers anyway, but when I first broke it in half. It didn’t seem gooey and it almost seemed… well…boring inside. But… I took a bite and it was so light and it was like the chocolate was so creamy and just filled the whole taste. I loved it!  It gave you the feeling of Dove chocolate (not sure if I should say that or not… but that chocolate is about my favorite.. so it is a big compliment) creamy and light… oh… I WILL be buying more of these. Just not in high numbers since I have really been trying to not eat as many sweets.

I tried 1/2 of the Snickers bar. It was actually in 2 square pieces, so unlike a normal Snickers. I ate half on the plane on the way home and was saving the other half to take a picture of when we got home. But …. my dog found it first in my purse. Oh yeah.. nice.  It was good… the peanut butter wasn’t over powering. But do I think I would pick it over a traditional Snickers… no, probably not. I love the regular Snickers too much.

wrigley's and marsHere are the 2 reps that were in the booth. Nice guys, but they need to realize how social media can  help them!

Wrigley was giving out packs of their new gum, Prism.

prism gumThere are 15 pieces of sugarless gum in the pack. This was electric watermelon. I will tell you what. The smell of watermelon is strong, you can smell it as soon as you take the wrapper off the box.  The green foil that wraps the piece of gum looked kind of cool too. Different you know? My mouth was watering before I put the piece of gum in. I thought it was really going to be a gum for kids…. sour and all. But it wasn’t. As strong as the smell was, the taste was nice. I mean it was totally watermelon, but not a sour one. It is good… and with just a hint of that gum mint to it after you chew it for a little bit. (does that make sense).  I know the kids will love it, but it is a refreshing favor for adults.

iceeThere were ICEE’s there. I love Icee’s! I have always liked the Coke best. They are coming out with Root Beer float and a blueberry one (oops forget the name of it). I tried the root beer. It is awesome! It really tastes like a float. The foaminess of the Icee is just the right consistency.  I do have a new favorite favor.  You will have to watch for them to be released. (Try the root beer!!)

Dr. PepperDr. Pepper was there… giving away guitars and pictures with a couple cute girls.  What did I like? They had diet Dr. Pepper. It is one of my favorites. Really nice people too… also learning about social media and how it could benefit them. (Yes…. I had 2 diet Dr. Peppers that afternoon.. although there were other drinks I could have picked from.)

murphy usaAre you used to seeing gas pump handles?  I wasn’t.. I thought they were cool.

disney worldWhat about a full size gas semi?  I wanted to get in and see the cab… but I didn’t.

John Andrews from Collective Bias was there. This is who these people need to talk to about social Media.. he knows first hand how the power of bloggers and social media can benefit the Brands. (That is what Collective Bias is all about)

John Andrews

The announced to the whole group of managers that they were taking us all to Disney World on Monday evening. That was about 3:30 and we had about 45 minutes to get ready to be on the buses.

sandy with piglett

I got to have dinner with the Collective Bias team that was there, Jerra and John and also with Casey from Murphy USA and John Kim from Whrrl. Also Kerry and Kristine from Nomadic were there.

mamabzzUs bloggers ran around together at Disney. Mel Lockcuff from MamaBuzz and Leigh Caldwell from Theme Park Mom

collective biasAlong with Courtney Solstad from My DFW Mommy and Melissa Garcia from Consumer Queen, Jerri Ann from Mom~e~Centric was on the trip but didn’t come to Disney.

dole whipMel introduced us to Dole Whip.. it was good.

I also got a picture with Eeyore. what fun!  I don’t know… I guess there is still kid in all of us!

Disney World

Jerra from Collective Bias looked so cute with Piglet.

piglettWe had a full day on Tuesday and they announced all the Murphy USA Circle of Winners. After that they again surprised everyone with a trip to Sea World. I felt terrible because it was pouring rain, and storming.  But they had rented out half of Sea World and 2 roller coasters and I think everyone had fun anyway. Thanks so much Murphy USA, Collective Bias and Whrrl.. it was great fun!

Disclosure: My trip was sponsored by Murphy USA and Collective Bias.

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Disney Social Media Conference – Epcot Day 3

Disney Magic of Healthy Living Evening Event

Today was basically a free day!  There were a couple things planned in the morning if we wanted to sign up. There were three options. There weren’t enough spots for everyone and they were venture that were not including the family.  I had Zippy (my sis for the weekend) here and decided to hang out with her.

We got up and took our time, sitting by the water and relaxing with our coffee at the Grand Floridian in the morning.

Grand Floridian

This is also where we sat and watched fireworks the night before.  It is such a nice view. You can see Cinderella’s castle straight through just above the tree line.

We decided to go to Downtown Disney and explore. I learned how the world of trading pins works.  I had no idea that you can trade any pin for any pin with the Disney staff.

downtown disney

Zippy had fun looking for champagne, wine and martini glasses with Mickey’s on them.  It may have even started a new idea for her blog Champagne Living, you’ll just have to read it to watch for it.

mickey martini glass

We then took the bus from the Downtown Disney to the Boardwalk. I realized I had never been there before. It was very much a taste of New England, the Cape where I went many times as a kid.
board walk
I thought this made a neat picture
Disney

We then hopped on a boat to go over to Epcot.  It is so nice that when you stay in a Disney property you can use all of the transportation to get around Disney without any charges.
Epcot
They were having the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival. The flowers were just beautiful. I can’t imagine trying to keep all these flowers looking so great!
Epcot

I have to show you a couple more

Epcot

Check out the blue heron

epcot

There were all kinds of figurines made out of flowers around Epcot

Epcot

We were hot and thirsty! But Zippy and I did plenty of walking today. We then went over to the Disney Magic of Healthy Living dinner.

We walked in a little late to the interview session, so I didn’t know the people who were up front. I did find out that three of the girls were winners of the Disney Magic of Healthy Living contest, there was a Disney Chef and 3 Disney TV stars.

disney

They were up on the stage for a question and answer time with us bloggers.  It was all based on eating and living healthy and how to help our kids to embrace that style of living.

Disney Magic of healthy living One of the things that was said was to make the food pleasing to the kids, to encourage them to eat it.

After the Q&A we were released into a huge room full of tables that looked wonderful.  There was a stage set up.

disney magic of healthy living The tables were all labeled and unfortunately finding tables that were close enough to the stage for the Social Media Moms was nearly impossible.  So we ended up giving up and ended up sitting in one of the back corner tables.disney magic of healthy living The whole idea of what they were doing was great.  I do have to admit that this did not seem like a meal for children.  All the places set were the same.  It looked fantastic for a fancy restaurant you’d go to.

disney magic of healthy living This was geared for kids – they had participated in an outdoor physical activity and had winning teams. At least those kids that were brought in for this contest had. But the Social Media Mom children were also there for dinner.  Believe me when I said there were a LOT of children there!
Here is the menu:
disney magic of healthy living It doesn’t look like a meal for kids to me. But it certainly is healthy!

cous cous
egg roll
I know they were highlighting healthy cooking.  But if doesn’t taste good… kids aren’t going to eat it (and adults can get past the looks more than kids…. but if it doesn’t taste good…. healthy cooking isn’t worth much either)
disney magic of healthy living
I’m going to be perfectly honest, with no offense to the wonderful treatment Disney has given us, but this meal was really not for kids. As an adult I actually ate very little of it, as did most of my table. But our table had a good time.  I was sitting with Zippy, April, Katja and her husband, Lisa and her husband and Danielle and her husband.

This is Lisa with one of her six children.
crazy adventures in parenthood

Katja listening to her son.
katja

Can you believe I didn’t get any pictures of Danielle?  I can’t. I always get pics of my bud Danielle at conferences. She is just too cute! Here is Lisa’s daughter who has had a full day on Daddies shoulder.
disney magic of healthy living
We left there and wanted to find something to eat. I know… not so good, I feel sad that there was so much wasted food between not only the kids, but also the adults.  As good as Disney is at catering to the kids, I feel like they missed the boat on this meal.  Being healthy is one thing, but it has to taste good too.

Zippy, April and I split off and wandered around, trying to decide what to eat.
april atwater

We ended up in the French district of Epcot and went into the bakery right before it closed.  We went from healthy food to very unhealthy food (but oh it tasted good).
We had a nice evening of enjoying the beauty of Epcot, a nice boat ride and bus ride back to the Grand Floridian.

epcotDisney we had a wonderful time!!  Even though I didn’t full appreciate the meal that was prepared, I sure did appreciate all you did for the winners of this contest and for us as Disney Social Media Moms. Thank for for a beautiful evening at Epcot and for working to encourage kids to eat healthy.

I love your comments!

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Disney Social Media Moms Conference – Day 2

Conference Day 2 at Disney World!

We got some fantastic information from our speakers today, and had a great dinner with dancing afterward at Hollywood Studios Disney Junior. I’ll take you through the day and evening.

disney social media moms

The main portion of the conference was on Friday March 18th – which just happened to be my birthday! It was so much fun to be in Florida, at Disney, with my blogging friends, where it was beautiful sunny and warm… on my birthday! The only negative part was that my own family wasn’t able to be with me at Disney.

We began the morning by walking into this beautifully decorated huge room where the speakers would be.  They even thought to have a power strips at every table! Awesome extra!

disney social media moms

Look how pretty the table arrangement was! You can’t see that the clear castle has a blue light that glows at the base.

disney social media mom conference flowers

The first speaker was Meg Crofton, the President of Walt Disney World

meg Crofton

We also heard from Matt Jacobson, head of marketing for Facebook.  I realized how much more you could do with FB. I’m going to have to work on that. He took loads of questions from us bloggers and admitted that most of the groups he talks to, do not use it the same way we do. He was surprised by a few of the questions asked and didn’t realize some of the issues that we have problems with.  I think he was educated a bit himself.
Matt Jacobson from Facebook

Rene’ Syler was an awesome speaker. She got a standing “O” from us bloggers! She was real, she was inspiring and she has been through the ringer.  This isn’t a great picture of her.  I wish I had gotten her great smile. She had us in stitches and tears.    She has a blog called Good Enough Mother that you should check out.
rene Syler

They had some raffles going on and gave away some Dooney & Bourke Handbags and also a night in Cinderella’s castle!  The Fairy Godmother got to present it to Andrea Deckard from Savings Lifestyle! She got to take 5 other bloggers with her to stay the night. You can read about her experience here.

Fairy Godmother
Fran Capo posed as a blogger before she got on stage. She is the worlds fastest female talker, comedian, author and motivational speaker.
Fran Capo
We had a yummy lunch and when we went back to the room after lunch we had this little cutie gracing each of our seats!
duffy the disney bear

Minnie Mouse Princess Leia dressed and ready for Star Tours – The Adventure! It is coming back to Disney Hollywood Studios on May 20th, 2011.

minnie mouse
Chris Brogan was great as always. I love listening to Chris speak. He has some great insights and just says it like it is.
Chris Brogan

We were served champagne!  That is a different kind of afternoon snack for a mom conference! lol  Probably better than chocolate, because I didn’t drink much champagne, but I would have been up for the chocolate!
champagne

We were then treated to Susan Egan who sang most of her speaking time. She has such a beautiful voice. She played Bell in Beauty in the Beast on Broadway for two years and she is also the voice of Meg in Hercules, along with a zillion other roles.
Susan Egan

Also playing and singing with her was Georgia Stitt who is an award winning composer and a lyricist. They had great harmony on some of the songs they sang together.
georgia stitt

The great table center piece they said would go to the blogger at each table who had the closest birthday to today’s date which was March 18th. Guess who?  lol  One fun thing about having a birthday while at a conference.  But – there wasn’t any way I could take this on an airplane!  It just so happened that Amy Hodges at our table was local and she had just been admiring how cool the light up castle was in the arrangement.  So I took a picture to remember it by and gave it to her.
flowers from Disney SM Moms
Then someone at our table suggested we all get our picture taken together.
disney social media moms

From left top: Maria Strong from Saving Queen; Connie Robers from Brain Foggles; Kim Janocko from Crafty Mama of 4; me; April from Simply the Sweet Life Magazine; Amy Hodges from A Million Boxes and in front is Jennifer Leet from The Dirty Shirt

After the conference sessions my roomie Zippy from Champagne Living came! She tried to get into the conference, but like so many others who tried that afternoon, she wasn’t able to get in.  But.. since it ended up that we just couldn’t afford the airfare for the whole family to come, I was able to invite Zippy to stay with me. She got to come as my family member. lol (sis!)
zippy sandlerWe had a wonderful time talking and eating and walking and talking and eating.. lol

Friday night was Hollywood Studios!  All gazillion of the bloggers, mostly with families loaded onto buses and headed out.
disney junior
So many tables were set up. I don’t know the exact number of how many people including families were there… but it was a lot!
junior disney

They had it all set up for the kids.  Lots of food and then they had food set up for the kids. I love how they make sure the kids have food they like to eat.  I snuck over to the kids table to get a cupcake. I figured.. it was my birthday and I wanted to have some birthday cake. lol
cupcake

I love these pictures of Kim’s  kids.  Doesn’t that just epitomize a kid after a day at Disney?  Tired eyes, blank star, Mickey ears on crooked, eating a Mickey rice krispy treat. lol
disney

Her younger son enjoying his also

disney

The kids all got to dance and have a great time with music and characters

disney junior
With kids trying to see over crowds and having a little help from their dads -
disney junior

To Quatro Mom and Dad from 4tunate feeding their boys.

quatro boys

Everyone loves the characters at Disney
captin hook

And Donald Duck
donald duck

I had to get a picture of Daisy Duck for my step daughter.
daisy duck

And I think this is one of my favorites.  Look at the little girl on the left! Arms spread out, ready for a big hug!  How precious is that?  I love it!
daisy duck

If you happen to know who’s daughter the little girl on the left is, please let me know. I’d like to send them this picture.

Thank you  Disney World, Maria Bailey and Amy Lupold Bair,  and Susan & Janet from 5 Minutes for Mom and all the sponsors.

This trip was heavily sponsored through Disney Social Media Moms, but I did pay the required charge for it and full air fare.

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Disney Social Media Moms Conference

I was lucky enough to be able to go to the most sought after conference of the year. The Disney Social Media Moms Conference in Disney World!

Mickey and MinnieI wanted to bring the family in the worse way this year. But after doing the finances and seeing what it would cost us all to fly here, and eat and stay at least 1 more night (in a less extravagant hotel), we realized we just couldn’t swing it. Ugh!

So I came by myself and Zippy Sandler from Champagne Living is going to meet me here tomorrow and have fun with me and the rest of the gang.

I got in today (March 17th) and came to the Grand Floridian Resort. omg! This place is beauuuttiiful!

Grand FloridianThis has always been one that I have seen when I have been to Disney and thought to myself, wow…. I’d love to stay there!  lol (yippee!)

Look at the view from my room!

Then out on the balcony

Grand Floridian

I got a short nap in, but long enough to miss the beginning welcome reception that took place before the presentation.

Off to the Wedding Pavilion I went.  We were given Minnie Bride Ears (loved that!) and got to go into the place where Disney Magical Dream Weddings take place.

wedding pavilionThere were brides everywhere!

wedding bride

We got to hear the Vice President of Alfred Angelo Wedding Dresses; Michael Shettel speak.  Then we got to see the new Cinderella inspired wedding gown. (although because of where I was sitting, I didn’t get any good shots of the dress.

alfredo angelo dress

Look at all the cameras us Social Media Moms have! lol

Walking back with Michael Shettel

michael shettelWe got to hear from Carley Roney from www.TheKnot.com and we also got to see and hear David Tutera from a show called My Fair Wedding. (I’m going to have to find that and watch it now!)

Then we got to witness a vow renewal from a couple that was married here 2 years ago.  She had always wanted a Disney wedding in this chapel ever since she was a girl and saw it looking down from the monorail.

But it wasn’t just any wedding vow renewal. This was a “flashmob” kind of wedding, with dancing down the aisle!

flashmob wedding

Here comes the bride

bride

It was fun watching a real life wedding.

disney wedding

What I loved was the Cinderella carriage picking them up. How cool!

cinderella carriage

Wouldn’t this be fun?

cinderella carriage

Here they go (after fireworks as they came out of the pavilion)

disney wedding

This event was being run my Fronk the Wedding planner and his assistant

disney

Then we were off to dinner on the Grand Floridian lawn.  It was so beautiful there. The families were invited to this event.

disney social media moms

So guess who was there for them to see and take pictures with? And those of us who didn’t get to bring our kids…. got to be kids too!

Sandy Jenney with Mickey Mouse

I took this picture of Goofy for my Z. He likes Goofy!

goofy

Kim @craftyMamaof4 and I

crafty mama of 4 and Organizer SandyHere were just a couple pictures I took of the table decorations.

roseThey were just so pretty

flowersThanks so much Grand Floridian for hosting such a wonderful event!

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Disney Social Media Moms Conference

 

Thoughts on the Disney Social Media Moms Conference

As I write this post I am sitting in the Orlando airport waiting to board my flight home from the Disney Social Media Moms Conference and I am reflecting on how much I got from it.  I didn’t think I was going to be able to make it due to the weather and some other factors…and after missing my initial “great flight that would have had me there by noon” I spent 12 hours getting to Orlando and got into my room about 11:30 pm this last Wednesday.  But it was worth it.  Getting home is another story since I had one of my “old lady brain farts” when I scheduled my trip and instead of arranging my flight for Saturday the 13th at 7:30pm I scheduled it for Sunday Feb 14 at 7:30pm. (Yes…Valentines day). I changed that flight so that I at least get home by 10pm instead of 11:30pm tonight. Just because I’m an organizer doesn’t mean I don’t mess things up. (for sure)

Guy Kawasaki giving his presentation

Guy Kawasaki – Founding partner of Garage Technology Venture & Co-founder of Alltop.com

Our first speaker of the trip was Guy Kawasaki. He gave me some new insights on twitter.   He discussed twitter  and how he uses it and how we can best use it to further our businesses.  He shared that he was originally against it, not caring that “Jimmy was drinking his coffee” , but realized that it can be an invaluable tool in your business.  Some of the tips that I gained from listening to Guy was that we should tweet out 4  times each thing we tweet.  He schedules them about 6-8 hours apart so that he doesn’t lose page views.  He states that more than 4 times is too much, but less than that we are losing valuable page views.  He also doesn’t tweet what he is doing during the day and he is not talking about tweeting out responses to people 4 times.  He is constantly searching for information that others will find interesting and informing us of that on which is linked to his All Top Site which of course then brings him more traffic.  The site is a pure meca of information!  He also stated that we need to have a tweeter-feed. So that each time we post something new…it shows up on twitter. (I need to do that)

Maxine Clark founder of Build a Bear

Maxine Clark – Founder and Chairman of Build a Bear

Maxine if my new idol I think.  She is the founder and chairman of Build A Bear. She shared with us how she has a love of bears and how much her bear meant to her as a child. Persevering and believing in your dreams and working to achieve them was her message.  She was truly amazing. She told us about her 2nd customer and how neat it was that a boy can get a Teddy Bear and dress it up in Army gear and it’s acceptable for him to get that and be a kid too.  She has kept in contact with these people. She listened to a little girl in Canada who e-mailed her and told her she would like a Build a Bear store in her town and why. That little girl was at that store on opening day along with Maxine. How cool is that?  She manages her own Twitter account, e-mail account and answers people back. She is a very busy running a Build a Bear empire….but she still has time to talk to her customers and friends…she is real. She is a gem.

Chris Brogan

Chris Brogan – Eleven year veteran of Social media and Author of Trust Agents

To be honest I was excited to listen to Chris Brogan at our conference, but I didn’t know how entertaining  he would be. When I saw him at Blog World speak….he was on a panel with a few other people and no offense at all….he didn’t really get to “shine” like he did when he was on his own. I didn’t expect to be laughing as hard as I was. But he also passed on some really great information to us. Listening….Connecting…Publishing… The 3 pieces to Social Media that Chris spoke to us about and the importance of them.

Marissa Jaret Winkour

Marissa Jaret Winkour

Marissa Jaret Winkour – Tony Award winning Broadway Actress and Veteran of Dancing with the Stars

You may remember Marissa on Dancing with the Stars. I never saw her in Hairspray the Broadway play she won her Tony for.  Since she was on Dancing with the Stars she has dyed her hair blond and lost a lot of weight and has a son. She told us she was due to have a baby 2 months after she was on Dancing with the Stars. She shared that she was a cancer survivor and before she under went her treatments she froze some eggs and her surrogate was 7 months pregnant with her child. She then went on to tell us about her life as a actress with a baby and how difficult it was.

Kathy Ireland showing us a pose (more as a joke)

Kathy Ireland showing us a pose (more as a joke)

Kathy Ireland – Surprise guest appearance

Kathy Ireland was not on our programs and we didn’t know she was going to speak to us. She came out looking beautiful as ever. She told us about her work ethics and a business she began going bankrupt, her 22 year marriage and her new book about daily devotionals due to come out soon. (She didn’t push her book, I think someone knew about it and asked her the question…and she answered)

Maryellen Hooper absolutely cracked me up.

Maryellen Hooper absolutely cracked me up.

Maryellen Hooper – Veteran in the world of Stand-up Comedy

I can’t tell you how hard I laughed. She was cracking me up.  Her act was about motherhood and life as a wife. She has a blog called  Stinky Flowers that you will have to go visit. You will have to get her DVD…she is really entertaining.

Disclosure:  I was not sponsored to go to Disney Social Media Moms conference.  I paid for the conference on my own. We did however get a discounted rate on the conference, our room and Disney tickets, and some of my meals as that was part of the conference package I purchased. I was not asked to blog on it, so any blogs or pictures I post are because I have chosen to do so.

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