I proudly donned my new pink jacket and headed next door for lunch. I caught up to J.L. Knopp and walked over with her.
I first met J.L. in person during Wednesday’s tailgate party but met her online several months earlier during the application process for the 2010 Walt Disney World Moms Panel. I enjoyed reading about her journey past round two on DISboards, twitter and on her blog, The Disney Driven Life.
I told J.L. how I was able to match most of the real life Disney blogger/tweeters to their avatars with the exception of Debbie Hudson. Debbie was responsible for my awareness of Disney’s Social Media Moms Celebration and I wanted to meet her.
J.L. introduced me to Debbie and the entire table of Disney bloggers. I was happy to finally meet them all. They asked me to join them for lunch and I gladly accepted the invitation. It was comforting to be sitting among other enamored fans. Not everyone I travel with is as infatuated with Disney as I am.
I enjoyed the food and loved the company. We discussed blogging and networking and Disney, of course. I was fascinated and full. We finished our tiny cheesecakes, then headed back to Ballroom B. All bloggers returned to their seats and it was back to business.
On the first day of Disney’s Social Media Moms Celebration, I noticed a tweet about Kathy Ireland. I don’t remember who it came from, but it mentioned that Kathy would be at the conference. The rumor was finally confirmed as CEO of Kathy Ireland Worldwide was introduced as our next speaker. I was star-struck. I’ve always thought her to be one of the most beautiful women in the world…and now she was here in person.
Kathy talked about motherhood, overcoming stereotypes and perseverance. It was great to hear her praise mothers and revere motherhood. I appreciated the validation. Mothers are pretty awesome…but you can never hear it enough.
Chris Brogan was next to the stage. Many of the bloggers were looking forward to his presentation but I’d never heard of him before and had no clue what he might talk about. Turns out, Chris is a marketing specialist, social media expert, public speaker, and author of a best-seller. His talk was informative and entertaining. He gave advice on relationships with sponsors and community and tips on producing better content. Perhaps his most helpful piece of advice, was for us to be helpful to one another.
After a short break, we returned to find savory snacks at our tables and bartenders offering tasty vodka lemonade punch. I was getting used to the spoiling at this point and indulged in every crumb on my plate, every drop in my glass. I knew we were coming to the close of the conference so I savored the final moments.
Mary Ellen Hooper was the perfect final act. She went very well with my vodka lemonade and truly made me laugh out loud. Mary Ellen points out the humor in being a woman–a daughter, a wife, a mother. She’s a very funny gal with a somewhat wearied, but entirely humorous perspective. Check her out! You can learn about her and hear some of her comedy online at, MaryEllenHooper.com and also at Stinky Flowers.
Even though I didn’t win the night in the Castle Suite, I walked away from the conference a winner. Aside from the tangibles and the family vacation experience, I walked away enriched, inspired and motivated. I gained a tremendous knowledge of social media and networked with enthusiastic like-minded individuals. I secured confidence in myself and felt a restored sense of self. I have many memories to cherish and many more ideas to put to use. I’m sincerely grateful for all of it.
Many thank yous go out to Walt Disney World, 5 Minutes for Mom, Resourceful Mommy Media, Mom Bloggers Club and Mom Select for including family in a unique conference experience. I would not have been able to attend otherwise.