Friday, April 25, 2008

Destination Disney: The Magic

It's true- I'd never been to Disney World and this time with the first ever "Mom Blogger Mixer" I was going for the very first time- without my children! From the moment I arrived, I felt the magic.

Maybe it was that I was allowing myself to feel anything and everything that weekend, open to all the possibilities, but I did feel carefree and like a child again. And that, my friends, is a magical experience in my book.

One of the most common excuses I hear from parents about why they haven't yet gone to Disney World is because they "want their child to be old enough to to remember it." But any anyone that has witnessed the wide eyes and wonder the first time a child has his own Disney experience will tell you that you, as the parent, are creating your own memories, too. Memories that are yours to remember forever.

The entire weekend was filled with surprises and encouragement and laughter. All in the backdrop of the fairy-tale Disney World setting. You can read about my first day of the Mom Blogger Mixer here, and the first night here. Saturday is recapped here and Sunday's post sums up the magical weekend here, including photos and a listing of all the bloggers that attended.

Here's Cooper & Me looking oh so cute. Photo taken by Elizabeth.

View gorgeous photos Disney took of us Moms here and view our group flickr photos here.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

It's A Green World After All

One of the first things I learned about Disney World was in the car ride with Sean, the Disney Cast Member taking me & Elizabeth to our resort. Disney World spans over 40 miles, and 1/3 of that is preserved as a wildlife conservation area that will never be touched or developed. This was put in effect from the very beginning by Mr. Walt Disney.

Saturday morning at breakfast we had an opportunity for a Q & A. We asked many questions that we felt other Moms might not know about Disney. One of my questions was very honest- many of my friends (and me included) think of Disney World and associate it with consuming and waste and unhealthy eating. It's just a misconception that comes to mind! I wanted to know just where Disney World stands in this respect.

What I found out was surprising and enlightening:

At Walt Disney World Resort, conservation and environmental sustainability are not only part of a long-term commitment to responsible stewardship, but also are key business components evident in day-to-day operations.

Recycling is a big part of waste management at Walt Disney World Resort. Maybe you've already heard about the underground pipes in the Magic Kingdom that suck trash straight from the trash cans. I did not know about this! Sorting and recycling and all sorts of trashy goodness goes on under there to minimize the massive waste we create while on vacation! Our room at the Beach Club Resort had a nice note on the garbage can that encouraged guests to use the bags provided to dispose of their recyclables.

Walt Disney World Resort is switching to more efficient and environmentally friendly lighting all across the property. Even Cinderella's Castle glows "green" during the holidays with more than 170,000 LED white lights to glisten the Castle.

Walt Disney World Resort’s approach to water conservation begins with using less water where possible, and maximizing use of reclaimed water.

In 2008, Disney completed the state’s Green Lodging designation for all 23 resort hotels – representing the largest number of Green Lodging -certified hotels in the state. To achieve this special designation, resorts must focus on five categories: water conservation, education and awareness, waste reduction, energy conservation and indoor air quality.

Of course these are only a small portion of the ways that Disney World is showing its commitment to growing green.

While I was at Disney World, I made sure to use my own reusable bag for all my purchases (I carried this lovely Mi-Bag that I won from Mummy's Product Reviews And I LOVE it!)
You can also see in the pic above of Amy & me at the Castle that I even wore my Green Love tee on Saturday, Disney's "green" day!)

I can't wait to share about the healthy eating options available while you visit Disney World, and the amazing assistance you can receive if you or your children have food allergies! Stay tuned...

Monday, April 21, 2008

A Disney Thank You

Sunday morning we had a Character Breakfast at Cape May's in the Beach Club Resort, where we were staying. I had been eyeing the waffles from the pictures in our elevator all weekend. So I had a Mickey waffle with butter and syrup- delish. The buffet there was humongous and I figured I'd balance out the waffles with some steamed asparagus- Mmm! And then one biscuit & gravy. I think I ended up unbalanced after all.

Amy P and I pose with Dale. Aren't we cute.

After breakfast we take a group photo in the courtyard and are soon off to tour family suites at the All Stars Resort.

Front row: Kim, Darcie, Tracey, Elizabeth, Amy P, Amy M
Middle: Kris & Charles, Jo-Lynne, Lori, Jennifer D, Erin, Gabrielle
Back: Cooper, Jennifer J, Mia, Me, Mary Beth, Christine

After the tour, our time in the magical World of Disney was coming to an end. Many Moms hugged and parted ways- off to explore the parks and ride more rides. Some head to the pool. Darcie & I went straight to Downtown Disney and got last minute souvenirs for our little ones at home. (Hello, Lego Store.) We had bbq chicken quesadillas (or quesadilly-yas as we heard one person say) at Wolfgang Puck Express.

Quickly we hurried back to our hotel to catch the Magical Express to the airport. Kim & Charles, Darcie, and I rode together. We parted ways and it was so bittersweet to say goodbye to these new friends, but so good to head back home where we belong.

Here's the list of the fabulous women I am so blessed to now have in my life:

Amy of
The Lady Bug And Her Blogging Mama & Mums The Wurd!
Amy of
Christine of Boston Mamas

Cooper of The Motherhood & Been There
Darcie of The Walt Disney World Moms Panel & Such The Spot
Elizabeth of Table For Five
Erin of Manic Mommies
Gabrielle of Design Mom
Jennifer of Snapshot & 5 Minutes For Mom
Jennifer of The Mom Salon
Jo-Lynne of Musings Of A Housewife
Kim of The Walt Disney World Moms Panel & Stop A Moment
Kris of Clever Parents
Lori Seaborg of Just Pure Lovely
Mary Beth of Cheaper By The Half Dozen
Mia Cronan of Main Street Mom

Tracey of Suburban Diva

And huge thanks to Maria Bailey of BSM Media for thinking of me and going to bat for us Moms. She makes it her mission to
have the Mom voice of influence be heard loud and clear! Her relationship with Disney is the reason I was there.

The Disney family was more than accommodating and such a pleasure to spend the weekend with! Thank you Michelle & Joyce and all the other amazing Disney Cast Members that made this trip a dream.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

I Meant What A Night...

After lunch we did someyhing VERY cool that I'll have to see if I can tell you about! Then we had some free time to spend at Hollywood Studios so Gabrielle, Amy P, Elizabeth, Darcie & I walked around a bit, and enjoyed just sitting and chatting to rest our tired selves.

4 pm we head back to our resort and have about an hour or so to chill. Hot bath for me and a change of clothes.

5:45 Amy P & Darcie come to my room and we walk down to the lobby. Soon we see limos waiting for us - we're off to the California Grill and are surprised to find our private room overlooks the Magic Kingdom. Breathtaking. The food was phenomenal to say the least . I try the California vegetable rolls while sipping my virgin cosmo. A Disney chef is at each of our tables. I'm seated next to Joel, the director of special diets! Perfect!! Erin (Manic Moms), Christine (Boston Mamas), Gabrielle, Maria, Kris, Amy M, Amy P , and I have the best table with a view of the castle & sunset! If only I could describe the food! A delicious goat cheese ravioli in sundried tomato broth was the 1st course. Then a beautiful salad that I didn't catch the name. Mango sorbet to cleanse the palate. Snapper with a curry sauce & fresh rice cake, pork loin and something, BBQ filet with asparagus are the main course and no I didn't eat all that! Dessert was a lava cake with raspberry sorbet.

8:45 back in limo to Cirque du Soleil. A-Maze-za-zing. Wow. Beautiful. Indescribable. After the show we stay and meet the singer and ballet dancer- both moms, too. Back in limo to hotel. Need to pack & be ready for our character breakfast in the morning!

What A Night!

Last night after dinner we walked through Epcot to a roped off area on the water - drinks and fabulous desserts awaited us- the coffee was fantastic complete with cream, flavorings, and a rock candy swizzle stick! It was very dark and soon the fireworks show began. We had front row seats. Such an experience.

I need to take a moment and just say how incredibly awesome the other Mom bloggers are here. I can sit next to someone new each time and we just connect. One thing that stands out is the fact that most of us have 3 or more children. It's so great to be around people that DON'T look at you crazy for having four kids. And every single woman is beautiful inside and out.

After the fireworks we chose to stay for the "magic hours" and walked to the big Epcot ball where we rode the ride ( I forget the name but it was about journey through time.) I rode with Jo-Lynne and we had so much fun. Soon we were headed. Back to our hotel.

Late, thoughts from the day spinning in my head I indulge in a hot bubble bath around 11:30pm. I snuggled into bed and fell fast asleep.

6 am wake up and I chill in bed for almost an hour! I just realized there is a tv in my room. I haven't turned it on and don't plan to.

7:30 breakfast at Ariel's and we chat for about an hour with Amy of the Walt Disney World Mom Blogger Panel. She answers a zillionquestions that we think Moms want to know about Disney- like vacationing here on a budget ( did you know some of their resorts are under $100?) and healthy food options, Disney's commitment to "green" and the environment (something very important to Walt Disney
himself)- I can't wait to share about all I've learned!

9 am we're in a private bus to the Magic Kingdom. I see the castle- beautiful. Professional group shot and fun photos taken on the lawn.
I help Kris learn to nurse little Charles in the sling. He is a DOLL by the way. Darcie (WDW Mom blogger panelist), Jo-Lynne and I go shopping on main street.
We meet up with the group and are on our way to Hollywood Studios. Lunch at the Hollywood Brown Derby. I share a delicious mixed
greens salad with Kris and order a BBQ chicken w/ flatbread & romaine, green goddesss dressing.... Mmmm!

Friday, April 18, 2008

On My Way

It's 8:51 am and I'm waiting for my 10:41 flight. The quiet time is welcomed and I have a book, magazines, and $7 turkey sandwich to keep me company. I resisted the Starbucks crumb cake... I'm definitely not vegan today.

10:15 I board my plane and I realize any flight going to Orlando is going to have kids...

About hour or so later the drink carts are coming and I'm chatting it up with the gal across the aisle. We realize later that we're going to the same hotel- it's Elizabeth from Table For Five!

Trip goes much quicker as we gab the entire rest of the way.

2:15 Orlando time, we land and are greeted by Sean, Disney's VIP tour guide. He gets my bags and drives us to the beautiful Beach Club Resort- wow.

Check in and receive a pink rose and goodies including fast track park tickets,media passes, and other fancy things I don't know what we'll use for yet!

4 pm Jo-Lynne (Musings of a Housewife) has showered but her hair dryer is broke! So she comes over and dries her hair- our first in person meeting She's just as I imagined all along- after she dries her hair of course! We go down to the lobby and meet & greet with the Disney people and other bloggers. I think there are 18 of us in all and everyone is beautiful and charming and we talk about blogging every breath
we take !!

4:30 -in VIP gazebo with hors d'ouerves and lots of talking MommyBloggers. Soon we all feel lke we've known each other forever. We later
walk over to Epcot through a back entrance and dine in Italy. Amazing. Ensalata Mista with citrus vinaigrette is my appetizer and Canneloni
Al Forno with spinach and brechanel is my entree- divine. My table sits Kris and her baby Charles from CleverParents, Gabrielle (Design Mom), Jennifer from Snapshot & 5 Minutes For Mom, Jen from Long Island Parent, Cooper from The Motherhood, Lori from Just So
Lovely, and Jennifer from Mom Salon.

Desserts come at the insistence of the chef- I took a picture. Mmmmm.....