Wednesday morning we were woken up bright and early at the Embassy Suites Orlando Airport by three extremely excited little people! We headed downstairs for breakfast, where we ran into Janine and her adorable twin girls who were so sweet. What a great way to start our Disney Mom experience! We hopped on the shuttle and transferred to the Magical Express at the airport and were on our way to the Walt Disney World Resort.
We were dropped off at the Polynesian Resort, checked in (and met Christy – such a sweetie!) and went to pick up my conference packet (and a sweet bag of goodies!) and immediately headed out to the Magic Kingdom! We spent a fabulous day at the Magic Kingdom, taking full advantage of the media fast pass that was in our packet! It would be hard to pick a single highlight, but a few included:
- Colin's face when he saw Pooh for the first time. He was jumping up and down in pure joy, giggling and pointing yelling "POOOOHH!!" Disney Magic at its best.
- The rides. Its a Small World, Peter Pan's Flight, Dumbo… I can't describe how fun it is to see my kids loving the rides I loved as a kid!
- Ellie and Gracie are finally old enough to do some big rides! Their favorite ride was Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Ellie even braved Pirates of the Caribbean!
- Meeting Ariel. We never got to meet her on our last trip to Disneyland, so Gracie was in heaven!
- Fantasy Land Expansion – For me, the mom of two little princesses, this was the most exciting news of the night. Guests will be able to have even more magical encounters with Disney princesses, like hanging out with Cinderella and attending Princess Aurora's 16th birthday party – complete with helping the three good fairies with preparation! Each princess will have her own themed village within Fantasyland Forest. My girls will think they've died and gone to princess heaven!! Even Dumbo is getting a makeover, doubling the ride's capacity and riders can play carnival games while they wait in line. (And if you have kids, you KNOW how long the line for Dumbo usually is!)
- Summer Nighttastic – The Mainstreet Electrical Parade we grew up with is coming back this summer!! Oh, what I would give to see this again! It was always my favorite parade growing up and I'd love to share it with this kidlets!
- Disney Cruise Line – Not only is Castaway Cay, Disney's private island in the Bahamas, getting a huge makeover, but there will be two new ships in the Disney fleet. Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy are scheduled to set sail in 2011 and 2012. Disney Cruise Line will also be sailing beyond the Bahamas – ships will be sailing both to Alaska and Europe. It has been my dream for years to take an Alaskan cruise – totally on my 'bucket list'. And now I know what cruise line I want to go on!
- ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex – Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex has joined forces with ESPN to create a truly amazing sporting experience for athletes of all ages and levels. Every athletes will feel like professionals as they see themselves featured on ESPN and get the Disney touch on their sporting events.
We returned to our hotel around 4:30 get ready for night's festivities! At 5:00 we caught the bus to ESPN Wide World of Sports. The kids and families were whisked away for some hot chocolate and sports-themed fun while the bloggers were treated to a short briefing and presentation by Meg Crofton, President of the Walt Disney World Resort. We listened as she and several others spoke to us about what's next for Disney. And there are some amazing things on the horizon:
After the presentations, we met up with our families and were treated to an amazing night of Disney entertainment – yummy food, dancing for the kids, characters visiting our tables, and schmoozing with other bloggers. This night was by far my kids favorite. Who knew my girls had inherited their Mama's love of dancing the night away? We practically had to drag them off the stage. It was a fabulous party and just a small taste of the amazing week that was to come!
Disclaimer: I paid a fee to attend this conference, but as an attendee I received complimentary items, special discounts, and other exciting benefits such as food and entertainment, so my family and I could experience the magic of Walt Disney World.