Earlier this month, Food Blog Forum 2013 convened at Walt Disney World. Over 100 food bloggers met and got to experience a taste of Walt Disney. Literally and figuratively.
For me it all started a few months back when registration opened. Those who were not fast enough missed out on an opportunity of a lifetime. I,however, was one of the lucky ones. I set my timer and made sure that I had access to the website. As soon as it was time, I registered. Initially I was skeptical because the price of the conference included two nights at the Grand Floridian, passes to Walt Disney World (for my family and I), plus the conference. I am so glad that I did not think that “If it seems too good to be true then it probably is.” It was true!
I got our ducks all in a row: I contacted my little one’s principal and asked permission for him to be absent and my husband requested time off from work. Fortunately College Girl was in between semesters at school and she did not have to miss any classes. We chose to drive down rather than fly. To break up the trip, we stopped in Tallahassee each way. (If you are ever in Tally and need a nice place to stay, check out the Residence Inn.)
After we left Tally, we headed to Orlando. We paid our tolls (a couple of times) and made it to Walt Disney World after noon. Arriving at the Grand Floridian, we stopped at the gate and had to show identification. The guard made a call and then handed us our parking permit. We drove to the front where I got out. College Girl and I went to go inside to find the restroom and to inquire about checking-in. We were greeted by a friendly gentleman who knew our name. I was taken back, but in hindsight I understand why the guard made the call. While we girls were inside, someone assisted my husband with our luggage. (It was loaded on a golf cart and taken away.)
I went and registered for the conference while the rest of the gang went and found a parking spot. We then checked-in. Everyone at the Grand Floridian was so polite and professional. A bellman was called who directed us outside while he got our luggage and a golf cart. We took a little ride to the building we would be staying in. We unloaded our luggage and then had time to explore WDW.
Being that we had not eaten lunch, we opted to eat at Gasparilla Island Grill. I had done a little research and read about refillable souvenir mugs. I found this to be a good value, so we each got a mug to go along with our kid’s meals. (My husband got a cheeseburger and the rest of us ordered chicken nuggets.)
After getting our fill, we went back to our room and got ready to go to Epcot. I love Epcot, but unfortunately I don’t think my family feels quite like I do. They don’t like to wait out in the heat and don’t like crowds. (Sometimes that is part of the fun of it – to me, anyway It’s a great way to “people watch.”) Fortunately we were able to find a few attractions that were inside. Mission: SPACE was a blast. (Pun intended – but it really was good. We took the “intense” option.)
We headed back to our room so that I could get ready for the Welcome Reception and the family could eat dinner. I left my family and walked over to Grand Floridian’s Convention Center. It was so nice that it was just a short walk away. There I acted like a wallflower and only met a few other bloggers, though many were in attendance. [Note to self: dress more comfortably and get out there and mingle!]
Look at some of the goodies we were able to sample (and photograph!).
When it was drawing to a conclusion, I headed back to the room to spend some more time with my family. My son loves to swim and had to go check out the pool at the resort.
After a long day we called it a night. Stay tuned and I will share with you things I learned.