On Monday, I told you about my recent trip to Orlando to speak at the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration and how much I personally got out of the event. Well you know you can’t go to Disney World to work without a little time for play too, right? And play we did!
All of Team GEM accompanied me on the trip for a little Florida Sunshine, which, given the winter we’ve had, was desperately needed. I always joke that anyone wanting to work with Team GEM must have a name that starts with the letter R. So here we are, Richard, Richard, Rene and Roger.
Now you guys know the kids and I make the trek to Disney World every year given that we, like so many others, own a timeshare in Orlando. But those digs are nothing like the plush Grand Floridian Resort And Spa the place we called home for 3 days. It’s seriously fancy!
When I come with the kids, we usually hang out at Typhoon Lagoon and Magic Kingdom. But truly my favorite park is Epcot, which along with its more adult fare, never seems to feel crowded to me. The folks at Disney wanted to make sure we were able to fit in as much fun as we could in the short time we were there, so they had a tour guide for us, the lovely Valerie who came with a ready smile, the patience of a saint (hey she had to deal with all of us) and the knowledge of how to get things done.
Valerie worked her magic too. Our first night at Disney, we enjoyed a lovely meal of fresh sushi and sake at Mitsukoshi before winding our way through the rest of the park and heading out just before closing.
After speaking to the Social Media Moms Friday morning and a bit of downtime, Valerie arranged for us to try out the new Italian restaurant at Epcot, Via Napoli. To say it was good would be a gross understatement; it was fabulous. Over shared appetizers and wine, Valerie (who did not drink as she was on duty) told us how she had been with the company since college, having always seen herself as a Disney Cast Member. It’s amazing to me how many of the Disney staff have been with the company for most of their lives!
Stuffed like tics, we rolled out, did a bit of walking before heading back to the Grand Floridian.
Saturday morning I took the guys to my other favorite water park, Typhoon Lagoon. It’s one of two Disney’s water parks and the kids and I always make a stop there. There’s something for everyone from the little guys who need more tame fun to those who like their thrills. If you go, make sure you try Humunga Cowabunga. Don’t ask about it, just do it.
After an afternoon rest, it was party time again and this time we started at Epcot’s new French restaurant, Les Chefs de France. The food was spectacular and you know what’s really cool? In order to retain authenticity in the various parts of the park, those cast members, like our adorable waiter Pierre, are actually on work visas from the ‘countries’ in which they work.
One quick note, the ride Spaceship Earth, housed in the iconic “ball” at Epcot has undergone a massive renovation within the last couple of years, It’s interactive and very cool now; if you have a chance check it out.
Of course, we had to wrap up our stay with a stop at Magic Kingdom. The weather was awesome, the company divine as we all shared a funnel cake in the shadow of Cinderella’s castle, a perfect spot to watch the electrical parade go by.
Alas we’re all back at work now, having swapped the sunshine for the bit of snow still hanging around (and some that’s just fallen). Oh well, at least we have the memories, until we go again!
Many, many thanks to Valerie and all the folks at Disney who made our stay one we won’t soon forget! You guys are the best!