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Rene On The Road: Team GEM Hit Disney

Cinderella Castle


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.

Team GEM


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!


Via Napoli -Epcot


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.


Rene Syler


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!


  1. Allison @ Slice of Heaven

    March 23, 2011 at 9:20 am

    What a great post. Thanks again for your inspirational message. I was actually sitting right next to you (next table over), but never got the nerve up to introduce myself! Glad you enjoyed yourself.

  2. Rene Syler

    March 23, 2011 at 10:17 am

    @Allison: you are sweet, oh you should have come up and said hi. I promise I don’t bite (the nice people, anyway). I really got so much out of being there. Being there and accepted for myself and my message really made the pain of the last 4 years seem so distant, so thank YOU!

  3. Mikki

    March 23, 2011 at 12:29 pm

    Looks like you had a great time. Epcot is my favorite too. I loved getting the chance to just walk around and eww and ahh at all the great topiary.

  4. Christina

    March 23, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    So glad you had fun,. What can I say “I love Disney” it makes me feel like a kid.

  5. Lynn (@lynnsc08)

    March 23, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    Looks like you had an amazing time! Everyone I’ve spoken with said they had a great time listening to you speak.

  6. ConnieFoggles

    March 24, 2011 at 12:48 am

    I want to hang out with the 2 Richards, Roger and Pierre – yummy all around. Let’s just keep this between ourselves though.

  7. Rene Syler

    March 24, 2011 at 7:36 am

    @Connie well I can’t speak for Pierre but am assuming he rolls out of bed, throws a little gel in his hair and then he’s off. I think it’s a bit more work for the Richards and me, sadly :/

  8. Connie

    March 26, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    I LOVED meeting you and your two sidekicks. I can’t wait to see how the three of you grow your web presence.

    Here’s what I wrote about the event – please apologize to the Richard’s for me 🙂

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More in Bookings and Speeches

Combing the aisles at Target in search of the best deal on Cheerios, it hit Rene Syler like the stench of a dirty diaper on a hot summer’s day. Not only is perfection overrated its utterly impossible! Suddenly empowered, she figuratively donned her cape, scooped up another taco kit for dinner and Good Enough Mother was born.

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