Thursday, February 25, 2010

It's called "research"

Lions, tigers and Snuffleupagus, oh my!

Jessie and I got to go on assignement together today.

We told you about all of the new happenings coming this spring to Busch Gardens and the new Sesame Street’s Safari of Fun, a new 2 ½ acre play land with kid-size rides, water fountains, and other fun attractions, but the good news just got better with the announcement that kids can experience the fun FOR FREE.

Acknowledging that serving families and younger guests was an area that Busch Gardens wanted to improve upon, Donnie Mills, executive vice president and general manager announced today that kids five and under could explore the new attraction (and the rest of the park) for free for the rest of 2010.

Although the Safari of Fun won’t officially open until March 27, 2010, you can take advantage of this special offer now. Simply visit the website and register online under "Free Preschool Pass" before you come to the park. Once there, you can redeem your free pass with your registration confirmation and child’s birth certificate. (This offer is only available to Florida residents.)

Don’t forget to check out the other fun options on the website as well. In addition to games and videos and photos of all of the new attractions, you’ll also be able to reserve your table at Dine with Elmo & Friends, a new opportunity to eat a couple of cookies (or scrambled eggs) with Cookie Monster and other furry friends.

Another special treat for families? Forty four spots in a preferred parking area will be available for guests with strollers so they can bypass the tram. Spaces are limited, but no additional fees will be charged for these prime spots. (You can request the parking spots at the parking tollbooths.)

All of these new family-friendly additions and specials mean big time fun for your little one.

(Cross-posted at Whoa Momma)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I remember this, it's called school

This morning was the first in over two weeks that all three school kids made it to school. We've passed around this mysterious fever virus between us, and I think Jingle is the last on the family list to get it.

(The over/under is 11:30 that I'll get a call to pick them up though...)

So J-Bell and I will go about trying to establish a new routine for the remaining months of the school year. She likes the gym again (good for my thighs bad for my excuses) so we'll be spending more mornings there. The writer's block seems to have eased a bit--didn't get into print on Sunday but have actually turned in a few assignments this week and gearing up for more. And avoiding processed foods means more time in the kitchen so it's not like I'm want for things to do.

Which means I've just run out of excuses for potty training.


Saturday, February 20, 2010

Summer must be coming soon...

Hey, The St. Pete Times linked to our R.V. vacation last summer on the front page today.

Good times...

(I wonder if it will be in print tomorrow?)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

And another thing I'm giving up for Lent?

Writer's block and non-productivity.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Not-so Fat Tuesday much longer if I can help it

I'm hoping that by my Lenten example, Tuesdays will never be Fat again...

Late last year I gave up soda. I gave up fried food. Permanently. My New Year's resolution was to eat healthier, so I think I'm sensing a theme here when I declare for Lent I'm giving up as much processed "food" as I can. The more unpronouncable the ingredient label, the less likely I will be to consume it.

I've kind of already started this by quietly changing out a lot of the things we eat, but during this forty days and beyond, I will try that much harder to eliminate the junk and take more stock into what we put into our bodies. Not so much for the weight standpoint (which I am not taking for granted nor will I turn away a slimmer waistline) but more for our overall health. I'm becoming more and more concerned with chemicals and processing these days.

Okay, off my organic soap box and off to munch on a Birkenstock.

Happy Mardi Gras.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Where I've Been

To tell you the truth, I think I somehow got on the wrong list.

When I first received the invitation back in October for the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration I didn’t even know what “Social Media Mom” meant exactly. I figured maybe because I’ve given birth a few times and successfully uploaded an avatar to Twitter I could fake my way in and pretend I belonged.

And I’m so glad it worked.

Because what we experienced this weekend was simply incredible.

We arrived on Wednesday late afternoon after I took a wrong turn at the Contemporary and got lost. Seriously, you’d think that I couldn’t miss the giant Epcot ball as a landmark, but I did and the GPS kept yelling, “You are such a moron I can’t even help you.”

So we were a bit late checking in to the Polynesian, but did make our first event on time: a trip to the newly refurbished Wide World of Sports.

The kids played basketball and football while I sat in my first presentation about all of the new things going on at Disney (more on that later) and then we regrouped at a party in the Josten’s Center which had delicious tailgate food and visits from Team Mickey. (Goofy is a dog, btw. Stevie asked.)

And why these pictures are particularly awful? See Figure 1--you are late and a moron who left her camera in the car.

The next morning had me up early and over to Epcot to eat (a tasty recurring theme over the three days) breakfast and hear Guy Kawasaki speak. Amazing. He told me all of the things I’m doing wrong on Twitter but he was funny about it so I can’t even be mad.

Afterward, we walked over to the press event that Ty Pennington just happened to host honoring some of the families who have participated in Disney’s Give A Day, Get a Disney Day initiative. His big reveal was the largest canned food structure which was later dismantled and sent off to food banks in Florida and Georgia. They estimate it will be about 70,000 meals.

We got to play around the park for the rest of the afternoon. The big boys headed to Hollywood Studios and the little ones and I strolled in the frigid temps at Epcot. It was kind of nice doing the countries at a leisurely pace without, well, doing the countries at all and not Test Track all day.

But it was that evening we were in store for a special treat. Little did we know that as we were strolling through the Japanese Pavilion buying Pokemon and Hello Kitty, Robert Irvine from the Food Network’s Dinner: Impossible was also running around Epcot collecting inspiration from Disney Princesses to put on our dinner for the evening.


The show will air in April.

Oh yes, and if that wasn’t entertainment enough, we then got a private concert from Joe Jonas and Demi Lovato.

Yes, the awesomeness of this cannot quite be captured here.

Friday was supposed to be our “work” day. There were speakers lined up in between our catered meals including Chris Brogan, Maxine Clark (Build-A-Bear CEO) and Kathy Ireland. I think this was the media part, and I was not being too social of a mom stuffing my face with salami and cocktails. There were dozens of giveaways including a night in Cinderella’s Castle.

I didn’t win that. If I had, you would have heard me screaming from a turret.

But that was okay, because the party that night was at Hollywood Studios after it closed and we got to ride Toy Story Mania over and over until we got carpal tunnel syndrome finding all of the hidden scoring opportunities.

Saturday was departure day which meant my brood and I wore the letters off of our Media Fast Pass which took us to the front of every line. And while my boys haven’t read a single word of anything I’ve ever written, this single gift may just have made me cool for a minute in their eyes.

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of Disney. I just appreciate the amount of effort they put into everything they do to maximize the guest experience no matter if it’s a trip to their stores or a week long family vacation in the most luxurious resort. They are the best at what they do, and every single time I think I’ve seen all of the tricks in their magic bag, they exceed my expectations. Every. Single. Time.

This weekend was pretty spectacular. Although I didn’t get to meet a whole lot of new folks, I did meet a few and reconnected with some old friends. I learned a lot and got to talk shop--a shop I didn’t even know I had--with some pretty gifted women.

And best of all I got to share this entire experience with my family.

And that is the most magical part of all.

(P.S. Full disclosure--although this trip was worth far more than I paid, I did pay actual cash money for this conference and was sponsored by no one.)

Friday, February 05, 2010

I need to get gouslashes and a bikini

As God as my witness, I will find something to wear today.

I'm saying that out to generate success. With only a few days to go until our Disney Conference and every single activity possible planned in between, I have exactly 90 minutes today in which to find suitable clothing and supplies for a family of six in that mixed bag of weather possibilities known as Orlando in February. Could be eighty and sunny, could be forty and raining.

Pack accordingly.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Happy Groundhog Day and New Year!

Although my piece about Groundhog Day went up live on Whoa Momma today, I am celebrating New Year's all over again.

I don't know about you, but I'd pretty much like to forget all about January and start 2010 again, this time with a little more joy, a lot less chaos and a whole lot more writing.

Whose with me?