When I was around 6 years old my parents, along with my uncle and great grandmother who both lived in California, took me to Disneyworld. I have photos to prove it. To my Dad’s horror, I have no memory of this. I don’t remember riding the Dumbo ride or requiring my great grandmother to ride the It’s A Small Ride about 9 times consecutively.
This past weekend I headed down to Orlando for Food Blog Forum 2012. As part of their sweet registration deal, I was given a few nights at the Polynesian Resort, tickets for myself and family to Disney, and tons of great learning opportunities.
I took advantage of being in Florida to invite a few special guests to join me…My parents! No big surprise huh? After not visiting the Disney area for almost 25 years my parents and I have now been there twice in less than 3 months.
Staying at the Polynesian is probably not something we would have ever done, but thanks to this trip it was possible.
The staff was friendly. The location is fantastic. The price is out of control. $$$
After I arrived on Friday and before my parents showed up, I popped over to the neighboring resort, the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, for the FBF Welcome Party.
I started to get a little sweaty on my walk over and was instantly reminded why I couldn’t live in Orlando full-time. Fortunately as I arrived the weather started to become absolutely beautiful and perfect for an outdoor cocktail party.
The star of the night was the hanging martini/app tree. I officially declare that all outdoor parties should have one of these. Preferably filled with either seaweed salad or mashed potatoes. What? A girl can dream.
I finished up my cocktailing and hightailed it back to the Polynesian to meet up with my parents. The rest of our night was filled with Magic Kingdom adventures. I’ll be sharing some photos from our park trips later this week!
Bright and early on Saturday I woke up to attend the learning part of the trip. The the majority of the day was spent at the Odyssey building in Epcot where they provided breakfast for us.
Oh, and did I mention that the forum was held on St. Patrick’s Day? This Irish girl missed doing a little green beer day drinking, but an Irish breakfast made up for any sadness I was feeling. Potatoes for everyone! Can I get a yay for carbs?!
There were several sessions throughout the day and all of them provided tons of info that we could incorporate into our own blogs.
After a quick introduction to the day we started our first session which was led by Todd & Diane from White On Rice Couple.
They had great insight on telling your own story through photographs. Everything from lighting, angle, and styling can set a mood that can convey the story you are trying to tell. Honestly, when I take photos I often just concentrate on the angle and make sure that the photo doesn’t look like poo. Giving a bit more in depth thought about the photo part of blogging was extremely interesting and I was engaged the entire time they were speaking. Hopefully I can implement some of those tips & tricks I learned into my own photos.
The next session was led by David Leite. I should have known from the title of his session that he was going to have a great sense of humor. Heh. Badass made me giggle.
While both the first and second session concentrated on improving your own story telling through the blog, this session really focused on finding your own voice. I’m not a writer. I write, but I’m not a writer. BUT! I do have a voice and an extremely loud personality. I want to work on integrating parts of personality into my writing.
There were two other sessions that dealt with the more business side of blogging, which while I’m interested in, isn’t my main focus. There was a lot of note taking by my fellow blogging friends! I really want my blog to represent me and provide a creative outlet for me. If a brand fits into that….great! If not, no biggie.
After a full morning of listening we got a chance to step outside for a quick walk through Epcot for lunch put on by Disney Parks & Resorts Food and Beverage.
“A Healthful Taste of Disney”
Join the Disney chefs as they showcase delicious (and healthful!) dishes from their restaurants and bakeries.
Oh my gosh. SO. MUCH. FOOD. It was nuts to watch a bunch of food bloggers be set loose in a big ol’ room of food. Cameras were being whipped around left and right. I was right there with them.
Don’t forget the sweetness. If you gave up sweets for Lent then this was a tough 2 hours to get through. Fortunately I did not give up sweets. I gave up candy.
By far the winner of the WHOLE day were these cognac filled chocolate pouches. I’m not exactly sure what they were, but they had cognac and they burst open the minute they hit your tongue. In the middle of the day. With chocolate. Get where I’m going with this?!
After lunch the group headed back to the Odyssey Pavilion to break out into small sessions. Each group had about 10 people in in and let us ask more specific question to the presenters. There were a few sessions that I really wish I could have participated in, but of those I attended the Food Styling and Recipe Writing classes were the most useful for me.
Throughout the day there were gifts given out from the forum sponsors, KitchenAid, OXO and Land o’ Lakes. I didn’t win a thing, but I did warn all those who did over Twitter that they better watch their back. Some people won a KitchenAid Stand Mixer. Seriously! On second thought, how would I have gotten that home on the plane?!
The forum was wrapped up with another small Q&A period then we were set free for the rest of the afternoon. Forum attendees were invited to watch the fireworks show at Epcot together later that evening, but I decided to spend some more time with my parents and drive them nuts.
I met some great people over the weekend, learned a lot about writing that I would love to implement on this little blog, and some fantastic ways to improve my photos. Fingers crossed I can remember everything.
Big thanks to Food Blog Forum, Walt Disney World, KitchenAid, OXO, Land o’ Lakes, and Whole Foods for putting together/sponsoring a great weekend for a bunch of food bloggers!
If you get a chance to hit up a Food Blog Forum in the future, it is definitely worth the dough.
Hope I didn’t lose you in that long post. See ya round tomorrow!
Have you ever been to Disney World? Are you a fan?