Friday December 5th
It was officially one month from the day I got the phone call letting me know I was selected as a 2009 Disney Mom to the day we arrived for our training weekend. I was so excited on Thursday night that (like the commercial)...I was way to excited to sleep. Finally, the alarm went off at 5am and I was on my way. A friend dropped me off at Midway airport, where I quickly checked my bag and made it thru security. It is amazing how painless of a process that is when you are not chasing after three boys. I actually made it to the gate so early that the flight to Orlando, that was scheduled before mine, was just boarding. I thought of trying to squeeze on but sat down to do some last minute studying. We (meaning the new panelists, some of the current panelists and many of the CMs we would be with) had exchanged emails and pictures and I wanted to make sure I remembered who everyone was.
The flight was nice. I sat next to an older gentleman who was on his way to meet his young grandaughters for a Princess weekend at WDW. He was very nice and when I explained to him that I had been selected as one of the 16 members of the 2009 Disney Moms Panel-he actually knew what it was. We landed about fifteen minutes early...yahoo...thanks Southwest...and I was off to baggage claim.
I came down the escalator to find CM Tim waiting for me with a VIP sign with my name on it. We had been told to look for our names but it was still so cool to see someone standing there waiting for me. Tim helped me with my bag and walked me out to the curb where CM Dan was waiting with my town car carriage. Dan was so wonderful and we had such a great conversation that I was surprised when we quickly pulled up to the front entrance of CSR. I grabbed my bag, thanked Dan and was on my way. I walked into the front doors and was greeted my a huge circle of smiling faces all squealing with excitement. More than half the panel was already there and I was thrilled that I instantly recognized them. Hugs were exchanged and we were all talking a mile a minute. Most of the group were headed out to DHS but I elected to hang back and get checked in.
How cool is this? A check in line just for us. The manager came out and introduced himself (oops forgot his name) and welcomed me to the resort. My room was ready and just as I was getting me key and packet a few more panelists arrived. After some more hugging, we ripped into our packets to anxiously look at our schedule of events. Our first event began at 4:30 that evening with cocktails so we had about three hours until then. We dropped off our bags and the few of us that had stayed back headed over the the Pepper Market to grab some lunch.
We ate our very expensive salads and sandwiches ( found Pepper Market a little over-priced) and really enjoyed each others company. It was so great to be able to finally sit there with them and talk face to face. We had spent the last few weeks emailing so by now they all felt like old friends. After lunch we went back to our rooms to freshen up for our first big event. The building I was in had been refurbished and the rooms were very nice.
I unpacked, changed clothes, called home to check in and had to of course watch Stacy and her Top 7 Must Sees and finally it was time to go. I grabbed my bag and off I headed to the Rix Lounge for our 4:30 Meet and Greet.