My wife Amanda (Our Homemade Life) has been to several blogging conferences, and as a result has forged many lasting blogger friendships and brand partnerships. And, of course, she has had a fun time while being there!
The idea of being at a blogging conference was at first intimidating to me, especially one as large and plentiful as the Type-A Parent East Conference. Also, while I’m not new to blogging in general, I am new to blogging for the purpose of providing for my family. For me, it’s my hope that this conference will propel me forward in the right direction. With that said, I can now say that being there was a great experience!
This year the conference took place at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. I had previously seen the resort many times as I rode through the interior on the monorail, but this was my first time exploring the resort in-depth. We were even able to book a room at the resort for several days, which made attending the conference much easier! The convention center itself had a very relaxing setting, and seemed to be very user-friendly.
Our kids were with us for much of the stay, so being at Disney was a huge plus for them and us, as they happily stayed occupied (with a relative in tow) while Amanda and I were at the conference. We couldn’t afford for them to actually go to the parks every day, but our kids were just happy being able to ride the monorails, visit other resorts, and swim in the awesome Contemporary pool (waterslide!).
Before the conference even began, all VIPs in attendance were treated to an amazing evening at Epcot. We were transported over to Epcot just in time to watch Illuminations, which is the final show that dazzles with a spectacular array of lights, fire and fireworks. Drinks and desserts were provided at our roped-off VIP area, which provided a great view of the show (my best view of Illuminations ever in my 20+ visits to Epcot over the years). I recorded the show and uploaded it to Youtube; you can watch it below!
Afterward the VIPs were escorted to the new Frozen ride! The park was in the midst of closing and thus the crowd of visitors were filing out, so we were able to enjoy the ride with virtually no wait. After the ride we were taken to a waiting Elsa and Anna for a photo op. It was such a great experience! Then we were taken to Soarin’ for yet another wait-free ride! Much of this going to-and-fro was via the behind-the-scenes area of Epcot, so we experienced quite a rare treat of having access to areas that Disney carefully keeps hidden from the public. As such, when we were “backstage” we were not allowed to bring out our cameras; we’ll have to recall from memory the times when we were “behind the curtain”.
The conference itself was packed full with tons of great advice and tips from seasoned blogging pros. They gave instruction on subjects such as social media, podcasting, newsletters, SEO, website monetizing, and so much more. Several big brands such as Best Buy, Hallmark, and Share-A-Sale were on hand to get to know the bloggers in attendance and to give helpful advice. (The freebies were awesome!) Several of the brands sponsored fantastic meals during the conference that did not disappoint. (Bacon! Mickey pancakes! Seafood! Bacon!)
For me, the highlight of the week was the Best Buy live-streamed cooking demo hosted by Freddie Prinze Jr. The event was presented in a kitchen setting full of jaw-dropping LG appliances that showed off the latest and greatest in kitchen tech. Those who got in line early also received a signed copy of Freddie’s new book, Back to the Kitchen, and were able to meet him and get a photo.
During the week, I met a lot of great people who were just like me; folks trying to raise a family and many of them trying to do so while working at home. The people representing the brands in attendance were very friendly, and as I grow, I hope to work with them at some point. I want to again thank them, Type-A Parent, Disney, all of the speakers, and the sponsors for such a great event.
I would recommend the Type-A Parent conferences to any parent who is looking to improve their online presence and for those who are looking for inspiration and valuable insight. And to those who attended this 2016 Type-A Parent East Conference: I hope to see you folks again in the future!