Where Have I Been?!

Thursday, August 4, 2011 - 
If you didn't know already, here's a hint...

Yup, I made my way to Orlando once again this year.  But, this time it was both professionally and personally.  I attended the Meeting Professional International World Education Conference - I know, a mouthful, which is why it is lovingly abbreviated MPI WEC.  I began by taking my Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) exam which was a huge weight off my shoulders.  The studying had taken over my life for the past few months and it was great to finally be able to wash my hands of it.  I don't hear results for 8 weeks, so I can't really tell you how I did quite yet.  More to come on that - cross your fingers for me!

Attending a conference for meeting planners organized by meeting professionals, you know it is going to be amazing.  The opening reception was at Epcot - unbelievable.  My favorite place in the world closes for me?!  Amazing.  Yes, I understand it wasn't for just me but I can pretend. The theme was Epcot Alive!, which focused on sustainability, the earth and all that it encompasses.  Three areas were utilized - The Seas pavilion, The Land pavilion and Innoventions. Each area had food and drinks that were themed around the area, as well as cast members who were performing within the theme as well.  Amazing - best opening reception I think I will ever attend.  Here are some photos for The Seas:

The Land pavilion I think was the most amazing to me.  The whole area was decked out in green - live trees, live plants, you name it.  No line for Soarin', and we walked right onto the boat for the Living the Land attraction.  Amazing.  Here is a short video of a performance - a cast member was portraying a tree through the seasons.  I hate that I only got the end, but you can imagine...
Crowd control was perfect, directing people between all three in the beginning to allow for a good crowd flow.  So our last stop to Innoventions wasn't very busy. 
Amazing music - I saw these musicians a few times while I was in the parks, but I love the costumes this time around!

And of course, it ended with IllumniNations - a firework spectacular (yes, I did get engaged at this park during this show, so I'm partial!)

The conference was full of programming and great networking opportunities.  I saw Kelly Cutrone from People's Revolution speak twice - an open honest conversation that would inspire anyone to really move forward professionally.  Speaker Simon Sinek was one of the best professional speakers I have ever seen.  He had a great presentation on the 'why' of what we do - I encourage you to youtube him or visit the WEC website for details.  Amazing. Though the food at the banquet was not very good, they even had an Iron Chef competition at a banquet.  St. Louis, the next host city for 2012, had a luncheon as well where we enjoyed comedian Kathleen Madigan - hilarious!

After all the educational sessions, the conference ended with a closing reception at Universal Studio's City Walk and the Hard Rock Cafe.  Once again, a great event full of food and drinks and a lot of entertainment!

Next up - how I unwound after the exam and conference - a vacay at Disney of course!