JeniLynn Knopp (234 Posts)

JeniLynn was born and raised in South Florida. Being so close to Walt Disney World, she grew up regularly visiting the Mouse and developed a fascination with the creativity of Disney Parks. Noticing that her happiest moments seemed to always take place in Walt Disney World, JeniLynn began trying to recreate the magic of Disney in her everyday life beginning in her pre-teen years. Adulthood, sixteen years of marriage, and three children later, JeniLynn continues to lead a Disney Driven Life and diligently works to pass her love for Disney on to her husband and children. She has blogged for Touring Plans and been a contributing writer for The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World, and she currently co-hosts Orlando Attractions Magazine: The Show; however, her primary focus has always been with the community that has grown around her own site, The Disney Driven Life. Through these venues JeniLynn strives to help other Disney fans stay connected to the brand that has served as a keystone in her family’s life.

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Pulling up to the guardhouse at Disney’s Polynesian Resort, I feel the hair on my arms stand-up as goosebumps break out like a bad rash.  I can hardly believe what I am about to say when the words form in my mouth. “Hi!” I greet the guard with a wide grin.  “I have a reservation at the Polynesian for the Social Media Moms Celebration.”  I have a reservation at the Polynesian . . . sweeter words were never spoken.

Being approved by the security tiki hut and parking the car, my little Hawaiians and I jump out and skitter across the pavement towards the lobby.  We have passed by these tropical water gardens and magical glass doors before when resort hopping, but we have never done it as actual resort guests.  I note that the feeling is very different.  Rather than feeling self-conscious about intruding on the “home grounds” of park guests with bigger pockets than myself, I am breathing deeper, stepping lighter, and wearing a crazed smile on my face.  “Welcome to the Polynesian Resort.  Can I assist you with anything?” a pleasant greeter offers while he adorns me with a multi-colored lei.  I must have that “new person” expression because he doesn’t hesitate to give me a verbal tour of the lobby.  I take in every sight that he points out as if it were the first time I’ve laid eyes on them.

A huge rock formation is the focal point of the lobby.  Accented with tropical plants and flowers that climb its height in a nature-esque manner, I am drawn to the beauty of multiple waterfalls that descend the  stony crags and gather in small ponds that are surrounded by bench seats.  The children’s area is to the left with its Disney cartoon-playing TV, coloring table, and lei-making center.  On an upper level that is open to view from the ground floor, I am soothed by the sight of the well-rated Kona Cafe and tropical gift shops.

Off to the side, a small group has gathered for hula dancing lessons.  “I want to take hula dancing lessons,” I mentally but emphatically tell myself.  After all, when in Polynesia, do as the Polynesians do.  I wonder if it is hard.

“. . . . the check-in counter,” the friendly greeter directs.  I snap back to attention and realize that I’ve been so caught up in the aura of aloha that I have inadvertently tuned out the greeter who is giving me instructions about checking-in.  “Actually, I don’t think I’m supposed to check-in yet.  I’m here for an event, and the information that I have specifically instructs me to find a hospitality table when I first arrive,” I explain to my Polynesian professional.  However, my comment is met with a quizzical expression.  He clearly has no knowledge of said table.

We both begin to look around the lobby.  The set-up of a hospitality table is clearly absent.  A panic-stricken look crosses my face.  Were the plans changed, and I somehow missed the memo?  The helpful greeter who embodies hospitality himself reads my expression and says, “Don’t worry.  Let me go over here to speak with someone.  I’m sure we will find out where you are supposed to be.”

After a brief moment our personal Polynesian assistant returns with a smile.  “We don’t see the table because it is in a completely separate room.”  With that he escorts me to a back door of the lobby and leaves me with directions on finding the hospitality room.  This time I am focused and attentive, listening to every word.

The kids and I make our way to an adjacent building that has a couple rooms designated as the hospitality suite for my event.  I can feel the excitement bubble up within me, and I squeeze the hands of my little Poly people when we step in line to see what awaits us.

While I wait in line and look around the room, the mom standing behind me holds out her hand and greets, “Hi.”  “Hello,” I return.  I look over her adorable family.  Her supportive husband appears to be attending to their well-mannered children so that she can focus on the event at hand.  The sight reminds me of my own husband’s flight dilemma which may leave me with three children and no care-taker, but I try to push this horrific situation to the back of my mind.

“I’m Maria,” she says.  “My name is JL,” I respond.  “What is your site?” she asks.  Caught off guard, I say, “I don’t know. Hopefully they’ll tell me when I get up to the table.”  She looks at me confused, and I realize that somehow I have misunderstood her.  Suddenly I remember that the theme of the event is social media and that she means WEBsite rather than room site.  Again I have found myself so enraptured by my surroundings that I have forgotten about life outside of this occasion.  “Oh! You mean the name of my blog,” I blush.  She giggles and says, “Yes.”  “It’s,” I confess.  “I blog about how I incorporate Disney into my family’s lifestyle and the funny adventures that happen as a result.  It is also a place where other Disney fans can contribute their personal expressions of Disney fanaticism.”  “OK” she says, looking surprised by my explanation.  She continues, “My site is mychicagomommy.  Here is my card.”  With that a calling card is extended to me.  She has cards?  Her blog must be of the professional variety.

“May I have your card?” she asks.  I can feel my cheeks flush.  My blog is far from a professional gig.  Most of the time I feel like I am flopping around, trying to keep my head above the html just so that I can write about Disney and build relationships with others who share my Disney passion.  I never suspected that I should have calling cards.  “Well I would love to give one to you, but I don’t have any,” I sheepishly admit.

“I’m MomRN,” a voice behind Maria announces.  We both turn around to see another smiling face.  The smiling face explains, “I host the talk show, Ask MomRN.”  MomRN is warm and friendly; however, I’m beginning to feel uncomfortable and completely out of my league.  My first friend is obviously a professional mommy blogger with business cards.  My second new friend is a host of her own talk show.  How was I able to secure a position at this gig with such fantastic people who obviously are pros in social media?  They came here to do business.  I came here for a pool view at the Poly.

Maria and MomRN hit it off and chatter away in line.  Feeling rather self-conscious, I step up to the hospitality table which is now available to me.  The pleasant woman now facing me asks for my name.  “Knopp with a K,” I say and wait for her to check her list.  Mentally I elaborate in a timid manner, “I’m the insignificant one without calling cards or talk shows.”  Then from behind there is a tap on my shoulder and someone says, “JL?”

9 thoughts on “CALLING CARDLESS

  1. Aaaahh….I just LOVE the way you write, girlfriend! 🙂 Brought back such wonderful memories of meeting everyone for the first time! So fun!

  2. Too funny! I only had cards because I was given the heads up before the conference. I Just grabbed my reg social cards and slapped a sticker on the back with my blog info!

  3. I completely understand that feeling you describe….of being an actual guest of the Polynesian Resort. I've fantasized about it numerous times before and was “star-struck” to actually be there. I tried to soak up as much Poly as I could hold. It really meant a lot to me too!

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