Food Blog Forum Orlando 2012 at Walt Disney World

Jaden & Scott, Me, Rachel, Diane & Todd

I say it over and over again but when I started this food blog to share recipes with my family and friends, I had no idea I would find this wonderful community of food bloggers and even make the best friends I have ever had. My good food blogging friends cheer me on, motivate me and inspire me every day. I’m so thankful for each and every one of them.

Jaden, Scott, Diane & Todd started Food Blog Forum (FBF) in March 2010 to build an online community for food bloggers. At the same time, they held their first FBF seminar in Los Angeles and Diane told me they organized it in two weeks!

I have had the honor and wonderful opportunity to organize the third and fifth Food Blog Forum events. From the beginning, organizing both events has been about bringing a food blog conference to my home state of Florida. I had a blast planning it, made some new friends and gained some wonderful experience.

We were so fortunate to have Walt Disney World as our hosting sponsor for the 2nd Food Blog Forum Orlando. I can’t even begin to express my gratitude to Disney as the wonderful ladies we worked with (Pam, Karen, Janice, Laura & Joyce). They were amazing!

For our welcome reception, the night before the seminar, Disney planned this wonderful menu for us and held it at the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. This has to receive the award for most creative display of food I have ever seen. This is a martini salad display and held various tasty salads!

I went for dessert first. Crazy, huh? Or crazy smart. The creme brulees were amazing and the blood orange dessert, wow. I didn’t know that I would like blood oranges to so much!

Bottom right photo taken by Guy Michelier of Simply Recipes

I loved our sessions, I always learn something I can immediately use. Scott always has a great message to share with all of us. Diane & Todd taught us to share a story with pictures. The PR panel with Rachel, Jaden, Arianna and Tom was really informative. David Leite‘s talk was awe-inspring.

I love what Rachel said about working with brands, it needs to be a brand that you’re passionate about and it needs to be authentic. I truly believe in this and only choose to work brands that I’m absolutely passionate about.

David taught has that being very specific in our storytelling makes it even more universal and more relatable.

Taken by Guy Michelier of Simply Recipes

After the morning sessions, we were whisked over to Epcot World Showplace (where they hold the wonderful parties for the Epcot Food & Wine Festival) and there were 10 tasting stations…oh my word is all I can say! The food was amazing!

My favorites (I had dessert first again!) were the Olive Oil-infused Chocolate Truffle Mousse with Sea Salted Caramel from Disney’s Contemporary Resort Bakery and the Seared Tofu with Zucchini and Eggplant Ratatouille, Roasted Mushrooms, Lentils, and Sun-dried Tomato Purée from Cítricos located at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.

The chocolate mousse was so wonderful and not too rich, I think that’s why a lot of us liked it! I love tofu and the lentils were perfectly cooked and seasoned.  I told Curtis already that we will have to make it out to Cítricos for dinner soon!

Another highlight of the lunch? The chefs and pastry chefs were there in person. We got to talk to them and ask them questions. The set up at the World Showplace was amazing and having the chefs there to talk to us made us feel so special!

Taken by Guy Michelier of Simply Recipes

After lunch, we had round table discussions. Attendees signed up for the various round tables ahead of time. I held a round table on social media and I had fun discussing with others my passion for social media as well as gave advice. My three main messages were: be authentic, don’t automate and know your platform.

A huge thank you to all of our speakers, they were great to take time out of their weekend and join us and share with attendees their experiences.

Our round table speakers were Jaden Hair, Diane Cu & Aran Goyoaga, Todd PorterScott Hair, me, Lindsay LandisDavid LeiteElise BauerRachel Barbarotta & Arianna BastianiniJennie Perillo & Kelly SenyeiAngie Dudley & Alison LewisKatie Farmand, Kendra Lott & Heather McPherson.

Later that evening, we enjoyed a wonderful Irish themed array of desserts near the water in Epcot for the IlumiNations show. It was wonderful. I tried to take a few pictures and was only happy with the above one. I then put my phone down and just savored the moment. The event for the day was complete and I just enjoyed the fireworks and being with friends instead of trying to capture the best picture of them.

The next morning, we got to relax and hang out at the cafe at Whole Foods Market Orlando. They made some wonderful brunch dishes for us…I think the crowd favorite was their bananas foster stuffed french toast!

Whole Foods had a 5-Star Angus beef carving station and these amazing spinach empanadas as well as Matt’s Organic orange juice – made for wonderful mimosas! And a tofu scramble that was to die for!

Lindsay is such a sweet person. She is one of my best blogging friends and I’m so happy she could attend FBF Orlando! Thanks for all of your help, Lindsay!! From the programs to packing up your rental car and getting up so early with me. Thanks to you and to Taylor too!

I have to thank a few other people too; one of them Curtis my very, very supportive husband. He’s amazingly patient and so supportive of everything I do. I’m a lucky girl!

Dawn and Katie, thanks for your help before and during the event! Jeanette, Carrie and Megan, thank you for waking up so early and helping us set up on Saturday morning!

Taken by Guy Michelier of Simply Recipes

I really wish I lived closer to both Todd & Diane as well as Scott & Jaden. They are such generous people. Thank you to the four of you for starting Food Blog Forum, I will be forever grateful. I hope that my contributions to FBF and in other ways amounts to a fraction of how much you all pay it forward in the community.

Photo taken by Angie. We were all smiling about something that Scott said! I wonder what it was.

It was a magical weekend made possible by our hosting sponsor Walt Disney World Resort. We had other wonderful sponsors as well including: KitchenAid, Land O’Lakes Deli Cheese, OXO and Whole Foods Market. A huge thank you!! It was great working with all of our sponsors and I loved that they shared so much with our attendees. The prizes were absolutely amazing this year, including two KitchenAid major appliances, wonderful prize packs from OXO as well as Land O’Lakes!

I also wanted to mention thank yous to the following companies for providing some great prizes as well as our other sponsors:  Le Creuset, Scharffen Berger, Lifetime Brands, Downtown Food & Wine Fest, Edgeware, Visit Kissimmee, Bob’s Red Mill, Goo Goo Clusters, Spice Islands and King Arthur Flour.

Visit more write-ups from some of our attendees:

48 Responses to “Food Blog Forum Orlando 2012 at Walt Disney World”

  1. 1
    Kelly Senyei — March 28, 2012 @ 3:07 pm

    What an incredibly thorough and gorgeous write-up, Julie! Thank you so much for organizing such a spectacular weekend. Can’t wait to catch up at BlogHer Food!


    • JulieD replied: March 30th, 2012 @ 1:02 pm

      Thank you, Kelly! I can’t wait to see you in Seattle. Thank you again for speaking at FBF!


  2. 2
    Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. — March 28, 2012 @ 3:29 pm

    amazing post!! Thanks so much for another amazing conference! I have been to 3 now, and I don’t want to miss another one. This is the warmest, best atmosphere and group of people, and I can’t say enough about my gratitude to you. I am honored to know you, and i appreciate you including my recap as well


    • JulieD replied: March 30th, 2012 @ 1:03 pm

      Thank you so much, Alison! Thanks for speaking at our event. I love the FBF events too…it’s a testament to the generosity of Jaden, Scott, Todd & Diane. So glad be friends, Alison!


  3. 3
    Rachel @ Baked by Rachel — March 28, 2012 @ 3:31 pm

    It’s been so fun reading all of these posts on FBF. It truly sounds like everyone had such an amazing time and learned a ton too. Fingers crossed it’s just as awesome next year and that I can actually go! :)


  4. 4
    Aggie — March 28, 2012 @ 3:46 pm

    What an event!! You worked hard Julie and it showed, the location, the speakers, the FOOD…it was all spectacular. I am so happy to have been able to attend 2 years in a row, I took something different with me each time.

    I would kill for one of those empanadas right now.


    • JulieD replied: March 30th, 2012 @ 1:04 pm

      Thank you, Aggie. You’re such a dear friend and I don’t think I can say how much I appreciate you!! So thankful for last year’s FBF because we got to finally meet in person. You’re amazing and always believe in what you’re doing. I’m so proud of you!! They sell those empanadas btw!


  5. 5
    Heather — March 28, 2012 @ 3:53 pm

    Great recap! A huge thanks to you for organizing! It was the best weekend ever & I was so glad to meet you & so many other amazing food bloggers. Can’t wait for the next one :)


  6. 6
    Julius Droolius — March 28, 2012 @ 4:04 pm

    Great post! Thanks for all your hard work to make FBF Orlando happen! Had such a good time and learned lots. Can’t wait for the next one :)


    • JulieD replied: March 30th, 2012 @ 1:05 pm

      So glad, Julius!! Thank you for your awesome post too!


  7. 7
    Cookin' Canuck — March 28, 2012 @ 4:05 pm

    This was such a great recap, Julie. I heard that this was a fantastic event – congratulations! I love the suspended martini appetizers and am trying to figure out how I could pull that off in my house. 😉


  8. 8
    Katie — March 28, 2012 @ 4:10 pm

    First off THANK YOU for organizing such an amazing FBF. I’m so glad I could assist you and make your life a smidge easier!

    I agree with you–I never knew how amazing our food blogging community was until I started writing my own blog, and for that I’m so incredibly grateful. I too, am forever grateful for Jaden, Scott, Todd, and Diane’s wealth of knowledge and sharing their passion for food and blogging with all of us.


    • JulieD replied: March 30th, 2012 @ 1:05 pm

      xoxo! You’re so awesome, Katie!


  9. 9
    Amy @ The Nifty Foodie — March 28, 2012 @ 4:10 pm

    Looks like everyone had a fantastic time! From the looks of it, you organized quite an event! :-) I hope to able to attend an FBF sometime in the near future.


  10. 10
    the wicked noodle — March 28, 2012 @ 4:17 pm

    Wow, what a great time you had!! I haven’t been to this but it’s on my food blog bucket list. Looks like it was absolutely worth the trip :-)


  11. 11
    Sommer@ASpicyPerspective — March 28, 2012 @ 4:45 pm

    Julie, you are so CUTE! Looks like the food was incredible.


  12. 12
    Averie @ Averie Cooks — March 28, 2012 @ 4:59 pm

    I hate myself for not going! I was going to go, and then didn’t know if I’d “know” anyone, so I didn’t register. I knew you were organizing it to some extent, I guess I knew that? but I didn’t connect the dots well enough because had I known, I would have been there!

    I was at an event with Todd, Diane, Rachel, and others a couple weeks ago at their studio and it was so re-charging and awesome being around all that great energy. I wish I could have been at FBF!!!


    • JulieD replied: March 30th, 2012 @ 1:06 pm

      Aww bummed! Yep…when it comes to FBF Orlando, that’s me! :) Hope we get to meet in person soon!! Are you going to BlogHer Food in Seattle?


  13. 13
    Julie @ Table for Two — March 28, 2012 @ 5:18 pm

    you’re incredible, Julie! thanks for all your hardwork in putting together an unforgettable event. It was my first FBF and I know it won’t be my last!! <3 so great to meet you too! xo


    • JulieD replied: March 30th, 2012 @ 1:06 pm

      So great to meet you too! I hope we get to hang out and actually talk the next time I see you!


  14. 14
    Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen — March 28, 2012 @ 6:23 pm

    What an event! I’ve got to make it out to one, maybe next year!


  15. 15
    Jeanette — March 28, 2012 @ 9:17 pm

    Julie, thank you for organizing some an incredible event. I am in awe of everything you did to make this happen, along with all the other volunteers and speakers. I loved the smaller size of this conference and the content was so relevant. And, of course, it was a nice way to meet other bloggers and especially, to see you again, in person!


  16. 16
    Nikki — March 28, 2012 @ 10:27 pm

    Great post, Julie! I love that you talked me into doing stand-by so I could go to such a wonderful event! Thank you (again and again) for doing such a fabulous job!


  17. 17
    Grishma @ZaikaZabardast — March 28, 2012 @ 11:16 pm

    It was one of the best event I have ever been to! Julie, you nailed it girl :) Absolutely enjoyed every second of it and got to learn tons :)


    • JulieD replied: March 30th, 2012 @ 1:08 pm

      Very sweet of you! Glad you could make it!


  18. 18
    Laura @ GotChocolate — March 29, 2012 @ 12:09 am

    Wow, wow, WOOOOOOOOOOW! I’m SO impressed with all you and everybody else did to make this such a HUGE success, Julie! What an amazing event! 😀


  19. 19
    Lisa [With Style and Grace] — March 29, 2012 @ 12:37 am

    So proud of you and all your hard work, Julie! This was a wonderful recap and sounds/looks like an absolute success. Hopefully you’re well rested and recovered from everything :) See you in June!! xo


    • JulieD replied: March 30th, 2012 @ 1:07 pm

      Lisa, thank you so much!! I can’t wait until June!! We have to make a lunch date! :)


  20. 20
    Bunkycooks — March 29, 2012 @ 7:22 am

    Looks like you did an incredible job of putting this event together! Disney really went all out! So sorry I was not able to attend. Three times is the charm, so hopefully I will get there for the 3rd Orlando FBF! :-)


  21. 21
    Marly — March 29, 2012 @ 9:06 am

    Wow, Julie, it looks like another great conference! You do such a great job with these. This one looks almost as spectacular as the one at Nashville! (smile) Hope you can get some R&R now that it’s all over…at least until you start planning the next one!


  22. 22
    Kim Bee — March 29, 2012 @ 1:36 pm

    Julie first thanks so much for all of your hard work. You pulled it off beautifully. I had the time of life at this conference. I still need to post part 3 of mine which was the conference portion. Sadly I took so few pictures as I was furiously taking notes. I am so glad I got to meet you however briefly. I hope you got a chance to look at the book. Hope to see you at another conference where we talk a bit more. Are you doing Blogher Food in June?


    • JulieD replied: March 30th, 2012 @ 1:07 pm

      Thank you so much! So glad you came! I am going to BlogHer Food in June! If you go, I hope to get to see you!


  23. 23
    Paula- bell'alimento — March 29, 2012 @ 1:39 pm

    My family & I had the best time! Thank you SO much for your hard work organizing everything. You are a rockstar & I’m so happy to call you my friend xoxo See you SOON!


  24. 24
    Candace — March 29, 2012 @ 3:24 pm

    How amazing is that! I will have to try and make the next one and I just went to the forum for the first time, loving it already!


  25. 25
    Melinda@LookWhatMomFoundandDadtoo! — March 29, 2012 @ 8:56 pm

    what an awesome opportunity!


  26. 26
    Rachel @Following In My Shoes — March 30, 2012 @ 10:07 am

    LOVE this, Julie, and I am in awe of you and this blog. You have worked so hard to create a great blog and presence…AND, you love help and support others.

    The Forum event sounds and looks like an amazing experience….as a wanna-be foodie, I would love, love, love to attend this.

    Oh, and I would totally go for the desserts too.



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  28. 27
    jen @ one curly fry — March 30, 2012 @ 1:19 pm

    What an awesome opportunity! I’m so glad I had the chance to attend! Thanks so much for all you did to make it happen!


  29. 28
    Hanan — March 30, 2012 @ 5:51 pm

    I bet you had just a blast there! Looks like a cook’s heaven =P


  30. 29
    Diane {Created by Diane} — March 31, 2012 @ 1:08 am

    looks like it was a WONDERFUL event, so wish I could have been there!


  31. 30
    Joanne and Adam — April 4, 2012 @ 3:57 pm

    Thanks for the awesome recap! FBF Disney looked simply amazing. We miss everyone but we can at least live through all of the stories and posts.


    • JulieD replied: April 4th, 2012 @ 4:22 pm

      Missed you both too! Hope you’re doing well and we need to catch up soon!


  32. 31
    Wanda — April 10, 2012 @ 11:14 am

    Julie, Food Blog Forum is always a great experience. This year was absolutely amazing, I don’t really know how you can work so hard and still look so calm. Keep me in mind if you ever need some help. I’m not at the top of food bloggers, I’m more of a newbie, but I would love to be of some help.
    Great recap of the event and you are the Wonder Woman of Food Blogging Forum! Hugs to you!


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