As are many people, I am a HUGE fan of Samantha Brown (@samanthabrown) from the Travel Channel. I remember the first time I ever saw her on tv. I was at my friend Suzanne’s house and she just happened to have the tv on the Travel Channel as background noise while I was visiting with her and her triplets. An episode of Great Hotels came on, the one about the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago (yes, I even remember which episode it was from a over a decade ago), and I was instantly captivated. There was just something about Sam (as she often refers to herself, making her immediately more accessible) that sucked you in. It is a certain je ne sais quoi, but I will try to articulate. She reminds me slightly of my best friend in that she is very approachable and friendly. Sam has an affable quality and isn’t afraid to laugh at herself or others when the situation warrants. She doesn’t mind making a fool of herself and likes to have a good time. On tv, she appears to be about one of the most down to earth people that you just want to be friends with, and she is in person too. I know because I had the pleasure of meeting her in the fall of 2010. And it all happened through the magic of twitter.
So Sam was one of the first celebrities I followed on twitter. I love following her globetrotting adventures as I have watching her numerous series from Great Hotels to Girl Meets Hawaii, Great Vacation Homes, Passport to Europe, Latin America and China, as well as all of her specials on the Travel Channel. I still think the Great Hotels series is my favorite since she visited WDW on more than one occasion to cover episodes on the Grand Floridian, Wilderness Lodge and Animal Kingdom Lodge. On top of this Sam has had more than a handful of Disney specials and continues to work with Disney on a regular basis cover the launches of the new cruise ships, Aulani and co-hosting the Disney Parks Christmas Parade in 2011. She is very endearing and can talk to just about anyone.
Anyways, I would tweet her every once in a while and never got a response until I realized that my account was set to private and she couldn’t see my tweets since she doesn’t follow me. Then, one day, after my friend Mary Jo Collins (@mojodisney) got a response from her, I decided to tweet Sam. Amazingly I got a reply! I couldn’t believe it. I was actually interacting with my favorite tv personality. I was in seventh heaven. Of course, I didn’t just let it go at a simple one time chance tweet, so I continued to tweet with Sam every so often and then, it happened. She confirmed she was coming to Disney World to film for a special. Here is how the conversation went:
So that is how it all came about. Through the wonders of social media I was able to meet one of the coolest and nicest people. For her to take time to say hi to me from her busy shooting schedule for the filming of the special Best Places I’ve Ever Been: Disney Memories, was completely amazing. Sam was very gracious and did keep me posted, just like she said she would. As she was escorted in by Cast Members and producers, a line quickly formed in the UK to meet her. I had been hanging out with one of my twitter friends, Susan (@marypoppins68), whom I had just met merely minutes before, when I got the message and we headed to the UK. If it weren’t for Susan, I wouldn’t have the awesome picture of me and Sam because I couldn’t get my silly blackberry to stop tweeting to be able to take a picture. I was next in line and then the CMs tried to whisk Sam away, but I protested (politely) telling Sam that I was @floridamingo with whom she had been tweeting. Immediately, Sam said to the CMs that she had a few minutes and insisted on getting a picture with me and we spoke for a few minutes. I couldn’t believe she did that just for me! After we met, she did have to get back to work and I snapped a few pictures of the filming. When she and her friend were on a break I approached Sam again and mentioned a few drinks she might like since it was during the International Food & Wine Festival and we all know she occasionally enjoys an adult beverage. She seemed to appreciate the tip and I went on my merry way with my mission accomplished.
I set out to meet Samantha Brown and I did just that. Despite the fact that I had two other trips planned for later that month, I booked a trip just for this opportunity. No, I’m not a stalker, I swear, but I really appreciate producing quality entertainment that is also somewhat educational and lets the rest of us live vicariously through it. It was an awesome experience and I actually spoke with Sam on another occasion as a call in guest during a fundraiser by the Be Our Guest Podcast crew. To be able to speak with her again was very cool and she even seemed to remember me (or at least pretended for my sake). For someone to put forth that effort for there fans is rare and I respect how gracious and friendly Sam was during both our in person and phone conversations. I can’t wait to see the next series or special that she has coming up as well as her continued association with Disney.
Here is a link to the special Sam filmed that day. She is up first so don’t be scared by the length:
Pictures from that day of the filming: