Warning: A non-numeric value encountered in /home/yourtrav/public_html/abundancemagnified.com/wp-content/themes/valenti/library/core.php on line 1610
Teach Them Diligently Homeschool conference Nashville Comprehensive Review
Safe
Clean
Convenient
Value
Orderly
Overall
The best parts!
  • Knowledgable and approachable speakers
  • Curriculums galore
  • Wonderful family or parents only weekend event
The not so best parts.
  • Dining options could get expensive
  • Lots of walking in the parking lots
4.5Stars!

Teach Them Diligently Homeschool Conference held at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel Nashville 2015

Event and Venue Review

 

Review Criteria:

Safe, Clean, Convenient, Value, Orderly, Overall, Repeat purchase, Things to know

 

Safe:

The specific event being reviewed was held at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tn. The hotel is family/stroller/wheelchair accessible. The large atriums allowed participants to escape the caged feeling that sometimes accompanies large scale events.

While the crowds were large, there was enough area designated for the conference I did not fear losing my 3 year old in the mix. The areas were well marked and minimal effort needed for navigation.

Parking and late night areas were well secured and ample staff were present in the full service hotel to assist if you needed anything. Electrical cords in presentation rooms were taped down well and the electronics for presentations were placed on stable surfaces. Enough time was scheduled between events so there were not mass exoduses between seminars causing bottlenecks in the halls.

Even though this is a huge family event with ages from babies to grandparents attending, there was no hallway congestion causing safety issues. I was impressed at the crowd management. This is a very stroller friendly event.

My only safety concern was the water temperature in the bathrooms for the sinks. They were auto-adjusted for one temperature and hands free controlled. The water was VERY hot. Almost too hot to wash my hands, but certainly too hot for my children to use. After potty breaks we would use the many hand sanitizing stations throughout the hotel to save their hands from the searing water.

Another mom expressed concern that the rooms door knobs were too easy for her child to open, causing her concern the children “may escape” the room too easily.

 

As with all travel, check your bill diligently to be certain you are charged correctly and not accidentally charged another rooms meals and purchases.  Full service hotels require no more than your room number to pay for dining and some purchases.  Please be conscientious to enter your correct room number on tickets and check your bill.  The hotel will correct the error if it is brought to their attention.  Also, be certain to protect your cash and card information.  Events such as these are always plagued with petty criminals scanning and snatching personal information.  Men should consider carrying wallets in their front pocket and women keeping smaller cross body purses to lessen the occurrence of theft. Check your accounts regularly whenever traveling and never take unnecessary forms of payment on a vacation.  

 

Clean:

The staff is diligent in maintaining the grounds of the hotel. The bathrooms were cleaned regularly and I did not have to hunt for a “clean” toilet on our many bathroom breaks.

Drinking water stations in all the seminar rooms were graciously placed and reset after ever talk. Trash receptacles were readily available and there was not any trash lying about in the halls.

The dining experiences were orderly and the table bussed in regular intervals.

The hotel had a pleasant odor with no lingering cleaning product smells. I had the privilege of drinking my morning coffee on our room’s balcony where I watched a lovely woman we nicknamed “Betty” clean the sidewalk and flower beds in the Delta Atrium. She took great care and preformed her job meticulously.

The hallways in the room corridors are wide enough to accommodate foot traffic and housekeeping carts. Many times it was faster to use rooms’ hallways than the atriums since they tended to take a more direct path to reach the other end of the facility. So while staff worked hard to maintain cleanliness, you are not disturbed by their presence. It was a refreshing change to other hotel layouts.

The rooms were very clean and pleasant smelling. No cleaner or conditioned air smells as we entered the room. I appreciate this is a non-smoking hotel.

 

Convenient:

Prepare to walk if you are staying at this hotel, and even more so if you are attending the event and staying off site. It is a large complex covering acre after acre of ground with many atriums having three levels.

Get a map and keep it in your pocket till you are familiar enough with the layout to make your way around. There are maps placed at kiosks around the hotel in case you do get lost (you will).

All of the atriums have restaurant and shopping options. The less expensive “quick dine” options did tend to have long waits at meal times where would be patrons need to stand for long periods of time while waiting.

If you are staying on site I recommend Valet parking. The parking lots are huge. And if you are leaving the property to get meals or see other sites in the area, it can save you substantial time overall. Prepare to wait 15 minutes for valet to retrieve your car.

There are many local restaurants and shopping in the area around Gaylord Opryland including Opry Mills Mall next door.

Value:

The conference price was gradually increased from around ~$40 in the fall of 2014 to the day of the event landing at a price a little north of $70 for the entire at home family and grandparents. Even at its highest price, the event is a steal. The value of the conference is incredible.

The hotel negotiated rates were also phenomenal. It was expensive for a moderate hotel but not as a full service resort with the inclusion of so many resort amenities. Self-parking was discounted from $21 to $5 for attendees and the resort fees (~$18) were waived for registered guests.

Area hotels were comparably priced since this can be a high demand tourist location. But being onsite was too good to pass up for the same price as staying offsite. The conference and hotel were terrific values.

The food however was pricey. Room service was high with prices matching boutique hotels in NYC and DC. Opryland touts three levels of pricing for its restaurants designated by $, $$, $$$.   Bottled waters were $2.50-3. Sausage biscuits were $6.50. Entrees at dinner started at $25 most places. Kid’s meals averaged $9. Bottom line – if you are on a tight budget, utilize the mini fridge in your room and splurge on valet parking and get meals offsite when necessary. $28 a day for Valet is a steal when it saves you time and money for getting food offsite but it is not a deal breaker.  If $28 for valet parking is a deal breaker just remember where you parked and plan for a few extra minutes.

The lines at the $ eateries were always a bit long and many attendees were better off eating at the $$ restaurants to save time.

The 2015 hotel reservations could also be cancelled or modified up to 72 hours before check-in.

The TTD event registration could also be transferred or picked up by another party if need be, allowing those who could not attend to pass their registration on to another family easily.

 

Orderly:

Teach Them Diligently has their organization down pat. Many organizations could take a cue from TTD on how to pull off large scale events. The marketing, scheduling, and information pack was wonderfully organized. I appreciated their magazine with a vendor’s booth map and a schedule of events.

All sessions were well marked and there were ample staff to handle attendee needs. The event ran on time.

Check-in for the Hotel can take a bit of time with so many people checking in at once. Bring a copy of your reservation, photo id, and form of payment with you to your room check-in. If you use a debit card, the full charge of your room will be held from check-in. Check in was orderly but many people were not savvy travelers and held up the line. Maps and good directions to your room were given by the registration desk.

It is still unclear to me whether you need to be registered for the event in order to attend the vendor show. I saw several people from other conferences also being held in the hotel browsing through the aisle.

While I would not recommend only going to the vendor show, if you are like me and live equally spaced between two of their events it seems ideal to be able to spend an entire day browsing without needing to go back and forth between sessions. I hope to get clarification on this in the near future.

 

Overall:

I give this event a 4 1/2 star rating. It was presented as billed. The hotel, sessions, and vendor hall were impeccable. The event was economical and fun.

It loses 1/2 star for lacking an economical prepared food option. Meals at this event could prove to be a budget buster for some families, especially those without knowledge of the Gaylord hotel parking abyss and the time it could take to get offsite for other options.

 

Repeat purchase:

Absolutely! See you there next year!

 

Things to know:

  1. Attend all three days. It is worth it.

  2. Parking at this event can be distant. Be prepare to walk if self-parking and there are no baggage carts for the self-parking area usually. That can be a difficult prospect for a family toting kids, bags, coolers, and whatnots.

  3. Pack light.

  4. Valet park, if possible, if you have a family and may leave the resort. It will help with off-site meal planning and save you in the long run on your food budget.

  5. Use your Mini fridge to bring snacks. There is not a microwave in the room.

  6. There is a coffee maker that made a decent cup of coffee in the room. Leave a note for the housekeeping to leave extra cups (paper) for the kids to use and extra coffee service for the adults.   (I never feel comfortable with my kids using the glassware in a hotel.)

  7. Gaylord Opryland is a full service hotel. Be prepared to tip the valet and bellman.

  8. Use the bag check by registration on your last morning at the hotel. There is no need to haul your luggage with you to the seminar.

  9. If you book an off-site hotel, try to stay no more than 1 exit away. Nashville is a very confusing city to drive in. You will still pay a parking fee, so include that in your event budget.

  10. Take mess free play items for your kids at the event. And no more than they can carry themselves.

  11. Almost every booth has an email list sign-up “giveaway”. Bring your info preprinted on return address mailing labels. Name, phone number, email, and a few with your address. Your hand will thank you.

  12. Consider opening a second email address to send all of the mailing list items too as well.   It will give you time to go through and filter out what doesn’t really interest you without flooding your main inbox.

  13. Don’t carry any more stuff than necessary. You will get stuff galore to carry. Consider a hands free bad big enough for catalogs and a rolling cart for curriculum. Consider ordering once you get home or see if the vendor will offer free shipping for event purchases.

  14. Bring an open mind. You will discover something you didn’t even know existed.

  15. Carry a small notebook and pen for notes.

  16. Wear comfortable walking shoes, you will walk a lot.

  17. The atriums are kept a comfortable temperature. Most people will be comfortable in a light sleeve. The rooms are not “event chilly” so no need for that extra layer. Seasonable light layers should be fine.

  18. Free water was available at all the sessions. Stay hydrated. Consider refilling an empty water bottle to minimize spills by your kids (and yourself) in the seating areas. There are no napkins in the event rooms.

  19. Bring gum, mints, Chap Stick, tissue, and lotion (from the room) to stay comfortable all day.

  20. Link up with the event social media Facebook pages for more tips and changes as the event approaches.

 

Please note, many of these suggestions could be found on the Teach them Diligently Nashville Facebook page. Previous attendees are excited to help newbies prepare. Posts are monitored and questions were quickly answered.

 

This is a review of the 2015 Nashville Event and is my personal opinion.  Please contact the Conference directly with questions as policies may change or not be represented in their entirety.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About The Author

As a wife and mother, everyday is an adventure. 15 years in business management/education barely prepared me for a life now ruled by two under the age of 6. Join me in this journey. I hope to hear from you soon.

Related Posts

One Response