/ Thursday, April 26th, 2012

by Jamie Robbins-Longoria

On Sunday April 15th, Navy Pier and Radio Disney hosted a meet and greet with Disney Channel star Zendaya from “Shake It Up”! The meet and greet was to be held between 1-3pm!  I found out about this from a link on Chicago parent on my Facebook feed. I had been wondering when and if the stars from this popular Disney Channel show would ever come to Chicago for a meet and greet since the show is indeed set in Chicago! I was soo happy then when I read the blog post! My 5 year old daughter Kayla is a HUGE fan of this show and I knew I had to take her to this!

I told my Mom about it and told her to keep it a secret because it was still about 5 days away. It was actually hard for me to keep it a secret! We managed to get through the days though and the morning finally came. We woke up about 6:30am and started to get ready. Kayla asked if we were doing anything special, since we usually don’t get ready so early in the day unless it is a school day. I told her I wasn’t sure yet what we were going to do. She doesn’t like not knowing what is going on but I told her just to relax and not to worry but we would have fun!

We left our house at 8:35am and headed into downtown Chicago, about a 25-30 minute drive. It was nice since not too many people were out. We got into the garage at Navy Pier right after 9am. We parked at a great spot right by one of the main entrances! We headed inside into the Family Pavilion where I had read they were to begin giving out wristbands at 10am! Hence, why we were there soo early, after our last experience with the Lemonade Mouth meet I wasn’t taking any chances! I was surprised then when we walked around the corner there was no line or wait, but the Radio Disney road crew were already handing out the wristbands! We received ours for the 2pm time! I had told them that Kayla had no idea what we were doing, so they didn’t mention Zendaya’s name! It was a good time we were told since it was right in the middle so we would definatly be guaranteed to meet her! I thanked them, and we were given a printed map of where the meet would take place. We decided to take a walk down the Pier and find the place so we wouldn’t be lost at our time!

Navy Pier is about a mile long from the main entrance to the end. The meet and greet area was near the end of the pier and about a 10 minute walk from the Family Pavilion area! We found it and chatted with the Radio Disney CM for a few minutes. She had been at the Lemonade Mouth greet and was happy to see us again! I thought it was kinda cool she remembered us!

At this time it was about 9:45am, and we had until about 1:30pm to wait! We decided we would check out the Children’s Museum back in the Family Pavilion area for a while, and then at 11am there was a WTTW event going on that we were meeting Kayla’s best friend and her mom (who is one of my BFFs) for! After the WTTW event, we went into Build a Bear and the girls each got a new animal! Then we went into McDonald’s and got some lunch and sat outside! The girls ate and played for a little while. Then about 1:15pm, we decided to part ways, as they were not doing the meet and greet!

We found a sign on our way and Kayla noticed the “Shake It Up” icon and asked if we were going to the show. I said…maybe, we will see. I was surprised that she had not figured out what was going on yet, especially with soo many girls walking around with “Shake It Up” shirts on, even one girl asked her if she was going to the Zendaya meet!

We walked down and joined the crowd outside who were lining up and listening to the Radio Disney crew who were playing music and dancing with the kids! My mom got in line and I took Kayla over to check out Radio Disney. We noticed a group of people near the window and I figured that was probably where Zendaya was at. So, of course, I took Kay over there, thinking this would be a great way to surprise her! I told her to go to the window and see who was in there! She was hesitant at first but then went over and looked through. For a moment I could tell she couldn’t tell what she was looking for. But then…she saw her! I saw her smile spread across her face and she did that cute excited bounce and turned around and yelled at me, “Mommy, it’s Rocky!!” and ran over to me! I told her “Yes it is!”. She asked, “Am I going to meet her?” “Yes Kayla!” “Oh my gosh! Thank you Mommy!” ((big hugs!)) and she ran back to the window and looked for a few minutes. Of course I had to snap a few pictures of her looking!

We then hung out by Radio Disney for about 25 minutes until it was almost our time to line up to go inside! About 15 minutes before we lined up, Zendaya had came outside, escorted by security to take a quick break. I have never seen sooo many little girls and tweens scream and be soo excited and followed her down the pier! Security and the Radio Disney crew were yelling at people to stay back stay back, which you would think people would be considerate to her, it was just a crazy couple minutes. It was neat though to see her walk by 5 feet away, Kayla was so excited! Within 10 minutes we were inside the building and waiting for our turn to meet Zendaya! Radio Disney was inside also, playing music and asking trivia questions from “Shake It Up”. The line moved quickly and soon we were next up to meet Zendaya! The family in front of us left and Kayla went up to her and said hi! I was trying to get a picture but of course was told to move to the side for pictures. I asked if the CM would take a picture of me and Kay with my cell phone, and my mom had my camera and we got both those pics.

Then my Mom wanted a pic with Kay so we took that one. I should of asked for one with all 3 of us together but they were limiting pictures to 1 or 2 per party. It was nice though how she did her meet, she was posing with each person for pictures and had already pre-signed her pictures that were given afterwards!! I really enjoyed that and appreciated that, made it more personable! Kayla was nervous I could tell, I don’t think she gave her a hug like she wanted to but she did say hi and that she loves her!

We were given our autographed pictures and before we exited the area, they had to cut Kay’s wristband off. I asked if we could keep part of it for her scrapbook and they were kind enough and let me! So I have it to put together in a frame with the pictures!

I asked Kayla what she thought of my surprise of meeting Zendaya! She said it was cool and neat! She wished that Cece had been there too, so I told her next time maybe! (That was strange though since usually Zendaya and Bella Thorne do meets together!) She said it was the best day ever too! Proud Mommy moment! Proud Disney Mommy moment!! I love seeing my beautiful princess soo happy and I am so lucky that I can take her to these great events where she can meet her favorite Disney Channel stars! I wish we wouldn’t get soo tongue tied that we forget to talk to the stars, even though I am sure they are used it it, but I know this will be a great memory that Kayla will keep with her forever!!

Thank you again to the Chicago Radio Disney crew for sponsoring this meet and greet event, as always it was great!! Also, a HUGE Thank you to Zendaya for visiting Chicago!!

Follow Jamie at her blog at www.mydreamingcorner.blogspot.com and follow her on Twitter @jrobbins79

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