Having attended this event in 2015 to say I was surprised to receive a second invitation this year would be an understatement! Although I had other media trips on my calendar, I quickly re-scheduled those and signed right up! Why? Well, lots of reasons. I visit Walt Disney World® Resort 7 or 8 times a year. Even though I love Walt Disney World, I am rarely “WOWed” any more. Then why do I go? I go because I love the atmosphere. I love the cleanliness. I love the concepts, the family-friendly ideals that Walt Disney believed in and created. I love that my food allergy suffering daughter can eat anywhere on Walt Disney World property without worry. I love that my adult children still smile and laugh and ride Dumbo with a child-like abandon. I love that my granddaughter can be thrilled by all the same things that thrilled my children. I love that I can travel there alone and feel safe. I love sharing my Disney knowledge and memories with anyone that will listen. I love that the magic of Disney makes us forget about all the troubles of the world – just for a little bit as we walk down the middle of Main Street, U.S.A. I love the friends I have made through the Disney community. The list of reasons why I continue to visit and love Walt Disney World is long. Oh, and there’s Mickey Mouse too – I love Mickey Mouse!
“I only hope that we don’t lose sight of one thing-that it was all started by a mouse” ~ Walt Disney
Even though I may not always be WOWed by a visit to Walt Disney World Resort, I knew I would be WOWed by the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration. I knew I would come away inspired, motivated and ready to take on whatever the blogging world throws my way. I knew I would be among friends, some new – some old. I knew I would learn about all the new things coming to Walt Disney World that I could add to my list of “must do’s” for my next family trip. And I was right!
The Disney Social Media Moms Celebration is a highly-coveted, invitation only, exclusive event held each year in May. The event continues to be one of the most prestigious conferences for social media influencers. It is the only conference that is family friendly. In fact, Disney welcomes the entire influencer family with open arms, special events for spouses and children, and over the top entertainment to keep the entire clan happy. Although my family was unable to attend with me this year, the Disney family, social media friends and the entire event team welcomed me and others who attended solo into the middle of it all.
“A man should never neglect his family for business” ~Walt Disney
The celebration is part conference, part Disney press event, part vacation and great food. One thing is certain – it is done in an over the top, fabulous and awesome way – in the way that only Disney can do. It is truly a celebration. A celebration of family and life. Social media influencers are given the opportunity to network, spend time with old friends, make new friends, make special memories and be inspired by and learn from industry leaders. All evening events are for influencer and family and there are special events just for families while the influencers attend the day long session. The invitees include a wide range and perfect mix of general non-Disney mom and dad bloggers and some bloggers that focus a great deal of their site to Disney information. No one knows how to get invited to this event but it has been said that Disney looks for bloggers who fit their family friendly brand and are active across multiple social media platforms.
Thursday evenings welcoming dinner was held at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park where attendees were treated to outstanding food, great entertainment and a preview of what guests will see when the park begins staying open later in the evenings. Rivers of Light will definitely be something no visitor to Walt Disney World will want to miss.
The conference sessions and accommodations were once again held at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort – One of my favorite resorts, with a great location.
The day long session for influencers on Friday was motivational, inspiring, informative and full of entertainment.
The event was hosted by Leanne Jakubowsi O’Regan, Director, Public Relations, Walt Disney World Resort and Mark Daniel, Actor/Comedian. The speakers at this year’s session included:
- George A. Kalogridis, President, Walt Disney World Resort (Awaken Summer)
- Theron Skees, Walt Disney Imagineering (Disney Springs)
- Mark Renfrow, Walt Disney Creative Entertainment (Rivers of Light, Animal Kingdom)
- Nancy Kanter, Disney Channel (New Disney Junior shows)
- Suzanne Todd, Producer, “Alice Through the Looking Glass”
- Lindsey Collins, Producer, “Finding Dory” (including preview of the movie)
- Erin Glover, Editorial Content Director, Disney Parks Blog (Creating good content)
- Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Editorial Content Manager, Disney Parks Blog
- Charisma Star, Make-up Artist, YouTube Influencer
- Abigail Atzkin, Disney/Dream Big Princess
- Meg Way, Kimberly Clark
- Melanie Huett, Kimberly Clark
All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them ~ Walt Disney
Mixed in-between speakers is entertainment, giveaways and lots of fun – in that special way that only Disney can do!
During lunch on Friday (sponsored by Hanes), attendees were treated to a discussion of summer trends using Hanes products by Lara Backmender, Stylist. Lara shared some of the great tips she uses with her own clients that include Avon, Bloomingdales, Kate Spade, Lord & Taylor, InStyle, Seventeen, Demi Lovato, Hayden Panetiere, Jessica Simpson, Katy Perry, Reese Witherspoon, Scarlet Johannson and Taylor Swift.
Friday evening attendees and families enjoyed a beach party bash at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon and on Saturday morning a screening of “Alice Through the Looking Glass” as well as a behind the construction walls tour of the Town Center area of Disney Springs™.
“Movies can and do have tremendous influence in shaping young lives in the realm of entertainment towards the ideals and objectives of normal adulthood” ~ Walt Disney
I came away from my weekend loving Disney more and feeling on top of the blogging world! I am in awe of the team that puts this event together with such precision and down to the minute exactness. They included a perfect line-up of speakers to inspire, teach and motivate and made every family feel special. They definitely put the “WOW” in my visit!
A huge thank you to the entire Disney Social Media team that works so hard to put this event together. A special thanks to Leanne O’Regan, Jamie Langdon and Jennifer Wilkes. Many thanks to the sponsors who generously shower attendees with gifts – Alamo, Kimberly Clark, Hanes, GoGo Squeeze, American Tourister, Mylan, Disney Merchandise, Joffrey.
I paid a conference fee which entitled me to my resort stay, park passes, entertainment and meals. All opinions are my own.