A Disney message seen throughout the event – taught throughout the event – and a lesson learned! Be inspired! When you attend an event of this kind, you can’t help but come home inspired!
Disney Social Media Moms Celebration is one of the most coveted invites sent out each year to some very lucky bloggers. Space is limited. You can only attend by invitation. It’s a big deal! It’s Disney! I spent the last few years watching with envy as good friends, other bloggers I work with, and others packed their bags and headed off to Walt Disney World® Resort to attend the conference. I honestly had given up any thought of attending myself. As with most bucket-list wishes, things happen when you least expect it and in March while standing in line to head into the Haunted Mansion in the Magic Kingdom® I randomly checked my e-mails (after seeing some tweets that the invites might be on the way), preparing myself mentally to not receive an invite and still smile and congratulate everyone else – and there it was!! An e-mail from WDW Special Events with the subject line: You Are Invited to the Social Media Moms Celebration at the Walt Disney World® Resort! I was shocked! I was stunned! I was giddy like a little school girl!
The invite was made even more magical by the fact that some of the friends I was spending time with at Walt Disney World® received invitations too! After my initial reaction I spent the next few hours trying to absorb and process what the invitation meant to me. Since I visit Walt Disney World® regularly, I didn’t think my excitement was over getting to go to WDW. Since I have gone to many blogger conferences, I didn’t think my excitement was over going to a conference. Since I have been to a few small and one really big Disney media event, I didn’t think my excitement was over that either. Now that I had that coveted invitation in my hand, what exactly made me giddy like a little school girl? Between you and me I left for Walt Disney World® on May 7th still not knowing the answer to that. I have lots of ideas and chances are it is most likely a combination of all of the thoughts that had been swimming around in my head since the day I received that special e-mail.
The conference, held on Mother’s Day weekend, included my family. Woot!! Before I got back home from the trip I was on when I received the invite my family had already decided who would go – just me and my two children – although they will always be my babies – they aren’t anything close to babies at 28 and 31 years old. My little princess granddaughter was staying home – oh no! After getting over that shock I set out planning to spend more time with my adult children than I have spent with them in years and really started looking forward to it.
I went into attending this conference with one thought: No matter how confident or self-assured we are in what we do, there are always many, many others that know more, are much better at it that we can learn from. At the same time there are those less confident and less self-assured that we can help and support. There is always something to learn, to absorb, to understand better. I came away Inspired!
Day 1: Check-in at Disney Yacht Club Resort. Followed by conference registration that set the tone for the rest of our stay. No one on the planet welcomes invitees to an event the way Disney does. Mickey Mouse himself greeted all the attendees as they checked in, along with some of the sponsors of the event. A big bag of swag was handed over, do you want to meet Anna and Elsa or do you want to meet Olaf, don’t be late for the bus to take you to the welcoming reception in World Showcase – my head started to swimming with details!
The first hour of the welcoming reception was for networking with the other attendees. This was a thrill for me. I was not only able to meet bloggers that I have worked with on-line for several years in person but also met ones that I have heard of and once again I was able to see blogger friends that I meet up with during the year. The hour they gave us seemed to zip by in minutes and before I knew buses delivered our families to a welcoming dinner that could only be described with WOW!!! DJ, dancing, great food, caricatures, more great food – all done in that special way that Disney has that makes a party seem so special and makes you feel the party is to celebrate YOU! All of this followed by an Illuminations Dessert Party along the water in World Showcase – OMG! When all was done my family took a leisurely stroll back through Epcot World Showcase to the Yacht Club to get ready for the next full Disney day.
Day 2: My kids took off early to head to Disney’s Hollywood Studios® with strict instructions to NOT BE LATE coming back for the evening family events. Conference day started with breakfast for attendees. Everything at any Disney event runs like a well-oiled machine and this conference was no different. After breakfast we were welcomed by the official DisneySMMC – MC’s, Leanne O’Regan from Disney’s Social Media Office and Comedian Mark Daniel.
Each speaker delivered a message. Each speaker inspired. Each speaker made me stop and think about so many things! The list of speakers for the day:
- Leanne O’Regan, Director of Social Media, Disney Parks & Resorts
- Mark Daniel, Comedian – Event co-Host
- George Kalogrides, President, Walt Disney World Resort
- Eva Smith, Pinterest
- Jonas Rivera, Disney Pixar Animator
- Janice Belgemino, Disney Infinity
- Vivienne Harr, STAND
- Chris Brogran, Author
- Jeffrey Epstein, Disney D23
- Jessica Shyba, MommaGoneCity – Author
- Dr. Tanya Altmann, Disney Imagicademy
- Donald Driver – Author, Former NFL Player
- Chef Gary – Disney Magic of Healthy Living
- Thomas Smith, Disney Parks Blog (Break-out Session)
- Victoria Lim, WDW Managing Editor & Multimedia Journalist (Break-out Session)
The day flew by – one great speaker after another – one great production after another – one great lesson after another – special moment after special moment – gift after gift from sponsors and from Disney – o.k. wait until you hear this! Two bloggers were randomly gifted a night in Cinderella’s Castle – I almost had a stroke just being the same room waiting for Leanne to announce the winners! As a lover of all things Disney for many,many years – the thought of even being in the running for that prize brought tears to my eyes. Dooney & Bourke bags handed out to several lucky winners! Apart from all of those special moments – the lessons learned from the speakers – the lessons learned from the Disney team – the lessons learned from the other attendees – the lessons learned – the lessons learned – the lessons learned!! What I learned will most likely take me days, maybe even weeks, to process. I am a firm believer in learning as much as I can from everyone around me in these situations. Day 2 was such a full day of general sessions/break-out sessions – I know that for a long time something will pop into my head as a lesson learned from one of the moments at DisneySMMC. Day 2 ended with a beach party for our families sponsored by Mylan – more great food – more great music – great desserts – great friends – dancing – exhaustion!
Disney always has the BEST sponsors participate in their events. Sponsors that understand Disney’s messages and appreciate what social media does. A BIG Thank You to the Sponsors:
- Disney Citizenship
- Magic of Healthy Living
- Taylor Morrison
- American Tourister
- GoGo Squeez
- Cool Core
Day 3: My family and I were scheduled to head to Disney’s Hollywood Studios super early to take part in filming on Rock n’ Roller Coaster. I admit it – we were pooped. We didn’t make the bus! I’m old. I was tired. I’m not a fan of going upside down when I’m exhausted. I encouraged them to go without me – they wouldn’t leave me so my entire family missed the bus! So very sorry Disney! But what we did make was the bus to Downtown Disney for a private screening of some of the new movies in production. No spoilers from me (they took all our recording and photo devices away before they would let us in the door) but let me say this – DO NOT MISS “Inside Out” when it is released in June! Based on info. I have been receiving and posting I knew I would like this movie. I LOVED this movie!! I can’t wait to see it again! Especially since I don’t know the end – those sneaky Disney folks cut off the end in our screening so now I’ll be counting the days until it’s out so I can find out what happens! Before the Inside Out screening we saw the new short from Pixar “Lava” that will be shown in theaters before Inside Out! – OMG again! After the screening ended at 11 a.m., we were free to explore all that is Walt Disney World with our family for the remainder of the day and evening so, of course, we headed to Epcot and then Magic Kingdom, and then the Boardwalk and to bed very late – very, very, late!
Day 4: Mother’s Day – A special Mother’s Day Family Breakfast and the end of the the best conference I have ever attended! In typical Disney fashion – overnight they created a wonderful video for all the Mom’s to watch during Mother’s Day breakfast starring many of the children in attendance.
We were also entertained by Voice Play during breakfast. To say we were all WOWWED!!! would be an understatement!
For a long time I will be thinking about what I took away as a blogger from this special event. If you follow my other little site – Free at Last Mom, I recently posted What I Learned About MYSELF at Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2015. Disney has a special way of teaching us all lessons while entertaining us. My experience at this event will always be a major highlight in my journey through life! I came home inspired to focus on areas of social media that I know I need work in – Twitter! Videos! – throw in some work on my Pinterest boards and Boy, do I have my work cut out for me! But – I am INSPIRED!
I was invited to attend the 2015 Disney Social Media Moms Celebration. I received park tickets and a discounted room (practically free) as part of my conference fee. I was not asked to write anything in exchange. All opinions are my own.