I was invited to the #Disneysmmc
Disney Social Media Moms Celebration
“There is a place where amazing things happen, just to put a smile on the face of a child. Where skies sparkle. And moments of wonder get to live forever as your memories. A place where brothers and sisters actually get along. And families get to experience that rare delight of……simply being a family. There is a place where magic lives. Welcome, to Walt Disney World.”
– excerpt from a 1990s Disney Vacation Guide VHS. Disney Social Media Moms Celebration.
As many of you know I am a huge Disney fan. I grew up on the movies and my dad would take us to Disney too many times to count. Disney World was my summer home. Any problems that were happening at home would disappear inside Disney world. I have the best childhood memories with my brothers and sister inside of Disney. The atmosphere, the music, the impeccable surroundings – it was all the dream of one man. Walter Elias Disney. As a child I was fascinated with Walt Disney. I truly admire the man. In fact, I even named my son after him!
But Walt Disney represents so much more to me than the Disney empire he built. He represents triumph after failure. He chased a dream. Not for profit but for fun, for entertainment, for education. He worked to create – not for greed. That is why I am a Disney Blogger.
I recently had the great honor and privilege to be invited to the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration Conference in February 2018. It is a conference that celebrates Disney Mommy (and Daddy) bloggers, while teaching us better social media strategies, and giving us the inside scoop to what’s coming next in the Disney franchise. I came home with so much new information, so many family memories, and brand new friendships. I found my “tribe” and the Disneysmmc was life changing for me. Here’s what happened!
Tuesday, February 20th
We arrived to the Disney Coronado Springs Resort in the afternoon. We noticed all the other bloggers funnel in as they rolled their new blue American Tourister suitcases. I checked in as a Social Media Mom and was handed that glorious sparkly lanyard! They also gave us a backpack with the Disneysmmc logo that was filled with goodies. The best freebie inside the backpack was a pair of plush mickey ears! (Boy, did I feel special!) As I slapped on some make up and got ready for the Influencers Reception, I had this one Hamilton Musical song stuck in my head. “I am not throwning away my shot. I am not throwing away my shot!” I was determined to make the most of this opportunity and not throw away my shot! I was going to soak it all in! As I chose a table, I saw a very approachable girl and sat beside her. It was Shareen from PearlsandParis!!! She recognized me from a my Facebook blogger group “Traffic Boom“. She had recently joined my FB group. How incredible that of all the bloggers to sit by, the universe drew me to her. On the other side of me was Jessica, the beautiful healthy blogger “The Healthy Mouse“. So things were going great. Disney opened the reception by giving away a one night stay inside Cinderellas Castle. I was flipping out, this was legit amazing. We got an introduction to what would follow in the days to come and then the party started.
The Influencers and families were all invited to a welcome dinner sponsored by Mini Babybel. They had postcards on the table to fill out that get mailed to our men and women in the service. I loved this idea and my kids filled out a couple. But the best part was that the whole dinner was Pixar Themed! This is the year of Pixar, there are many new movies coming out and the highly anticipated Toy Story Land opens in Hollywood Studios June 30th. Read all about here. We got to meet all the classic Pixar Characters and explore the gorgeous Coronado Resort. This resort has a Spaniard style theme so Daisy and I dressed up like Elena of Avalor. Coronado Springs totally feels like Avalor.
Wednesday, February 21st
At 6am all the bloggers and families had luxury private transportation to the Animal Kingdom Park. They opened the park early just for us! We had a beautiful sunrise buffet breakfast inside Pandora. We got to see Pandora all bioluminescent in the dark and as the sun rose, we saw the details of this mysterious land. We rode the two rides Na’vi River Journey and the EPIC Avatar Flight of Passage as many times as we wanted before the park opened. I’ve ridden every ride in Walt Disney World many times. Avatar Flight of Passage is THE BEST RIDE IN DISNEY. I understand why the wait time hits 2 hours or more. See more of Pandora here. The best part of this morning was meeting another family that we instantly clicked with. I don’t know what it was, but I felt like we had been friends forever with the famous Portland Mom Blogger, This Messy Season. Our kids bonded, our husbands became besties, and we will definitely keep in touch.
After the Safari, Bone Yard, Meeting Pocahontas and It’s a bugs life, we waved goodbye to the Tree of Life. We went back to the Coronado Resort and the kids took a 2 hour nap. (Me and my husband made THIS VIDEO while the kids slept.) We then took a bus to Hollywood Studios to meet a special Imagineer to get the inside scoop about Toy Story Land. We rode Toy Story Mania twice with our special #Disneysmmc fastpasses and ended up at PizzeRizzo for a delicious buffet dinner provided by GoGo SqueeZ. This great company had crayons and coloring pages for the kids to be entertained. The coloring pages had a little contest and the winner will win a years supply of GoGo SqueeZ!
We waited for the fireworks, but there were technical difficulties with the sound. On the sad bus rise home I met the loveliest mommy bloggers! On one bus ride I met Nadia and she is the CEO of www.funwithmama.com! What a pleasure meeting her.
I also met Diana, the founder and editor of TravelingInHeels.com
A very particularly sweet blogger named Kerri was motivating. She is a teacher, mom, traveler, blogger from NYC. She writes RaisingThreeSavvyLadies.com. Don’t you love her blog handle?
We went back to the hotel and finished editing THIS VIDEO late into the night. GoGo Squeez had a special surprise waiting for us in our room!
Thursday, February 22nd
This day started with a delicious bang! Alamo provided a huge family breakfast with some super fun characters. We filled up and the bloggers sped off to General Session 1. My husband and kids met up with This Messy Season’s husband and kids. They had a fun filled day at Blizard Beach. Meanwhile, the bloggers had 4 straight hours of Disney magical intel. I felt like a secret agent with all the “never before seen” information. There is a lot to look forward to inside and outside the parks. The amount of Star Wars-ness that is coming to Disney is incredible. Read all about every new Star Wars detail before it’s released to the formal press HERE. The influencers learned about what all the new construction is for and the heart warming movies that are set to release in the next year. After the general session, we had an exclusive Disneysmmc expo where we could meet the speakers of the general session and engage with event sponsors. We received so much swag. I’ve never passed out so many business cards in my life! I made some real connections that afternoon. My business and brand definitely grew at the showcase event. If you’re curious, here’s a look at my Media Kit.
Afterwards, I grabbed a delicious Joffreys Latte and hopped over to EPCOT. My family and I rode the Frozen ride twice with our magical Disneysmmc Fastpasses. We ate a delicious Cantonese meal at the China Pavillion and took the backstage boat to Hollywood Studios. We used our extra magical fast passes to ride Toy Story Mania again! There was a VIP roped off section for the Disney Social Media Moms to watch the Star Wars Fireworks! All kinds of ice cream and Captain Phasma mugs were provided to make the night even better. It’s little touches like free ice-cream in a VIP area that makes Disney Social Media Moms Celebration such a superstar way to experience disney. The Star Wars Fireworks are a can’t miss, don’t skip the fireworks if you visit Hollywood Studios!
I traveled back to the hotel with my heart overflowing. This was my tribe. I love doing this. So, to adequately express myself, we made THIS VIDEO. I was feeling so grateful. Little did I know that the magic had only begun.
Friday, February 23rd
Friday morning we had a surprise family breakfast that was completely Star Wars Themed. We had the privilege of meeting and greeting our favorite wookie Chewbacca and the sinister Kilo Ren. (One inspiring blogger name Kimberly woke up at 3am to run the Princess 5K! She is so motivating and inspiring. She created the famous FitDisneyMom.com. Follow her on IG! Fit Disney Mom
After our delectable breakfast all the of Disney Social Media Moms headed to Port Canaveral to meet the Disney Dream Cruise Ship. The Disney Social Media Moms got to board the ship first and have lunch in the Enchanted Garden Dining room. We got our first introduction to the delicious fresh food that Disney offers on their ships. The food alone justifies the ship. But then we got to explore, we went from forward to aft on each floor. The decor and atmosphere is stunning. It feels like a comfortable palace/ship that you wouldn’t mind letting your kids run around in.
We had an influencers only reception where we toasted champagne and danced with Mickey! I met a few sweet ladies. Jessica Wellington who founded familyfunjournal.com and Romy who was Disney bounding as Ursela! She runs http://www.romyraves.com.
After our bubbly we all met on Deck 11 for a big Sailing Away Deck Party that ended with fireworks as we left the port! What a send off! After an early dinner- my kids, husband and I passed out early. Being tired from Disney Social Media Moms Celebration is the best kind of exhausted.
Saturday, February 24th
Rise and Shine for our General Session 2. I sat next to Andrew, the head videographer for BenSpark Family Adventures benspark.com and the lovely My Nguyen of the highly respected and popular My Health Dish Session 2 was even better than session 1! They had 7 speakers so it was a packed with info and inspiration. We hear about what’s next for Disney cruise lines, Adventures by Disney, and Disney Parks Blog. I heard some inspirational philanthropic efforts that Disney is creating. There is so much that Disney does behind the scenes and away from the press. For example, they organize character visits to hurricane disaster victims. John Breckow is the Director of Corporate Citizenship for Walt Disney Parks & Resorts. Which means he organizes the behind the magic’ of Disney Parks’ social outreach. He has the best job and is changing the world with his position. I hope and pray my children become as giving as John Breckhow.
Tom Warburton is the producer of “Muppet Babies”. I met him later in the day and had a nice chat about living an intentional life. He left me with the most thought provoking statement of this whole trip. He asked me a question that someone asked him years ago, “What would you laugh at people paying you to do? Ok, go do that!” Hearing that felt like a stab in my heart. Ok, Tim, you’ve inspired the next 6 months of my life. There’s some big changes coming!
Ashley Eckstein is the voice of Ahsoka Tano on Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels, actress, author, entrepreneur, and founded Her Universe clothing company. She’s kind of a jack of all trades and lives without roadblocks. She reminded me of my daughter Daisy, she only hears YES. She is the epitome of wishing upon a star, dreaming it and actually doing it! She convinced me that I have the power to make my goals a reality.
The speaker that left me with the most motivation was Bob Hitchcock who is the Disney Parks Editorial Content Director. Just the fact that his title exists gives me so much hope! I want to be Bob when I grow up, he is my hero. The way he spoke about quality video editing was MY JAM! When he said that he picks his closing clip first, I almost jumped out of my seat and yelled, “Me too!”. His own compelling video content gave me a new enthusiastic vision. Robert “Bob” Hitchcock has forever influenced my blog media.
Following the sessions we had some press junkets and Meet & Greets. This is where I ran into Meg O. She is a big time blogger who I’ve been following for years. She is my #1 celebrity blog mom in my book. I was starstruck! Follow her with me at MegOontheGo.com and her Instagram @mego
This was already so much to take in for one day – but there was so much more! It was pirate night! We all dressed up and took our scalawag selves to the Royal Palace for dinner. We were so lucky to catch the newest Disney Cruise Line Broadway style show, Beauty & the Beast. For the very first time this brand new production was performed on the Disney Dream. It was even more enchanting than the live action movie. The entertainment on a Disney Cruise is on a whole other level. It is better than entertainment on other cruise ships. I promise.
The buccaneer bash wasn’t over. To finish off the “Pirates in the Caribbean” deck party, there was a fantastic fireworks display! You won’t find this on any other cruise ship. That’s the magical Disney standard.
My kids were beyond tired after a long day wandering Nassau, Bahamas and sliding down water slides. They drifted off to sleep instantly. But before we got into our Pjs, we noticed that we had a gift on our bed! Disney Social Media Moms gave us a brand new beach bag with a gorgeous beach blanket and sand toys. My toddlers were so excited to use those beach toys. It’s the first thing my 2 year old Walt mentioned when he woke up.
My husband and I stayed up late editing photos and ordered room service around 1am. (Yes, 24 hour room service is free on a Disney Cruise!) This is another example of a magical little freebees that Disney adds to the cruise experience.
Sunday, February 25th
All Ashore for Castaway Cay. Castaway Cay is a Disney owned and operated Bahamian Island. It is a slice of heaven on earth. The water is crystal clear, there is a breeze coming from every angle, and tons of activities. The Disney Social Media Moms were given complimentary packages that included a snorkel rental, float rental and bike rental.
If you ever find yourself on the island there are 5 things you cannot miss.
- The Water Slide
- The Bike path
- Unlimited Ice Cream
- All you can eat BBQ buffet lunch
- Characters: Jack Sparrow, Mickey & other disney charters in their swim suits.
Towels, sun screen and bug spray are provided when you come ashore. All you need is a pair of flip flops and your camera. The views are breathtaking, don’t forget to slow down and snap a photo or two.
Castaway Cay was the highlight of the cruise for my family. When we got back to our rooms we found another little gift from Disney Social Media Moms, it was a universal power converter. Could this be a clue that the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration will travel international next year? I can only dream.
The night was capped off with a delicious dinner at Animators Palace and the broadway-like show “Disney’s Believe”. This show doesn’t create enough hype. It is a beautiful compilation of your favorite Disney songs performed live with the lesson that adults ALSO need to believe in magic. It was a beautiful finale my 6 day adventure.
Monday, February 26th
It was sadly time to disembark the dreamy cruise ship, the Disney Dream. I didn’t want to take my lanyard off. I didn’t want to get off. I never wanted Disney Social Media Moms Celebration to end. The one social media mom that I kept running into – that I wish I had more time to connect with – was Jehava from onlygirl4boyz.com I’m sure our paths with cross again! I will miss K from This Messy Season the most because of the sweet connection her son and my daughter Daisy had. I wish they lived next door!
Wherever my life takes me, I will always come back to my passion for Disney. It is the “Disney Experience” that keeps me coming back to the parks for more. But in the last few years, Disney has changed for me and it is no longer solely for my enjoyment. The biggest joy when visiting Disney is watching my beautiful daughter and son experience the magic through their eyes, in all their uniqueness and innocence. This is how I transitioned into a Disney Social Media Mom and Disney Partner.
Now it’s time to take all the sparks of enthusiasms home. I will apply these lessons to my parenting style and social media business. I want to thank everyone from the bottom of my heart who had a part in putting together the 2018 Disney Social Media Moms Celebration. I feel like I’m leaving out little tidbits but there’s only so much I can fit into one blog post. I want to thank Lisa Mendillo for all the guidance she patiently has given me. I want to thank Bob Hitchcock for giving me hope and a new hero. I want to thank my husband and family for all their support when I throw my crazy ideas into the universe.
Stay tuned for more adventures,
I’ve only just begun.
May the magic continue.