Last month I attended my first Disney Social Media Moms Celebration. It was such a wonderful experience, and the perfect mix between networking, inspiration, family time, and fun!
As a newbie, I tried to take everything in. Now that it’s been a few weeks, I can reflect on my time and just how special it was to be a part of this. I’m truly grateful for the opportunity to bring my family because, for me, that’s what it’s all about.
I love that I can share new experiences with them and give them special moments that they’ll always remember. My boys haven’t stopped talking about this trip, and of course, they have already asked when we can go back.
Looking back, there are a few things that can help you get the most out of your Disney Social Media Moms Celebration experience.
#1 Surprise the kids!
I held in this surprise for so long and it was worth it! My boys had no idea. I created a letter from Mickey Mouse addressed to both boys. We surprised my oldest and picked him up early from school. Once he was in the car, we handed both boys the letter.
My older son read it to his little brother and realized half way through what was happening.
Are we going to Disney? NOW?? Is this for real?
After we told them what was happening, they started screaming! My oldest started flipping around in the car and my youngest had a shocked look on his face. It was priceless (and of course we got it on video).
#2 Don’t forget to network
This is the time to finally meet the online friends that you’ve been chatting with for so long. Whenever I attend conferences and events, it’s like meeting up with long time friends. You build such supportive relationships with other bloggers online and really get to know them professionally and personally.
TIP: It can be overwhelming especially when you are trying to keep up with your kids. Before you head off to the event, write a list of people you don’t want to miss connecting with. This has really helped me maximize my networking time.
It’s crazy that I had to go across the country to meet up with, Linda, who lives 20 minutes from me! Our husbands got along, our boys became best buddies, and we spent our last day at Disneyland with them. It was an awesome way to end our time and we are planning to have a dinner together in two weeks! So yes, blogging friends are real!
Photo by @hyku
#3 Take selfies
It’s completely acceptable and actually encouraged to take lots of selfies!
Tip: Don’t be afraid to play with the angle of the picture, consider what’s in your background, and don’t forget to have fun and get silly!
Thanks @hyku for the photo!
#3 Be Inspired
We had a full day of sessions and I was so inspired from all of the wonderful speakers like Donald Driver (former NFL player @Donald_Driver80), Maxine Clark (Build-A-Bear Workshop founder @ChiefExecBear), and Doug Bowman (Creative Director for Twitter @stop).
We also got to hear from the awesome people at Disney about their social media strategy, creative process, and fun things they have coming down the line. Some of the speakers included Gary Buchanan (Disney Blogs @Gary_Jerry), Leanne Jakubowski (Disney World @leannej), Thomas Smith (Disney Parks Social Media Director, @ThomasSMith), and Leslie Kay (Disney Bound @ladisneybound).
Photos by @hyku
If that’s not enough, we got to hear from LeVar Burton (Reading Rainbow @LeVarBurton) and had story time with David Arquette (voice of Skully from Jake and the Never Land Pirates), Ariel Winter (voice of Sofia from Sofia the First @arielwinter1), and Tim Gunn (voice of Baileywick @timgunn). A really incredible day!
Photos by @hyku
Tip: Let the speakers inspire you! Think about ways you can apply their knowledge to your business.
Some of my favorite quotes and takeaways (I was also tweeting on behalf of BabyCenter):
#4. Enjoy family time
They build in a lot of “family time” and I got to create so many fun memories with my boys. As a digital mom, it means the world when companies value the importance of family and Disney does just that.
They not only gave us time to explore the parks on our own, but they also hosted a few private events for our families to enjoy.
We had the opportunity to play in ToonTown at a private dinner hosted by GoGoSqueeZ. After the runDisney, we had Cars Land to ourselves during our private breakfast thanks to Alamo. I think my kids rode Radiator Springs Racers about 10 times or more. I soaked up all the time I had with them.
Tip: When you are at the parks with your family, put away the phone and just live in the moment. I know this sounds crazy since you are attending a social media conference, but the Internet is not going to miss you for an hour….however, your kids will!
#5. Try something new
This was my first time participating in the Fun Run hosted by runDisney and I had a blast! It felt great when I crossed the finish line!
Tip: Don’t worry if you are not a runner. I didn’t train for this and was able to complete the run. They had two groups (one for runners and one for first timers). Don’t miss out on this opportunity if you get the chance to attend.
#5 Don’t stress about what to wear
A few weeks leading up to our event, I stressed. What should I wear? What should my boys wear?
To be on the safe side, I packed everything (dresses, skirts, shorts, pants…you name it I packed it). What I found was since it’s a family vacation you just need to dress to be comfortable. The only day I got a bit dressed up (and I only wore a maxi dress with a cardigan and jewelry) was to the conference.
The other days, I wore pants and my New Balance sneakers I received when I checked it. My feet are still thanking me!
Tip: Dress comfortably (remember you do a ton of walking) and don’t stress about it!
Read more from our Disneyland experience:
- Cars Land at Disneyland California Adventure (Video)
- 4 Tips for Making it to the Finish Line
- Maleficent’s Elle Fanning visits Disneyland for her sweet 16
- 8 Tips for Keeping Your Child Safe At Disneyland
- The Magic of Healthy Living + Kid Friendly Recipe
Disclosure: My family was invited to the 2014 Disney Social Media Moms Celebration and we received discounted rates and tickets. While I was not asked to write about our experience or sponsors, it truly was a magical time and I want to share some of the fun we had with you