This spring I received a sprinkle of magical pixie dust in my inbox — an invite to the 5th Annual Disney Social Media Moms Celebration at the Disneyland Resort in California. At first I couldn’t believe my eyes and what I was reading. I was so surprised and excited, then realized I needed to breathe as the tears were streaming from my eyes. I realized how blessed I was and felt so honored to be chosen for this amazing event that I was about to share and experience with other awesome and talented social influencers.
A special surprise showed up at my door about 2 weeks before the conference. Pretty luggage from @AmericanTourister. Happy Dance! I’d like to thank them again as I was able to #packmorefun and I simply love it.
The day came when it was time to fly. I had spent two days packing, hoping I was not forgetting anything. I have to admit though I was thrilled, I had butterflies rumbling in my tummy, so anxious, but elated to start this magical week at the Happiest Place on Earth.
We arrived at The Disneyland Hotel the evening before the celebration began. I had not been to California since I was a kid. It was warm and breezy, heavenly. As I entered the hotel, I stopped, took a look around and said to my family, this is really happening, I’m here!
Our dining reservation that evening was at Goofy’s Kitchen in the Disneyland Hotel. The food was served buffet style and the service was outstanding. We also had many visitors during our meal which was loads of fun.
The following day we had time to wander the parks as a family before the official reception later that afternoon. We received our park tickets at check-in so we were ready. We strolled through Downtown Disney and roamed around Disney California Adventure and Disneyland Park checking out everything we had the next few days to experience. I also got to taste my first Dole Whip!
On this day as well It’s A Small World celebrated its 50th Anniversary! Our family has been riding this attraction for years and we consider this a tradition when visiting Disney Parks.
It’s A Small World fun fact:
When Walt Disney dedicated “It’s a Small World” at Disneyland, he invited children from around the world and each child brought water from the rivers and seas of his or her own native land to be poured into the flume.
After returning from the parks I had to register for the event and I received my welcome packet which included my first big bag of goodies! Thanks to sponsors Taylor Morrison, Disney Interactive, and Disney Wild About Safety for the treats!
It was time for the welcome reception to begin. My family headed to the parks while I met and mingled with so many other bloggers. We listened to Disneyland President, Michael Colglazier and Director of Social Media, Leanne Jakubowski with a warm welcome to all. There were many goodies, including delicious food and drink, and prizes! A huge thanks to Coppertone for sponsoring this event and to Josh Hallett @Hyku for all the amazing and fun photos taken this evening and throughout the week.
After the reception attendees and their families came together to enjoy a fabulous buffet dinner held at Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree in the Disneyland Park. Thanks to Disney Magic of Healthy Living for this evening of fun, food and festivities.
Bright and early Friday morning the breakfast and conference began and my excitement soared. My family had the entire day to spend at the parks and it was a beautiful day.
Thank you to Hanes for sponsoring our meal, it was perfect.
It was time. The general sessions were to begin and the line-up of speakers were phenomenal. I would be spending the day with a room full of awesome social influencers listening to illuminating talks with fingers crossed to win fun prizes. Thanks to Alamo for sponsoring this awesome event.
List of Speakers
Tom Staggs, Disney Parks Resort Chairman, spoke to us about healthy foods and how Disney makes their visitors with food allergies feel comfortable with their special attention to allergies. I could relate to this topic as I have several allergies and feel very comfortable while at Disney when the chefs come out to speak with me about things I can and can not eat. He also mentioned to us a few more cool tidbits. Hong Kong Disneyland will be adding a Marvel theme attraction. AVATAR attraction is coming to Disney World and The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train will be opening in Fantasyland at Disney World this spring! I can’t wait to hang out on my next visit to Disney World this summer with those 7 little men.
Jay Ward, Creative Director @DisneyPixar spoke with us about the movie Cars. He told us that Pixar has people whose main jobs are to insure the integrity of their products.
Jay Ward is that person for the Cars franchise. He makes sure that all Cars products are not only accurate, but that it enriches the brand.
Kathy Mangum, Executive Producer & VP Walt Disney Imagineering, spoke to us about how CarsLand was originally Car Land and is based on California’s car culture. She went on to tell us that a Route 66 research trip was taken for accuracy before making the movie CarsLand. Awesome!
Meghan Maguire @alamocares, Brand Manager – Alamo is the official rental car company for Disneyland.
Tom Smith, Director of Disney Parks Social Media had a simple quote I could relate to – “People drive our social program.” I couldn’t agree more.
Our next speakers were really cool to meet.
@narvaezjorge from RealityChangers.org and the most famous single dad on YouTube. Jorge started a foundation in the 8th grade called Reality Changers. This organization gives hard-working inner-city students the academic, financial and emotional resources to go to college. Jorge was an inaugural member. Reality Changers began in May 2001 with $300 dollars to its name and four 8th grade students near downtown San Diego, and now has given more awards to college-bound students than any other organization alone in the county since 2006. Jorge became the first person in his family to graduate from college.
Leslie Kay, creator of Disney Bound, where fashion geeks and Disney nerds collide.
@ladisneybound Leslie was bullied throughout high school and finally came to the conclusion that she needed to be her own person. DisneyBound is meant to be inspiration for you to pull together your own outfits that work for your body and wallet whether from your closet or from a mall. Very inspiring! DisneyBound.tumblr.com
@RealGrumpyCat, yes, we really got to see him, live! He is adorable.
Doug Bowman, Creative Director Twitter @STOP – It was such a pleasure listening to Doug speak. Here are some of my favorite quotes:
“Be creative, use your voice, be the voice of others.”
“Twitter connects you to the people you want to know.”
“Hashtags show the collective pulse of humanity.”
Donald Driver, Retired Green Bay Packers Receiver, Author – @Donald_Driver80
Out of all the speakers we heard at this event, no one touched my heart and soul more than Donald Driver. He made me laugh, made me cry, made me think about how precious life is. He is the perfect role model for every young boy and man and an inspiration to us all. I will write more about him at a later date, but would like to share one of my favorite quotes he shared with us the day of the conference:
“Don’t let anyone get you down. Always have faith in yourself.”
Maxine Clark, Build-A-Bear Workshop Founder @ChiefExecBear – Another inspiration to us all, Maxine had a successful career in retail and was the President of Payless Shoe Source when one day she got an idea from a friend’s 10 year old daughter. At 49 years of age she followed her dream and Build-A-Bear was born.
“It’s not what you have, but what you have to give.”
Saturday morning the attendees and their families were invited to two separate meals sponsored by Disney Junior. They presented to us a new storytelling initiative designed for parents to share stories that help develop critical thinking and language skills every preschooler needs. After the meal, we all gathered together for a special storytelling event from LeVar Burton, David Arquette, Ariel Winter and Tim Gunn! It was pretty amazing!
What happened next was very wicked. The attendees and their families watched a 9- minute preview of Maleficent! This is one Disney movie that I am so excited to see and will be ready come May 30th.
We were all pleasantly surprised when the next guest was announced…Elle Fanning who plays Aurora in Maleficent was here with us today and it happened to be her birthday! We all received cupcake treats. Super cool!
My daughter was all smiles when the next performer was announced. Disney Channel’s Sabrina Carpenter was right in the same room and we got to see her perform live!
Sabrina sang her big hit, Can’t Blame a Girl for Trying and all the kids in the room were up and dancing! Sabrina also plays Maya on Girl Meets World. @SabrinaAnnLynn
Our next event was a special screening of Disneynature’s Bears in Downtown Disney for the entire family! Be still my heart! I’m planning to write more on this in another post. This is such a precious film and one you won’t want to miss. Thanks Disney Parks Synergy!
This evening the attendees and their families were invited to a magical evening of good food and good company. The Toon-rrific dinner was partnered with GoGo squeeZ. Fun times! Thanks @GoGosqueeZ!
After our meal we had the opportunity to view Remember…Dreams Come True Fireworks Spectacular. This show was amazing and brought tears to my eyes. Thanks Disney!
On the last day of our Celebration, DSMM had an awesome morning lined up for us. I’m not a runner, never have been, though I walk my treadmill at home religiously for an hour every day. This was the morning of runDisney starting bright and early at 5:30am. So many bloggers I knew were participating in this event, and I had to admit it did sound tempting…2015, it’s runDisney for This Girl! I need to start training! Thanks to @runDisney and @NewBalance.
Starting at 6:15am this morning Disney California Adventure Park was open for all attendees and their families to enjoy. How cool is that? We also had a fabulous breakfast in CarsLand and were able to enjoy special access on Radiator Springs Racers! Now this was awesome. Thanks to Alamo for sponsoring this terrific morning!
Me and my family were not leaving California until the next day so we had more time to enjoy the parks together as a family. I have never experienced a conference like DSMM. It truly was a “Celebration” and I want to say thank you again to the team; Maria Bailey, Leanne Jakubowski, Gary Buchanan, Michele Himmelberg, and Erin Glover.
Disney Social Media Moms 2015 returns to Disney World in Orlando, Florida next year! I hope I am lucky enough to see everyone there!
“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” ~ Walt Disney
Disclosure: I was invited with my family to attend Disney Social Media Moms Celebration in Disneyland, CA. I paid my own conference fee and received gifts during this time. All experiences, opinions and thoughts are my own.