If you have ever dreamt of being treated like royalty Disney Social Media Moms Celebration is the place to be. I had been super excited when I received the invitation for 2015 Disney Social Media Moms Celebration but the event far exceeded my expectations.
There’s a reason why this event is called a ‘celebration’ and not just a ‘conference’. From the moment we stepped into our host resort Disney’s Yacht Club we were in for a treat every time we turned around. In fact, the treats had started even before we landed in Orlando. All the attendees had received a suitcase from American Tourister – the official luggage of Walt Disney World and DisneyLand along with other goodies.
After arriving at our resort we quickly headed over to the Convention Center for registration and were greeted by none other than Mickey Mouse! After all, ‘it all started with a mouse’.
I received my registration package with the event details,lanyards and the first of the many swag bags that we would be receiving at the event.
Then, it was time to head out to get our first glimpse of Magic Kingdom.
First Visit to Magic Kingdom
Not only was this my first time at Disney Social Media Moms Celebration, it was also my family’s first visit to Walt Disney World.We were overwhelmed at first when we entered Magic Kingdom. The place was bustling with excitement under the blazing Florida sun. I pulled out my phone to check out the My Disney Experience app for all the things that we had planned to do.
Of all the countless gifts that we received as attendees of this magical celebration, my favorite ones were the 40 media Fast Passes (yes, 40!!) . This meant that we could walk up to almost any ride and enter through the Fast Pass lane without even having to schedule anything! If it wasn’t for this incredible advantage I’m sure that we would not have been able to cover even half the attractions that we managed to cover in just 4 days.
Welcome Reception and “Creativity and You” Family Dinner
Time certainly flies by when you are at ‘the happiest place on earth’. We had to dash back to our resort to catch the bus to Epcot for the Welcome Reception and “Creativity and You” Family Dinner sponsored by Disney Citizenship.
The Welcome reception was only for attendees and included an Ice Breaker session to ensure that we got the opportunity to mingle with other bloggers. As a newbie, I was a bundle of nerves but found the organizers as well as most bloggers to be quite friendly. I guess the ones who didn’t appear as friendly only seemed so because like me, they were nervous themselves.
The Family Dinner was a jazzy affair and included Meet and Greet opportunities with Mickey, Rapunzel and BayMax .
IllumiNations Dessert Party
After dinner we were guided to Epcot Worldview Plaza where we were treated to some amazing desserts and fireworks from a VIP viewing area, thanks to Babble.
The actual conference took place on Friday, May 8 and included some truly inspiring speakers from different backgrounds.
During the Breakfast Session Chef Gary shared how Disney is trying to make healthy living simple and fun for families. He also talked about how Disney tries to accommodate people with special dietary needs and allergies. True to their word, the chefs at Disney arranged special halal and allergy-friendly meals for me and my family at all events.
The main session began with a special performance from none other than Mickey Mouse and his troupe. It was hosted by the vivacious Leanne Jakubowski O’Reagan (Director of Social Media at Disney Parks) and the charming Mark Daniel.
George A. Kalogridis, President of Walt Disney World shared news about all the new attractions at Walt Disney World and also talked about the power of social media.
Eva Smith, Head of Marketing Communications and Insights at Pinterest shared some best practices to grow our blogs and connect with brands.
Jonas Rivera, Producer of Inside Out and Vice President of Production at Disney Pixar talked about all the research and creativity that goes behind a Disney movie.
Janice Balgemino, Director Global Brand Marketing for Disney Infinity introduced us to some cool new games and apps from Disney Infinity.
Vivienne Harr, an amazing 11 year old who started the Make a Stand Foundation to help abolish child slavery in the world shared her truly inspirational story. She urged us to never give up on our dreams.
Meghan Maguire , Brand Publicity Manager at Alamo shared her social media success with Mom influencers and also gave gift cards to each one of us.
Chris Brogan, CEO of Owner Media Group talked about his motto ‘Ask, Do, Share’
Jeffrey Epstein from D23 shared all the exciting social media news at D23 especially the ‘When did it start for u” #WDIS4U campaign
Dr. Tanya Altmann, Childhood Development Expert and Pediatrician talked about the research driven and family friendly products at Disney ImagicAdemy
Donald Driver, NFL player, best-selling author and founder of Donald Driver Foundation moved the audience to tears with his powerful speech. He told us to ponder upon the reason why we blog and motivated us to put our passion behind our blogs to inspire others. He also told us to refrain from negativity in our lives and in social media
During lunch (sponsored by Hanes) Jessica Shyba, author and blogger Jessica Shyba spoke about her blog’s journey from simply being an online family journal to becoming a viral sensation.
During the Breakout sessions Thomas Smith , Social Media Director of Disney Parks gave a presentation about Disney Parks blog. This was followed by a presentation by Victoria Lim who taught us how to hone our video skills.
The presentations were interspersed with some fun episodes featuring Star War Avengers, Frozen song performances, contest announcements and giveaways.
Visit to Animal Kingdom
While Mama was frantically taking notes, tweeting and Instagramming (#DisneySMMC) at the conference the girls got to meet Stitch at the Yacht Club Resort after which they headed out to Animal Kingdom with Baba (Dad). I managed to get a glimpse of all the fun that they were having by logging into My Disney Experience and checking out the Memory Maker photos during lunch.
As if it was not enough excitement for the day , there was another special Meet and Greet session arranged at the resort , this time with my girls’ favorite princesses – Elsa and Anna. Going by the intense battle for Fast Passes to meet the Frozen sisters this was definitely one of the biggest treats for all the little girls.
Mickey’s Beach Bash
The eventful day came to an end with a terrific beach bash at the Stormalong Bay.
Exclusive family events
Over the next two days we were treated to some fun family events such as an exclusive preview of Disney Pixar Inside Out which is due to be released in June and a Ride Mount filming opportunity on Dumbo the Flying Elephant.
Visit to Epcot
After all the magic of Magic Kingdom we decided to check out Epcot. Our favorite attractions at Epcot turned out to be Soarin’ and Turtle Talk with Crush.
Mother’s Day Breakfast
The four day long celebration ended with a fitting tribute to all Moms who attended. There was a great breakfast ( halal one for me and my family) along with some wonderful performances by VoicePlay and others.
As they say, all good things come to an end and so did the 2015 Disney Social Media Moms Celebration but it left me with a lot of inspiration, knowledge and wonderful family memories.
After seeing so many bloggers and speakers belonging to different age groups, faiths, races and backgrounds, bloggers who are differently abled, bloggers with special needs families, I realized that we don’t have to be a special kind of person or family to be able to learn, laugh, live and make the world a magical place. As one of my favorite speakers in the conference, Vivienne Harr put it ,”You don’t have to be big or powerful to change the world. You can be just like me.”
Please visit my Facebook page to view more photos of #DisneySMMC
Disclaimer: I received and invitation to the 2015 Disney Social Media Moms Celebration and paid a modest conference fee which included accommodation, park tickets and other complimentary items. I was not required to blog about the event. As always, all views and opinions expressed are my own.