I received an invitation to this exclusive conference that attendees must pay to attend.
I was not required to write about my experience.
We arrived at Disney’s Yacht Club resort a few days prior to the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration, so when the day finally arrived I was super excited to get this party started. Here’s a quick synopsis of what took place during the four days of this fantastic conference.
2015 Disney Social Media Moms Celebration
Thursday, May 7th
First thing on Thursday morning, I walked over to the convention center to get all registered. My family was waiting at the restaurant and I figured I could pop back and forth in a jiffy so that we could enjoy our morning before the celebration would officially begin later in the evening.
Had I known that Mickey would be greeting us, I would have dragged the entire family along. But that’s okay, I had him all to myself. We look good together, don’t we? (Don’t tell Minnie)
After a fun day in EPCOT with my family, we bloggers mingled for a cocktail hour preceding dinner at the World Showplace. Our families joined us for the fabulous welcome dinner sponsored by Disney Citizenship; they pulled out all of the stops. There was lots of yummy finger food, a fabulous DJ, character meet and greets and much more. So much that we didn’t have time to do it all. The kids enjoyed meeting Sorcerer Mickey, Rapunzel and Hiro and Baymax, and of course the smoking popcorn. The kids had so much fun on the dance floor too. We all had such a great time!
After the dinner we were escorted over to Worldview Plaza for a special Illuminations Dessert Party sponsored by Babble. There were so many tasty confections for us from macaroons to Mickey ice cream and everything in between. Not to mention gorgeous fireworks, which we watched while wearing special Mickey 3-D glasses!
Friday, May 8th
After enjoying a delicious breakfast sponsored by Disney Magic of Healthy Living, we heard from Chef Gary Jones, Culinary Dietary Specialist at Walt Disney World® Resort on food; I’ve noticed all of the Mickey check meal options; Disney is really focusing on having healthy food options available for all guests.This is the first generation that will live a shorter life than their parents. It’s a sobering message and as parents we should encourage healthy eating, just try it.
He also explained the great lengths at which Disney goes to ensure that everyone enjoys a fantastic meal in Walt Disney World, despite intolerances and allergies, and he encouraged all of us to ask to speak to the chef to handle any concerns.
After breakfast, it was time to get things going. Mickey was joined onstage with some fantastic dancers. What a show! It certainly got us all amped up and excited for the rest of the day.
We then heard from some amazing speakers. First George A. Kalogridis, President of Walt Disney World Resort, spoke on all things Walt Disney World, from the Polynesian Village Bungalows to magic bands, the new Fantasyland. He discussed the changes at Downtown Disney with additional restaurants and a future name change; it will soon be called Disney Springs.
Eva Smith, media and marketing executive for Pinterest went next. She discussed best practices for Pinterest, and encouraged us to switch to business accounts for in-depth analytics for free.
“If you put Disney Land, Snow White and Star Wars in a blender you get Pixar.” – Jonas Rivera
Jonas Rivera, producer and VP of production for Inside Out discussed how he started as an intern at Pixar. He told us that it takes about 5 years to make a Pixar movie from concept to completion, and he shared a sneak peak at Inside Out. But my favorite part was when he showed us the first concept drawings for Monsters Inc., which were drawn on a restaurant napkin.
Janice Belgemino with Disney Infinity said that the system is the biggest hybrid toy in the country. She announced the upcoming Disney Infinity 3 system coming out later this year which will feature Star Wars characters.Yay! We received the Mickey and Minnie figures for it, which you may have seen on instagram.
The most inspiring of all of the speakers for me was the founder of Make A Stand, a ten-year-old young lady named Vivienne Harr. After seeing a heartbreaking photo of child slaves, she decided to raise enough money to help end child slavery. She exceeded her $100,000 goal and is the first person to have bottled her stand lemonade. She encourages everyone to take a stand because “compassion is not compassion without action.”
The conference sponsor, Alamo rent-a-car spoke briefly and generously gifted us each a $100 Disney gift card. Thank you, Alamo!
Social media expert and author Chris Brogan, who we heard from back at the 2011 conference once again told us that bloggers are not in competition with one another. There is enough business for everyone. He urged us to follow Ask, Do, Share. Ask what excites you, do what you need to make it become a reality, and share with others. As far as e-commerce, he shared that people hate to be sold to, but they love to buy from people they like. Also, don’t overextend yourself. “You can’t be all things to anyone. Focus on who specifically you want to attract. Be specific.”
Jeffry Epstein from the official Disney fan club, D23 spoke next. He informed us about the D23 Expo, a tradeshow where Disney lovers can connect and rejoice over all things Disney. Sounds like it’s right up my alley!
Our delicious lunch was sponsored by Hanes. All of us received a gift bag and we enjoyed a fresh, healthy lunch including hand-cut salads. During lunch we heard from blogger Jessica Shyba who’s following grew very quickly and subsequently published a book of photos called Naptime with Theo and Beau.
After lunch we heard from more speakers. Dr. Tanya Altmann, Director of Global Brand Marketing for Disney Imagicademy talked about Disney’s iPad/iPhone apps which we already use and love!
NFL player Donald Driver spoke about overcoming difficult circumstances in his life. He gave an emotional talk which included personal stories and one occasion in particular when a racial slur was directed at him online; he handled the situation with grace and encourages us to be positive on the internet.
There was a lot of fun mixed in throughout the day. There were special giveaways, among them were stays in Cinderella Castle – for two bloggers! And of course a highlight was when Leanne was kidnapped by stormtroopers!
We then split into different rooms for the next speakers. I participated in the Donald track which would focus on YouTube, because I would like to strengthen that social media channel.
We heard from Kayli Butler, a successful Vlogger who partnered with friends and family to create fun music videos. I also love her hairstyle tutorials.
Lee Kitchen, Creative Problem Solving Expert for Disney had us take part in a few funny/awkward improv exercises that demonstrated how certain situations and circumstances can make us feel which teaches people to collaborate more effectively. Collaboration is after all what makes Disney as amazing as it is.
Right after we had a special meet and greet opportunity. We had the choice between Olaf or Elsa and Anna. Since I *don’t think* you can meet Olaf in the parks yet, we chose him. We met the E and A later. Next, we took some photos with the Storm Troopers and used Jedi mind tricks to escape capture.
For dinner all of the bloggers and their families attended Mickey’s Beach Bash dinner sponsored by Mylan. We enjoyed delicious food and drinks, live music and of course our favorite characters.
Saturday, May 9th
On Saturday, we all met at the AMC theater in Downtown Disney to see Disney’s short film Lava-which was super cute, along with extended previews for Tomorrowland and Star Wars. We also got to see about 2/3 of the new film Inside Out which was great – but also disappointing for my kids because they really wanted to see the end. It gives them something to look forward to!
Sunday, May 10th
Early Sunday morning there was a Fun run sponsored by GoGo Squeez. I had planned on participating but I injured my ankle so I slept in instead :). We were treated to a Mother’s Day breakfast sponsored by Disney Consumer Products – Imagicademy.
We were also entertained while eating our delicious breakfast, including performances by Voice Play acapella group.
We had such an amazing time. An extremely heartfelt ‘thank you’ to Disney for inviting us! And if you enjoyed this post, check out our 2011 Disney Social Media Moms Celebration recaps: