We were surprised and delighted to receive an invitation to the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration this year. We have been in the past and I knew there was plenty of magic and wonder on the horizon for me, as a blogger, and for my family. For the uninitiated, Disney Social Media Moms is a social media conference for bloggers (primarily women) where we have the chance to learn more about our craft, connect with other bloggers, and hear more about Disney news and initiatives. Our families are invited to join us and there are parties, character meet-and-greets, and other fun surprises. We pay for our own travel and our registration fee includes discounted park tickets, lodging, meals, and other perks.
This year, we arrived early and stayed at the Pop Century Resort before transferring to the Yacht Club, this year’s conference hotel. The first time I stayed at the Yacht Club, I wasn’t all that excited. Being from New England, it seemed a bit boring to head all the way to Florida to stay in a “New England-themed” hotel. I have since changed my tune. The Yacht Club is beautiful and comfortable with an amazing pool. Not only that, but it’s within walking distance to Epcot and Hollywood Studios. It’s so convenient!
We kicked off the conference on Thursday night with an attendee-only cocktail party at the World ShowPlace Pavilion, which is located between Canada and the United Kingdom in Epcot. It’s a massive space (imagine a seated dinner for 180 bloggers and their families, plus a stage, character greetings, and a separate reception space). Our families joined us soon after for a buffet dinner and massive party. We enjoyed a variety of foods from the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival. My favorite item was the Desert Violet Lemonade Slush from the Pineapple Promenade. This fun purple drink is sweet and so refreshing. Later, Bug and I did the Behind the Seeds Tour in the Land Pavilion and saw some of the violas growing there. Our tour guide said she cuts fresh violas each day to go on top of the drinks they serve in the park during the festival! During the party, the kids had a chance to meet Baymax and Hiro as well as Rapunzel. We didn’t have time for that unfortunately, but my kids did have caricatures drawn.
Friday was conference day. It was a great lineup that included Chris Brogan, Donald Driver, Eva Smith from Pinterest, and representatives from Disney Infinity and Disney Imagicademy. We also heard from 11-year-old Vivienne Harr from Make a Stand. She told us about she was inspired to start a lemonade stand to help free kids around the world from slavery. She ran the stand every day for an entire year to raise money for the cause. It was a powerful reminder that each person can make a difference.
My favorite speaker of the day was Jonas Rivera, Producer for Pixar’s new movie Inside Out. I could have listened to him talk all day long. I loved hearing all of the background information about the movie, how it was inspired by the experiences one team member was having with his tween daughter, and how they researched how the brain works to bring some authenticity to the movie. We got to see sketches, clips, and finally, the first 7 minutes. I was looking forward to the film, but now I’m really excited to catch the whole thing. I think that it’s going to give a lot of families some additional language and tools for talking about emotions.
As with every Disney Social Media Moms Celebration, there were giveaways (including two opportunities to spend the night in Cinderella’s Castle) and a ton of swag from the various sponsors. I’m not even joking because we had a lot of trouble getting our bags under the airline weight limit on the way home! My favorite swag was Disney Infinity 3.0’s Mickey and Minnie characters.
On Friday evening, we had a special party on the beach at the Yacht and Beach Club Resorts. It was hosted by Mylan, makers of EpiPen auto-injectors. As a food allergy family, we appreciated their sponsorship of the event. Once again, there were characters, music, and tons of food. We were a bit droopy by that point, so we didn’t take advantage of all of the excitement. Mostly we just chatted with friends and enjoyed the lovely evening.
On Saturday morning, all of the attendees and families were whisked away bright and early for a screening of Inside Out. We only got to see the first two-thirds or so, but it was SO good. I was sad when our screening ended because I wanted to see the ending! We can’t wait to catch it when it comes out. We also saw Pixar’s short film Lava. It’s sweet, and we spent the rest of our trip saying, “I lava you.”
There were no conference activities for the rest of the day and it was nice to head back into the parks with our families. Trust me when I say that Disney really takes care of you when you’re there with them for a conference. We made it until about midnight at the Magic Kingdom before we were just too tired to do anything else. The park was open until 2am, but we had an early morning event the next day.
Sunday was Mother’s Day and I was up bright and early for breakfast. Everyone else was still asleep and I decided that letting my kids get enough sleep was just about the best Mother’s Day gift I could get, especially since i was ready to drop from exhaustion. I should note that the more committed (ahem) mothers were up far earlier for a fun run. Nothing fun about running at 5:45 am on Mother’s Day for me, so I declined, but I know folks had an amazing experience. I went to breakfast on my own and sat with friends. Breakfast was lovely and we had some great entertainment. VoicePlay entertained us with some great A capella tunes. If you’re a Disney fan, you’re bound to love this one:
And then it was done. We were still there for another day, but the conference events were over and we were totally wiped out! Here are a few more of my favorite shots.
Everest paused right as we were climbing the hill. Perfect time for a photo opp!
First time taking the kids to Rafiki’s Planet Watch. Bug is super into elephants, so of course we had to stop.
Late night, post-cinnamon roll (Gaston’s Tavern) and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. Time to post with King Triton!
Acting silly on our boat ride to the Yacht Club after leaving Pop Century.
Warm hugs with Olaf!
Looking fierce with some menacing Storm Troopers. The Force is strong with this one…
I have another post coming about the vacation portion of our trip, as well as some of our favorite tips, but for now… Have a Magical Day!
Disclosure: Conference fees for the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration include discounted hotel rooms, park tickets, meals, and other perks. There was no compensation and the opinions contained in this post are my own.