I’ve been talking about Disney for a week straight. And judging by the title of this post, I’m going to talk Disney again.
Bear with me.
If you are at all interested in my experience at the 2013 Disney Social Media Moms Celebration, you can watch my video recaps but you’ll probably want to read my impressions here.
Let me start by saying this: It’s a celebration not a conference.
I have mistakenly referred to it as a conference but it really is a celebration. A conference is there for learning and interaction and networking. This was more of a celebration about all things Disney, especially as it relates to social media.
First of all, let me be clear and upfront about a couple of things. I paid to attend this celebration just like I would a conference. But the fee was ridiculously low considering that it garnered me three nights in the Contemporary Resort (a luxury Disney property right next to the Magic Kingdom), a 7 day Parkhopper pass for me and my entire family, and most of my meals.
Contemporary Resort was beautiful. Here’s how they arranged my son’s “collection” every night
Day 1 included an evening welcome reception for all attending bloggers (~175) at a private facility at Epcot, followed by a dinner. After the buffet style dinner, we were treated to VIP viewing for the nightly Epcot show, Illuminations.
Day 2 was the actual “conference.” All attendees stayed at the hotel from about 9am to 5pm while we sent our families off into the park for a ridiculous amount of fun while we sat in a ballroom all day.
No worries, though. We were kept entertained, educated, and informed. We were welcomed by George A. Kalogridis, President of Walt Disney Resorts. I’m assuming George has a pretty busy schedule so the fact that he was there to greet us told me that we were valued. Our attendance was appreciated.
The rest of the day was really a mix of Disney marketing messages (which I thoroughly enjoyed, being a fan of Disney) and motivational, business messages. It was an odd mix but it got me thinking.
I got previews into some of the cool things Disney has on the horizon from technology to rides to amazing video games like DisneyInfinity (think Skylanders with Disney characters – dropping August 18th for all major game systems).
I watched videos from Disney Social Media Correspondent Gary who tried to eat the “Kitchen Sink.”
You’ll have to watch to find out if he actually did it.
And then he regaled us with the story of the Disney Cast Member who lost 60 pounds simply by dancing her way along the Magic Kingdom parade route. I LOVE this story.
We listened to Olympic Gold medalist Shannon Miller talk about her obstacles to becoming a successful wife, mother, and career woman.
We heard Jackie Huba talk about, of all people, Lady Gaga, using her as an example of how to create monster loyalty among fans. I may not have Lady Gaga status but I still took away some solid advice.
Then we went all fangirl with Ashley Eckstein, who does the voice of Ahsoka Tano in Clone Wars (you nerds will appreciate that), as we talked about her clothing line for fangirls called Her Universe. It must be cool because my sister has ordered t-shirts from there already.
We ended the day with Dayna Steele, a former DJ who seems to know all the rock stars of the past three decades. She told us how to think and act like a rock star (minus all the bad stuff that goes with rock stars).
A quick break, a dip in the pools and, as a group, we were off to dinner for my favorite event. Dinner on the set of the Lights, Motor, Action! Stunt Show. I had plenty of time to relax, eat and drink, meet some of my favorite people, and retire with a certain six year old who didn’t seem generally very fond of people.
On Saturday, the roughest part of our day was standing in the heat while we witnessed the once-in-a-lifetime coronation of Merida, the princess from Brave.
After an exhausting day riding all the best rides at Magic Kingdom, we headed to refresh ourselves at the hotel before another family dinner at Fantasia Gardens, with plenty of healthy food and entertainment.
After a Sunday morning Mother’s Day breakfast, we were left to our own devices. Still full of the Disney magic, we transferred to another hotel and stayed another two nights where I tried my best to go “off the grid.” Spoiler alert: I still posted to Instagram.
So what else can I tell you that my videos and photos can’t?
If you’ve been to Disney and don’t love it, you probably never will.
If you haven’t been to Disney, don’t knock it til you try it.
And after everything that I took away, that I tucked away, my biggest inspiration came from Walt himself. Although he never lived to see the dream of the opening of Disney World, his inventive, imaginative spirit lives on in every aspect of the park. I personally love immersing myself in the escape from reality and having just as much fun as my kid.
Joe Penniston via Compfight
Finally, I want to leave a huge thank you to the entire Disney Social Media team and every last cast member that treated us like royalty. It was noticed and much appreciated!
If you’d like to experience the celebration, I did a daily recap. Check out my roughly edited videos to experience each day of the celebration: