At the DSMMC 2016, there was a thread of empowerment alongside exciting news. From Disney’s Moana to social media tips, there was a plethora of great information with quality Disney entertainment to follow.
Last month I had the unique opportunity to attend the DSMMC 2016 (Disney Social Media Moms Celebration) and enjoy a day in the Anaheim parks.
The event took place at Disneyland Resort Paradise Pier Hotel. It gave me the opportunity to experience the Resort’s 60th Anniversary Diamond Celebrations, which were ending in less than two weeks while catching up with Travelingmom.com bloggers and networking with fellow influencers.
Though this was a mini half day event (compared to the larger one that takes place in WDW), it was jammed packed with plenty of useful information, inspiration and of course, the typical Disney pixie dust welcome and swag.
The magic started from the moment the invitees arrived. We were each gifted a goodie bag filled with the 60th celebration items and park hopper tickets for the day. The surprises continued as we moved onto the large ballroom. There were a dozen or so tables each decorated with a pair of light up ears and a “paintbrush” for each attendee, perfect to use during the “Paint The Night” parade. The paintbrush next to the ears is a wand that lets users change the Mickey ears of anyone nearby by choosing a color and pressing a button. Needless to say, all of us had fun switching the colors of each other’s ears!
But let’s get to the Exciting Disney News!
Michele Himmelberg, Director of Public Relations at the Disneyland Resort, who had recently attended Disney’s Shanghai park opening and Leanne O’Regan, Director of Content Relations for Disney Parks, started our day by sharing details of all the upcoming changes in the Parks.
The Disneyland Resort
The not to be missed rides in the parks this season are ‘Frozen’ at the Hyperion theater and ‘Soaring Over the World’ which replaced Soarin’ Over California.
Both Anaheim parks are ready to celebrate another spooktacular Halloween season with the Haunted Mansion turning into a ghoulish attraction with a Nightmare Before Christmas theme starting September 9th.
Also, this will be the final season for the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, as it is closing in January to become Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission Breakout. Apparently, the Tower’s free fall drop will transform into an intergalactic experience featuring characters from the “Guardians of the Galaxy” films.
Walt Disney World
The Orlando parks just got four new attractions: The Tree of Life Awakening at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Epcot’s Soaring Over the World and Frozen rides, and the ‘Frozen Ever After’ show at the Hollywood Studios. Last April, I got to check them out first hand during Disney’s Awaken Summer event for the media.
We also saw BIG changes to Disney Springs, formerly known as Downtown Disney. The new area is revamped and is worth spending an afternoon or evening in after spending the day in the parks.
However, the BIGGEST thing to hit WDW is going to be Pandora – the new world of Avatar in the Animal Kingdom slotted to open in 2017.
The Disney Cruise Line
According to the PR team, the cruise line will be adding new itineraries and ports of call from San Diego and Galveston by next year. They will also be adding two new cruise ships by 2021 and 2023. If you still haven’t sailed with Disney, you should seriously consider doing so if possible. The experience is unparalleled when it comes to entertaining families. Did I mention the Disney Wonder will get a Frozen show, too?
We were shown a preview by Amy Smeed, first female co-head of animation on a Disney feature film. Moana, scheduled for release November 23rd of 2016, promises to be a huge success. Set in the islands of the South Pacific it has all the markings of a quality Disney franchise – a beautiful, strong-willed princess, an angry demi-god, Maui, and two quirky pet characters, Pua the pig and Hei-Hei the rooster.
Moana, played by Auli’i Cravalho, is the movie’s adventurous and tenacious teen heroine. She sails off on a daring mission in an attempt to restore her people’s past as explorers. The themes of female empowerment, culture, and heritage are thought provoking and inspiring.
Amy shared with us through the copious amount of research her studio staff put into recreating the customs and cultures presented in her slideshow. These included details like the culturally significant tattoos of the men.
Watch the Moana trailer here:
Tapping into Disney’s bag of tricks on social media
Erin Glover (Editorial Content Director for the Disneyland Resort) and Victoria Lim (Managing Editor of Content at Walt Disney World) shared their secrets to success in the constantly evolving world of blogging and social media platforms.
Erin discussed running the Disney Parks Blog and described the challenges associated with organizing content and editorial calendars. She reminded us of the importance of syndication and promotion of content on multiple social platforms.
Victoria shared her favorite digital apps that help her create short professional looking videos on the go. The apps, which include Magisto, Videolicious, Quik, and WeVideo, sounded useful and user-friendly for anyone with a social media presence. All of the apps allow users to create personal collages with pictures and short clips along with music and graphics. I will try them all out and see which one I prefer.
Our surprise guests
Leave it to Disney to make our day more special by bringing two hard working celebrity moms to share their personal stories of balancing demanding jobs and family life.
Our surprise guests were Tiffani Thiessen (aka Kelly Kapowski from Saved by the Bell) and Ginger Zee (ABC News & Good Morning America meteorologist).
In their speeches, both women emphasized that though it wasn’t easy, women can have it all if they stay focused on goals and ‘just do it’ instead of being paralyzed by criticism or obsessed with perfection.
Tiffani spoke of her life as a mother, wife, and host of her own cooking show, Dinner at Tiffani’s, while running her blog. Ginger Zee relayed how she struggled to balance everything with her busy travel schedule and how she is frequently scrutinized on social media for ‘neglecting’ family.
After listening and taking selfies with these two hard-working women, we were more than ready to head on to the parks and try out the new attractions for ourselves!
Mini tour of the Parks
After the conference had ended at noon, I headed into the Parks to check out all the exciting changes since I had last visited.
Walking around the Magic Kingdom filled me with nostalgia and memories of the times I had visited the park with my kids over the past two decades.
However, what caught my eye were two specialized shopping spots that are sure to be a huge hit with kids, particularly for holiday gifts and birthday celebrations – the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and the Star Wars store.
The boutique sells princess outfits complete with accessories. It houses a mini beauty salon perfect for young children. Here, they can get a mani, pedi, hair and makeup done and then get a souvenir photo of the experience.
In the Star Wars store guests can construct and personalize a light saber with different saber colors, hilts and even with dual blades. The sabers light up and can be folded in like any of the light sabers you can buy at the park. Perfect for fans of all ages!
Though I craved my usual Dole Whip at the Tiki room, the line was rather long. Instead, I headed to the New Orleans section instead and enjoyed a refreshing mint julep before moving on to Disney’s California Adventure Park.
Since it opened back in 2001, this park has been our favorite with its thrill rides and boardwalk atmosphere. I was sad to hear that Soarin’ Over California was gone but the new Soarin’ Around the World is even better! This ride takes guests over the iconic landmarks like the Taj Mahal and Eiffel Tower, ending right over Sleeping Beauty’s Castle.
Attendees to the event had to select either ‘Soaring’ or ‘Frozen’ for their fast pass.Blogger friends that saw the show raved about it so I will be sure to go next time I’m in the park. For both attractions, I highly recommend a fast-pass! Even with a fast pass, there’s still a wait since the rides are currently insanely popular.
As I was heading out, I did stop to gawk at some of the eateries and stores in Downtown Disney. Here, my top picks for entertaining the kids are Build-a-Bear (currently offering unique 60th-anniversary accessories), the Lego store, and Ridemakerz, where you can build your own RC car from scratch. These are all fun options but are somewhat pricey; make sure you discuss a budget with your kids before entering.
Though my one day in Disneyland was short, it was well worth the two-hour drive for the networking, information, inspiration and fun memories.
I was invited as a guest of Disney Parks to attend this conference and given a free park hopper for the day as well as a bag of souvenirs. Rest assured that all opinions are my own!