Disclosure: I was invited to attend the Disney Social Media Moms Land and Sea Celebration. I received a discounted rate for my trip, but my opinions are my own.
Like all bloggers, I too was excited to be included in Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2018. Invites to the caveated conference are considered by many to be the pinnacle of blogging success. So, when that pixie dusted e-mail made its way into my box, I felt both honored and blessed. Here are My Favorite highlights from the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2018.
What is Disney Social Media Mom Celebration?
Disney Social Media Moms Celebration is a by-invitation-only yearly conference. During the conference participants get valuable tips from inspirational content creators as well as network with fellow bloggers.
Best of all they enjoy magical vacations with their families since Disney is known as THE place to create lifelong family memories!
My Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2018 experience
This year the weeklong conference featured a tantalizing land and sea combo. During the meeting, the sponsors pampered us with fun events and swag. A special thank you to the following companies:
Joffrey’s Coffee & Tea
Between its highly informative presentations, unique activities, and priceless family memories, this trip turned out to be a once in a lifetime for us.
Tuesday, February 20
During our Disney World visit, we stayed at the Mexican Colonial-themed Coronado Springs resort. With its family-friendly layout and large convention center, the hotel was a perfect fit for our conference.
Our newly renovated room in Casita Eight had comfortable plush queen sized beds, a large table and sitting corner area. The bathroom had two convenient separate sections. Our son with autism was delighted to add the three pins on the bed to his collection.
My own YAY moment came later at the Social Media Mom desk. I received a beautiful backpack stuffed with goodies. Needless to mention I LOVED the bag so much I ended up using it throughout the conference along with those sequined Mickey ears.
Tuesday’s favorite highlight
Everyone I spoke with had a marvelous time at the Pixar themed party.
This year will go down in history as the Pixar year for Disney!
Upcoming highlights are Pixar Fest (Disneyland and Disney World), Toy Story Land (Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Shanghai) and Pixar Pier at the Disneyland Resort. Topping the Pixar mania is the release of The Incredibles 2 in June.
My favorite part of the evening was writing postcards to the troops. My son couldn’t get enough ‘selfies’ with all the characters from inside out, Monsters Inc, The Incredibles, and Toy Story.
Wednesday, February 21
The next day was filled jam-packed with activities in the Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios.
Imagine a day that starts with Disney’s newest attraction of Pandora, continues with interviewing the art director of Walt Disney Imagineering Ryan Wineinger about Toy Story Land and ends with a tasty dinner buffet hosted by GogoSqueez at Pizzo Rizzo?
Of course, we all ended up massaging our achy feet by the end of the day, but it was worth it!
Wednesday’s favorite highlight
We started the day at 5 AM, which was brutal for us used to Pacific Time. After getting dressed and drinking our weight in coffee, we boarded one of the chartered buses to Animal’s Kingdom Pandora. Disney opened the park earlier just for us to enjoy which was an incredible treat.
We were treated to a sunrise breakfast buffet at Satu’li Canteen. But who wants to spend the time eating when they can ride the back of a mountain banshee on Flight of Passage? Or admire the bioluminescent rainforest on the Navi River Journey? With ZERO lines?
If you haven’t seen Pandora yet, I genuinely recommend it. Here is a detailed review. Aside from its intricate décor and bioluminescent touches it has the best rides I’ve experienced in a Disney theme park. Remember to book your FastPass+ 30 days before your scheduled visit or 60 days before your Disney Resort hotel check-in date since these passes are very popular.
Thursday, February 22
The day started with a delightful breakfast buffet filled with Disney characters sponsored by Alamo.It continued with several presentations from Disney officials and entertainment by country music trio Temecula Road.If you haven’t heard them yet look them up on YouTube- you’ll love the songs.
All of us got adorable Pixar hats, and a delicious rose gold cupcake. A few lucky attendees even won gift baskets filled with Disney merchandise.
In the afternoon we flocked to the Sponsors’ Marketplace to introduce ourselves and chat about collaboration opportunities.
Apart from collecting swag, filling my Instagram with selfies ( Temecula Road singers and Caleb McLaughlin of ‘Stranger Things’), I helped paint a mural for the boys and girls club in Apopka Florida.
And I didn’t mention the food and beverages. My favorites were Joffrey’s portrait coffee and the ginormous donut.
Thursday’s favorite highlight
Listening to Bob Chapek, chairman of Disney Parks and Resorts about all the new Star Wars attractions coming to the parks was quite the experience. I can’t wait to see what the Disney Imagineers have thought of.
But there’s nothing like Disney fireworks to end the day. My son described watching the Star Wars fireworks in our VIP seats while feasting on ice cream in Captain Phasma mugs as AWESOMLICIOUS!
Friday, February 23
We started our day with a Star Wars themed breakfast. But we all had the upcoming Disney Dream embarkation on our minds!
The layout of our Disney Dream family stateroom with verandah was perfect for us. The split bathroom concept made getting ready a breeze. And we liked the luxurious H2O toiletries provided. You can read our full cabin review here.
Right before the obligatory Muster Drill, Disney organized a welcome reception for the bloggers.We had a blast showing off our Disney bounding skills, sipping our champagne toast and hitting the dancing floor with Mickey.
The Disney Cruise Line makes dining comfortable with its set rotation restaurant system. In our case, we enjoyed our first dinner onboard at the Enchanted Garden. The Golden Mickeys show at the Walt Disney Theater along with a nightcap at the ship’s Champagne bar topped the incredible day.
Friday’s top highlight moment
Embarking aboard the beautiful Disney Dream was the highlight of the day. Our son loved the staff clapping to our name.
Saturday, February 24
I looked forward to attending the second part of the conference presentations. While my family spent the day at the Atlantis resort, I had fun learning new tips and quips.
The day opened with Sharon Siskie, Senior Vice President of Commercial Strategy who spearheads the sales and marketing for Disney Parks & Resorts, Disney Cruise Line, Disney Vacation Club and Adventures by Disney.Highlights from her presentation included info about the Adventures by Disney tours to Peru and Japan and the Disney Cruise Line’s Marvel Days at Sea.
Bob Hitchcock, the winning video content producer for Disney, shared his fantastic tips how to make bloggers’ stand out in the crowded blogosphere world.
Two of his tips resonated with me. The first was that to choose the end clip first when creating a video. The second involved video sound and how good quality sound in videos will render more youtube views.
Thomas Smith Founder of the award-winning Disney Parks Blog and editorial content director emphasized the importance of bloggers connecting with their readers. I will remind myself daily that the secret to a successful blog is to appeal to people on a personal level.
Tom Warburton the Producer, of the new “Muppet Babies,” introduced us to a behind -the -scenes peek at the series remake. After watching an episode, I can tell you –it is perfect for little ones (and their nostalgic adults) to watch. And they kept the original theme song which means you’ll hum along while your kids are watching!
After the morning sessions, I ventured off to check out the press junkets Disney organized for the conference attendees.
The first at the Animator’s Palate featured the ship’s chef and his signature dishes. The second boasted the costumes and props from the onboard Beauty and the Beast show.
In the evening we all put on pirate garb and had a blast! After dinner at the Royal Palace, watching the Beauty and the Beast show and the Pirate Party fireworks, we fell asleep as soon as we hit our pillows.
Saturday’s favorite highlight
Alex Ruiz Senior Manager, Digital Content Development for Walt Disney Parks & Resorts talked about chatbots and Instagram Stories and their emerging importance in digital communication. I found his presentation fascinating and will incorporate his ideas into my blog strategy for this year.
John Breckow director of Disney Corporate Citizenship for Disney Parks & Resorts came back for an encore to share with us his experiences with hurricane victims, hospitals and the Make a Wish Foundation.
I don’t think any of us in the audience knew how much Disney gives back to the community. By the time he finished his emotional presentation, there wasn’t a dry eye left in the room.
Ending the fantastic line up was Ashley Eckstein. Ashley is an actress, entrepreneur and lifestyle trendsetter. Known as the voice of Ahsoka Tano on Star Wars she started ‘Her Universe’ a fashion company.
Between her childhood stories and her life philosophy tips to ‘Dream Big’ and ‘=Never Give Up,’ she managed to capture our collective admiration.
She penned an inspirational book titled It’s Your Universe that will be released on May 8th, 2018. We all got a copy, and I have to say it is a compelling read! I recommend it for parents and kids alike. In fact, after finishing it, my son with autism decided to go back to college.
Sunday, February 25
Sporting our Disney Social Media Moms beach bag and beach blanket we set off to spend the sixth day on Castaway Cay. The Disney operated Bahamian Island is an exclusive stop available for guests sailing with Disney Cruise Line.
The island has three separate areas. There’s a family beach, a teen area, and an adult only zone called Serenity Bay. Sunscreen, bug spray, and unlimited towels are provided free of charge upon arrival. Furthermore, all guests can relax on complimentary loungers and feast on a delicious BBQ lunch.
Thanks to the Disney organizers we all got a complimentary bike, snorkel, and raft rental package to enjoy.While my husband and son made good use of it, I relaxed in a nearby hammock.
The rest of a perfect day
Capping our perfect R&R day was dinner at ‘Animators Palate’ followed by the “Disney’s Believe” show. After reading Ashley’s book the night before, I thought the storyline about adults needing to believe in magic sounded perfect!
Monday, February 26
The adage about all good things coming to an end suited this day. We were all sad to leave the ship and return to real life. Who wouldn’t be after enjoying this once in a lifetime magical vacation?
I returned home tired but pumped. Between endless loads of laundry and mountains of mail, I ‘ve already posted two Instagram stories and ordered a new microphone to take my video sound to the next level.
I want to thank the incredible DisneySMMC staff who worked so hard to put this conference together. You all did a fantastic job of answering questions to making sure we were all comfortable and enjoyed ourselves. My family and I are truly grateful for the unique opportunity to partake in this fun-filled and memorable event.
Interested in hearing more about Disney SMMC news? You can read the Disney blog as well as follow the Disney Social Media Moms on Twitter @DisneyMoms