I was invited to the 2015 Disney Social Media Moms Celebration. I paid a conference fee to attend and received discounted & complimentary items from Walt Disney World and their sponsors. I was not asked to write about our experiences at the conference. All opinions are my own.
My family recently had the opportunity to attend the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration, an invitation-only event in Disney World sponsored by Disney Parks. This year, conference attendees and our families stayed at the beautiful Yacht and Beach Club Resort. My family stayed at the Beach Club side and fell in love with the zero entry, beach like pool and the nearby Boardwalk area. We were sad to check out! We decided to extend our stay at POP Century, which was a very family friendly resort with some fun details – like the giant big wheel in the courtyard and rubik’s cube stairs. We still preferred the Beach Club for all of the amenities and restaurants on site. With Art of Animation Resort so close to POP Century, we wandered over there and loved the themed decor. We can’t wait to stay there someday, especially for the family suites that include a kitchenette and separate bedroom.
With only a handful of attendee only events, including a welcome mixer and a full day of sessions with amazing speakers, I enjoyed how family friendly this conference was! The welcome reception included an amazing dinner with character meet & greets (Baymax!) and we danced the night away until it was time to head to the private illuminations dessert party. The next day I attended sessions while my family played at Epcot (they loved the Monster’s Inc playground) and we met back up at a private beach party. After closing down Epcot (yay for extra Magic Hours), we walked back to the Beach Club and scheduled an early morning wake up call for a special opportunity to be filmed riding Dumbo. After our Dumbo adventure, we got to preview part of Disney-Pixar’s Inside Out and enjoyed a free day at the parks. Our last conference day included a Fun Run through Epcot and a bittersweet Mother’s Day breakfast.
We had such an amazing time and made so many wonderful memories. I’m still trying to catch my breath from this whirlwind experience. I’ll leave you with my top 10 moments from Disney Social Media Moms Celebration:
1. Disney Magic. There was plenty of Disney Magic to go around on this trip, but one moment in particular had me choked up. Amelia had gotten sick all over her outfit in Magic Kingdom, not so magical at that moment, and I went searching for an outfit in a nearby gift shop. I explained our predicament to a cast member and she so kindly helped me find something that fit Amelia. When we went to pay, the cast member told me that Mickey Mouse wanted to give us the outfit and to have a better day. I could have cried, it was the nicest and most amazing gesture that I’ll never forget. I wish I would have gotten that cast member’s name so I could send her a thank you card, but I was in mama survival mode. From the bottom of my heart, thank you to that amazing cast member for turning a not so great day into one of the best moments from our trip!
2. Hearing from Jonas Rivera, a Pixar Producer. It’s not everyday that you get to hear from the man behind so many amazing Pixar movies. I could have listened to him talk about the loooong and tedious movie making process all day. It was fascinating! The creativity that goes on behind the scenes is inspiring and exhausting and just plain amazing! I was surprised at how many mediums of art they use while creating these films. From sculpting to watercolors, these characters come to life before they are digitally animated. I have so much appreciation for these films after hearing him speak and I love listening to people who truly love what they do for a living!
3. Getting a sneak peek at Disney-Pixar’s Inside Out. Conference attendees and our families were bussed to the AMC theater in Downtown Disney to watch a portion of the film. If you loved Up, you are going to love this movie! It’s centered around an 11 year old girl, who’s emotions all of a sudden change and we get to see what’s going inside of her head. I don’t have a pre-teenager yet, but I’ve worked with plenty in my pre-blogger life and the transition from kid to teenager is tough for everyone. No spoilers, but oh gosh, it’s so good! I already have plans to see it again once it hits theaters in June!
4. First Haircut on Main Street in Magic Kingdom. Logan got his very first haircut at the Harmony Barber Shop on Main Street over 2 years ago and I was so glad we could carry on this little family tradition with Amelia. She did fabulous and it helped that the barber shop had plenty of Disney toys and stickers to keep her occupied. The hairdresser even gave her a fancy little up do, complete with pixie dust! Amelia was given a special “My First Haircut” pair of ears and I was given a special pouch with a lock of hair inside, which will go in my special keepsake box next to Logan’s lock of hair.
5. The food. Oh the food! Conference attendees got to hear from Chef Gary, who was clearly passionate about Disney’s Magic of Healthy Living initiative. We learned about the Mickey Check symbol, which is a tool that makes it easier to identify nutritious choices in stores, online, and while on vacation at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. Disney is also currently developing allergy friendly menus for their restaurants, to make dining even easier for families that may have special dietary needs or restrictions. Tusker House in Disney’s Animal Kingdom was our favorite restaurant this trip, a great option for Paleo or Gluten Free diets.
6. Running in the GoGo squeeZ Fun Run. Conference attendees had the opportunity to participate in a 1 mile Disney Fun Run through Epcot, sponsored by GoGosqueeZ. Getting up a 5am, that’s 2am in Arizona, didn’t seem so FUN to me the night before as I was setting my alarm. I’m so glad I did it because it was one of my favorite memories from the conference! It was surreal running through an empty and quiet Epcot. Plus, I got to dress as a Star Wars character with some of my other Arizona blogger buddies. Typical work day for me.
7. Jedi Training. Our first morning in the parks, before Disney Social Media Moms registration, we rushed over to Disney’s Hollywood Studios to sign Logan up to defeat the Dark Side. The kids were ushered up on a stage, given robes and a life saber and duked it out with Darth Vader. Seriously the coolest thing ever for an almost 5 year old boy who is now obsessed with Star Wars! To sign your child up, make sure you are at the gates at least 30 minutes prior to the park opening. Rush on over (like run/briskly walk) to the ABC Studios building and get in line. They’ll give you a slip of paper with the time of your Jedi Training and you need to report back to that same building 20-30 minutes before the show starts.
8. Filming on the Dumbo ride. My family had the opportunity to head into Magic Kingdom before the gates open (squee!) and film while riding Dumbo. The film crew mounted their video equipment on one of Dumbo’s ears and away we went! Logan was trying to make us go as high as possible, while Amelia just took it all in. I love that we have video of our family riding this Disney classic, definitely something I’ll treasure!
9. Meeting Elsa & Anna. During Disney Social Media Moms registration, we were given the opportunity to sign up for a special meet and greet with the characters from Frozen. Like every other little girl right now, Amelia is obsessed with Frozen. Every morning she greets me with, “Anna, Anna, Anna…pleasssse?” The character handler, a well intentioned older gentleman, told me that I could go with Amelia to meet Anna and Elsa if she was frightened or shy. Before I could even respond, Amelia bounced right up to them and plopped herself down in between them. They were so kind as they told her stories about Olaf and the Trolls. She loved every second of it and cried for “Anna” when I had to pull her away. Oh my heart, definitely one of the best moments from our trip!
10. Spending Mother’s Day in Disney World! Mother’s Day breakfast was our last conference event and in true Disney fashion, they went out with a bang. They showed a sweet video, featuring special clips from some of the attendees children. Voice Play, a 5 part cappella group that I’m now following on You Tube, performed a few Disney songs and there was a performance from Disney Imagicademy (that I sadly missed thanks to someone that needed her diaper changed, gotta love motherhood). Before we left for our trip, I told my husband that all I wanted for Mother’s Day was to Disney Bound as a family. After I explained what Disney Bounding was (taking inspiration from a character for your outfit), he was surprisingly on board with a Little Mermaid theme. He must really love me to dress like Prince Eric! Logan made a handsome Flounder and Amelia was the perfect little Sebastian.
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