When I walked into the conference room for the Disney Social Media Mom's "On the Road" Celebration in Seattle and saw George sitting on my table, I exclaimed excitedly, "2319!"
Surprised at myself, I clamped my lips together and thought, "Did I just say that out loud??" After a quick glance around, I didn't think anyone noticed that I had just invoked the Monsters, Inc. code for human contamination on the Scare Floor, but if they had, I decided I would have just pretended to have been talking to my baby. Babies who can't talk yet are great for that sort of thing.
George, with his monster-contaminating human child's sock on his back, was my table captain for my first time attending the much buzzed about Disney Social Media Moms "On the Road" Celebration.
Often referred to as #DisneySMMoms, Disney Social Media Moms Team is powered by Disney Media/PR. This "On the Road" half-day conference that I attended is an offshoot of the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration that Disney hosts for about 150 mom/dad bloggers and their families for the purpose of familiarizing bloggers with the magic of Disney Parks. Usually held at Walt Disney World, in 2014 the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration will be held in Anaheim at Disneyland. These conferences are a way for Disney and the blogging community of moms to network, educate and inspire each other. Whoever dreamed this idea up deserves a raise!
The Disney Social Media Moms "On the Road" Celebration began with lining up for registration, which was a chance for me to begin meeting other bloggers, like Shannon from PixieBudget.com, Mindy from The Inquisitive Mom, Catherine from Thinking Outside the Sandbox and Sarah from Gazing In. It was so fun to talk with them about our kids (I think there were 14 kids between us!), strollers and about our respective journeys to get to the conference.
Stopped for the obligatory photo by the signage...
After my "2319" moment at the table with George, I regrouped and decided to mingle. I met Connie from Modern Mama and Kristina of Swank Mama, two really nice, upbeat ladies. Blogging and photography were the hot topics respectively when I met Lori of The Write Mama and Keryn Means from Walking on Travels. Lots of smiles and shared excitement in the room as we drifted back to our tables once the food began arriving:
In addition to talking about Disney, my tablemates and I talked about Big Brother, the Kardashians, babies, blogging and more Disney. I sat with Shannon from PixieBudget.com, Jordan Nugent, who works in PR, Robin of Thrive Advertising and Jenni Hogan, Host of The Next Big Thing with Jenni Hogan.
After breakfast, the conference program began. I had hoped that my baby boy would fall asleep for this portion of the morning, and he did....it's just that he then woke up when I tried to put him into his stroller to sleep, so....Back into the baby sling he went and on with the show I went :) I pretty much held him the whole time, but he is so sweet, I didn't mind.
Michele Himmelberg of Disneyland greeted us with opening remarks and shared some of her personal journey as a mom working in sports media. It was cool to learn she is a founding member of the Association for Women in Sports Media. My mom was a pioneer for women in the construction business when I was a kid, so I have a lot of respect for women that blaze the trail for the rest of us.
Next we heard from Erin Glover, who has what might be one of the coolest jobs ever, writing for the Disney Parks Blog. She shared news with us about what's happening at Disney Parks as part of Disney's Monstrous Summer Celebration theme for all the promotions and activities this year at Disney Parks as well as Disney online. As an aside: there is a clever Monsters University website, as well as a special game where you can become an honorary Monsters U student and enter for a chance to win a family vacation to the Disney Park of your choice.
The keynote speaker for our day in Seattle was Mindee Doney, creator of Boogie Wipes and the force behind Get Your Own Juicebox, a site which is about empowering and encouraging women to be actively engaged moms and individuals. Check out my twitter feed for my coverage of her talk and of the whole conference. Mindee's talk was so good, it's all over the twitterverse and blogosphere! You can also search the hashtag #DisneySMMoms on twitter to see what was presented at the conference.
My view in the conference room:
Next we listened to a panel of Mom Entrepreneurs as they spoke about their experiences as small business owners as well as their encouragements for us to keep at our dreams. We heard from:
Suzanne Hansen of Baby Sleep Coaching
Kathy Nelson of OvalEye
Christi Sandvik of kris&kate
Sari Crevin of Booginhead
The last speaker of the day was Michelle Stepney, who is the PR Content Director on the Disney Parks Blog. She also does media training for Disney Parks, so she gave us a mini-presentation on how, as bloggers, to work with the media. It was great- it left me wanting to learn more!
I have to mention a few more new blogger friends I made at the conference: Shari Lynne from Faith Filled Food for Moms, Mindy from Momma Mindy, Eryn from WhentheBeeSting.com (coming in July 2013) and Jenny from Jenny on the Spot. Talented ladies, each one!
During the conference there were breaks for prize giveaways.
I won makeup from Disney's new makeup line, Beautifully Disney. I'll try it all out and write a review soon! Below are photos of my prize as well as the items we each received as an attendee gift. Mindee Doney gave out some grape-scented Boogie Wipes during her talk as a "nice to tweet you" gift for those she chatted with via twitter ahead of the conference. I love those wipes. Thanks so much Disney and Mindee Doney!
It was fun to see how thrilled the prize winners were. I think there was excitement not just to have something special to bring home to the kids, but also excitement for us adults personally because that Disney excitement is a deep emotional well to draw from. Once it gets inside you as a kid it is there to stay as you grow into an adult. You can't help but find that it inspires you again and again.
To say I had a great time would be an understatement. I learned some new things and made new connections with my peers in the blogging community. I'm so glad that Disney took the show "On the Road!"