I pounced on the World’s Happiest Place ready to learn best practices from powerhouse speakers lined up at the 5th annual Disney Social Media Moms conference. And it was four days filled with great inspirational messages that helped re-ignite the fire inside me and get my blog and business from A to B. And it’s just what I needed after having had to close my non-profit Atlanta Diaper Relief this past year. And this was just the positive push I needed and what I learned confirmed the fact that success and excellence is still attainable, thanks to the wisdom of Maxine Clark-Founder of Build-A-Bear Workshop, Doug Bowman-Creative Director of Twitter, Donald Driver-Former NFL player for the GreenBay Packers, Tom Staggs-Chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts and Jay Ward-Creative Director at Pixar, just a few of the many speakers charged with arming us with insight.
Day one was a whirlwind. I arrived at the Disneyland Hotel with my colorful American Tourister luggage in tow, and checked into a plush room which I had all to myself and I was dazzled by the illuminating headboard. Very cute Disney. At 5 p.m. I headed down to a lush Welcome Reception, sponsored by Coppertone, on the Disneyland Hotel Magic Kingdom lawn. It was a social media palooza where hundreds of bloggers came together and chatted and chewed and heard from Disneyland President, Michael Colglazier and Director of Social Media Leanne Jabukowski, followed by a bunch of amazing giveaways.
We then headed over to Disneyland for a giant TRYit! Dinner Experience at the Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree, sponsored by the Magic of Healthy Living. The Magic of Healthy Living initiative was designed to encourage families to TRY new foods, fun moves and simple ways to be their best! The Backyard Jamboree was jamming! There were quite a few character experiences.
Mickey and Minnie of course hung out with us, as well as Doc McStuffins and I heard Sofia the First was there too. I missed seeing her!
I finished the night by exploring Disneyland with Ronnie Tyler of BlackandMarriedWithKids.com. As DSMM attendees we used our FastPass to get on a few rides and I even braved the Matterhorn Bobsled ride which was a hoot! I loved that ride. Worn-out and woozy we headed back to the hotel, taking in the sights and smells of Downtown Disney on our trek there.
We started the big conference day with a bountiful breakfast and Comfort Blend Bandinis.
If you’re wondering where the Comfort Blend Bandinis came from, Hanes sponsored our breakfast and gave us oodles of socks, colorful comfort blend hipsters & adjustable bandinis. Thanks Hanes. I’ve been wearing mine ever since! Well not the same underwear every since but you know what I mean! lol
During the conference, sponsored by Alamo, all bloggers were on deck and ready to consume the wisdom of some remarkable conference speakers slated to hit the stage. The conference kicked off with a bang and there was so much to take in and process. We heard from Tom Staggs, Chairman of Disney Parks and resorts who informed us about some exciting new projects coming our way at Disney like:
- The Opening of the 7 Dwarfs Mine Train in Disneyland in May
- Another Disney all-nighter scheduled for May 23rd
- New Balance Running Trails being designed through the Disney Parks
- Disney Cruiseline will now sail to Norway and Iceland in honor of FROZEN.
- A new Avatar Land is under construction
- A pirates themed land is being designed at the Shanghi Disneyland Resort
- And so much more!
Leanne Jabukowski, the blushing bride-to-be and the Director of Social Media for Disney Parks, and Social Media Manager Gary Buchanan moderated the speakers and kept the conference moving with fresh, funny commentary.
Leave it to Gary to actually make Leanne blush on stage and to also make an oops and create the DIAPER Dans – a spoof on the Dapper Dans – out of mistyping while tired.
Doug hit the stage with jokes and high jinks about some of the bloggers’ Twitter activity. He was scrolling through the #DisneySMMoms hashtag and pulled out funny commentary. Doug wanted to show proof that “Twitter is the roar of the crowd during moments of humanity.” And he should know as Creative Director of Twitter @Stop.
Here’s Doug’s best quotes:
“Hashtags show the collective pulse of humanity.”
“Twitter connects you to the people you WANT to know.”
“Moments become movements on Twitter.”
“Be creative, use your voice, be the voice of others.”
Founder of Build-A-Bear Workshop, this woman is bold, accessible and interested in the heart and minds of children everywhere and focused on much more than Teddy Bears. She gets it.
She said, “Most of the best ideas in the world come from women just living their life!” How true to life is this for a roomful of mom bloggers! She encouraged us to never give up on our dreams and when asked if she ever feels like giving up, Maxine boldly said, “No!” “Picture your dreams in a big way & then work backwards to make them a reality,” she said.
Other Maxine-isms that made perfect sense:
“When you acknowledge a child for something smart, other children follow along.”
“If you aren’t convinced, you can’t convince anyone else.”
“It’s not what you have, but what you have to give.”
“It’s great to be a Princess, but you can also be the Princess of engineering!”
Maxine was quick to offer her personal email address to answer questions to anyone who wanted it. She was so inspirational and the little lady really packed a POW in her speech.
The conference speaker that made a roomful of women weep in a good way was the incomparable Donald Driver @Donald_Driver80. This man is magnanimous, kind, and a real role model for little boys and men. Donald spoke about life, loss, love and the power of social media. The Former NFL player for the GreenBay Packers and Dancing with the Stars winner lifted us up and acknowledged the power of moms and how social media can make a difference. He didn’t even realize the power of Twitter until he became a contestant on Dancing With the Stars. Driver had the whole state of Wisconsin watching and tweeting along. And it worked. He won. “People will respect you if you are respectful on Twitter.”
A snapshot of Donald’s best advice:
“We’ve all been blessed with a purpose. What that purpose is, only you know.”
“Mom is the heart and soul of the family.”
“Why are you blogging? Don’t blog to get attention. Blog for a purpose.”
“No matter what you face in life, continue to inspire others. Don’t let your failures dictate your life!”
Donald also heads the Donald Driver foundation which serves as a hand up, not a hand out. donalddriverfoundation.com
Donald Driver is not only a football pro, dancing champion and humanitarian, he’s also an author of the book Driven which helps kids cope with loss.
We also heard from Kathy Magnum, Executive Producer and Vice President of Disney Imagineering who advised, “Mountains aren’t built overnight. Start small. Let things grow. Work hard, develop your concept, be patient.”
We also heard from Thomas Smith, the Social Media Director from Disney Parks. And Jay Ward, the guy responsible for bringing Cars Land to life, who is also the Creative Director at Pixar enthusiastically, shared his love for the Cars Franchise, “Love is in the details. You know you love your work when the details excite you.”
After the conference wrapped we had time to head back to the parks, but I opted to rest up before seeing the spectacular World of Color water show at Disney California Adventure.
Stay tuned because I have so much more to share in my next post which will feature Day 3 and 4 filled with Toons, Cars, Stars!
Thank you to Josh Hallett for the fabulous photos. Follow him @hyku
Read about how my friends inspired me at the Disney Social Media Moms Conference
Wow Kia – I don’t think I could have written a better recap if I tried. Great reporting and personal touches. So happy you enjoyed it all! It was also fantastic to see your smiling face again.
Thank you SO much Leanne!!! Coming from you, this just made my day supremely!! I thoroughly enjoyed the conference and really wanted to exude that! Thank you SO very much for the invite!! I appreciate that!