When I first opened the email inviting me to the 2017 Disney Social Media Moms Celebration I was a little confused. I had heard of it before, well more like heard rumors of it, but wasn’t totally familiar with what it was. So I started googling posts about it from prior years and searching the #DisneySMMC hashtag on Instagram and Twitter to find out more about what exactly it was. Then I then started messaging people that I saw had been in prior years to find out from them more about what it was. And every person I talked to said the same thing – that it was an amazing opportunity and that if I was invited that I had to go. This year the Celebration consisted of 2 nights at Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside in Orlando and a 3 night Disney cruise on the Disney Wonder. In past years the celebration has been at Disney World and Disney Land but this was the first year with a cruise component. I was super excited to do this because I’ve always wanted to go on a Disney cruise but have never had the opportunity to do one. So I took a leap of faith, begged my husband to take the week off from work, miraculously he was able to, and I signed us up to go.
Day 1 of #DisneySMMC we loaded up our car and left Atlanta at 4 AM. Yep, we’re crazy. But it was the only way for the kids to sleep in the car and we wanted to get in early enough to spend the day in the parks. So we checked in to our room at Disney’s gorgeous Port Orleans Riverside resort, and checked in to the conference. I took a tour of the Hanes showroom which was an awesome experience of being able to see their new products coming out, I got my technology set up for the cruise, and then we hit up Disney World! We only spent a couple hours in the park before heading to the first night dinner and family party at Animal Kingdom. Amazing food, drinks, getting to chat with and network with other bloggers and influencers… it was awesome! We also got to check out what the new Pandora at Animal Kingdom is going to look like and then get to watch the new lights show called River of Lights that opened last week at Animal Kingdom. I made a little Youtube video with some clips of that:
Day 2 we hit up Epcot in the morning and got to experience the new Soarin’ ride which was so fun. Afterwards we had a delicious breakfast and then an expo just for Disney Social Media Moms Celebration attendees with some of the sponsors of the celebration. We got to meet and have photos taken with Moana and Rapunzel, have makeovers by Neutrogena, check out some of the props used in the new live action Beauty and the Beast movie and more! After the expo we took a bus to Disney Springs for a challenge where we were each given a Disney gift card and given time to shop for outfits to compete in 1 of 3 categories: Disney bounding, Disney side, or fashionista. I went with the Disney bounding route, or dressing like a Disney character without being in full out costume, and found the perfect Rapunzel dress with the help of the ladies at Lilly Pulitzer, and then grabbed a tiara and Paschal at Disney Quest. Here was my final look:
After finishing up with the challenge I met back up with my family and we went back to Disney World for a while. Just enough time to go on Pirates of the Caribbean, my favorite ride, but when we were getting off I leaned over to pick Maddie Grace up out of the boat and my new iPhone 7 Plus fell out of my diaper bag and went right in between the boat and the dock and into the water. That’s right. And of course there was nothing the ride operators could do. In an instant it was gone. And I was devastated. But we headed on to the celebration dinner at Hollywood Studios, and I let myself be sad about it for the night, but the next day decided that there was nothing I could do about it and moved on.
Day 3 we woke up and headed to Disney Springs bright and early to catch a sneak peek showing of Disney Nature’s new film Born in China before we headed to the port to catch our CRUISE on the Disney Wonder! Immediately after boarding the celebration attendees had a private lunch at the Disney Wonder’s Animator’s Palette where we got to draw our own figure and watch it come to life. This was followed by a captain’s reception just for our group and then free time. I found my family and we hit up the splash pad which was a blast before doing dinner at Tiana’s, which is the New Orleans southern food style restaurant. Maddie Grace and one of the other girls at our table who was the same age enjoyed dancing together to the live band and I especially loved eating the beignets! After dinner we saw the first show of the trip, The Golden Mickeys, which was spectacular. Seriously all the shows were Broadway quality entertainment, definitely the best I’ve ever seen on a cruise ship.
Day 4 was our cruise day at sea and the general session for our celebration! This meant lots of interesting speakers. Like seriously high up Disney animators, oh and freaking Ginger Zee (think Good Morning America meteorologist and Dancing With The Stars). They filmed the weather segment for Good Morning America from the ship which was pretty cool and she talked with us about her career and how she handles social media. While I was at the general conference Tom took the kids to meet all the characters on the boat. They met Elsa, Anna, Rapunzel, Ariel, Belle, Cinderella, Mickey and Goofy. We wrapped up in time to hang out at the pool for a while and then headed to dinner at Triton’s, the Little Mermaid themed restaurant on ship. Here we had delicious seafood and then went to the show for the night After the show (Disney Dreams) was the infamous pirate night that we were so excited about! The kids were pretty exhausted but still were happy to see Pirate Mickey and Pirate Minnie and we all loved watching the fireworks show!
Day 5 was a day on the beach at Castaway Cay. I ran the Castaway Cay 5k first thing and then reunited with my crew to hit up the gorgeous beach! We had so much fun playing ball and building sandcastles, and Tom and I took turns going down the awesome water slides. After we headed back to the boat (we were some of the last people to do so) we had dinner at Animator’s Palette where we were treated to a great animated show and then everyone got to see Mickey do a song and dance. After dinner the show for the night was Frozen which absolutely blew my mind. It was so good. It was also the first show for which MG stayed awake the entire time because she was loving it so much.
Day 6 we said our goodbyes to new friends and headed back to Atlanta, totally exhausted but still on a high from such a great trip. I keep getting asked what I learned on this trip. And honestly, from the speakers I learned cool things about Disney and the art of animation. But the valuable stuff I learned came from opening up and meeting other bloggers and talking to them about their blogs and how they approach business. Up until the last minute when I was waiting for Tom to pull the car around to start driving home I was meeting new people. I saw a whole other world of blogging and also was able to take a step back and reevaluate how I manage my blog and social media channels and where I want to take them going forward. I really think this trip was a game changer in my blogging career and am so thankful that I was invited and for the friends who encouraged me to go.
And of course, some more pictures of our trip:
I’ll be writing several upcoming posts on Disney parks and Disney cruising so I’d love to hear from you guys about what you’d like to know!