Last week, I was one of the lucky ones that got to attend the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration "On-The-Road" in Austin. When I initially received my invitation on June 26th to attend I was floored, to say the least! While I did apply for this conference, it is still invitation only & I truly didn't feel like I would get an invite since I'm not a traditional Disney Blogger. BUT, I got one & when Disney invites you to attend ANYTHING, you MUST go!
My family & I hit the road for our trip to Austin Wed night & stayed with my sister Valerie. I woke up bright & early Thursday morning, sprinkled on some pixie dust & headed out to the Intercontinental Stephen F. Austin Hotel on Congress, a.k.a. my Disney World for the Day. :-)
This was the first blog conference I had ever attended & I knew ZERO people attending. I mean, I knew of some people so we can just say I knew them but they didn't know me. :-)
Once I arrived, I checked in with our hosts Leanne O'Regan (@leannej), Jamie Langdon (@LangdonJamie) & some of the Disney Parks Mom Panel moms (Ana Fallas @abfallas Susan Pazera @SusanPazera Tania Lamb @LolaLambchops). They handed me my name tag & a swag bag & I headed for the room. A lot of the tables had been filled up by the time I arrived so I grabbed a seat on the far side of the room with some chairs to spare.
Disney doing Disney right, there was a breakfast buffet set up for us with bagels, fruit, pastries, french toast...and since we were in Texan Disney, they also had a nice spread of tortillas, beans, potatoes, eggs, sausage, bacon, cheese & salsa to make breakfast tacos!
After breakfast, we were all handed Disney trading pins to walk around the room & meet the other attendees & trade pins if we wanted. I walked around, met a few people but didn't end up trading my pin. I've never really considered myself a very shy person but being surrounded by all this "big time" I was a little star struck, gun shy, etc. A lot of the moms seemed to already know each other & were already deep in conversations so I didn't force myself. I didn't want to walk up & be like, "hi, I'm a blogger. No, not about Disney, just me & what I'm about." I know they would've accepted me with open arms but I didn't...or at least not as much as I could have. It's not like they'd just look at my outstretched hand & walk away. (or would they?) ;-)
Once the "ice breaker" activity was over, we got started on the speakers.
Leanne opened it all up with a welcome & let us all know they'll be accepting applications in September for the Disney Moms Panel. Go apply now if you eat, sleep & breathe Disney! She also shared with us the opportunity to nominate a grandparent in the World's Best Grandparent contest. Wouldn't it be amazing to get your own family picked for that!
Jamie (the cutest pregnant person ever!) talked to us about showing your #DisneySide . Disneyland is celebrating 60 years with their Diamond Celebration. There's a really cool site called My Disneyland Video where you can create your own Disneyland Diamond Celebration video using your own pictures. There are also lots of changes coming to Disney World like turning Downtown Disney into Disney Springs & the ever exciting return of Disney Cruise to Galveston in 2016!!! (I do with it was here in the summer though!)
Jenn Fickley-Baker (@DisneyParksJenn) talked to us about our stories. It's how you tell the story that's important & how you tell it will get attention. She also gave us a little brain science lesson when dealing with logic vs. creativity. I like to think of it as, "This is your brain. This is your brain while coming up with a blog post. Any questions?" ;-) Jenn told us to focus on creativity & the psychology behind it. Make a list of 10-12 story ideas or angles. This will help you get the logical stuff out & open your brain up to being more creative. Experiment. Play. Ask "What if?" Find stories in what others perceive as ordinary & simple.
Next up was the super cute & amazing mom/daughter duo Kathy Cano-Murillo (@CraftyChica) & Maya Murillo (@MayaInTheMoment). Kathy was so sweet & sincere! She told us to be passionate & follow through & to "spread the gospel of glitter!" :-) Never think an idea's too crazy...just find a spin to make it fit. Maya started young as an entrepreneur & now is like the master of Vine. Maya talked to us about her own personal experiences with heartbreak & basically turning that into an opportunity for herself. Take something bad & make it into something good & always remember...if it's boring for you, it's boring for your readers.
Victoria Lim (@VictoriaLim) is all video all the time. She introduced us 2 different video apps called Magisto & Videolicious. Magisto lets you make a movie with your own photos & it's so simple you could probably do it while walking, talking & editing all at the same time! I would love to be able to download Videolicious but it's not available for Android yet! :-/ But the example video Victoria made LIVE in front of us was really cool, so I'll be keeping an eye out for that app. Here are some of Victoria's tips: Be purposeful when you shoot...but shoot a lot. Shoot stead shots, not TMZ style. Be mindful of background noise. Zoom with your feet instead of the zoom button. Don't forget your bag of tricks...different lenses, mini tripods, selfie stick...but not to be used at Disney! :-)
Alex Ruiz (@ruizalex) is a Disney Digital Marketing Director & spoke about different platforms of social media. Who knew Disney had a Snapchat? Not me...because I'm not on it. :-) He also spoke about storyboards & brainstorming sessions. Visual person? Draw a physical storyboard with boxes, lay it all out. Your only limitation is how creative you want to be. Alex also ran the Periscope session with Q&A during Kathy & Maya's presentation which was really cool.
In between just about each speaker, Leanne held drawings for different raffles. They offered different baskets for different age groups & guess whose name was called for the Tween Boy Basket?!?!?! MINE!!!! No boys? No problem! Girls love Star Wars too...& we are loving my R2D2 Mickey Ears hat!
After all of the speakers were done, we got 2 more surprises...
A $100 gift card to Disney!!! (I wonder how long I'll be able to hang onto this?!)
And the man of the hour!!!! We all got a chance to pose with Mickey & it was a perfect end to the day!
Thank you to all the Disney Magic Makers who invited me to this awesome event! I had a beyond amazing time & I can't wait to do it all again at your house next year. (I hope!)