Friday, July 5, 2013

The Call of Disney

I pretty much think of Disney as the holy grail of…well…of everything they do.  Their marketing is always bang on. When you visit their theme parks the experience is flawless and completely engulfing.  They truly understand their target market for every endeavor and it shows.

I felt this way when Hubby and I went to Disney World on our honeymoon nearly 14 years ago. And it was reinforced when we took our kids for their first trip to Disneyland last year.  I am truly in awe of what they do.

So when I was given the opportunity to attend an event they were hosting for Social Media Moms there was no way I was going to say no. Even though I had no idea what the event was even about or what I might learn there.

And it was even easier to say yes to a spontaneous road trip considering I was going with my good friend and fellow blogger Bianca from Bitsof Bee.

Wednesday night I loaded my stuff into her car and we hit the road. The traffic gods were smiling on us and we breezed through rush hour traffic and a 5 minute border lineup.

By the time we crossed the border it was 6:30 and we were both starving.  Actually we were so hungry that neither of us could make a decision on where to eat. After much discussion we decided it had to be Taco Bell - surely there must be one soon right?

Alas, we drove passed exit upon exit with several food options listed on the handy dandy signs but NO Taco Bells. Finally...success!

45 minutes after crossing in to the US. We were giddy with hunger...practically delirious at the thought of finally eating a taco and some damn mexi fries.  Each of us considered ordering one of everything...

Good thing we didn't because that mediocre mexican food smothered in disgusting nacho cheese sauce was not worth the wait or the effort it took to find it. Immediate gut rot...

ugh...congealed orange gunge...

So we got the heck outta dodge and back on the highway...adequately stocked up with some road trip goodies.  you help soothe our tummies..

We made it to the hotel by about 9:30. Knowing we had an early morning call ahead of us we decided to pass on going out and settled in for some Master Chef and a relatively early night.

The next morning at the ungodly hour of 7:30am we made our way to the event room.

Note to all the lovely Disney organizers: no matter the age of our children all mothers are relatively sleep deprived...maybe let us sleep in a little next time. Maybe we could start at 9? Just a thought...

First exciting moment of the trip came when Bianca and I got to meet the lovely Kat (aka @mamakatslosinit) while waiting for registration to open. It was like meeting my first real blogger celebrity. Someone I recognized from their twitter photo for crying out loud. So cool.

I restrained from asking for a picture with her though. Just barely...

Inside the room was all Disney'd up...I wouldn't have expected any less...

There was even a little treat at every place setting...I was ready to eat mine for breakfast...

I found myself at a table of fellow Canadian bloggy moms...what an awesome group of ladies to spend a morning with:

Picture borrowed from @SwankMama - thanks!
B and I made a Monsters University friend...

There were so many of us Canucks we actually got a shout out from the official twitter account eh.

Looking around at the room as we ate breakfast, sipped coffee and chatted, I was surprised at how small the group made me feel even more honoured to have been included. Because while it may have been small there were some mama's in the crowd that had some major social media and internet clout. Major players...

I had myself set up with my new iPad keyboard ready to take notes and tweet whenever I heard something I thought was poignant or thought provoking or inspiring...

my 'office' for the day...

That turned out to be pretty much everything I heard. Surprised my keyboard wasn't smoking by the end of the morning because there was so much I wanted to capture!

Disney had their PR Director Michele Himmelberg kick things off with a very inspirational personal story that got the twitter feeds going:

Following Michele, Disney Destinations Manager of Social Media Erin Glover () told us all about what is new and exciting at Disney Parks this year. (side note: I would like your job please Erin...thanks ever so much)

We even got to see a little video that made us all feel like hopping on a plane.

Personally I liked Kat's take on the situation the best though:

Next up it was time for keynote speaker Mindee Doney. Like I said before - there was no agenda or presentation outline that gave any real indication to what Mindee was going to talk about. I knew that she was the co-creator of Boogie Wipes (which I had of course used before) but other than that I didn't know what she planned to talk to us about.

Her speech seriously blew me away. I couldn't take enough notes. I wanted to tweet every single thing that came out of her mouth (and I almost did).

There was so much substance and honesty and emotion and courage in her story. I think she is a truly amazing did everyone else in the room. My twitter feed was overflowing with her wise words:

After Mindee's presenatation half of the room seemed to surge forward to talk to her - I don't blame them. She shared so much with us I think we all felt like we had gained a new best friend. I think she liked us too:

I will definitely be watching for her book "Boogie Wiped" when it comes out later this year.

Following a short break to stretch our legs, exchange more business cards and wait in a very long line up for the ladies washroom it was time for the final two presentations.

First was a Mom-Preneur panel. I have to admit that since I don't have any entrepreneurial spirit (beyond wanting to sit at a desk and write all day long) I wasn't as engaged in this topic. But I was definitely in the minority. There are some mama's in that room that are going to make a real difference in the world through their own entrepreneurial endeavours.

One thing that I did take from every presentation was how important it is to make sure that when you are pursuing your dreams it's important to not only make time for your kids but your spouse as well. So very true...

The final speaker of the morning - last but certainly not least - was Disney Parks Global Content Director Michelle Stepney. She had a great presentation on handling media interviews should you ever get the opportunity to do so.

Of course...there was also tons of amazing giveaways. I never win anything so I had pretty low expectations. Imagine my surprise when I heard my name called as the winner of this awesome Disney Princess Build a Bear.

I was worried about having just one bear for my two girls but amazingly they were able to work out a a custody agreement all on their own. So far so good.

By the time the event wrapped up my mind was overflowing with information.  I felt like I wanted to start a business, quit my job, start writing, hug my kids, kiss my husband and hop on a plane to Disneyland all at the same time. I needed to process everything

Luckily Bianca and I had a 3 hour drive home ahead where we could do just that.

Talk, plan, process, think, dream. 

And also - US Freeway traffic is CRAZY:

Thank you so much to Disney for inviting me to your little party. I truly enjoyed every minute of the experience and it really has inspired me to get moving on many of my goals and dreams.

And thank you as well to all of the amazing mama's I have met through the #DisneySMMoms program. Many of you I will probably never meet in person but through your tweets, instagram pictures and pins I feel like we are already friends.

I have a lot of work ahead...a lot of plans to make...some lofty goals to (hopefully) achieve.

A lot of stars to wish on...


  1. I would have SOOOO loved to go to this! I need to get myself better connected so I don't miss out on more fun events like this!

  2. It was such a great event and well worth the trip! Great to meet you!