Four Unexpected Outcomes from Disney Social Media Moms

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Castle Title

 

Last week Disney announced that it will again be hosting a Disney Social Media Moms Celebration at Walt Disney World Resorts in Orlando Florida.  This year the date has been set for May 9-12,  Mother’s Day Weekend.

The social media surrounding this event is a little spastic if you follow along on Facebook or Twitter:  People begging to get in, others already complaining about the process of private invitations, still others reliving conferences from past years.

My mind had already begun to wander over the memories of our trip last year before this announcement came.  It is safe to say it is now flooded with those memories.

I loved the 2012 Disney Social Media Moms Celebration.  It was the first time my family got to experience Walt Disney World.  It was the first big family vacation we’d ever taken, in fact.


I think we handled it well.

Kids in the Car



The accommodations were lavish.

Yacht Club Resort, Walt Disney World Resorts, Disney Social Media Moms



The scenery wasn’t too shabby.

Disney Castle



 The events were amazing.

Disney Social Media Moms Pirate Soiree



The venue was beyond imagination.

#DSMM



The speakers were phenomenal…..

Disney Social Media Moms



Including Chris Brogan, who had been on my list of people to hear speak for quite some time.  He was great.  I sat in the front, up by the stage and literally forgot I was in a room full of people and may or may not have accidentally “heckled” him I was so caught up in his presentation.

Disney Social Media Moms, Chris Brogan, Walt Disney World Resort

But here is the thing.  Those are the things that were wonderful about physically being at Walt Disney World Resort and participating in the Celebration.  Looking back a year later I can tell you distinct reasons that being a part of that weekend changed my life.

Oooooh, I know.  That sounds so cheesy.  I try really, really hard to stay away from cheesy.

But that is the God’s honest truth.  And here is why:

 

The Invitation.

Being invited to this event is a big deal.  It was a big deal to me because it meant that I was not slipping into the void of invisibility I felt was being created by the  overwhelming demands of parenting three young kids.  Sitting in my house on my computer day after day…. somebody else saw me there…heard me there….and something I did or said made them take notice.

 

The Company. 

In those three very short days, I was able to connect with some women that had been peripherally a part of my online life.  I was able to see them, to talk to them. A bond was created by watching each other juggle our families and our businesses in real life, not just by rehashing our day on a computer screen.  And that carried forward.  When SuperBoy had a magnificent meltdown at Hollywood Studios…one tweet brought rousing support from the people I had just spent time with and whom I knew were somewhere in this giant park all around me.

 

The Learning.

  I already mentioned that the speakers were amazing, that isn’t what I’m talking about.

  • I learned something about myself on this trip:  I learned that I am stronger than I think I am and that I can, if need be, stand alone.  I used to know this but that knowledge has been lost  somewhere along the way.  I planned the trip from beginning to end by myself.  I gave the directions, I fixed the problems, and my pay from blogging footed the bill for the entire trip.  I even took all three kids into Magic Kingdom by myself…and not only survived but enjoyed it.

 

  • My children learned more about what it is I do.  They are too young still to understand what or why I’m writing.  But they saw the families of all of these other parents who , I explained, do the same thing as Mommy on their computers.  They learned that what I do holds some value, in a currency they understand.  After all, if Mickey thinks it is important….it must be important.

 

  • My husband learned a little more about what I do.  While he loves me, SuperDad has a difficult time wrapping his head around the idea of blogging.  He is not tech oriented.  He is an engineer and would prefer to never see a computer once he leaves his office.  While tolerating my passion for blogging over the years, his patience does often run thin.  In this space he saw hundreds of other families who were brought here because of the power that a parent holds in the social media space.  He witnessed for the first time a value placed on what I do that did not come from me. In the weeks and months since this trip his tolerance has turned to support and while I’m still not sure he understands what” the whole blog thing” is… he understands why it is important to me.

 

The UnExpected.   

 

seat belt pillows

In preparing for the trip I became slightly obsessed with the driving portion of the adventure.  Among other projects, I designed and then created seat belt pillows for my kids to use in the car.  Pillows that would take up less room than their actual pillows and would stay put when the kids were ready to use them and I wouldn’t be turning around to pick them up every 10 minutes.

What I never expected in a million years was what came next.  After blogging a small tutorial for the pillows I saw them show up on Pinterest.  Then I began to see more and more of them.  By the end of June that one post was receiving over 100,000 views a month.  That is a LOT for a little blog like me.  The traffic was pouring in.  I had friends and family email or call saying how weird it was that a picture of one of my children had just popped up in their Pinterest feed and it wasn’t from me…. I was experiencing in a new fashion the power of the internet.

A few months later, at the prompting of some of those same people I had strengthened my bonds with during the trip, I designed and actual pattern for the pillows and opened an Etsy store.  I’ve been selling patterns, pillows and DIY kits ever since.  The woman who hasn’t sewn a stitch in over 15 years is running a successful Etsy store.  So successful, in fact, that I’m taking the next step to hiring people to sew for me.

As hoaky as it sounds… I wouldn’t have done this before the trip to Disney Social Media Moms Celebration.  The stars aligned.  My confidence was boosted, I discovered strength I didn’t know I still had.

 

And all of that, in large part, because a mouse sent me an invitation to a party.

17 Comments

  1. I’ve seen it before, but that picture of Super Baby just kills me. So much attitude, I love it.

  2. I could have written this! My main takeaway from the conference was that I needed to start taking risks again. That became my creed for 2012 and here I am about to release my very first book because I chose to sit with a stranger at breakfast during a different conference. I can’t explain it other than it truly was magical :)

  3. Yay, Andrea!! I’m so excited for you … you have worked SO HARD this year!

  4. Attitude seems like an understatement these days :)

  5. I love you! That’s all. I’m so glad you got to go! I only wish we had been the same year!

  6. The Disney conference helped my husband and kids too see the value of what I do!

  7. Great post! I went to the Disney On the Road Social Media Moms celebration and know how inspiring it can be, so I can only imagine your trip.

  8. I’m so glad it wasn’t just me :) To see the value placed by others …and to see me when I’m in “my space” … made such a big difference.

  9. I’m glad you got the chance to experience even a piece of it, Kristin! They do such a great job at inspiring others.

  10. This looks absolutely amazing!!

  11. This is fantastic! All of it. :)

    Such a great post – thanks for sharing your experiences. You write beautifully! I’ve been following the #DisneySMMoms hype and excitement for a couple of years now (have not attended)… but no one told me the FAIRY GODMOTHER is a speaker!??! AAAAAHHHHH!!!! Awesome. *o*

  12. This is so amazing it kind of makes me want to cry FOR you and I don’t even know you!! Yay!!!

  13. And on that driving portion we connected–I’ll never forget seeing you zoom by and knowing with the glow of a phone that you HAD to be a blogger like me and had to be heading south for the same magical fun!

  14. I think about that OFTEN!! Lol!
    I absolutely loved that (once I realized the people in the next car holding up my FB page on an iPad weren’t stalkers)

    xxoo

  15. Oh yes! Fairy Godmother, Darth Vader and Gary’s version of Obi Wan Kanobe all made an appearance!! Lol!

  16. As if I need another reason to be excited… this is it! :) Giddy to go, and thrilled to meet another Kansas blogger! I haven’t been to a conference since summer of 2010 ~ 2 babies ago ~ and while I LOVE my babies, this “blog thing” gives me another purpose besides changing diapers, and that’s nice, too.

    Hats off to you for driving! Do you drive straight through? One night? I couldn’t pull my teacher hubby out of school any more days, so we’re flying the friendly skies for the first time ever with the kids. Ack!

  17. I know, Amy! I saw you on the list and got all shades of excited :) This is sure to be a magical trip for everyone!!

    We will drive straight through and then spend the night nearby so we can drive into the park in the morning and make the most of our day before festivities start Thursday night.

    I almost think YOU are the braver one…the idea of flying with all of my kids? ACK!! Especially SuperBaby who is in the throes of his 3 year old “I RULE THE WORLD” phase…. eegads.

    I can’t wait to meet you….soon!

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  1. Disney Social Media Moms Like Me! They really like me! - [...] Read more about Disney Social Media Moms in Jenn’s post: Four Unexpected Outcomes of Disney Social Media Moms. [...]

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