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.
The accommodations were lavish.
The scenery wasn’t too shabby.
The events were amazing.
The venue was beyond imagination.
The speakers were phenomenal…..
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.
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:
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.
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.
I already mentioned that the speakers were amazing, that isn’t what I’m talking about.
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.Read More
One of my favorite parts of the Disney experience was very unexpected: the parades. I absolutely loved them everywhere we went. The music and the enthusiasm of the characters combine to make a more than memorable event. With all of the people in the crowds I somehow seemed to get tons of pictures with the characters looking “right at me” …they are so into what is going on around them…playing their parts and not just waving to a crowd.
After two weeks off I’m back to share some of my favorite Magical Moments with Disney!
The very first thing we did at Disney last spring was to take our kids to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique where they were properly “Princessed” and “Knighted” for our adventure. They were so adorable and all of the cast members around Walt Disney World played along: they greeted SuperGirl with a bow and a “Hello, Princess” … and random strangers graciously commented to her on how adorable she was.
We returned to our room mid-afternoon so I could get ready for the first of many amazing Disney Social Media Mom events; I spent maybe 15 minutes getting ready and when I looked over to the bed… this is what I found:
Nobody said being a princess was going to be easy.
This spring’s visit to Walt Disney World held one very memorable activity for SuperBaby. At only 2 1/2 years old he thoroughly enjoyed the parks, the rides and the food…the characters and all of the excitement….but his favorite venture was at Hollywood Studios in the Honey I Shrunk the Kids! play area.
This whole play area is designed like the Szalinkski’s backyard! There is only one entrance/exit and it is guarded by a cast member so kids can run and play…climb and jump to their heart’s content. While all of the SuperKids had fun in this oversized backyard playground….I think SuperBaby had the most fun because he was “set loose”. He wasn’t being told “Stay With Me!” or made to sit in the stroller. He could exercise some of his budding independence and use up some energy at the same time!
Sitting on top of a giant ant yelling, “Yee-Haw!” and giggling like crazy.
The 2012 Disney Social Media Moms Celebration was held at the Yacht Club. Our first night we attended a “Swashbuckler’s Soiree” on the beach. This was our first night at Disney World, and the first sunset I witness there…and it was breathtaking. Magic rings from every corner of this place. It is simply beautiful.
The back side of the Yacht Club Resort, taken from the beach in front of the Beach Club.