Posts Tagged "Walt Disney World"

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.

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Monday’s Magical Moments: Royal Greetings

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Disney Pictures

 

I mentioned last week that during our visit to Walt Disney World last spring we decided to extend our visit by a day.  There were many factors but the main one… the reason I insisted that we could not leave yet… was the SuperGirl had not yet had the opportunity to meet Cinderella.  She was so patient all week long and we met so many other characters…. but I promised her that we would meet her very favorite one before we left.

So on the rainy morning when I headed into the Magic Kingdom all by myself with three kids in tow…. we met Cinderella.  And it was worth every penny…every minute spent to see her so very happy.

 

Cinderella, Meet the Princesses, Walt Disney World

 

This photo was taken by one of the Walt Disney World photographers.  We had the opportunity to use the Photo Pass service during our trip and I highly suggest if you are visiting that you use the service as well!



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Monday’s Magical Moments: Defining Magical Moments

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Disney Pictures

 

The day before we were scheduled to leave Walt Disney World Resorts this spring, SuperDad and I decided to extend our stay by one more day.  On that final morning I ventured into the Magic Kingdom with all three SuperKids….by myself.

We had a really nice time.  The kids were well behaved … mostly…and I only screamed at one bully on the tram…and then I made up for it by passing on some magic to a nice man who helped us out with our giant stroller…..but that is a story for another day.

The whole time we were at Disney the kids looked longingly at the giant balloons that vendors were selling.  They begged and pleaded for a balloon.  We kept telling them we would get one before we left.  That last morning…in the Magic Kingdom all by myself…was the time to get them.

It was also windy and it started to rain while we were there that morning.  No biggee….we survived.

But then we got the giant balloons.

I very explicitly told the SuperKids to stop goofing around with those balloons.  I told them that if they popped one of those TEN DOLLAR balloons that I would not be replacing it…they would be out of luck.

SuperBoy was the only one who listened.  He held his balloon very carefully.  He did not goof around.

As we approached the exit of the park, not 10 minutes after purchasing the balloons, a gust of wind caught his balloon and knocked it into the side of a building…and it popped.

He tried to hold it together.  He tried to look at the positive (the Mickey ears inside the balloon had not popped….to his dismay they were not filled with helium, however), he tried not to melt down…. but there were huge, enormous, gigantic, overwhelming tears brewing in his little eyes.

I wanted so badly to turn around and buy him another balloon…. but the vendor was nowhere in sight and I had JUST told them I would not do that.

It broke.my.heart.

We walked towards the turn styles and as the cast member at the gate was telling us goodbye she caught a look at SuperBoy and stopped in her tracks.  After hearing what had happened and seeing his little face trying desperately to hold it together, Lindsay from Davis CA asked me if I could spare 5 minutes.

She got her supervisor to cover her spot and ran back into the park looking for the vendor.  When she returned with an exact replica of the popped balloon I wanted to kiss her.

Disney Pictures

 

It was not until this moment that I got the full, unabridged extent of Disney’s dedication to “Magical Moments”.

You see…. he wasn’t just a kid with a popped balloon.  He was a kid who had been struggling with his behaviors for months… struggling with meltdowns and “end of the world” reactions to everything that seemed to go wrong for him….and in this one instant…he managed to hold it together.  He was practicing what we had been working on in a VERY tough situation….and then he was granted a kindness by this Disney cast member.  She had no idea of all of those intricacies…she was just sure that a child should not be leaving Walt Disney World looking that unhappy.



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Discount on Disney World Stroller Rentals for #DisneySMMoms

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***The discount in this post has expired.  It was specifically for attendees of the 2012 Disney Social Media Moms Celebration.  I still highly recommend you rent your strollers from Kingdom Strollers if you are in the market.  If you are unconvinced you can watch a video review and read 7 Reasons to Rent a Stroller from Kingdom Strollers on Your Next Disney Vacation .***

Planning every detail for our trip to Disney World for the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration is slightly overwhelming.   I haven’t even gotten to the “make a map of Disney” thing I’ve heard about …. or “Plan Your Driving Route so You Get There On Time” thing I’ve heard about …. no… I’m currently vested in the smaller, more important to me right now details like the “How to Get Your Three Small Children Around Disney World with Minimum Taxation on Your Arm Muscles” thing I’m worried about….

Did you know that Walt Disney World has stroller rentals??

Fabulous idea!

Expensive idea….and a little difficult to manage logistically…. the stroller can’t leave the park…and apparently are not the most comfortable devices around.

Now what?

Disney World Stroller Rentals

Kingdom Strollers is stroller rental company in Orlando that will not only rent you a stroller during your stay in the Orlando area, they will deliver the stroller to wherever you are staying and then pick it up when you leave.  You can take the stroller with you between parks, from park to resort…even around to other attractions/stores/venues in Orlando during your stay.

There are several different types of strollers:  doubles and singles of varying size and “weight class”.  I was able to book the City Elite Double Stroller  which is long enough for children up to 50″ tall and its weight capacity is up to 100lbs.  It comes with a rain cover and an attachable cooler … and every stroller is standard with cup holders for the grown ups.

 

This means it will fit SuperBoy (who I’m sure won’t THINK he’ll get tired)...and one of his SuperSiblings.   It also means we will have a stroller to use at the end of the day when we head back to our resort….when we shift from one park to the next…and when we are done the good folks at Kingdom Strollers will come and pick it up for us.

 

All of this for the same price as the Disney World stroller rentals ….and more comfort to boot!

The discount in this post has expired.  It was specifically for attendees of the 2012 Disney Social Media Moms Celebration.  I still highly recommend you rent your strollers from Kingdom Strollers if you are in the market.  If you are unconvinced you can watch a video review and read 7 Reasons to Rent a Stroller from Kingdom Strollers on Your Next Disney Vacation .

 

How did I discover this great discount on a Disney World stroller rental?

Well, it turns out that Matt at Kingdom Strollers is not only friendly, he has a good sense of humor, too.  (And by good sense of humor I of course mean: He thinks I’m funny.)

I’m a little paranoid about having our name plastered on items used by my children so when I picked out a “NameTag” for our stroller, I naturally went with “SuperJenn.com”.  This sparked Matt’s interest.  Emails and a phone call were exchanged and voila! A beautiful new friendship was born.

What do I get out of this deal?  Why…. a stroller rental, of course!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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