So in about a week or so we’ll be going back to Disney World and I’m pretty excited. Why? Because I somehow hoodwinked Disney World’s social media team into inviting me to the 8th annual Disney Social Media Moms Celebration, hashtag DisneySMMC!
Honestly, I’m not totally sure why I got invited. I am like 99.9% sure I have the smallest following and smallest online footprint (maybe I shouldn’t be typing this out because at this rate I’ll never get invited again. Actually, I’m 99.9% sure that’s the case already). I do love Disney, though, and factoring in the fact that this might be a once in a lifetime chance I jumped at the opportunity.
This year’s conference is actually a pretty hefty time commitment – after a couple days in the parks the conference moves to a 3 night Disney Cruise, so overall I’m going to be out of town for a week. I’m bringing M and my parents to the conference and Jess and H are going to join us for a few days as well (they’re skipping the cruise).
Disney bills the celebration as part conference/part vacation. I’ve calculated it out, and it comes out to about a 40% discount off of what I would normally pay for a similar vacation. This isn’t completely accurate since I would never take a cruise as short as 3 days but it’s a pretty good ballpark. I wanted to take the family back to the parks this year anyway so this was the perfect excuse I needed to convince my wife.
Anyway, I’ve been processing my attendance at this conference, and here are some questions I have.
Why did I get invited?
I’m not kidding about the follower count. I have a small blog and a small social media presence. Obviously, they invited me because there aren’t that many dad bloggers out there and I write about Disney (I’ve included some links at the bottom), so that’s something! Maybe they like to support small and big online presences alike.
Regardless, I’m really grateful for the opportunity. Disney is a love it or hate it kind of thing and I’ve loved it since I was a kid. I’ve never gone to Disney for “work” so this should be a unique experience.
What surprises will Disney have in store?
Disney aficionados love using the term “pixie dust” to describe happy surprise experiences that they happen upon in Disney World. Sometimes this pixie dust comes deliberately (an extra kind cast member) sometimes it is impromptu (stopping to see a cool street performance you didn’t know existed). By the way in non Disney travel we just call these things “cool moments.” 🙂
Anyway, I’ve heard that Disney sprinkles pixie dust like nobody’s business during conferences, especially ones run by their own special events and social media team. Will there be extra character meets? Neat souvenirs? A SNEAK PEAK AT EPISODE VIII!? I’m pretty excited to see what surprises await.
How will I enjoy cruising?
I’m a bit apprehensive about the cruise, considering I haven’t been on a cruise since high school. First, it seems too short. Three nights wouldn’t be my first choice, but it is what it is. Secondly, apparently you are supposed to relax on cruises. Am I even capable of that on vacation?
I mean, I definitely want to experience as much as possible. I’m hopeful that M will enjoy the Oceaneer’s Club (read: free pixie dusted childcare), I want to try out a bunch of things on Castaway Cay (Disney’s private island in the Bahamas), I’d like to ride down the water slide, go see some shows, etc. etc. etc. That’s a lot to do in three days. Oh, and I should probably attend the conference events too.
Since my wife and H aren’t coming on the cruise, I’m hoping we have a good enough time to convince them to come for the next one! Or go on a cruise in general, the idea of (semi) offloading my brain and the planning appeals to me.
How weird is it going to be hanging out with a ton of moms?
Let’s get real here. The female to male ratio at the conference will be about 30:1. I feel weird and out of place already, as if I’m an imposter on multiple levels. The celebration is not #DisneySMMorDC, it’s #DisneySMMC. I’d love to lie and say I’m not intimidated by being around a million moms but I definitely am feeling that, especially since I know grand total of one of them IRL (Hi Leslie!).
On top of all that, I’ve joined a Facebook group with these moms, and it is full of…energy. Like a lot of energy. And exclamation points. I’m not really like that, though I can approach something of that level of energy when talking about Disney.
I honestly find mommy bloggers fascinating. Is that energy real? (I’ve been told it is.) What will it be like to be around that much energy all the time? Do mommy bloggers have weird rifts and cliques like travel hackers? I feel like I’m getting this unique opportunity to have a window into this world I know nothing about and that’s pretty cool.
I think the mom bloggers are going to really help me look at things from a different perspective and I look forward to that. As time has gone on asthejoeflies has morphed into more of a family travel blog so I think I have a lot to learn.
How much peer pressure am I going to feel from the moms?
I had a horrifying thought this morning. Who will do M’s hair on the cruise? This Facebook group is full of ideas about costumes, cruise door decorations, crafts, etc. etc. etc. All I know how to do is book vacations for the least amount of money possible!
So I’m feeling a little bit of peer pressure, partially because I don’t want my daughter to feel left out. Also, I don’t want her to be saddled with “dad hair” for all of our pictures so I’m going need to get my act together.
In the end, mom blog peer pressure and travel hacking peer pressure aren’t very different. I decided not to pay extra money to chase Hyatt Globalist status and I won’t pay extra money to get Mickey door magnets either. I also don’t have the skill to make my own, like Laura Peterson from Pink Cake Plate (see below). Can’t do everything! Except hair, gotta figure out the hair…
Do I ever want to be anything more than a “hobby blogger”?
So apparently there is a difference between a “hobby blogger” and a full time blogger. I guess that makes sense. A lot of the bloggers going to this conference are full time bloggers who do a lot of hard work.
So I’m hoping to learn a little more about what that means. I doubt I’m ever going to move to doing this full time, like I’ve said many times, writing just helps me to process, but I think I will learn a lot from this conference. Hopefully that will help me to improve this blog for you guys, the readers. All ten of you!
How will I handle sponsors?
Apparently, Hanes and other sponsors will be at the conference. I doubt anybody will really pursue me, but it will be interesting to figure out how to deal with it if it happens. Everyone has their own lines when it comes to sponsors and things like that, so if anyone asks me to do something, I’m curious as to how I’ll react.
Nobody has ever asked me to endorse their product before, so it’s not like I can say how I would handle such a situation. But I did want to be honest that I think there will be some of that kind of thing going on at the conference.
In terms of Hanes? I’m definitely gonna grab some underwear if available to me. Like someone said on the Facebook group, “I could use some new bras!”
I’m really looking forward to going back to Disney World. Also, as this is my first “work” trip as a blogger, I’m really curious to see what that will look/feel like as well. In the end I hope to learn a lot about Disney, online presence, and of course the mom blog phenomenon. In the end, I’ll be judging the success of this conference two ways. 1) Did I have fun? 2) Am I a better blogger because of it? Hopefully in a couple weeks the answers to both questions will be unequivocally yes!
Old Disney Posts
Using rider switch (Traveling Dad)