I’m still in the midst of processing the whirlwind Disney Social Media Moms Celebration (DisneySMMC) from last week, my first ever. I hope to reflect on some of the questions I had before the trip and writing down some thoughts on the conference and what’s new at Disney. However, I’m currently on a plane wrangling my two young children by myself on the way to our next destination, so that will have to wait.
DisneySMMC exceeded my expectations, we had a blast. Ginger Zee, of Good Morning America fame, gave the keynote speech and reminded us to always “be present in the moment.” With that in mind, here are eight DisneySMMC moments I’ll never forget (because I can read this blog post again one day!), presented in chronological order. Wait…if I’m reliving old moments am I no longer in this one? 😛
1. Sprinting from the Epcot ticketing center to the bus stop
I’ll kick things off with my one “bad” DisneySMMC moment. Let’s just say that we may or may not have lost our backpack. And let’s say, theoretically, that we realized the bag was missing as we were about to enter Epcot. Furthermore, it is altogether possible that I did my best Usain Bolt impression trying to get back to the bus before it left. Like Usain Bolt, I succeeded and caught the bus before it left. Unlike Usain Bolt, I received no medals – nor did I find the bag.
We eventually realized the bag had been left at one of the bus stops at Port Orleans: Riverside. Though I made it back to the bus stop within half an hour, the bag was gone along with our wallet (and Jess’ ID). PSA: you can still possibly board a flight without your ID, just get to the airport super early. But I’ll save all that for another post.
2. Experiencing Frozen Ever After for the first time (in for)ever
If you have any familiarity with Frozen and the old Maelstrom ride, you can pretty much predict what will happen when Elsa belts out “Let it go.” Still, I went into the ride having avoided all videos and the like so I felt very happy that the ride did the moment right.
I also cherish this DisneySMMC moment because we rode the ride together as a family of four. Jess and H went home before the conference proper started, so I’m glad we got to experience this ride together.
3. Walking into the VIP party in Harambe Village
To kick off DisneySMMC, the attendees gathered for a reception inside the Festival of the Lion King theater at Animal Kingdom. But the real party started when our families arrived an hour later. I walked out of the theater to find Harambe Village completely transformed into a buffet/reception/dance party.
As I entered this wholly unfamiliar looking area of Animal Kingdom, there was a DJ going nuts and yelling “GO GO SQUEEEEEZ!” and “DISNEY SOCIAL MEDIA MOOOOMS!” I quickly realized I was in for an incredibly unique experience, a side of Disney I’d never seen before! I really enjoyed that party but most of all that moment made me realize what a great privilege it was for me to be at DisneySMMC.
4. Holding Dominique Dawes’ gold medal
100 meter dash at Epcot notwithstanding, nobody would ever mistake me for an athlete. But I loved meeting Dominique Dawes, one of the first athletes I remember rooting for at the Olympics and part of the team that won the first ever USA women’s gymnastics team gold in 1996.
Better yet, I got a chance to hold her medal and chat with her for a bit. In partnership with the aforementioned GoGo squeeZ (whose free samples came in incredibly handy throughout the entire trip, for the record), Dominique is looking to fund schools that want to keep their kids healthier. If you know of a school that could use such a grant, apply here! Anyway, that will likely be the only time I ever hold a gold medal, so yay.
5. Lunch at Animator’s Palate with Monica and Nancy
If you read my preview, I actually felt fairly intimidated meeting all these more established, more successful mom bloggers at the conference. Well, as I’m sure you may have guessed, that was mostly silly, as all the moms I met were lovely, friendly, and helpful.
One positive interaction stood out slightly above all the rest. I enjoyed a pleasant lunch with Monica from Marino Bambinos and Nancy from Whispered Inspirations at Animator’s Palate on our first day on the Disney Wonder. Most people had sat with others they knew, but the three of us just happened to randomly show up at the same time and sat together.
We didn’t discuss anything spectacular, we just had a simple conversation about life, our kids, blogging, and all sorts of random things. A quiet DisneySMMC moment that will stick with me because it was indicative of my getting over my insecurities and finally feeling like I belonged there so I should just enjoy it.
6. Watching M lose her mind at the Sail Away party on the Disney Wonder
By the time the conference shifted to the sea on the Disney Cruise Line ship Disney Wonder, I was exhausted. But I still mustered up the energy to experience Disney Cruise’s unique Sail Away party – aka party for little kids who can or can’t dance good and want to do other things good well too.
Think epic dance party mostly aimed at kids. The party culminates in the Fab Five coming out to dance before the ship horns finally blast out the first seven notes of When You Wish Upon a Star to signify departure. I will never forget how M just grabbed some sparklers and went absolutely nuts dancing.
This DisneySMMC moment was one of those parent moments you live for: watching your kids have the greatest time in the world and just feeling lucky to be there to share it with them. I’m still smiling writing about it now.
7. Meeting Lou.
While I really enjoyed previewing the first eight minutes of Disney’s live action Beauty and the Beast (it looks wonderful), I absolutely loved Lou, Disney’s new Pixar short that premieres with Cars 3. I can’t say much about it, except that it’s well worth watching and was my favorite of all the Disney media we got to preview, which was a lot!
A special bonus was getting to hear from Dave Mullins, the director of the short. Directing for the first time, I appreciated Dave’s sincerity and his genuine love for his work. Not only was it neat to hear the behind the scenes of film-making, it was inspiring to see someone get to do the work he loves.
8. One final ice cream
I absolutely loved our time on the Disney Wonder – every single minute of it. M loved it even more. But my favorite moment from the cruise and probably the entire trip happened on the last night. I took M and V (Leslie from Tripswithtykes‘ daughter) up to the top deck for one final ice cream. The two had become fast friends on the trip which was a lovely thing in and of itself.
Anyway, I asked the two of them to tell me their favorite part of the cruise. They went with the classic age old kid answers. V: Pizza. M: Ice cream. If you know my family, this was an especially shocking answer since M didn’t like ice cream as of one month ago. But travel broadens your horizons (lol) and a Disney cruise is no exception. This DisneySMMC moment probably only makes sense to me – a quiet snapshot in time – but it’s probably my favorite.
DisneySMMC felt like a once in a lifetime opportunity and I’m so thankful I had the chance to attend. These moments only provide a brief glimpse into the experience, but I want to thank everyone reading for indulging me and giving me the chance to reflect a bit. So many amazing moments like the Star Wars Galactic Spectacular, Pirate Night, and Castaway Cay didn’t even make the list. I’ll leave you with one final moment from bedtime a few nights ago.
M: “Baba, remember when we were at Disney and we just played all day?”
M: “That was a lot of fun.”
Yes it was, dear. Yes, it was.