Monday, July 1, 2013

Disney Social Media Moms

Disney On The Road

San Francisco

     What do you get when you combine a room full of bloggers and social media influencers with a dynamic line up of motivational speakers?  Why Disney on the Road San Francisco of course! After a month of stressing over what to wear, June 25 started VERY early in the morning,   in the pouring rain as I picked up my partner in this once in a lifetime adventure, Beth Thorpe writer/owner of My Adventures In Disneyland.  Together we embarked on the journey of a lifetime.
 From the moment you arrived you knew that something special was about to happen. The electricity and excitement in the room was obvious and you could not help but notice all the squeals of delight, as you were finally able to meet face to face the people you had come to know through the online Facebook group we had set up the second the invitations hit our email. As you walked into the conference, the magic of Disney was everywhere from the Mickey shaped balloons to the Monster’s University centerpieces on every table. I tried my hardest to adopt George Sanderson from the table next to us but it was not meant to be.


Although our quiche breakfast was awaiting us on the tables, everyone was so caught up in exchanging business cards, taking pictures and connecting and hugging, I’m not sure if any of us actually ate a thing.

          Maria Bailey of Mom Talk Radio kicked off the conference and served as our
host throughout the morning.  Maria provided some of the history behind the Disney Social Media Moms. 7 years ago, right here in San Francisco, Mike Hyland, Director of Disneyland Public Relations, and who  was also in attendance, wanted to create  deep and meaningful relationships with moms involving motivational speakers and networking  within an intimate experience and he went to the woman who in essence, started it all-Maria Bailey and Disney Social Media Moms was born. Throughout the years, this once a year multiday conference brings together 150 people. While they couldn’t bring the castle to us, Disney On The Road did allow them to bring great speakers and content supporting the magic of mom owned business, which has grown 54%. 
When you think Maria Bailey, one word comes to mind-Class. She epitomizes how to be a top notch professional in today’s world combined with poise, dignity and grace. Her message was a powerful one as she spoke of her life, her demands and her family, who obviously are her world.  From Maria we learned that:
          “The lessons you demonstrate every day are the behaviors your children will carry with them. They learn from you-that’s the magic. Disney is here to support that magic and to support you.”

          Next up was Michelle Himmelberg of Disney Destinations and a journalist with 30 years of experience and Erin Glover, Lead Blogger for the Disney Parks Blog   Through them we were treated to Disney’s Monstrous Summer which includes everything from Limited Time Magic in the Disney Parks, to the new Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World to Disneyland’s new Princess Fantasy Faire and Mickey and the Magical Map 4D Musical extravaganza. Their message was clear. For Disney it starts with the storytelling and it is that storytelling that is seen in everything that Disney does.
     Keynote speaker Mindee Doney, co-creator of Boogie Wipes and CEO of Juice Box Idea consulting was next to take the podium.  Mindee informed us that she would be “dropping truth bombs and magnificent goodness” and she did exactly that. If you ever have a chance to hear Mindee speak, do not walk-run to hear her!  For an hour, Mindee shared the good, the bad, and the sometimes the ugly part of her rise and fall and rise again of her life. We laughed with her, we cried with her and we learned from her. You felt as if Mindee was talking only to you; that her story could be your story. Mindee was the girlfriend every one of us needs in our life to set us straight, to tell us how it is, and to pick us up, hold us, dust us off and put us back on the right path.  I will be writing more about what we all learned at the church of Mindee later on but some of what I took away was:

          “Accept what you are what you’re great at and acknowledge it”
          ”Stick to your instincts. Embrace you and what you bring. Accept your responsibilities. Rock your talents and always believe in the Big Picture.”
          “When we choose daily to EMBRACE life and EMPOWER potential we can easily EXPECT our journey to be happily ever after.”  And my personal favorite Mindeeism:   “Motherhood didn’t get any easier. You just got better at it.”
Each year, Huggies provides grants of $15,000 in their Huggies Mom Inspired Program. We were so lucky to be able to hear from 3 of the recipients of these grants in a panel discussion led by Maria Bailey.  Each of these moms started with a dream and they turned their dream into a reality.  Romy Taormina creator of PSI Bands, an acupuncture wristband that prevents nausea, Alma Moussa, the creator of Babee Covee and Erin Kelly inventor of the Hulabye Baby Changer each shared their stories, from their light bulb moment to inception to getting their products on the shelf. The message was clear from all three-believe in yourself and your idea.

          The last speaker of the morning was Michelle Stepney, the Disney Parks Blog Style Content editor and a part of the Disney Global Content Development Team. Michelle came to Disney as a veteran journalist and offered us all practical advice for being interviewed as well as conducting interviews. Some of Michelle’s tricks of the trade included:
          “Media training is all about controlling the process. When you deliver your message, make sure it is short and concise-no more than 2 or 3 points that will serve as building blocks. STOP TALKING when your message is delivered and most important-you only owe the reporter a response, not an answer.” Michelle spoke from a place of authority and experience but

to talk to her afterwards you quickly discovered what a warm, bubbly, gregarious person she was and who you could see yourself riding every ride in the Park with.

 All too soon, the conference ended. Every panelist stayed afterwards to talk, answer questions and pose for pictures.  Although our sessions flew by, there was so much to take in, much of which I am still processing and putting into perspective. There are no words to describe what being invited to Disney On The Road did for this humble kindergarten teacher. To be in the company of such amazing, talented people both on and off the stage, to be given the opportunity to learn from these incredible women who so generously gave of themselves-I am truly speechless-and if you know anything about me, I am never at a loss for words.  Thank you to Maria Bailey and BSM Media, Disney and all the speakers for a magical morning that I will never forget. Believe in the possibilities….live your dreams.

Want to find out more about the experiences I shared with my other Disney On The Road friends? Click on the links below:

Margaritas, Miles and the Mouse
Growing Up Goofy
Cookies and Clogs
San Diego Deals and Steals
Diaper Bag Confessions
I am a Disney Nerd


  1. Sounds like you had a fabulous time.
    I was blessed in being able to attend the first 2 DSMM events in Orlando. They were WONDERFUL.

    Thanks for the twitter follow and I look forward to following along with your Disney Adventures.

  2. Great post Gayle! I just love seeing that beaming smile :) I'm so happy that you were there representing The Disney Gals on the West Coast this year. Thanks for walking us through your day. I felt like I was right there with you. Maybe next time I will be ;)

  3. Awesome post Gayle! I am still smiling and pinching myself that I got to be there too! Can you believe it was only 4 hours?! They packed so much goodness into that conference! I am so glad I met you thru the facebook group and now I can follow your blog too! Thanks for sharing!! xo Kate SDDS

  4. Thanks all! It is impossible to convey just what this magical experience meant to me. Kate like you, I am still grinning from Ear to Ear and can't quite believe that I was so blessed to be a part of this. To be able to meet and hug everyone who I had grown so close to in our FB group I really thing was the highlight for me. Tricia I am so excited that you were able to be at Disney on the Road NY-it was made for you and next year, I'm ready to show you all my Disneyland when DSMM comes to my home. The ending to my fairy tale adventure, George Sanderson arrived at my house on Saturday! Thank you Fairy Godmother!

  5. Gayle you captured the day so well. I wish it was raining today!! It was so great meeting you at the event. I hope our paths cross again soon.

  6. Gayle, thank you for sharing your day with us! I wish we were all there with you, but you made it seen like we where.

  7. Dawn truly the best part of the day was spending it with all of you and Judy I've decided we all need to go to DSMM when it comes to my home the Disneyland Resort in 2014!

  8. Awesome post Gayle! I am so happy for you! This sounds like an amazing experience and one that will make a lasting memory. I love positive motivation and it sounds like you recesses BUNCHES! I am so happy for you. You deserve this and so much more. Congrats Girl!

  9. What a wonderful recap Gayle! Thank you for sharing your amazing day. Your smile says it all and I can only imagine the amount of energy and joy YOU brought to the room. Your descriptions have brought it to life for those of us not attending an event, but you are pumping me up for the Blissdom Canada conference this fall. It is great to be a part of the blogosphere with such awesome counterparts such as yourself and all the Disney Gals. I am so happy for you and the great day you had. Big hugs my friend!!

    Suz ♥