Sunday, August 3, 2014

#DisneySMMoms - Disney On The Road Phoenix

What do you do when life throws you a curve ball?  You swing for the fences of course.  Last June, my bags and #George were packed and ready to head to Phoenix, Arizona to be a part of the Disney Social Media Moms On The Road Celebration. So just what is the Disney Social Media Moms Disney on the Road Conference?  

 Now in its third year, Disney Social Media Moms Celebration On- the-Road creates an energetic forum where Mom influencers and social media enthusiasts meet for a half day program filled with inspirational messages and educational content designed to support the goals and unique lifestyle demands of Moms. Having been lucky enough to be a part of both On the Road when it was in San Francisco last summer as well as the “holy grails” of invites, the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration when it was in Disneyland this year, I knew I was about to be a part of something very special from learning what's what was next for Disney Parks, as well as being able to participate in interactive sessions and hear from a dynamic line-up of speakers. Add in seeing old friends, finally being able to meet online friends in person, and showing off my #DisneySide, it just couldn’t get any better-that is until the pitcher threw me that pesky curve ball.  When you wake up in the hospital on Tuesday, knowing that your plane ticket to Phoenix was for Monday night, after a moment of processing and taking in the situation, you realize that it’s time to put a back up plan into place.  With a quick check to make sure the hospital had Wi-Fi, a call home to have your laptop and #George delivered, we were still all set to attend Disney On The Road thanks to the Mom TV live webcast. 

Special thanks Maria Bailey of BSA Media Mom SelectMom TVBlue Suit Mom, and Mom TALK Radio. who along with incomparable Leanne Jakubowski O’Regan, Disney Parks Director of Social Media who, along with their teams put on these magical events each year. Even from the other side of a computer screen, I was able to learn so much in such a short period of time but that is a part of the many things that makes these events like no others.  Here are just a few of the many, many inspirational things I came away with:

What’s Up Next For #Disneyland

As anyone that has ever met me knows, my heart belongs to Disneyland.  My first trip to the #HappiestPlaceOnEarth was in October 1955 and I have not missed a year to this day.  If you hadn’t heard, Disneyland is celebrating its Diamond Anniversary next year and Michele Himmelberg  @mhimmelberg, Disneyland Public Relations Director was on hand to share a sneak peak of some of the magic that Disneyland has in store for us in the months ahead.  I have been lucky enough to have literally grown up with Disneyland throughout the years, but listening to Michele and the legacy that Disneyland leaves behind while laying the foundation to the future reminded me once again how it important it is to celebrate the past, as it is the key to all of our futures.  It’s the spirit that lives on in all of us that we hand down from generation to generation that will continue to live on, long after we are gone. What better gift is there to give? Stay tuned to the Disney Parks Blog and #Disneyland60 for the entire up to the minute news of this once in a lifetime celebration.

Disney Parks Social Media-It’s About Teamwork

If you have never had a chance to listen to or meet Erin Glover @gopluto, Disneyland Social Media Director, she truly is as Gary Buchanan has dubbed her, America’s Sweetheart.  Erin has been on hand to see such things as the Disney Parks Blog and the social media division grow from a few people writing a few stories a week to the backbone of Disney news and media it is today and the reason for its success can be summed up in one word-teamwork.  Erin shared that unlike days gone by, today the social media department is run much like a newsroom; a newsroom that allows for not only creativity and storytelling but for people to write about their specialties and what they are passionate about. No truer words were ever spoken when she spoke to the fact that when you write about what you are truly passionate about, your writing will have an authentic feel and vibe to that, which keeps people coming back for more.  Like everything that puts Disney head and shoulders above the rest, when you have good story telling from the heart combined with the essential element of teamwork, you have the all the necessary elements to bring Disneyland alive whether you’re in the Parks, or sitting dreaming of your next trip. 

Capturing the Magic Through Your Phone-

Tracey Clark, was one of the people I was most excited to learn from.  Like thousands of other moms and dads, I get so caught up in quickly taking the shot and then posting it for family and friends to see, I never really gave it a second thought of how I could easily turn my picture into a photograph.  First off, she told us all get out of what she termed “snapshot mode” In other words, your picture should capture the feeling in the moment, and not just the moment you had your family for example stand in front of the castle.  From Tracey I learned that everyone, even me had a story to tell and to tell my story from my point of view.  Don’t be afraid to crop, edit, tilt (who knew I could tilt a photo) straighten or to change my perspective.  One of the things I adore about teaching kindergarten is giving them the opportunity to have cameras to capture kindergarten from their point of view and every year I’m astounded by what they see through their eyes.  Here Tracey was giving me permission to do the same thing-to kneel or lay down on the floor, to stand on something, to tell the story through the eyes of me. From Tracey I learned that it was ok to tell my photographic stories up close, or even a little out of focus, because some days are just like that.  I am now working on consciously elevating my photography just by seeing things a little bit differently, or maybe I’m just now capturing what real event I want to remember-not that my family was in front of the famous castle but the joy on their faces, or lately the rolling of their eyes when I tell them they have to go stand there for a picture-those are the moments I will keep in my heart and the memories I will remember.

So much was learned in just a few short hours from these inspirational speakers and so many more. While I am so thankful that I was able to hear their messages and  words of wisdom, one of the things I missed most about not being there in person was the electricity and energy that fills the air and goes hand and hand with attending the Disney Social Media Moms On the Road Conferences in person. There is no way to replace camaraderie, the laughter, the hugs and even the tears that everyone feels from the moment you step foot into the room until long after you leave, but still being able to be a part this once in a lifetime experience just makes me more sure than even not to miss it next year.  Thank you Maria Bailey and the Disney Social Media Moms team for allowing us all to be a part of the magic once again.  Believe in the possibilities…live your dreams.

Special Thanks to Our Incredible Hosts. Speakers and Disney Insiders:

Maria Bailey,
Michele Himmelberg, @mhimmelberg, Disneyland Public Relations Director
Erin Glover, @gopluto, Disneyland Social Media Director
Tracey Clark,
Lori Lorenz, @LoriLorenzCA @HPPrint, Senior Director, Direct Print Services, HP
Lisa Cash Hanson, @MompreneurmogulSnugg Wugg
Romy Taormina, @psibandsPsi Bands
Allyson Phillips, @tiltycupmomTilty Cup
Nadine Bubeck,
The Real Grumpy Cat, @RealGrumpyCat 

For more info on this event and the Disney Social Media Mom Celebration, visit

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