I had the honor of being invited to the recent Disney Social Media Moms On – The – Road event in Atlanta! For those who don’t know, the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration is an annual invite-only conference held at one of the Disney Parks. Last year, the Disney Cruise Line was incorporated into the conference as well!
In order to spread the Disney Magic around and reach as many Disney-loving social media influencers as possible, the Disney Parks Blog crew has brought the DisneySMMC experience to various cities around the U.S. and Canada. Disney Social Media Moms Celebration On-The-Road is a half day mini-conference and reaches out to local influencers in host cities.
If you are lucky enough to be invited, what can you expect of the experience?
Disney Magic With A Touch of Home
I was thrilled to walk in and see these cute mouse ear hats with “Disney Mom” embroidered on the back. What I really loved about the experience was seeing so many of my local blogger friends! It was like a girl’s morning out. I got a special surprise when my friend Juliette, whom I haven’t seen since last October, walked in and pulled out a chair right next to me without looking at who she was sitting next to. Happy coincidence! Juliette is a former Disney Parks Moms Panelist. Read more about the Disney Parks Moms Panel and consider applying – ASAP! The application for the first round closes September 13th.
This being my first Disney Social Media Moms Celebration experience, I didn’t realize that pin trading was a tradition. I didn’t bring anything! No worries – they graciously pass out a pin to everyone and give you time to work the room. If you don’t know me well, you might not know that sassy little Tinker Bell is my Spirit Animal. I love her. Imagine my delight when I looked at the pin handed to me! Disney magic strikes again. Needless to say, she was not traded.
Disney Parks News
The Disney Parks Blog team treated us to a couple of sessions highlighting some news and upcoming Disney Parks events! The first event shared with us concerned a special youth program and was presented to us by a few of the program’s past participants. After their inspiring stories, we learned more about the exciting changes and additions to the Disney Parks!
Disney Dreamers Academy
This program is designed to inspire and encourage young entrepreneurs and leaders in grades 9-12. The program has been in place for ten years now! One of the DDA alumni that spoke to us stressed that the program encourages young people to “dream outside what you think is possible.” He appreciated that the program lifts students up by surrounding them with other highly motivated students that will challenge and encourage one another.
A second DDA alumni shared frankly what made the DDA different from other “youth empowerment” programs: “A lot of people want to give you advice but few people give you the resources you need. The Disney Dreamers Academy gives you an outlet to do more than just dream.” She also has a message that she shares when she speaks to other youth: “You can’t be powerful, impactful or happy living a dream that’s not yours.”
The Disney Dreamers Academy applications are now open through October 31st.
Upcoming Disney Parks Attractions
It seems like the Disney Parks are always adding and changing! Lisa Mendillo of the Disney Parks Blog filled us in on a lot of the announcements that were made at the recent D23 conference out in California. If you are attending a Disney Social Media Moms Celebration On-The-Road event, you can be sure that you’ll hear about the latest Disney Parks news!
We heard about the progress made on the upcoming Toy Story Land and the Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge additions to Walt Disney World! New rides are coming for Epcot that feature a Ratatouille theme and a Guardians of the Galaxy theme – you know this Marvel Mama is excited for that!
Social Media Tips and Tricks
Do you think you show up just to hear a Disney Parks commercial? Nope! The Disney Parks Blog crew are experts in social media and want to pass their knowledge along to you. This truly is an educational experience and the presenters were outstanding.
Keys To Storytelling
Jenn Fickley-Baker, Editorial Content Manager, offered great advice for bridging the gap from “writer” to “storyteller”. I appreciated this presentation since I’ve always considered my blog an outlet for my unique voice and I’d like my posts to sound like I’m sharing information with a friend. My favorite tip from Jenn? “Let your content reflect your personality.” I thought it was a sign that this was right in line with my blog when she added, “Be authentic, not perfect.” Head on up to the top of my blog’s page and you’ll see my tagline – “Less perfect, More fun.”
Digital Trends Shaping Content
This session was presented by Alex Ruiz, Digital Content Director. Alex shared with us his “rule of thumb” – Is your content thumb stopping? Y’all know what this means. When you are scrolling your feed on your mobile device, what catches your attention? Would YOU stop and read your posts? He shared with us that you have about 3 seconds – yes, seconds – to grab attention. I very much appreciated his views on what are called “microinfluencers”. These are influencers that might have smaller overall pageviews / followers but higher than average engagement. The people that are following them are really getting the message they put out there.
Using Emotion in Video Content
Possibly my favorite presenter of the day was Bob Hitchcock, Digital Content Director. I’ve been familiar with Bob for years through his work producing video content for runDisney. He gave us fantastic examples of how to get your message across using emotion in videos. He is a sneaky expert because one video he showed of a young girl with cerebral palsy completing the Super Heroes 5K had me in tears and ready to give runDisney ALL MY MONEY.
His best tips were to be open minded. Be prepared with the story you want to tell, but be open to discovering other stories that might appear along the way. Don’t be so locked into a good story that you miss a great one.
Special Guest Speaker
You may be a Dancing With The Stars fan. You may be a Real Housewives of Atlanta fan. But when I heard Kim Fields introduced and saw her walk into the room, all I could think was, “Tootie’s here!” I’m a woman of a certain age, y’all, and I loved me some “Facts of Life”. And, no, she did not wear roller skates. She was there to lay down some truth about the myth of the “work / life balance”.
She was funny, engaging and so, so real. She is a working mom who gets that life always needs to be adjusted. In our world of social media it’s so easy to compare our lives to someone else’s. So it was a good reminder when Kim pronounced that what works for your life doesn’t have to make sense to anyone but you! She also stressed the importance of finding your “Happy Place”. It doesn’t have to be an actual place; it can be a state of mind when you are engaging in something you love. And don’t be afraid to admit when your Happy Place is not quite as happy – change it up!
Her ending comments gave me treasures to spread among my children. We may want to treat our sons and daughters like princesses and princes. But they need to be reminded – “Ain’t no prince/ss without a Queen!”
I know – Kim Fields is a celeb. But. When Princess Tiana walked out, I was beside myself. She’s one of my favorite princesses and I couldn’t wait to grab a pic with her. I told her she was one of my favorites and she said that if I stopped by the restaurant, she would slip me some free beignets. Adding that to the to-do list.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a Disney day without Mickey Mouse. I can’t tell you how many pictures I have with him, but I never miss an opportunity for another!
The day was over much, much too soon.
I was truly impressed with the quality of the presentations and the amount of knowledge I gained. The morning was a great mix of Disney Magic and actionable tips to help further my social media efforts. Anytime I can get a little extra Disney in my life, I take it. This time, I walked away with a lot more than just pixie dust.
Thank you to the Disney Parks Blog crew who clearly spent a lot of time and effort to bring to Atlanta the quality we expect from the Disney Parks!