Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2012

Friday, May 11, 2012

"This is the best family vacation ever!" We heard those words several times during our second trip to Disney World. I don't know how they did it, but the team behind Disney Social Media Moms managed to outdo themselves from our first trip two years ago. The team that puts this event together really pay attention to every detail. They manage to find the perfect balance of learning, fun and 'soft pitches' from the different areas of Disney.

If you're wondering what the conference is all about, Suzanna from Zannaland wrote a very thorough description of what the event is all about. In a nutshell, the conference is an invite-only event designed to bring together bloggers from different genres for a combination of junket, motivational speakers and social media education. It's hard to recap eight days of fun without completely Disney-fying my blog so, for this post at least, I'll stick to the highlights of the conference itself.

Thursday, Conference Day 1
Since we were in Orlando so early because of the redeye flight, we had our first buffet at Cape May Cafe and then we walked around our hotel. The pool at the Yacht Club Resort is by far the best of the four hotels we've stayed in. The conference opened with a cocktail reception for the attendees. We learned about Disney's newest resort in Hawaii, Aulani and the Adventures By Disney program. After the reception we went to a dinner party.

One of the best things about attending this conference is how well our families are included. The Yacht Club which has its own beach, and dinner was buffet style. The pirate themed dinner was on the sand. I have to say, it's great to go to a conference where you aren't required to wear shoes! The kids had a blast playing the water and the sun setting over the hotels was beautiful. It was such a nice way to start saying hello to everyone attending.

(credit: 5 Minutes for Mom)

Friday, Conference Day 2
We always get an early start on the speakers so we can enjoy the parks before all meeting again for dinner. We had a great lineup of speakers: Amy Jo Martin, Peter Shankman, Chris Brogan, Ramon De Leon and San Diegan Lisa Druxman. It's great to go to an event that is equal parts practical takeaway and motivation. I connected with so much of what Amy Jo said, namely, that I've been approaching so many aspects of social media as a business entirely wrong! I have a lot to think about.

The dinner event was a private party in DinoLand. The park was closed to guests and the kids had free run of the arcade games. I'm still kicking myself that I did not know Expedition Everest (the best coaster in Disney World) was open for us to ride. A DJ was onsite as well as a few characters for photos.

When we got back to the hotel, we decided to hang out at the pool and give Tyler time to burn off some of the energy (and sugar) from the dinner party. Having cocktails in the jacuzzi while your child plays in the lazy river is a fantastic way to end the day.

Saturday, Conference Day 3
This was the day some conference attendees chose their breakout session. I heard so many good things about the Wild Africa Trek I didn't hesitate to sign up. I was a little sad to miss the hard hat tour of the new Fantasyland (it's going to be amazing!) and the session on video blogging from Sony. But, I can honestly say the Trek was one of the best things I've ever done on vacation.

On the tour, participants are strapped into harnesses with carabiners. We're hooked onto a central line and we got to stand about 10 feet above the hippo pool and the crocodile nest. Then we crossed over the crocs and hippos on a rope bridge. After that, we took a guided tour through the Savannah. We stopped for a bento style lunch and the views were incredible. If we go back to Disney, we're going to really make an effort to keep room in the budget for this. Tyler would love it! 

All the families met again for the closing party. We got to take a sneak peek at Disney's newest resort, Art of Animation. It was amazing! The property is divided by theme and we got to see the Finding Nemo property. All I could say, repeatedly, was Wow! The building is beautiful. It's bright and colorful. There's fantastic artwork, the arcade was top notch and the pool! Stunning. It was the perfect setting to end the weekend.

Thank you to all of the Social Media Moms organizers! We had a great time.

*I'll have all my photos up on Flickr soon. We paid a fee to attend DSMM and were offered various discounts, experiences and perks. I have not been asked to write about the conference or Disney. Thoughts and opinions are purely my own.


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