One of the highlights of my summer so far has been attending my first blog conference – the Disney Social Media Moms On The Road Celebration in Phoenix on June 25, 2014. The conference was held at the AAA Five-Diamond rated Fairmont Scottsdale Princess in Scottsdale, Arizona. It is a lovely, picturesque resort designed for a luxurious and restful stay.
The resort features a huge conference center, PGA golf course, beautiful outdoor pools, a kids club, and multiple award winning dining options. I had an amazing light and tasty Seared Ahi Tuna salad at Ironwood American Kitchen. They offered several lighter and healthier options on the menu. For me it’s fun to splurge sometimes but I love having those delicious lighter meals on the road whenever I can.
It was 110 degrees outside and I needed to get in a short training run for the upcoming See Jane Run Half in Seattle, WA on 7/13. I ran a little outside but it was too hot for me. I really their full service gym so I could run on the treadmill and beat the heat.
I’d really love to return to the Fairmont Princess and make it a family trip. I know Chase would love the kids activities and hanging out at the pool. My husband would definitely love the golf course. Here are some pics of my room, the resort and the grounds for an idea of what it’s like to stay there and maybe plan your own trip to visit the Fairmont Princess in Scottsdale too!
The Disney Social Media Moms Celebration was held in the huge conference center. I wore a black and white polka dot dress with a lightweight white cardigan and showed my DisneySide by wearing my ears from the D23 Unlocks Disney’s Maleficent event. As soon as I walked in I was happy (and relieved!) to see some familiar faces of new friends I’d met through social media since starting my blog earlier this year – Jennifer from Real Mom of SFV, Dawn from I am a Mommy Nerd, Carol from Fans of Mickey Mouse’s House, and our keynote speaker Nadine Bubeck of ExpectingPerfect.com and All Things Mama. They are such inspiring, hard working moms! I look forward to learning more from their experience and expertise as I grow my blog and build my career.
After some time to talk one on one with our fellow attendees and the speakers, it was time to take our seats. Leanne O’Regan (@leannej), Disney Parks Director of Social Media started things off by talking about Disney Social Media Moms and the Disney Parks Moms Panel. Next, Michelle Himmelberg (@mhimmelberg), Disneyland Public Relations Director talked to us about the importance of play and that “play really matters”. I couldn’t agree more. As a mom I have watched my son learn and grow so much through play.
We also learned that there are some exciting things planned for Disneyland’s 60th anniversary in 2015. There will be a big announcement on the Disney Parks Blog on July 17, 2014 at 10 am Pacific time, so mark your calendars! You know there will be a lot of fun ways to celebrate those 60 years of Disneyland magic
A fun fact about the song It’s a Small World - it has been played more times than any song in history! It has played millions and millions of times in the Disney Parks alone.
Loved hearing Erin Glover (@GoPluto) speak about Disney Parks Social Media
Erin Glover, Social Media Director for Disneyland and Aulani was up next to talk about behind the scenes with Disneyland’s Social Media. She told us the Disney Parks Blog is the first stop for all Disney Parks news. She also said to create content that encourages not only engagement, but sharing.
She encouraged us to think about our own unique point of view. We all have a story to tell and you must “find that voice that makes you special”. It’s so true, many of us write about similar topics and what makes us stand out is being ourselves, sharing our experiences in our own unique way.
Grumpy Cat and Grumpy – hilarious!
Erin also talked with us about the brainstorming and planning process with their Social Media. At Disneyland when they plan for the next calendar year, they are organized like a newsroom. When the jobs are given out, finding passion in the topic is key. I wrote down one of her quotes that really resonated with me.
“What is your passion about this subject and how can we bring that out?” – Erin Glover
As a new blogger that’s something I’m working on, sharing my passion about things that matter most to me and opening up more. I’d like to let people know more about why I became so passionate about losing the 100+ pounds of weight I gained and how I kept going, even when the progress was slow and sometimes stalled completely. I know a lot of people struggle with that – I struggled with that – and hopefully by sharing my experience I could help people.
Maria Bailey – mom, entrepreneur, mentor, and social media trailblazer
“It’s all about finding solutions.” – Maria Bailey
Maria Bailey (@MomTalkRadio) is a wonderful example of someone who has worked hard to find the balance between her trailblazing entrepreneurial work and raising a family. She took the stage to talk to us about the challenges she faced as a mom with three children under 20 months old at the same time. She said it was like she had a buzzer on her butt the minute she sat down. I know a lot of us moms can relate to that feeling! Maria introduced us to Lori Lorenz (@LoriLorenzCA) from @HPPrint who shared more about the solution side of motherhood.
“There’s always a back story and that photo triggers the remembrance.” – Lori Lorenz
Lori shared one of her personal stories with us. She and her daughter both graduated college within 6 hours of each other. These are the photos of their incredible accomplishment, spending that life changing time together. The photos captured their joy and will always remind them of the way they felt.
Lori from HP shared her heartwarming personal photos with us
Lori also talked about how as moms we bring out our Disney Side when we are challenged to solve a difficult problem in a very creative way. We learned about a wonderful gift idea from Two Smiles – a gift card you can print at home with any personal photo to make the gift truly unique and special. The gift cards are available for many of the most popular retailers like Amazon.com and Starbucks so you can have a truly thoughtful personalized gift to give, even when you’re in a time crunch. We were given a special gift of photo cards and envelopes to make our own at home. You can also make personalized mugs, photo panels, and more with HP Photo Creations.
We were all asked to send in a #DisneySide photo before the meeting. HP surprised us all with our Disney Side picture printed on a photo card with a Mickey stamped envelope. We addressed them to the grandparents who support us. We then put them in a special #DisneySMMoms mailbox, such a lovely and thoughtful idea!
Our #DisneySide gifts
After the break, our next speaker was Tracey Clark (@TraceyClark), author of Elevate the Everyday and one of the awesome Disney Sisters (@DisneySisters). Tracey spoke to us about capturing magical memories by using just the camera on our phone. She showed a series of awesome, fun pictures that she’d taken purely with her iPhone and used only Instagram edits and filters.
The key is snapping out of snapshot mode to take pictures that capture the feeling in the moment. If you’re taking a picture of your kids, ask they to jump in the air right before you snap the picture.
Some other great takeaways: Lay on your stomach to get a good shot. Shoot it differently to make it stand out. Crop your pictures in a funky way. Leave some negative space to let your subject have breathing room around it. For social media, shoot pictures where your kids look like “any kid USA”. Shoot those certain shots you know that other people want to live. By sharing those moments in a relatable way – you make magic!
“Mobile photography has really leveled the playing field. We are all photographers.” – Tracey Clark
Huggies MomInspired panel
Maria Bailey moderated the Huggies MomInspired panel. We heard from Lisa Cash Hanson (@Mompreneurmogul) of Snuggwugg, Allyson Phillips (@tiltycupmom) of Tilty Cup, Romy Taormina (@psibands) of Psi Bands.
Maria developed the Huggies MomInspired Grant program 4 years ago and gave us some great advice. Don’t wait until your idea is perfect. Just go for it and get started following your dream. You can sell your own product while you’re sleeping when your product is out there for sale in the online marketplace. The Huggies MomInspired grant awards $15,000 to moms with ideas for products that innovate and improve the lives of other moms. If you have an idea, you can apply through September 30, 2014 at HuggiesMomInspired.com.
I would have loved to have had both a Snuggwugg and a Tilty Cup for for my son when he was younger. The Snugg Wugg interactive baby pillow secures a wiggly baby while entertaining them on the changing table, car seat, stroller, shopping cart, wherever. It holds a smart phone or flash cards and toys. Super smart idea! You can check them out on Lisa’s website here. She said listening to criticism from the industry really helped her develop her product so it would have a wider appeal.
The Tilty Cup allows toddlers to drink from a cup easier. The design allows a child to drink like how you or I would drink from a cup, without tilting their heads back super far like most sippy cups require. They are currently not in production but look for them out at retail again soon. She recommends involving your children as much as possible in your work – they often like to help and be in the pictures.
Romy developed PSI Bands to use acupressure to relieve nausea. They are helpful for motion sickness, morning sickness, and more. They are available in many patterns and colors making them stylish as well. Romy and PSI Bands were featured on one of my favorite tv shows, ABC’s Shark Tank. You can learn more about PSI bands here. One of the great tips she shared was in finding balance is that we need to be forgiving of ourselves and communicate well with our spouses.
“Don’t be so afraid of someone stealing your idea. Get the help you need to succeed.” – Allyson Phillips
“A good mentor is so important in this journey” – Lisa Cash Hanson
Nadine Bubeck talked to us about re-inventing your brand
Nadine Bubeck (@NadineBubeck) talked to us about re-inventing your brand. She wanted to work in the TV News business and worked hard to learn all she could from people around her. One mentor Cheryl Jennings gave her this advice for success – 1. Dress the part and 2. Walk like you’re going somewhere. Love that advice! She still had people who doubted her but she never let them stop her. Some of the great advice she’s learned along her journey is always negotiate, learn to love the camera, never burn your bridges, take risks, be proud, work hard, and have tough skin.
Throughout her life, Nadine kept a journal and wrote down her dreams and goals for the future. When she became pregnant with her son, she journaled all about the experience very candidly, holding nothing back. She ended up having a complicated pregnancy and a long hospital stay leading up to her son’s preterm birth. She turned her pregnancy journal into a book – Expecting Perfect which started this exciting new chapter in her life.
Here’s Nadine at Disney Social Media Moms giving an inside scoop on the Disney Social Media Moms On the Road Celebration
We all waited anxiously to find out who our secret special guest would be. Lots of people figured it would be our friend Mickey Mouse but surprise! It was Grumpy Cat (@realgrumpycat)! She was so tiny in person and oh, that cute little grumpy face! She’s just adorable
Yay! I met the real Grumpy Cat herself. She was so tiny and cute, definitely not grumpy :)
Our swag bag! There was also a Mega Puzzles Minnie Mouse jigsaw puzzle that’s not pictured. Can’t wait to frame those prints for my new home office.
The Disney Social Media Moms On The Road Celebration in Phoenix was absolutely AMAZING!
I learned so much and met some really fantastic women. If you ever get the chance to attend one of these invitation only conferences, do it! I sincerely appreciate the opportunity to attend this conference and would absolutely LOVE to attend more in the future.
Thank you so much to Maria Bailey and BSM Media, the Disney Parks Social Media team, our sponsors and everyone else who worked so hard to put together this magical event!
For more details and information about Disney Social Media Moms, make sure to check out the Disney Social Media Moms website and follow on Twitter at @DisneySMMoms.