August 24th was an exceptional and magical whirlwind. I was invited to attend a special one day event: Disney Social Media Moms Celebration: On the Road at Disneyland Resort (you can check out the event using #DisneySMMCDLR). Just in time to experience the final weeks of Disneyland Resort’s 60th Anniversary Diamond Celebration. 

I love to catch up with old friends and make new ones, and Disney events bring all kinds of magic to the party, too! We enjoyed a delicious buffet breakfast, were gifted with lots of fun, Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park admission, Disneyland 60th swag; but most importantly to me, I left with my heart absolutely overflowing, and my mind blown by the Disney team, and surprise guests, who both inspired and empowered us to keep moving forward as moms and entrepreneurs.

NEW! and Coming Soon to Disney Parks

One of my favorite experiences about Disney influencer events is all of the magic that we get to hear about behind the scenes. There is so much to say about each, but I will just touch on the highlights. Thank you to Michele Himmelberg, Director of Public Relations – Disneyland Resort, for sharing all of the upcoming fun. Let’s start with the holiday season that is almost upon us!

In case you missed it, Disneyland is currently undergoing spook-tacular Halloween season enhancements! The Haunted Mansion is currently closed, as Sandy Claws does his annual decorating. Don’t fret though, because doors will open for the ghoulish attraction with a Nightmare Before Christmas theme on September 9th.

Image © Disney

Image © Disney

This will also be the FINAL Halloween at Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. For me, it is bittersweet. I will always love TOT, but I am looking forward to the new attraction in 2017. I highly suggest that you visit before TOT becomes Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission Breakout! The attraction will close its doors in January 2017.

GUYS – We were given complimentary FAST PASS tickets to experience the new enhancements of one of our family’s favorite attractions, which is now Soarin’ Around the World. Personally, I loved the new version and it gave me the travel bug! I’ve never been outside of the US, so flying over the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France might have gotten me a little teary eyed. It’s beautiful. All of imagery coupled with the different scents 🙂 within the attraction are pretty awesome! My girls rated it 5 stars! I will be honest, I was sad that I did not get to see Frozen – Live at the Hyperion, but it is on my “to-do” for my next trip!

Image © Disney

Image © Disney

Disney’s Frozen – November ushers in my favorite holiday of all time – Christmas! In time for winter season, you will find Disney’s Frozen – Live at the Hyperion at Disney California Adventure Park. If you’re on the East coast, Frozen Ever After is the new attraction at Walt Disney World, and if you’re setting sail, Frozen – A Musical Spectacular will be featured this fall on Disney Cruise Line’s Disney Wonder.

Image © Disney

Image © Disney

Disney’s MOANA – If you know me, you also know that our family has a serious love for the islands of the Pacific. We loved Disney’s Lilo & Stitch franchise, and honestly I think MOANA will be one of my favorite princesses. The film will be released 11/23/16, the weekend of my 35th birthday!

We were treated to exclusive behind-the-scenes footage, and it was AMAZING. We were not able to take any photos or have our technology out, otherwise a very kind security guard would kindly remind and potentially remove us. All I can share with you, is that this is a MUST SEE film. I’m not talking about just a film for 2016, but a must-see for a lifetime. The themes of empowerment, following your heart, learning about who your ancestors were and who you are meant to be, are extremely strong in the film. 

We heard from Amy Smeed, the first female co-head of animation on a feature film and was interesting to hear how the animation process and story is developed. The amounts of research that the Studios put in to really capture the essence of the cultures presented is more than commendable. I am so happy that Auli’i Cravalho was cast as Moana. A native to Hawai’i, she truly embodies the Aloha spirit and she brings so much life and vibrance to her character. 

Image © Disney

Image © Disney

Disney Cruise Line – I’ve not had the pleasure to set sail with DCL yet, but we found out that the fleet will be adding two new cruise ships soon: one in 2021; another in 2023. They will also return to Galveston, Texas in 2017, with sailings to the Caribbean and the Bahamas. For West coast cruisers, the Disney Wonder will return to San Diego in September and October 2017 for sailings to Baja and the Mexican Riviera.

Image © Disney

Image © Disney

PandoraThe World of AVATAR – Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom is preparing for the opening of a new, beautiful world based on James Cameron’s AVATAR, in 2017. It has been amazing to watch the ideas for this magical place take shape over the last few years. I had my first peek at Pandora’s arrival when I explored Disney23 Expo in 2013. Then, when I worked the D23 Expo in 2015 with Imagineering, I was in even more awe as we walked through the exhibit and saw the creations and mini replicas of what was to come. The concept art is breathtaking. I can’t wait to ride down the Na’vi River.

Social Media Tips

What’s a social media conference without touching on social media?! As always, Disney “does it better” and offered us insider tips on how they manage their conversations and content for the public, and gave insight on putting that into action for our own brands and blogs. The theme for me was really to work towards adding more video content to my blog and social media platforms. Before we get into the tips, make sure you bookmark: Disney Parks Blog – it is the ultimate site for Disney Parks news and events! The team is active on social media as well, so stay connected!

Here are highlights from our speakers and Disney team members:

Erin Glover (Social Media Director, Disneyland) is always fun to learn from. She is engaging, witty, and extremely knowledgeable. I had the pleasure of learning the basics about the process a couple of years ago, and I was excited to learn more. This time around, I really honed in on her tips for syndicating and sharing content. Many times, I write and then that’s it. When I was doing work for other companies on social media, I ended up neglecting my own social media channels. Did you know that there are over 100 authors for the Disney Parks Blog?! That’s a lot of writing! My ultimate takeaway: Syndicate, Integrate and Share. Ask myself, “how can I optimize my content to work well for each specific channel?”

Victoria Lim (Managing Editor, Disney Parks) shared on maximizing digital content through apps. I’m not a huge fan of being in front of the camera, but I do see the value and importance of it with my content. This was the first time I’d heard Victoria share, in real life (I’ve followed her presentations via social media)  and I was happy to hear her tips and tricks on video. My daughters are obsessed with video, and will be helping me get my booty in gear with producing for my blog. Some of the apps that Victoria talked about were Magisto, Videolicious, Quik, and WeVideo. My ultimate takeaway: Be ready to film content. Don’t go TMZ style [when videotaping]. Have a steady shot. 

Surprise Guests

Drumroll, please… we were treated to chat with Tiffani Thiessen, (aka Kelly Kapowski – for you Saved by the Bell fans) and Ginger Zee (ABC News & Good Morning America). Listening to Tiffani and Ginger speak on motherhood, working outside (and inside) the home, balancing their passions and everything else was awe-inspiring. It was an honor to hear their stories and I left empowered as a mom with many hats. 

As moms, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to have everything “just right.” Honestly, when is it ever up to our standards and/or expectations? I’m contemplating these statements more and more since being home from this event, and I am excited to share my thoughts on them soon.

Thank you to my friend Jindy of FlowersCroon.com for the awesome picture!

Thank you to my friend Jindy of FlowersCroon.com for the awesome picture!

The entire day was such a treat. I was exhausted, inspired and bursting at the seams with excitement. I was blessed to not only be invited, but to have the ability to take the day off and make the 300+ mile drive down with my husband and two of our girls! We all had a fantastic time. I always look forward to participating in Disney events as opportunities arise. I hope there are many more in my future! Thank you to the Disney events team for including me!

I was hosted at the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration On the Road at Disneyland Resort and my family received complimentary park admission and a swag bag. I paid for all travel costs incurred. All thoughts expressed are my own and I’d like to think they are pretty magical. Follow the fun on social media to see the many bloggers that experienced #DisneySMMCDLR!