Hardly getting any sleep the night before because I was worried I’d sleep through my alarm, I got up at 5:00 as planned and started getting ready for the big day. I’m not much of a fufu girl so there really wasn’t much to get ready honestly. Before long, the front desk called to let me know my cab had arrived to take me to the Disney Social Media Moms On The Road conference. Another quick check to make sure I had everything, and I was headed back downstairs on my way.
Transportation wasn’t on my side this trip. It was early (5:50) when I got in the cab so I tried to give the girl driving the benefit of the doubt. Things quickly went downhill. After giving her the address for the conference, she had to put it in the GPS on her phone. Not a huge concern – I was happy she wanted to make sure she knew where she was going and I made it very clear that I had to be there on time. Soon she pointed out that she might have gotten “turned around” and we went back the way we’d already come. Before too much longer, we were stopped at a gas station so she could use the restroom and ask directions because she was lost again. The fun didn’t stop there – she proceeded to get into a loud “discussion” with someone on the phone followed by another call that led to another loud discussion about what vehicle she had on Saturday. I understand sometimes things can’t wait, but this certainly seemed like I could wait and I was super uncomfortable. Thankfully we made it to the Hyatt Lodge and the conference!
A couple of other bloggers had already arrived so we chatted before we were able to officially check in for the morning. Many of the attendees arrived early so we had lots of time to chat and meet “in person” as several of us had connected prior to the event via social media. Eventually the doors opened and we scrambled for seats so we could let the fun begin.
Leanne from Disney kicked things off and introduced Jamie Langon (also with Disney) and we were on our way. In past lives, I’d been to other conferences. While they all had good messages, things like this can tend to be a bit boring or mundane. That was not the case for even a second with the Disney Social Media Moms conference.
After Jamie shared a video featuring Samantha Brown of Travel Channel fame showing off the new Magic Bands, she introduced the fabulous Gary Buchanan. Gary had the fun job of sharing all the latest “Disney dirt” about the #DisneySide campaign and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.
Next up we got to hear from Jenn Baker with the Disney Parks Blog. Jenn spoke about how Disney looks for ways to make connections with their customers and gave some tips on how to get organized using an editorial calendar for us blogger folks.
Maria Bailey was up next to introduce us to Lori Lorenz with HP so we could hear about some of the #HPSmartMoms solutions to “mom problems”. HP can help with so many things – you can schedule coloring sheets to print out when you’re trying to make dinner, print to your HP printer from your phone and so much more! Most importantly, it was clear that HP really cares what their customers (and moms specifically) think.
That brought us to a short break where I got to meet with Gary for a few moments. We also got to pick up our gifts from HP. Before the conference we were asked to submit a photo that showed our Disney Side for something special. HP made a cute card for each of us with our pictures and provided a stamped envelope. As part of a new campaign, we were encouraged to send a note to grandparents. Disney is now focusing on getting the grandparents to travel to Disney with the family as part of #TheGrandAdventure.
Before long it was back to work but in true Disney fashion, we weren’t going to work without a treat. We all got yummy cookies to munch on during the second half of the conference. Michelle was next introduced and we learned a lot about giving good interviews.
Once we were interview pros, Maria Bailey introduced the Huggies crew so we could learn more about the Huggies Mom Inspired program. We then heard from two past recipients and were able to ask questions of them to learn more about taking steps to start businesses as busy moms.
Finally we heard from Ramon who gave us lots of energy and excitement while talking about how to connect with followers. He was the perfect way to end our day! With so many great suggestions, we had lots of new tools to be even better moms, bloggers and people.
Leanne, Jamie, Gary and Maria had one more surprise in store for us – Mickey himself came to visit with us before we left!! Being able to give Mickey a hug after all the craziness of the past day really made things better. (Don’t tell – I got a little teary!)
Before I knew it, it was time to get back into a car and head back to the airport. Thankfully the trip home was much less eventful than the trip to Chicago which was comforting.
Stay tuned for more in depth blog posts about the different presentations during the conference. There was so much important information that they really all deserve their own posts.