I’m recapping my (awesome) experience at the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration. I attended the first celebration in 2010, and I broke my recap posts up by day. That seemed to serve me well, so even though there were multiple events each day, I’m going to do one post per day.
The first day of the Disney Social Media Moms conference was Thursday, April 26th. The actual conference events weren’t beginning until late afternoon, so we decided to fly in that morning. This was our first time flying with baby Marc, and of course I was nervous about him on the plane. How do you really entertain a one year old? He’s too young to color, too young to watch a movie, but old enough to not want to sit still for a second. Our completely packed plane was delayed on the runway for about 45 minutes (torture!!), but finally we were on our way to Orlando!
When we arrived at the airport, we took Disney’s Magical Express service to the resort. Whenever I’ve stayed on property I have used the Magical Express, because it is so convenient and most importantly FREE! This was the most crowded I have ever seen the Magical Express area, all of the lines were packed, and I wasn’t sure about making the kids wait around in their stroller, to wait in a bus, after we had just waited in a plane. I was just looking into taking a cab (and then found out it would be $60, without tip, never mind!) when our line was called and almost the whole queue was emptied, hooray! It actually wasn’t a very long wait at all, maybe only 15 minutes.
We arrived at the Yacht Club resort and it was gorgeous. One of my friends had stayed there recently and she regaled me with the amenities and features of the resort (beach! swimming pool with sand and mini water park! walk to Epcot! walk to the Boardwalk!, etc.) so we were really excited to check it all out. Our room was ready and the grocery order I had placed from Garden Grocer delivery service was waiting for us at Bell Services. It was so nice to just settle right in.
We headed over to check in to the Conference and picked up our badges, itinerary and tickets. Yes, the magical Fast Pass was included again this year! Disney provided us with a special Fast Pass card that allowed us to print immediate Fast Pass tickets so we could maximize our park time and enjoy as many attractions as we could.
Next up was the welcome Cocktail Reception. This event was just for the conference attendees to get together and mingle for a few minutes (and have a glass of wine or two!) before hearing about some exciting new programs from Disney. We heard about the new Aulani Resort, which is located in Oahu, Hawaii. One of my friends has already visited Aulani, so I was aware of it, but didn’t realize all of the awesome amenities it features. The biggest? Childcare is included. So if you’ve been dreaming about a Hawaiian date night, you can know that your children are having a blast with in-house Disney entertainment just for them. Of course there’s other selling points, but I’m sure you can tell that one stood out to me the most
The other featured program is Adventures by Disney. This is a guided tour experience to destinations all over the world, hosted by Disney tour guides. These adventures include trips to locales such as China, Italy, and Australia while including family activities and VIP treatment. I’m sure many of us have qualms about traveling to other countries with our children (especially if you don’t speak the language!) and this is a great way to see the world with children in tow.
After we learned about Aulani & Adventures by Disney, we reconnected with our families and headed out to the beach for our family dinner. It was a “Swashbuckling Soiree” so I had told Rayna that it was a pirate dinner. I figured Jake from “Jake & The Neverland Pirates” would make an appearance, but I didn’t put too much thought into who else might show up. Well, I forgot that before we even left home Rayna told me that the one character she did NOT want to meet was Captain Hook…
We were enjoying the delicious food (bbq for the adults, hot dogs & Mickey mac & cheese for the kids) and the company of other blogging families while Rayna (and most people’s kids, it seemed…I hope!) was going bonkers at the water. Rayna brought her little bucket and shovel that came with her kid’s meal from lunch and she was going hog wild getting SOAKED. Whoops. You just can’t keep her away from the water and making a grand ol’ mess at the beach. I think she thought she was right back at home and not in front of hundreds of people! But then, guess who showed up?
You guessed it, Captain Hook and Smee appeared, right by where we were sitting. It was as if Rayna turned around and saw her nightmare right behind her! What happened next was absolutely hilarious, if we weren’t in a state of chaos I should have taken a picture—Rayna took off and ran straight into the water and wasn’t going to stop! She was up to her stomach when I got to her (and a Disney Cast Member, who was trying to keep the kids out of the water) and had to coax her back out onto the sand. What did she think, Captain Hook couldn’t “get” her in the water?
Needless to say, our night was pretty much over at that point. We didn’t get to see Jake, which was a shame, because Rayna really wanted to meet him. But what could we do, it was a long day of traveling for the kids and Rayna was drenched and little Marc was eating fistfuls of sand. We got everyone bathed and tucked in and prepared for another day of conference activities.
And yes, I got more photos (and better quality ones, ahem) as each day went on. Stay tuned for more from Disney Social Media Moms!
Disclosure: I paid a conference registration fee to attend the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration. This fee provided a greatly reduced rate for lodging, park tickets, meals and events. I was not obligated or asked to write about my experience. All opinions are my own.