Tuesday, February 28, 2017

My First Disney Social Media Moms Celebration... Believing is just the beginning!

2017 Disney Social Media Moms Celebration Land and Sea! Photo credit: Disney Parks

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration vlogs are currently running on my YouTube channel, and I've finally gotten some time to sit down and reflect on our experience at the 2017 Land and Sea Celebration! I'll be doing the regular trip recaps, talking about some of our favorite experiences and dining on the trip, what we thought about the different resorts we stayed at, and also a look at our souvenir haul of items we purchased on the trip. In today's blog post, I wanted to sum up the experience and share some of the takeaways I brought home with me from the conference...

I was a Disney Social Media Mom Celebration FIRST TIMER in 2017! These were some thoughts I thought might be useful if you are also thinking of attending in the future as a first timer, if you are a YouTuber like myself, or even if you're just curious what the celebration is entails! It currently is invitation only, and I have a FAQ video on YouTube that explains a bit more what this conference is, if you're unfamiliar with it.

What was in store for us?

Since this was my first time ever at a Disney Social Media Moms Celebration, I was really excited to be invited and didn't know quite what we would be in for exactly! This was an all new experience for everyone at the celebration though, with it being Land and Sea for the first time. However with me in particular coming primarily from the "World of YouTube" and knowing that there would be a lot of primarily written bloggers there, I wasn't quite sure where I would fit in to the whole scheme of things! Luckily, I was very quickly put at ease after arriving as everyone, bloggers and folks from Disney alike, were incredibly kind and welcoming. Bloggers went out of their way to introduce themselves, invite me to sit at their tables for meals, and I made good friends along the way that I'm looking forward to keeping up with as time goes by on social media!

We were one of about four vlogging families that attended and I'll be sure to share those vlogger links at the end of this post so you can check out all of their experiences as well!

Everything was very well run and coordinated, and when Disney runs an event, they do it right! We had lots of great knowledge sharing sessions, fantastic meals, and behind the scenes Disney experiences that were one of a kind. We experienced Disney magic both on land at Walt Disney World, and at sea aboard the Disney Wonder! It was a once in a lifetime trip for our family, having never experienced both land and sea in single trip!

One quote kept coming back to me the whole time throughout the experience, whether it be on land or sea. Coincidentally, I had purchased an Alex and Ani bracelet with this quote a few months ago, but hadn't taken it out of the package yet. I tend to do this with items, sometimes an item will speak to me but I almost feel like the timing isn't right to start using it, so I'll save it up for a special occasion - and this Alex and Ani bracelet felt like a perfect fit with the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration event! So I pulled it out before we left for the trip and this quote followed me around wherever we went!

Believing is just the beginning

"Believing is just the beginning..." I purchased this bracelet because of it's purple color, the power of the word "believe" in my life, and also because I thought the saying was a great sentiment - and it turned out to be the perfect accompaniment to this experience.

They say that every journey starts with a single step, and that is what stepping into Disney Social Media Moms Celebration felt like, believing in myself to take that single step to go on this amazing journey and come out anew on the other side. I met so many wonderful people along the way, I felt like I expanded my horizons by being able to talk to so many bloggers in person and in turn share my insight about YouTube, hear how Disney creates things with imagination at Disney theme parks and on Disney Parks Blog, and meet with companies that were interested in what we had to say as influencers. The entire experienced really opened up ideas about what I want to do in the future, and reinforced that this passion that we have to be storytellers as YouTubers and bloggers is valuable to our viewers and readers.

On the other side of the experience, I want to take some time to collect my thoughts and figure out how to structure expanding my social media posts moving forward - but this is what I love to do and this experience just reinforced that I need to pursue my passion for being a social media influencer. I've loved being on YouTube the past four years and I'm enjoying starting to share new things on the blog as a component of that. It was great to meet with people that encourage this as an actual profession and where it felt like an understanding place to "talk shop" about this outlet that we are all passionate about!

Where do we go from here

After all of the amazing experiences at Disney Social Media Moms Celebration, I'm of course still enamored with Disney and the wonderful magic that they create for families. I've had a long-standing personal journey with Disney Parks, and Walt Disney World in particular - taking my first trip to Walt Disney World when I was only a year old and typically returning once or twice each year afterwards. Disney is my prime vacation destination for our family and it will continue to be, I think I knew we would experience lots of Disney magic on the trip... I just didn't realize how invigorated I would be to develop my social media outlets in general after the trip and further my "career", if you will, in social media! That truly caught me by surprise!

My word for the year is "Explore" - inspired by Moana, and I feel like Disney has created the stepping stone with Disney Social Media Moms Celebration to go out and explore new things over the rest of the year - new types of posts, new companies to work with, new video structures. Just to think of things differently, possibly how Disney might do things? One of the first things I did when we got back was use this new inspiration and completed a video idea I'd had pop up when we went on the Disney Dream cruise and I was proud of finishing this video, and felt like it brought the sentiment of the sea portion of the conference to viewers!

Believing is just the beginning, and after you believe - you take the first step, to go explore.

What would I say to someone considering going to Disney SMMC in the future?

As someone that was new to the conference myself this year and being very in tune with what to expect from Disney but not quite knowing what to expect from the conference aspect, I did want to share my thoughts on what I would say to someone considering their first trip to Disney Social Media Moms Celebration.

In a word... if you receive that magical invite - GO.

Whatever it takes, try to make it happen. It is a lot of re-arranging schedules, moving vacation days around, and adding in travel where you otherwise wouldn't have been planning to travel - but it is OH SO worth it!! I had an amazingly refreshing experience that has invigorated me to keep expanding my social media platforms, and I got to bring my family along with me! Win, win! They had an awesome time exploring the Disney theme parks and the Disney Wonder, and we experienced a ton of new things (like riding Soarin' at EPCOT, staying at new to us resorts, screening Born in China, and going to a Disney waterpark for the first time!) together as a family!!

It was an incredible family time together, incredible personal growth time, and I feel like it's helped me make connections to move forward in the future and have a better understanding of what I should be working towards with my social media platforms.

Whether you are a YouTuber or even if you are a blogger just trying to decide whether to attend - I would say GO... the experience will be amazing, both professionally and personally. Also, if you can take your family, I would most definitely recommend it. I've been to conferences previously at Walt Disney World (2015 Maker All Star Creators Conference specifically for YouTubers) where I did not bring my family along, and the schedule was not as family friendly as the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration had... Disney SMMC is designed for you to have time to spend with your family and enjoy the magic together. It was a great experience for us all!

My advice would be, go. Take that step. Believing IS just the beginning....

Videos on YouTube

Check out the "Day in the Life" style vlogs running on YouTube right now, where you can catch up up with all of the fun of Disney Social Media Moms Celebration day by day - I will also be doing reviews of the different things we experienced!

I hope you enjoy watching our experience as much as I've enjoyed sharing it with you!!

** I am a 2017 Disney Social Media Moms Celebration attendee and have received complimentary items and hosted experiences as a part of the event. All opinions are my own. 

Check out the links to a few other 2017 Disney Social Media Mom Celebration Attendees that I met while I was there:

Jones Family Travels: https://www.youtube.com/user/ufbuilder
Super Duper Kids Blog: https://www.youtube.com/user/SuperDuperKidsBlog
Classy Mommy: https://www.youtube.com/user/mikepadilla1
Vera Sweeney: https://www.youtube.com/user/veryvera1
Audrey McClelland: https://www.youtube.com/user/MomGenerations
Lauren's Latest: https://www.youtube.com/user/laurenslatest
Brought to You by Mom: https://www.youtube.com/user/dglassslipper
Lil' Luna: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChvxZCUKp_CuNDeP1-rnEjQ
Carolina Ortiz: https://www.youtube.com/user/cortizja

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