I have attended many conferences over the years but I must say the Disney Social Media Moms conference I attended in April was tops when it came to mixing inspirational business tips with incredible experiences. Best of all, I went with my three boys (husband had to work) and everyone had a fantastic time. Looking back, there are so many things to share, so I’ll start with the top inspirational tips I learned during the Disney Social Media Conference.
My first social media share of the conference indicated how happy we were to be at Disneyland! First as a kid with my family and now as a parent, Disneyland is one of my favorite vacation spots because it allows my whole family to put daily pressures aside and experience sheer happiness, excitement and fun. It also brings my silly side which my kids love to see.
While at Disneyland we also just can’t stop smiling…
(Note: my first tip should be to get a PhotoPass because the pictures they take are priceless…More on that later in the post..)
1. The Mickey Check Makes It Easier To Identify Nutritious Choices.
Throughout the conference, we had the opportunity to learn about the Disney Healthy Living food options. Disney Healthy Living food options have a Mickey check to help identify them. The Mickey Check website explained: “ The Mickey Check is a tool that makes it easier to identify nutritious choices in stores, online, and while on vacation at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. The Mickey Check can be found on select kids’ meals and fruit carts throughout Walt Disney World® and Disneyland® Resorts, on various Disney-licensed food products sold at grocery stores across the country, and on qualifying recipes at Disney.com/tryit and Spoonful.com. To receive the Mickey Check, foods must meet Disney Nutrition Guidelines developed by health experts and align to federal dietary guideline recommendations.”
We also had a chance to see what the new Disney-licensed snacks sold at grocery stores around the country will look like:
During the Disney Social Media Moms conference I had the opportunity to try the options with the Mickey Check and they were yummy! Of course, I also had to taste the other fun foods as well – but it was great to have healthier options available. I also appreciate the food carts throughout the park that have all types of fruit, hummus and other healthy snacks for my family on the go such as the Tropical Import Snacks at Adventureland, FairfaxFruit Market in California Adventure and more! Restaurants at Disneyland also have healthy options, but that is the topic of a whole other post I will be writing (too much yummy food to talk about in this post!).
Of course, two of my other favorite snacks are theDole Whip from the Tiki Juice Bar in Disneyland and the dark chocolate covered pineapple (with fresh pineapple inside) in the Trolley Treats candy store, Buena Vista Street California Adventure.
Next we had the opportunity to hear creative tips from Disney Enthusiasts and business experts. Here are a few that I did capture on social media:
2. Jay Ward from Pixar shared three important parts of the creative process: Quality, Innovation and Storytelling.
3. New Disney Adventures include a “Frozen Cruise” and A Disney Resort in Shanghai!
Tom Staggs shared exciting news about the Disney Shanghai Resort and the new Adventures by Disney itinerary (Norway: Fjords, Bergen & Oslo) inspired by the film “Frozen ” – which is a partnership between Disney and Walt Disney Animation Studios.
4. Collaboration, research and extensive attention to creative details a top rate customer experience.
Cars Land in California Adventure is a great example of how Walt Disney Imagineering and Pixar Animation collaborated to convert real life emotional experiences (Cars and Route 66) into an attraction that evokes that emotion mixed with the best in entertainment! At the conference, Kathy Magnum from Walt Disney Imagineering talked about the extensive research they did to bring Cars Land to life inspired by the real Route 66. Just taking a walk through Cars Land and seeing how every detail is brought to life (such as the beautiful Cadillac Range Mountain inspired design) helped me realize what an amazing experience they created!
5. Partnerships can help offer new conveniences to customers.
Megan McGuire from Alamo shared that they have onsite locations at Disneyland. This makes it even easier to rent a car while at Disneyland.
6. “Dream the biggest dream – then make a business plan for that dream”!
Maxine Clark was inspirational as she shared her experiences starting the successful Build-a-Bear Workshop as a later in life career change. Two tips that stood out to me where “Listen to your heart and you can find your true calling” ”Dream the biggest dream.. then make a business plan”.
7. A good use of social media for brands is to share experiences, storytelling and humanizing.
8. To engage an online audience, share your passions.
9. Creative use of photos to offer solutions to everyday issues (i.e. What to wear to Disneyland!) also inspires online audiences.
Fashionista Leslie Kay created this Disney Bound Tumblr as a Disney fan site for to share the outfits she was going to wear at Disneyland. As it turned out, so many people enjoyed the photo inspirations that Disney Bound built up a big fan community of it’s own.
10. Cats still rule the Internet.
11. ”If you lose a game, don’t let that effect how you live your life” ~ Donald Driver
Green Bay’s All-Time Leading Receiver Donald Driver gave us some inspirations from his book “Driven” and stories about the importance of giving back to your community (his endeavor is the Donald Driver Foundation).
12. ”Don’t blog for attention, blog to change someone’s life” ~Donald Driver
13. “Dreams come true if you have courage to pursue it”! ~ Donald Driver
14. Social media like Twitter gives people around the world a voice!
@stop (Doug Bowman then from Twitter) gave an inspirational talk about how Twitter gives people around the world a voice and connects you with people you want to know.
This tip is one close to my heart: I have connected with an amazing community around the world through Twitter. As a perfect example of that, during the DisneySMMoms conference I decided to share tips with my Twitter community. When I shared the insight from Jay Ward of Pixar about the creative process, a UX Engineer (see below) from LONDON favorited that tweet!
15. “If you don’t have creative gas, find creative gas station” ~@Gary_Jerry
Gary Buchanan (PR & Social Media for Walt Disney World & Disney Parks) is one of the amazing members of the Disney Social Media team along with Leanne Jakubowski (Director, Social Media, Disney), Michele Himmelberg (PR Director Disneyland Resort) and so much more! The Disney social media team reflects the creativity of Disney as a whole by sharing Disney through authentic and engaging storytelling that communicates the fun and delight that Disney Parks offers. The Disney team along with and Maria Bailey (CEO of @BSMMedia) did a great job creating such engaging events for the conference!
And they have fun doing their job!
Gary Buchanan and Leanne Jakubowski
16. Use different ways to practice your own creativity.
During the conference they challenged us with a quick exercise of creativity. We were asked to draw a picture of the person sitting next to us. I was happy to be sitting next to one of my favorite social media buddies Rebecca Levey. Even though I only had a few minutes, I tried my best to show her gleaming personality… Ok, well I may not be a master in drawing but it was fun to draw after spending most of my time typing on some sort of device!
17. Maleficient opens at theaters May 30, 2014!
As I realized this post would be published on May 30, which is the day Maleficent is finally in theatres, I thought of the fun I had hearing about the movie at the conference and having the opportunity to take my most evil selfie of all…
Maleficent tells the “untold story of Disney’s most iconic villian from the classic Sleeping Beauty“. I know where I am going this weekend (to see Maleficent)!
18. “…Building literacy and storytelling (skills) in the digital age is important.”
In the digital age it is even more important for kids to make sure they develop literacy skills including reading books and the art of storytelling. At the conference we had the opportunity to hear about two initiatives that are supporting literacy in creative ways. The first one is Disney Junior’s Give a Book, Get a Book Program. The second is a collaboration with Reading Rainbow.
Here is information from the conference about Disney Junior’s Give a Book, Get a Book Program and the following press release:
“Disney and First Book will provide for the donation of up to one million books to U.S. communities in need and will present families with free digital books from Disney Publishing Worldwide, through a new program announced today, Disney Junior’s Give a Book, Get a Book. The program includes a redemption code offering a free Disney Digital book and a way for families to experience giving back by donating books to the community of their choice. Disney Junior’s Give a Book, Get a Book, also includes public service announcements, free storytime events at Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Disney Store locations, and interactive Radio Disney events.”
Ms. Kanter said, “With each and every one of our Disney Junior series, we let a child experience the magic and learning that comes with a story well told, and deepen the emotional connection and sense of wonder and adventure that have defined storytelling at the Disney company for generations.” She continued, “The Give a Book, Get a Book program is a way for families to share stories and enter the world of giving in a simple yet effective way.”
Details from the press release on Reading Rainbow:
“LeVar Burton, Cofounder and Curator-in-Chief of the award-winning Reading Rainbow app, spoke about the importance of building literacy and of storytelling in the digital age. Disney Junior stars Ariel Winter and Tim Gunn (of “Sofia the First”) and David Arquette (of “Jake and the Never Land Pirates”) also participated in a storybook reading for event attendees and their families. Genevieve Goings (of Disney Junior’s “Choo Choo Soul”), who hosts the Give a Book, Get a Book public service announcements on Disney Channel, emceed the event. ” Reading Rainbow co-founder LeVar Burton read Young Henry and the Dragon as part of the Disney Social Media Moms conference. LeVar was excited to support Disney, First Book and all the Disney Social Media Moms in your collective commitment in put books in the hands of children.
Today, Reading Rainbow is more than just the much-loved TV series — it’s the #1 education app in the Apple App Store. To date, children ages 3 to 9 are reading, on average, 140,000 books a week in the Reading Rainbow app — that’s more than 12 million books read and video field trips watched since launch.”
19. Disney Theme Parks even have running adventures!
One of experiences at the conference that was new to me was participating in an runDisney event. The runDisney website explained:
“runDisney is a series of events that provides runners the unique opportunity to run through Disney Theme Parks at the Walt Disney World® Resort in Florida and the Disneyland® Resort in California, earn Disney-themed finisher medals, experience legendary Disney entertainment & Guest Service, and ultimately celebrate their accomplishments with a Disney vacation. runDisney offers something for the whole family! While marathon and half marathon races headline each runDisney weekend, other offerings include Disney-themed kids races and family fun run 5ks, plus health and fitness expos with guest speakers, product demonstrations and official race merchandise! From the diaper dash to the 48.6-mile Dopey Challenge, there truly is something for everyone at runDisney.”
Before I became a parent I used to work out 5 days a week, but between working and parenting, finding time for workouts is a challenge. The runDisney event at the Disney Social Media Moms conference allowed me to train for the event and connect with fellow moms who did the same. That team support as well as the joy of running through Disneyland inspired me to start training 3 times a week for a few months and finish the 2 mile run at the required pace. Little did I know that after getting up at 4:30 am and joining a great warmup session by New Balance (that also supplied sneakers for us to wear) – I would be so energized and excited to run! After taking off close to 6:30 am and seeing the beauty of Disneyland in the morning (before the park officially opened) - I had to force myself not to stop to just take it all in! Well, I did stop for a few pictures and attempted a selfie but realized I really needed to keep pace with the group. The runDisney event was so inspiring that I ran my fastest time ever (selfie time included)…
Crossing the finish line with my fellow runners was inspiring (I even had to the chance to see the fabulous Michele Himmelberg who is also with Disney PR). Seeing my smiling boys as I crossed was priceless. I hope that this is setting a good example to my sons that fitness and fun can exist every so happily together.
20. Don’t forget to capture family memories!
Make sure to live in the moment and enjoy family time, but also capture the memories at key times. After many trips to Disneyland (especially this one where I did not have my husband to help with taking pictures) I realized that capturing the priceless memories are important but a challenge. The Disney PhotoPass allowed me to relax because I knew that I would have professional pictures without worrying about taking them myself. I even had the opportunity to be IN the picture.
The Disney PhotoPass Photographer came up to us while we were at California Adventure a few hours after the runDisney race was over and asked us if we wanted a picture. Of course I said YES! I was so thrilled to have done the race and then getting the opportunity to spend time with my family at Disneyland that I wanted to capture that moment. I look back at this picture whenever I need to smile, which extends that Disney magic with me whenever I need it!
Disclosure: TechMamas.com was invited to the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration at Disneyland. My family and I attended the conference and were given complimentary items, special discounts and other benefits such as food and entertainment. I paid my own conference fees. The press release information was supplied to conference attendees for informational purposes. All opinions and words are my own.