“Bloggers Gain Inspiration and Pixie Dust at Disney’s Social Media Moms On the Road Conferences” by Kate Melody

Disney Magic was traveling cross country this past June for the third year with the Disney Social Media Moms On the Road Celebrations! The annual half day event was held this year in Chicago, Philadelphia and Phoenix. Hosted by Disney Social Media and Public Relations, and the amazing crew from Maria Bailey’s (of Mom Talk Radio, Mom TV and Mom Select) BSM Media, the celebration brought together mom and dad bloggers from all over the country to learn and be inspired!

New Picture (1)While the On the Road Celebrations are only a short four hours, the presentation time was jam packed with a variety of presenters. Our hosts for the event were Jamie Langdon, Walt Disney World Public Relations and Social Media Manager and Leanne Jakubowski O’Regan, Director, Social Media at Disney Parks.
One part of the event I was looking forward to was meeting and hearing from Gary Buchanan, Walt Disney World Social Media Managing Editor. Unlike a lot of behind the scenes Disney folks, a lot of you may be familiar with Gary from his fun adventures and antics in videos for the Disney Parks Blog. From searching for dragons over Magic Kingdom for the New Fantasyland opening, wading through cranberry bogs at Food and Wine Festival, dancing down Main Street USA or interviewing galactic heroes for Star Wars Weekends, Gary always seems to be up to something fun and crazy. Gary brought us an update on “What’s New, What’s Next at Disney Parks”. Between My Magic+, The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, and two new runDisney races this fall there was a lot to talk about!

New Picture (2)Jenn Fickley-Baker Walt Disney World Social Media Manager gave us some behind the scenes info on the Disney Parks Blog, and how what Disney has learned can help us improve our own blogs and social media presence. One story that particularly touched hearts was the story of “Toby the Bear”. Many readers may be familiar with the story of Toby, who was given to a little girl by her now deceased father. On a trip to Walt Disney World, Toby was misplaced. Social media was abuzz in the online Disney community with folks trying to find Toby, last seen at Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa. Toby was thankfully found by Disney, and sent home, complete with a vacation photo album of his Disney adventures!

New Picture (3)Other conference highlights included previews of the latest and greatest products and services coming from Hewlett Packard such as web-enabled printers that order ink for you when you’re getting low! What a time saver that would be! Prior winners of Huggies Mom Inspired Program were in attendance, and presented as a panel of Mompreneurs offering advice on starting and running your own business. Applications for the $15K grants are currently open through September 30th if you have an idea for a great product to make parents’ lives easier. You can apply at: www.huggiesmominspired.com.

By far, at the highlight of the Chicago On the Road Celebration was our final speaker of the day, Ramon De Leon. While his official title is Sr. Social Strategist, Rise Interactive, Chicago pizza fans know him as “The Pizza Guy”. Starting with Dominos in the late 1980’s as a delivery guy, Ramon De Leon saw the opportunity in social media even before it had a name, and used it to expand Domino’s business in the Chicago area. You could order pizza online in Chicago a full 8 years before it was introduced nationally by corporate Dominos, thanks to Ramon! Speaking on customer service and using social media to expand your brand he ended the day on a high note of excitement and inspiration. He has his own hashtag, and it suits him perfectly: #RamonWOW!

New Picture (4)To end the Celebration in Chicago, we were treated to a very special surprise guest, the man himself, Mickey Mouse! Visiting with an old friend like Mickey was the perfect way to end such an amazing experience.

If you are interested in attending a Disney Social Media Moms Celebration, either the main conference or On the Road, be sure to fill out an application next winter/spring on their website, then cross your fingers for a magical email! The event is invitation only, and I am honored that I was able to attend. Thanks to Maria Bailey and Valika Shivcharran of BSM Media, as well as Jamie Langdon and Leanne Jakubowski O’Regan from Disney Social Media for hosting and giving me the opportunity to attend the celebration!

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