Special thank you to Disney for the 2018 Disney Social Media Moms Celebration invitation. I received some exclusive experiences for attending.
Last November, I was invited to attend the 2018 Disney Social Media Moms Celebration. Even though I had never been before, and didn’t know what to expect, I was jumping up and down about some pixie dust landing in my inbox. I don’t write often about blogging because, to me, even though I’m passionate about it – it can be pretty boring. The exclusive invitation goes out annually and it’s an offer for bloggers to grow their businesses, while being inspired by Disney magic, and vacation with their families.
Without hesitation, I signed up to attend and I decided to bring my Husband. While we go to Disney World with the kids all the time, it had been several years since we took a vacation as a couple. We aren’t shy about our passion for Disney, as DVC Members and Annual Passholders, but not many people know that exclusively vacationed at Disney before having kids. I was looking forward to falling in love, at Disney, all over again.
Land and Sea: The 2018 Disney Social Media Moms Celebration
A Two Part Vacation & Conference
This was our second time traveling land to sea, from Walt Disney World to Disney Cruise Line. The 2018 Disney Social Media Moms Celebration was divided between four days at Saratoga Springs Resort and a three day cruise on Disney’s Dream ship. If you have the opportunity to drive to your Land and Sea Disney vacation, I’ve got a pro tip: pack for two separate vacations and leave your baggage in your parked car at the Disney resort, if you’re taking the DCL transportation to port. This makes life so much easier!
Day One: New Friends That You Feel Like You’ve Known Forever
Disney welcomed the influencers with a private reception before dinner. Do you know people online that you feel like you’re friends with but you’ve never met them in person? Bloggers have a lot of those! For the first time, I was able to meet the fabulous ladies behind the fellow blogs that I love. Winona from Southern Family Lifestyle is a dear friend of mine who attended and Jessica from The Healthy Mouse is a West coast Disneyland blogger that I’m friends with. I was overwhelmed with excitement – it’s like vacationing with a bunch of friends. I knew, just from the welcome reception alone, that this was going to be a magical week.
My Husband joined us for a Pixar themed dinner. We got to preview the slinky roller coaster from Toy Story Land and take some photos with our favorite Pixar characters. One of my favorite parts of the evening was writing postcards that the DSMMC team was sending to the military – an awesome touch.
Day Two: Around the Clock Fun From Animal Kingdom to Hollywood Studios
We woke up bright and early on day two for an exclusive look at Animal Kingdom’s latest expansion, Pandora. They wanted us to experience Pandora before sunrise because of the glowing bioluminescence details that cover the land. The area is inspired by James Cameron’s 2009 blockbuster “Avatar”, but you don’t have to see the film to appreciate Pandora.
Every time I think Disney can’t get any better, they improve. The technology and design of Pandora are unbelievable. Flight of Passage is an amazing experience and definitely my new favorite ride. The animatronics in Navi River Journey move seamlessly. If you’re wondering if those attractions are worth the long wait times – definitely! Pandora is a must-do.
After a late morning nap at our resort, we switched gears to check out the next Disney Parks expansion: Toy Story Land. We had the opportunity to meet with a Disney Imagineer and ask questions about the 11-acre area that’s coming to Hollywood Studios on June 30th. It sounds like it’s going to be full of detail and be an immersive experience for guests. We can’t wait to go back when it opens!
Day Three: Our First General Session
The most exciting part of our morning general session was hearing about the upcoming plans for Disney Parks, from Bob Chapek, Chairmen Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. The 2018 Disney Social Media Moms Celebration was a chance for us to learn about the future of the parks and see their vision. After all, the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World is right around the corner. Check out some of my favorite highlights:
- On Earth Day 2018, Disney’s Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort will debut “UP! A Great Bird Adventure,” a brand-new show featuring Russell and Dug from the Disney•Pixar animated comedy adventure film “UP.” The show will give guests the chance to see Senior Wilderness Explorer Russell and his fuzzy friend Dug in a new adventure that includes encounters with exotic birds from around the world.
- Families visiting the new Star Wars-inspired hotel coming to Walt Disney World Resort will board a starship alive with characters and stories that unfold during their voyage through the galaxy – and every window has a view of space. The resort will be seamlessly connected to the highly anticipated Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, allowing Guests a complete Star Wars experience.
- STAR WARS: GALAXY’S EDGE — Lucasfilm and Walt Disney Imagineering team members review the Millennium Falcon under development for Stars Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will transport guests to a remote trading port on the edge of space, where Star Wars characters and their stories come to life. The land will open at both Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and Disneyland Resort in California in 2019.
After our general session, we had free time to explore the parks. We decided to tour Epcot and do some of the things we never have time to do when the kids join us. From a few adult cocktails to shopping, it was nice to have a leisurely night.
Day Four: Run Disney + Embarking Day
Before I got the invitation to attend, I was already planning a trip to Disney World for this exact weekend. Ironically, it was the same weekend as 2018 Run Disney Princess Half Marathon. When I found out they overlapped, I had to back out of running the half marathon, but I still managed to squeeze in the Princess 5k! I woke up at 3 am to run my 3.1 magical miles around Epcot. Honestly, it never gets old. I love Run Disney and I was so proud to be the only SMMC attendee to run it.
Later that morning, we lined up to leave for Port Canaveral. You’re immediately in awe when you first see a Disney Cruise ship. The Disney Dream is beautiful – she’s full of places to discover, relax, splash around and dine. We went 100% at the parks, so it was time to slow down and relax once onboard.
From the minute you step onboard, everything is magical. The Disney Cruise Line staff welcomes each family by name when you board the ship. In typical cruise fashion, the first thing we did was eat. Then, we found a lounge chair with our name on it. That’s where we relaxed for the rest of the afternoon.
We toasted and cheered as we danced at the Sailing Away party. It’s a fun send-off where the Fab Five kicks off the entertainment as we sail away from Port.
Day Five: Nassau, Bahamas and Our Second General Session
Our morning began with the most moving part the 2018 Disney Social Media Moms Celebration – the second general session. While several important speakers from Disney Parks Blog and Disney Corporate spoke to us, I was deeply touched by the presentation from John Breckow, Director of Corporate Citizenship for Walt Disney Parks & Resorts. I knew that Disney participated in community outreach, but I never knew the extent and which they changed people’s lives. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room as we learned about how Disney grants wishes with Make-A-Wish® program. It made me really proud to say we are not only Disney fans, but we support the corporation and their social actions.
Afterwards, I met my Husband for a romantic brunch at Palo as we enjoyed the view of Nassau, Bahamas. Palo is an adult-only Italian restaurant onboard. From pastries to fresh seafood, we indulged in so many delectable delights – full review coming soon.
That evening, we experience the NEW “Beauty and The Beast” stage show. The broadway caliber show was a spin-off of the 2017 live-action movie. The stage details were stunning as each scene transitioned smoothly through projections. Pro Tip: arrive early and get a great seat. If you have second seating for dinner, it’s easier to grab a seat and you won’t feel rushed during your meal. The show brought me to tears – it’s a DCL must see show.
Day Six: Castaway Cay – Disney’s Private Island
If you’re wondering if paradise truly exists, I can verify that it does. There are so many endless reasons to take Disney Cruise, but Castaway Cay is at the top. We disembark the ship immediately and head to Serenity Bay, the adult-only beach. I’ve heard the family side is amazing and they’ve got cool waterslides and splash areas, but Serenity Bay is the most relaxing experience.
We hung out with my friend Charlotte from Just Peachy Keen with The Peachy Queen. From sipping fruity cocktails with a view to walking to the sand bar, it was my ideal beach day. Disney has several barriers in place, so the water is always serene. You can walk out and it only gets about 3-4 feet deep. If you’re not traveling with kids, grab a spot at Serenity Bay and stay all day long.
Discovering the Magic Again
Most imporantly, the 2018 Disney Social Media Moms Celebration was a chance for us to discover the magic again. When you travel with children, you can forget to take the time to appreciate all of the details of Disney. It was so great to have the opportunity to learn from experts in my field, rekindle some romance with my Husband and have fun. I’d like to extend my gratitude to the Disney Social Media Moms team, they did an awesome job and it was an honor to attend.
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Check back for more exciting details about our 2018 Disney Social Media Moms Celebration trip – restaurant reviews, my race recap and travel tips.
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