Note: I paid a nominal fee to attend the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration, and received perks and discounts. All opinions are my own.
As you may remember, last year, I attended Disney's Social Media Moms Celebration on my own. My kids just couldn't miss that much school, so I went by myself. It was enjoyable, and a relaxing time for me, but I did feel sad when I saw all of the families together. This year, I was thrilled to be invited because the celebration mostly took place over the kids' February break. I immediately accepted the invitation when I received it, and we eagerly waited for the celebration to begin. This is my trip report – I'll have travel-specific reviews over on FamilyTravelMagazine.com.
We decided to take advantage of the kids' break by arriving a day early. I booked a room at our host hotel, Disney's Coronado Springs Resort, for the extra night. In advance of our arrival, I emailed the DSMMC event team to see if our reservations could be combined. That way, we wouldn't have to switch rooms. Thankfully, they were able to take care of it, so we were able to stay in our room for a total of four nights.
Thanks to warm temperatures, we didn't have to de-ice our plane, so we arrived a few minutes early. After taking Disney's Magical Express and checking in, we changed into some more weather-appropriate clothes, ate lunch, and headed out to our first park, Epcot. We had enough time to check out the new version of Soarin', and then ate at one of my favorite restaurants, Via Napoli. It was the last day of the Epcot International Festival of the Arts, so I was glad to get a quick peek at it. We were tired after an early wake up, so we headed back early and rested up in advance of the celebration.
The next morning, after checking in to the celebration, we headed to Disney's Animal Kingdom. I had seen Pandora before, but the kids hadn't, so I definitely wanted them to see it. We had a wonderful day exploring Animal Kingdom, and my family really enjoyed lunch at the new Satu'li Canteen. We spent a little bit of time at the Dig Site – Coronado Springs' pool area, and then it was time for the celebration to begin.
The conference attendees had a quick reception, before joining our family's for a Pixar-themed dinner. It was so exciting to see Slinky Dog, who had just returned from his trip to NYC for the Toy Story Land announcement at Good Morning America. Again, we went to bed early, because it was going to be a very early morning wake up the next day.
We woke up early – very early – to head to Animal Kingdom. Pandora is stunning in the dark, and by arriving so early, we were able to see it lit up. We were also able to enjoy a delicious breakfast and ride Flight of Passage and the Navi River Journey before the park opened at 8am. From there, we enjoyed a little more time in Animal Kingdom before going back to the hotel for a little rest.
One of my favorite restaurants of all time is the Hollywood Brown Derby, and I always try to incorporate a lunch or dinner there during every Disney trip. So, after our break, we took the bus to Hollywood Studios, where we enjoyed a leisurely lunch before exploring the park. We also had the opportunity to learn about Toy Story Land and enjoy a family dinner at PizzeRizzo hosted by GoGo Squeez. Again, we were pretty tired at night, so we went right back to sleep relatively early.
Thursday was our first day of conference sessions. My family went to the Magic Kingdom to have fun, and I was inspired by a number of fabulous guest speakers. I always say that I like to take home at least one major actionable thing from each conference, and this time was no exception. We learned about upcoming new enhancements at the parks, in addition to educational information that we can apply to our own businesses. Then, we all headed to a sponsor expo, where we learned about all of the great DSMMC sponsors. I was also able to get this adorable Minnie on my latte, courtesy of Joffrey's (these are available at Disney Springs and the Contemporary, currently).
I also became Mom of the Year, when I was able to meet Caleb McLaughlin from Stranger Things, thanks to GoGo Squeez. He even recorded a little video for my son, who is the biggest Stranger Things fan ever.
After the expo, I changed out of my conference clothing and went to the Magic Kingdom to meet up with my family. They had already been on a few rides, but I joined them for Space Mountain and the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. We also had dinner at one of the newest Disney restaurants, the Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen. I had dined there on my last Walt Disney World trip in October, and I made the reservation because I wanted my family to eat there too.
It was a whirlwind four nights at Walt Disney World, but we had to pack up for the second half of our trip – three nights on board the Disney Dream. We'd just done this cruise in November, but we really can't get enough. There's so much to do on the Disney Cruise Line – you couldn't possibly do everything in even a few cruises.
We left our luggage in our room on Friday morning (I always silently pray that it really will reappear on the ship – it always does), and went to breakfast. I expected a basic breakfast, but of course, Disney always does something special. This breakfast was Star Wars themed, and included character greetings with Kylo Ren and Chewbacca. It was the perfect way to end the land portion of our trip.
After breakfast, we boarded motor coaches to Port Canaveral. We went through the usual embarkation procedures and had lunch before I went to our first event – a reception in one of the lounges. We were encouraged to Disneybound based on Disney Cruise Line, Adventures by Disney, or Disney's Aulani. I decided to wear a scarf and custom sandals that I purchased on my last Adventures by Disney trip to Greece, and it was so great to see everyone's creativity! We learned a little bit more about these experiences, participated in a character dance off, and toasted to the second half of our adventure.
The next morning, our ship docked in Nassau, while the conference attendees went to our second day of sessions. My family visited the pool, and I learned even more about some fabulous Disney initiatives. I really enjoyed all of the sessions, but it was definitely a special treat to hear from Tom Warburton, who is the Producer of the new Muppet Babies show that is debuting on the Disney Channel on March 23, 2018. It's absolutely adorable, and I know kids will love it!
Our sessions ended at lunchtime, and I joined my family up at Cabanas for a late lunch. We explored the ship a bit, and then my son and husband went to a showing of Black Panther, while my daughter and I went to see the Beauty and the Beast show. We'd seen it during our cruise in November, but it's such a well-done, Broadway caliber show. It's worth traveling on the Disney Dream just to see it!
Our final day was at Castaway Cay – one of my favorite places on Earth. Castaway Cay is Disney's private island in the Bahamas, and it's absolutely stunning. A Castaway Cay Getaway Package was provided to us, and included bike, snorkel, and float rentals. The weather was perfect, and the kids loved having those fun extra activities.
We had such a wonderful time at Disney Social Media Moms. It was the perfect blend of networking, learning, and family time. As my kids get older, it's much more difficult to find time to travel. I'm so grateful for this opportunity.
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