Disney Social Media Moms Celebration goes to Austin

We can all use a little “pixie dust” in our lives.

Last week, mine came via an invitation to attend the 2015 Disney Social Media Moms Celebration “On the Road” event in Austin, Texas. The half-day workshop offered an opportunity to network with fellow bloggers from around Texas (and some beyond), learn about what’s new and exciting at Disney, and provided great content around creativity and video!


Along with Danielle from Busy Moms Helper, Dawn from the Frugal Mom and Tammy from Three Different Directions, I drove from the DFW area to Austin the afternoon before in a beautiful GMC Acadia provided by GM. We stayed at the Residence Inn Austin/University (which I’l be talking about later this week) and I had a great time hanging out and getting to know them better, and it definitely made my drive down go much faster.

DisneySMMC 1 Collage

We arrived at the Intercontinental Stephen F. Austin Hotel for the conference, excited to kick off the morning event! They provided us with ample amounts of caffeine and yummy food for breakfast, and we had time to say “hello” to familiar faces, as well as to take a peek into the goodie bags we were given at check-in. What girl doesn’t love a little bling with her morning coffee on the go?


Shortly thereafter, a recorded voice familiar to anyone who has been to Disney announced “Ladies and Gentlemen, please take your seats. The show is about to begin.” It was a great touch and really shouted “this is Disney” as Leanne O’Regan (@leannej) welcomed us and introduced the first speaker, Jamie Langdon (@langdonjamie) from Disney Destinations Digital Marketing.  She filled us in on everything new and exciting going on at Disney right now, from the announcement that Disney cruises are returning to Texas in 2016 (yay!) to the transformation that Downtown Disney is undergoing at the moment as it is renamed Disney Springs. Currently, a new restaurant called The Boathouse also features a 20 minute guided tour around Downtown Disney landmarks in their fleet of “amphicars” that drive on land and float in the water!




Jenn Fickley-Baker (@DisneyParksJenn) gave a really informational presentation on Storytelling and Creativity, and offered up the science behind some useful brainstorming techniques to jump start our creativity.  I am a list maker by nature, but her discussion point of using list making to get the logical responses out of the way so the creative part of our brain can get to work was an “a ha”moment. Asking “what if” is one way to rediscover our imagination, as is playing. In fact, she suggested that the best way to push past writer’s blog is to take a break to do something that makes you laugh. Great advice, indeed.

Imagination doesn't go away when we grow up; it just gets clouded. We need to let it loose. - Jenn Fickley-Baker, Disney Parks Blog Click To Tweet

Next up was the amazing mother-daughter team of Kathy Cano-Murillo from The Crafty Chica and her daughter Maya Murillo, from Maya in the Moment. Kathy was a veritable fountain of enthusiasm and her love of glitter could possible eclipse that of my 9-year old’s!  She is living proof of her advice that you should never put something off because you think you can’t do it. She spoke on being passionate about what you do, and her passion shined through.


Embrace New

Have a book proposal READY

Make readers laugh, cry or gasp

Know your 5 year destination – everything you do should lead to your goal

Know the top search terms on your site

Involve your kids

Her daughter Maya is a big fan of video, particularly Vine, and they shared the importance of bringing your own personality to your blog and carrying that through to everything else you do. And seriously, they were loaded with personality and enthusiasm!

Victoria Lim (@VictoriaLim) focused on video, noting that video is the second most engaged form of media on Facebook presently, and they are the most shared form on Facebook. Her tips for improving your video were:

Clean your lenses

To get a good close up, move in closer with your body instead of using the zoom. You’ll get a clearer and steadier shot!

Shoot horizontally

Be purposeful (but)

Shoot a lot!

Change your phone settings to airplane mode to prevent interruptions by phone calls or notification pings!

Be aware of ambient noise.

Two apps that she focused on were Magisto and Videolicious. Magisto will allow you to use existing video or shoot new, and both will let you pull in photos with your videos. Videolicious seems to offer a bit more control and will let you record voice over, but Magisto has some preset formats to put together a video for you. Both are fun!

lisaErspamer Collage

Lisa Erspamer (@lisaerspamer) picked up the earlier thread on creativity, talking about taking creative risks.  She shared a few wonderful quotes that have found a home on my vision board:

Success is not final...failure is not fatal...it's the courage to continue that counts. - Winston Churchill Click To Tweet


In her presentation, she stressed the need to create an emotional connection and create a physical reaction. Honest content resonates. Disney is great at doing this – I have to admit, I cry at nearly every commercial they air.  She embodied the idea of Churchill’s quote, and told us to believe in ourselves and our ideas – our passion WILL show when we put it into what we create. Success requires risking failure – but we shouldn’t have to risk it alone, that we should ask for help when we need it.

Lisa recently released a book titled A Letter to My Mom, which includes personal letters of thanks and appreciation written by both celebrities and everyday folk to their mothers. A copy of the book was included in our goodie bag, and based on my the first few pages, I need to have more tissues handy. (You can click on the link above for more info on the book!)


Throughout the morning, Leanne drew from a bowl filled with our business cards to give away some really fun door prizes. This time, Lady Luck was with me and I won the girl tween gift basket! My nine-year-old’s eyes lit up at the sparkly Minnie ears, so I think I’ll have to share. The last giveaway turned out to be a treat for ALL of us – Alamo Rent-a-Car generously provided us ALL with Disney Gift Cards. While my daughter was already eyeing an animated “Anger” from the movie Inside Out on our visit to the Disney Store yesterday, I think I’ll be saving it for our next trip to Walt Disney World.

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And of course, an event involving anything Disney can’t end without a very special guest appearance – it was Mickey Mouse. I don’t care how old I get, I will always turn into a grinning nine-year-old myself when I see Mickey.

mickeymouse collage

It was a fantastic morning and I’m grateful for the opportunity to meet more Texas area bloggers and put faces to names as I settle in and begin to call Dallas home. Many thanks to the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration team for including me in this wonderful event!


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  1. Thanks for posting this as I am living vicariously since I couldn’t make it :/

  2. Great wrap up! It was so nice to meet you at the conference!

  3. Sounds like an incredible day! Love those tips from the speakers.

  4. This was such a fabulous experience for me, too! They really worked hard to put on a great conference for us! (Plus the krispy treats are my fav!!!)

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