This post was originally shared on July 1, 2013. Please excuse the wonky formatting & small pictures- early blogging years, yo!
Ohhhh y’all… it happened!
Spoiler alert: it was as awesome as I hoped.? I even got to fangirl my favorite Disney Parks Blog writer, Erin Glover.? Eeeeeppppp!!
Okay– so what happened? Exactly?
Here’s the 411: back in May I received an invitation to attend a special Mom Blogger event held by Disney.
You might have heard me squeal through cyberspace.
After Twitter-watching New York and DC have their fun, it was finally time for our turn on the west coast.
To say we were excited was an understatement- I personally couldn’t sleep that morning and was off way early to brave the traffic.
Surely I’d be stuck for hours on the 680 right??Um, wrong.
Despite the rainy morning, there was no traffic.
So I was really early.
But thanks to the awesome that is my smartphone and social media, I found I wasn’t alone!
Jindy, a fellow runDisney enthusiast, and blogger at Flowers Croon, posted that she was drinking coffee in the hotel and I hurried in to meet her.
The morning got started with an hour of networking in the hotel lobby.
I couldn’t believe that after 20+ years visiting (and living) in the Bay Area, this was my first opportunity to visit the amazing Claremont Resort.
When Disney hosts something, they sure do it right.
The staff was helpful and gracious to the attendees, and I want to thank them for hosting the event.
We checked in, picked up our lanyards, dropped a business card in the bowl (fingers crossed for fabulous door prizes!), and picked up our swag bags.
Then we started saying hi and chatting with the ladies.
I’ll admit I was most nervous about this part.
For someone so very social online, I worried about how I would do in real life.
But people accepted my business cards and handshakes, and in the case of some long overdue cases- accepted my hugs as well!
I don’t think I did too badly. I certainly loved meeting all these women and hearing about their blogs and passions.
We headed to the meeting room and got started.
Breakfast was served, but I’m not sure many of us actually ate!? We were still meeting and greeting new folks as we sat at the tables.
I think I moved about 3 times- not because I didn’t care for my fellow table mates, but because I kept getting up to chat with someone else, and found my seat was taken when I returned (and totally understood- because I was doing the same at other tables!)
We were a fluid, chatty bunch and?I loved every second of it.
It was interesting to find that while this was hosted by Disney, it was NOT a Disney-only event.
Sure, we had speakers from Disney and had the chance to see some of the recent promos for New Fantasyland and Monsters University- but it was NOT overwhelmingly all about Disney.
This was about Mom Bloggers.
Get this: there were many moms there who do not have a Disney presence on their page, and in fact, some confessed they had never even been to Disneyland or Disney World.
I know, right?
Take a moment to digest that.
Never. Been. Ever. EVER!
I wasn’t sure if I was sad for them or impressed that they held out so long.
While this might seem strange, it makes perfect sense (Disney ain’t dumb, y’all!) to bring in people not familiar with their brand.
The purpose: increase exposure.
It was a “duh” moment for me when our host, Maria Bailey from Mom Talk Radio, pointed this out.
Something to keep in mind if you are interested in attending these events in the future: your Disney presence may not be the reason you will be invited.
It could be anything that stands out at selection time: your blog topics, writing style, children’s ages, your community involvement (on and offline!)… any number of aspects that make you YOU.
Let YOU be heard and seen- and of course, if you happen to LOVE Disney, then that’s part of your awesome, right?
I know it’s mine.
Patty Holliday is a Marvel loving, Disney obsessed wife, and mother of four. She’s a travel agent specializing in Disney & Universal vacations- and loves a candid confession. Find her in Virginia (or anywhere frequent flyer miles or her trusty minivan takes her.)