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Pixie Dust, Magic and The Theory of Creativity at The Disney Social Media Moms Celebration!

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Recap of the invitation-only 2015 Disney Social Media Moms Celebration at the Walt Disney World Resort. #DisneySMMC #DisneySide

It’s been a week since the 2015 Disney Social Media Moms Celebration began and I am still trying to process what a great learning experience it was for me as a blogger. I simply can’t put it into words…yet.

#DisneySMMC 2015 Blog Badge

But, I can answer these three questions quite easily.

Was it magical? Yes.

Was is educational? Definitely.

Did it inspire me to not only want to become a better blogger but also a better person? ABSOLUTELY!!!

For those of you unfamiliar, the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration is an invitation-only, family oriented professional development conference which took place May 7 – 10 in Walt Disney World, also known as my happy place! I was so honored to be chosen to attend this exclusive magical event. While no one knows how they truly are invited (that’s just the magic of Disney), this over the top Disney fan was super excited to have been selected.

George Lucas Quote

This year’s Disney Social Media Moms Celebration focused on a topic that I find so fascinating – creativity. As a creative person (or somewhat creative person depending on the day), creativity is something we strive for everyday as bloggers. Whether it be a new recipe we want to share or a simple gardening or craft idea. Creativity is key to great content. This concept can also apply to our everyday lives because whether you are a blogger or not, we all hold something special within us as individuals. How we make that something special shine is where our creativity comes into play.

Walt Disney Quote 1

From a Disney perspective, I have always been amazed at just how creative the cast members are in every aspect of the company. From the cool Mickey-shaped towels that greet you each day when you walk into your resort hotel room to the ingenuity of the Disney Imagineers, Disney just does it right! They capture our attention with all the creative juices that makes Disney the amazing company that it is. I have always admired how Disney can turn a simple concept into something magical by paying close attention to every little detail.

Here’s a rundown of all the amazing events Disney planned for both the bloggers and families.

Disney’s Yacht Club Resort was this year’s host hotel. Thursday began with a welcome reception for attendees in Epcot sponsored by Disney Citizenship. It was fun but I admit I was a little nervous. My nerves only lasted a few minutes as I met a lot of great people.

Disney Citizenship

Our families then joined us for a really fun dinner which included photos with Sorcerer Mickey, Rapunzel, Baymax and Hiro as well as a fun dance party and some really delicious and unique food – how does liquid nitrogen popcorn sound? We were then escorted to the IllumiNations Sparkling Dessert Party also in Epcot. We had front row seats to the amazing Illuminations fireworks. Oh yeah, there were some pretty delicious desserts too. How cool is that!

The actual conference portion which was sponsored by Alamo, took place on Friday, May 7th. This was the educational portion of the conference just for us bloggers. Our families were off enjoying time in the parks or at the resort.

Donald Driver, former NFL Wide Receiver, addresses attendees of the 2015 Disney Social Media Moms Celebration.
Donald Driver, former NFL Wide Receiver, addresses attendees of the 2015 Disney Social Media Moms Celebration.

We heard from some incredibly creative individuals who included:
Chef Gary, Disney’s Magic of Healthy Living
Eva Smith, Head of Marcomm and Insights at Pinterest
Jonas Rivera, Producer of the Disney Pixar film Inside Out
Donald Driver, author and former Wide Receiver for Green Bay Packers
Vivienne Harr, 11 year old social do-gooder and Chief Compassion Officer of MAKE A STAND
Chris Brogan, Social Media Author
Jeffrey Epstein, Disney D23
Jessica Shyba, Momma’s Gone City and Author
Dr. Tanya Altmann, Disney Imagicademy
Janice Balgemino, Disney Infinity
Lee Kitchen, Disney Creativity
Kayli Butler, HeyKayli YouTube Channel and Maker Studios talent

Pretty impressive speaker line up, wouldn’t you say. Each of them put their own unique and creative spin into who they are as individuals and also the issues and causes they hold near and dear.

Here are the AHA! moments that resonated most with me during the conference.

Vivienne Harr – Vivienne is the amazing 11 year old Chief Compassion Officer of MAKE A STAND. At the age of 8 she sold lemonade everyday to help end child slavery throughout the world. Such passion and dedication to this important cause. I only wish my kids could have seen her too. What an inspiration she was. In this tech world that we live in, Vivienne told us, “Stand up for what you believe in. It’s time to turn the camera away from yourself and turn it onto the world.”  What great advice from a humble 11-year old philanthropist!

Chris Brogan – Chris Brogran is a social media creative guru. He gave us tips and pointers on how to grow our social media following by finding out who we really our. He also assured us that because we are all creative and unique individuals, there is room in this great blogosphere for all of us. Great advice. “Be the Magic Band of your business. Shine and find your bat signal. Be specific in who you are trying to attract.” he said.

Donald Driver – As a football fan, I knew very well about the NFL Donald Driver. What I did not know was that he is an author and motivational speaker. He encouraged us to focus on the good in each of us. Your blog will achieve greatness but you need to look within yourself to find values you most desire! Donald also posed the question “Why do you blog? Don’t blog for attention, blog for a reason!  “When you can put your power of passion behind it, you will create something special.” Driver explained.

Lee Kitchen  – Lee spoke at the Creativity and You Tube Breakout session that I attended. This session taught us how to think creatively and to better collaborate with our peers. “Collaboration is the key to big ideas and social media growth.” Kitchen said. We also participated in some fun creativity-generating improvisation exercises.

Jonas Rivera – Jonas is the producer of the upcoming Pixar film Inside Out. He gave us a really interesting behind-the-scenes look all the creatives processes that are involved in creating a Pixar film. Inside Out took about five years to create. Inside Out explores what goes on with the five emotions (joy, sadness, anger, disgust and fear) going on inside our head. Everyone was even treated to a sneak peek of the film the next day. While I can’t give any details away I will tell you this…You need to see it! It was great! Pixar never fails to disappoint.

After the main conference portion was complete, lots of family fun ensued which included: Mickey’s Beach Bash and a special Mother’s Day breakfast. There was also a special Fun Run at the wee hours of the morning on Mother’s Day sponsored by Go Go Squeez.

Let me tell you something….Disney is the only reason I would get up at 5:15 to walk or run!

The one-mile course led us through parts of Epcot. It was really neat to see the park before hours. Unfortunately, I forgot  my phone in the room (what do you expect for a 5:15 wake up call) so I could not take any pictures (insert sad face).

Attending the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration was definitely an experience I will cherish forever. The cast members and planning team went out of their way to make all of us feel so special.

Walt Disney once said “The more you like yourself, the less you are like anyone else, which makes you unique.” We are all unique individuals and we have a lot of creativity running through our veins. You may not be able to write like Hemmingway, or paint like Monet, but we all have something unique and special to offer to this great world that we live in. And that my friends….is what resonated most with me during the conference!

I feel recharged and read to keep writing, creating and having fun here on How Does Your Garden Grow?. I hope you’ll continue to join in on the fun! Thanks Disney for the magical memory! ChEARS to you!

Stay tuned for more post about my adventures at the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration. I promise there is more to come about the event itself, some great Walt Disney World recipes that I plan to recreate and even some fun things you can do while visiting the Walt Disney World Resort.

Disclosure: I was invited by Disney to attend the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. I did pay a modest conference free to attend and received some pretty cool swag too. I was not asked to write this post by Disney. As always, opinions 100% are my own.

Melissa Russo Signature

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