The #DisneySMMoms Report: Dinoland Party

Note: To see all of my posts on DisneySMMoms 2012, go here.

When we last left off, we were done with the speakers for the day.  As we had some time and as that night’s party would take place in Animal Kingdom’s Dinoland, we decided to head to Animal Kingdom early.

While there, we rode the Kilimanjaro Safari and looked at the flora and fauna around the Animal Kingdom.


Of course, we also saw a very lucky bug.

Finally, it was time to head into Dinoland, USA for the party.  What awaited us was amazing.  First, Chester and Hester greeted us at Dinoland’s entrance.


The tables had great centerpieces and the food was spectacular.  Of course, all that was only part of the party.  There were some great characters to meet:


And there were four rides open for our enjoyment: Triceratops Spin, Primeval Whirl, Dinosaur, and Expedition Everest.


The boys immediately wanted to ride the rides, so we didn’t even eat, but secured a spot and then split up.  B took NHL on Primeval Whirl (twice) while JSL (too short for that ride) went on Triceratops Spin with me.  Then, we switched.  NHL went on Primeval Whirl with me three times in a row.  We didn’t even have the leave the car since there was no line.  We just kept going around and around and around again.  By the end, I was ready to eat.  However, after taking a quick photo with some characters, NHL grabbed B’s father for another Primeval Whirl run.  (I don’t think he liked it at all.)

After JSL ate, B took him to something that we’ve never let the boys do before.  You see, in Chester and Hester’s, there are dinosaur-themed carnival games.  We’ve never let the kids play them because they usually require you to pay for each play.  ($2.50 a pop, I believe.)  For the party, however, they were free.

JSL came back to me so proud that he had won a turtle.


After NHL finally stopped riding enough and ate some food, he and I joined in the game playing fun.


In the end, NHL walked away with five stuffed animals.  One from each game he tried.  This would later become an issue when JSL complained that he only had 2.  (We still hear "NHL has more stuffed animals than me" to this day.)

Stuffed animal dilemma aside, the boys, B’s parents, B and I had a blast.  Disney sure knows how to throw a prehistoric party!

Disclaimer: We paid for our own trip to Disney World to attend the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration. Though we were given an incredible deal from Disney, they never asked us to blog about this event. All opinions expressed above are my own.

The Luckiest Bug in Disney World


Before I relate what happened at the Dinoland Party at the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration, I wanted to relate the story of a bug.

Since we had some time before the party, we went to the Animal Kingdom, rode the Kilimanjaro Safari (where I saw some of the places I’d see on the Wild Africa Trek the next day), and then went to the front of the park to await the rest of the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration crew.

While talking to some other DisneySMMoms attendees, a bug began to fly around us.  Nothing out of the ordinary.  After all, it was April in Florida.  We swatted at it and it fell to the ground.  This is where the fun began.

My father-in-law began egging the boys on to squish the bug, but I told them not to.  At this point, the bug wasn’t bothering them so I didn’t see any reason for them to go out of their way to kill it.  So instead, we watched it.  It walked away from us seemingly unable to fly.

Unfortunately, Animal Kingdom was closing and so people began to leave en masse.  Up came a group of about 20 people.  They were walking right for the bug.  Surely, it would soon be squished, right?  We watched in disbelief as foot after foot missed the bug.  A few came close, but always missed.  (Lest you think people were intentionally avoiding it, their eyes were fixed ahead on the exit and not on the bug underfoot.)

After the first group came another.  And another.  Feet after feet after stroller wheel after stroller wheel missed the bug.  We kept looking on in more and more disbelief.  This bug was defying all the odds and, I’ve got to admit, I found myself rooting for it.  There’s nothing like an underdog to gain my sympathy.

Sadly, the bug didn’t make it.  Eventually, someone came along and stepped on it.  Still, for a time there, that was the luckiest bug in all of Disney World.

The #DisneySMMoms Report: Speakers and Lessons

Note: To see all of my posts on DisneySMMoms 2012, go here.

After we ate breakfast on Friday morning, it was time to learn a few lessons in social media.  First, we moved to another room.  This wasn’t your standard conference room.  After all, it’s not every room that has a castle for a stage and inspirational stained glass scattered along the walls.


There were also these great centerpieces.


Power strips.  Just the thing for the on-the-go blogger with limited battery life.

Once we got settled, the speakers started coming out.

Meg Crofton, President of Walt Disney World Resort let us know that Disney World isn’t in the "vacation" business or the "theme park" business.  They are in the experience business.  They want every moment from the minute you get on the Magical Express to the minute you leave Disney World for the last time to be filled with magic.  (And they succeed many times over.)

Maryellen Hooper came on stage at various times both to introduce the next speaker and to induce fits of laughter in the crowd.  Yes, though her jokes were mom-based, this dad laughed just as much as the moms in the audience.

Kelly Ripa and Katie Couric were there as well.  Ok, they had pre-recorded messages for us, but that was good enough for us.

Amy Jo Martin talked to us about balancing work and family time.  She was told to choose two out of Work, Family, and Self.  She chose all three and, though she failed many times, she never gave up.

Ramon DeLeon came onstage with incredible energy.  If he ever gives up the pizza gig, he could probably sell DeLeon Energy Drinks!  He gave us example after example of how social media can be used to positively impact people’s lives.  He also reminded us that a problem that is solved offline isn’t solved if it was described online.  Others will see the "unsolved" problem and assume nothing’s been done.  It’s not so much the bad experiences that will turn people away, he told us, but bad reactions (or no reaction) top bad experiences.

Gary Buchanan came onstage dressed as a Jedi to tell us about Star Wars weekends at Disney World.  One year, I really want to head to Disney World during this wonderfully geeky time.  Unfortunately, Gary also insulted a certain Sith.


He was ok, but I don’t think he’ll be insulting Darth again.

After lunch (photos coming Wednesday), we came back to mice on our table.  The good kind, of course.


As we settled in, the speakers just kept on coming.  First up was Peter Shankman.  He told us not to wait for others’ approvals, to face our fears, leave our comfort zone, and to be like a weed.  The first is a lesson that I learned long ago when I dealt with bullying.  The second and third I took to heart and led to my Face My Fears Disney Challenge.  (More on that in a later post.)  The last item pointed out that weeds are masters of survival.  They’ve learned how to do everything except grow a rose (aka "be like everyone else").

Lisa Druxman quoted Henry Ford and said "whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right."  She told us to break big projects up into smaller pieces.  Most importantly, she told us that there will often be a gremlin sitting on our shoulder telling us that we can’t do something.  When that happens, we need to knock it off our shoulder and continue on.

I realized that my gremlin is High School Me.  No matter what I do, I maintain a mental self-image of myself as a shy high-school kid who is terrified of how people will negatively react to me.  High School Me couldn’t do half of the things that I do today and so, mentally, I’ll keep telling myself that I really can’t do these things either.  I’m going to start knocking High School Me off my shoulder.  He may have been me once, but he isn’t anymore and hasn’t been for awhile.

Finally, Chris Brogan reminded us of how important it is to have your site be mobile friendly.  As a new owner of a smartphone, I’m finding a lot of sites that aren’t mobile friendly.  Nothing’s more frustrating than loading up a site on your phone and being presenting with itty bitty text that can’t be resized to be readable or obscured text because the developers assumed that everyone only uses huge monitors.  (He also asked who isn’t on Pinterest and I was the only one to raise my hand.  I think that’s another post right there.)

As the sessions ended, it was time to head out to Animal Kingdom.  DInosaurs awaited us there.

Disclaimer: We paid for our own trip to Disney World to attend the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration. Though we were given an incredible deal from Disney, they never asked us to blog about this event. All opinions expressed above are my own.

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