Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, an invitation was sent.
Not by horse-drawn carriage, not by the order of the king, but, being the modern times in which we live, by email.
And, while I may not remember what thoughts ran through my head when I saw the look on my true love's face as he stood waiting for me at the altar or when my firstborn child was placed in my arms for the first time, every detail of when I opened that email is still crystal clear in my mind.
One of the only family-friendly conferences for those of us in social media, the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration is a one-of-a-kind, invite-only, premier event based on learning, networking, inspiration and, of course, the magic of Disney.
Did I want to attend the 5th annual Celebration and take my first trip to Disneyland Resort in California? Is that really even a question?!
While the DisneySMMoms Celebration itself lasts three days, my family turned this opportunity into a 7-day event to truly immerse ourselves in all things Disneyland. After all, between Disneyland Park (the original Disney theme park), the reimagined Disney California Adventure Park, the Downtown Disney district and our stay at Disneyland Hotel putting everything within walking distance, this was easily going to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
We began at registration, something that might typically be mundane, but was instead already fun and family-friendly.
The girls were thrilled to already have the opportunity to meet Mickey Mouse himself...
...as well as Chip and Dale.
These two jokester chipmunks then hung out with us a little more as we learned about the Disney Wild About Safety campaign, a creative and fun program designed to help kids learn and understand the importance of being safe in all sorts of situations.
While it's hard to top getting to hang out with a few of our favorite Disney buddies, other registration highlights included visiting the New Balance station to see their incredible line of Disney-themed running shoes...
...as well as check-in and pick up the supplies I needed to participate in a two-mile runDisney event a few mornings away.
From Disney apps to in-home innovations (and much more), the room was filled with information, ideas and technology that are available to teach as well as enhance all of our lives!
Whew! After we made it through registration and checked in to the gorgeous Disneyland Hotel, it was time to spend the afternoon getting to know the Happiest Place on Earth.
Are there words to accurately sum up how it feels to visit Disneyland for the very first time? To walk through those gates and know that one man and one mouse started it all right on this spot? And to know that, as much as my eyes were open to see anything and everything, that it was made infinitely better by being able to see my children experience it as well?
After hours spent riding rides, watching shows, celebrating the 50th anniversary of It's A Small World, meeting even more characters, and more...
...it was time to take part in the opening events of the DisneySMMoms Celebration.
We began with a pre-dinner cocktail hour sponsored by the awesome folks at Coppertone, who not only threw a great event, but gave us the opportunity to hear about (and try out) many of their fabulous new products.
At the same time, we heard from Leanne Jakubowski (Director, Social Media), Michele Himmelburg (Director, Disneyland PR) and Michael Colglazier (Disney Resort President), who welcomed us and made us all even more excited about what was in store for the rest of the weekend (if that was even possible).
Following this reception, we met up with our families and headed to Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree for a buffet-style dinner filled with music, characters, face painting, magic tricks, a scavenger hunt and more. Disney Magic of Healthy Living was also there to introduce us to the new TRYit! food line of healthy on-the-go snack options for kids!
How is it possible that we had been at Disneyland Resort for less than 24 hours but were already having the time of our lives meeting new friends, catching up with old ones and being a part of the wonder and magic of Disney? Could this get any better?
Stay tuned to find out and for more of our Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2014 fun, learning and inspiration!
I was invited to attend the DSMM Celebration. I paid my own conference fees and received gifts during the conference. All opinions, experiences and thoughts are my own. Special thanks to Josh Hallett, the official DisneySMMoms photographer, for the use of many of his amazing photographs.