Bears, Hairspray, supermodels and social media

Sure. You're probably looking at the post title and thinking "well, one (or more) of these things is not like the other." And on most days, you would probably be correct.

But when you're celebrating social media at Walt Disney World, anything and everything is possible. Which means that teddy bears, Broadway actresses, supermodels and social media DO go together. It's magic! (Warning: this is a very long post, you better grab a snack)

Day 3 - The 'celebration' of social media and moms at Disney's Contemporary Resort

Once again, we were awake, bright and early - ready to hop on the Monorail and head over to the Contemporary Resort for breakfast and our sessions on social media. We'd be spending most of the day in two ballrooms inside the Contemporary, but considering that the forecast was calling for torrential rain all day, no one seemed to mind. [Plus we just KNEW there was more magic and surprises in store for us!]

We had a little bit of on-going entertainment all morning, thanks to the Tweet Sisters. They were loud, funny and they kept giving away amazing prizes (bears, purses, a night in Cinderella's Castle suite!....none of which I won...but that's OK). However, all attendees did receive a very warm and very pink (LOVE it!) fleece jacket with the Walt Disney World emblem on it. This coat might be the best thing they gave us!

Our first speaker of the day was Maxine Clark, founder and Chief Executive Bear of Build-a-Bear. She spoke about how and why she started Build-a-Bear, and was inspirational and talked about passion, doing what you love and loving what you do.

A few things I wrote in my notebook:
- Cute sells
- Inspire fun
- Empower kids to make a difference

After Maxine Clark had finished talking it was announced (by her or the Tweet Sister...I don't remember) that one person at each table was going to win the "princess" Build-a-Bears that were sitting on every table. We had a bunny dressed as Princess Tiana and my friend Lynne was the lucky mom who had the 'magical' sticker under her chair! [As I said, we knew there was going to be more magic today!]

The Tweet Sisters gave away a few more prizes (I think) and then it was time for our next speaker - Marissa Jaret Winokur, Tony Award winning actress ("Hairspray") and star of Dancing with the Stars. Let me just say this - MJW is sweet, charming, adorable and so very REAL. There was no Hollywood pretense or "look at me, I'm a star!" attitude. She's the real deal (she even talked about how she has ONE Facebook page - and it's for her friends and her fans, because she wants her fans to feel like her friends).

MJW talked about getting the role in Hairspray and what it was like to win a Tony Award and her experience on DWTS. She said having a 1 year old is much harder than dancing on that show! She really hit home with a lot of what she said about staying true to yourself - no matter how busy and crazy your life is. One of my favorite things she said was this (and I'm not quoting her directly...just copying from my notes): Kids will absolutely change your life, but you have to continue to grow and evolve and be a part of this world...

And then, I met MJW at lunch:

Me, Marissa and JL

For lunch we had another amazing meal (how I didn't gain any weight during this trip is beyond me!). Soup, salad, Parmesan chicken, ziti, veggies and the most delicious mini cheesecakes ever. I was expecting we'd all be in a food coma, but the prospect of more amazing things (and a 'surprise' speaker) after lunch kept us all wide awake!

I'm going to admit something here, when we were told that Kathy Ireland was the next speaker, I thought "Oh. OK. Big deal. Supermodel who owns a billion dollar company." That was my mistake to just lump her into the 'supermodel with a brand' category....her speech to us was the one that had the most lasting impression on me.

A few snippets from Kathy Ireland (again, taken from my notes, so not all direct quotes):
- 'It's never been done' doesn't mean it can't be done
- Each of us is our own brand - what kind of brand are you? Reliable? Innovative? Complicated?
- Social messaging is real life - make sure the messages you are sending are the ones you want to receive
- Your cyber footprint never goes away
- You are engines that move products forward
And my personal favorite: "When someone says 'no' ask why. When someone says 'yes' ask how."

Up next on the schedule was Chris Brogan, President of New Marketing Labs and author of "Trust Agents".

My favorite thing that Chris said was this: "Little bloggers grow up." This simple statement gives me hope for me and my blog and what I want to do with this little blog. Chris talked about relationships with your audience and connecting with that audience.

Some highlights:
- Audience v. community = it's how you place the chairs
- use Tweetdeck or Seesmic because "Twitter is columns!"
- use Twitter to connect - @ replies and commenting: YOU HAVE TO CONNECT!
- Twitter is like a party line on the phone where everyone is listening
- companies want you to tell stories about your experiences with their products in a human way (they don't want you to just be a reviewer)
- it takes time to get readers!

After Chris was done with his session (which was totally unscripted and amusing and informative), we had a short break and a promise of just 'one more' surprise. We knew that our last session was with Maryellen Hooper - a hilarious "mommy comedian" (yes, I just gave her that title)! (Check out her blog). I don't know if I've ever laughed THAT MUCH in my life.

[Yes, there was more food and 'adult beverages' during the show. And everyone 'won' just one more gift - mine was a Disney celebration box which I'm still waiting for ... it hasn't been delivered yet!]

We all headed back to the Polynesian around 3:30 so we could regroup, refresh and meet up at 5:30 for our last night celebration - dinner and a dance party at Disney's Hollywood Studios. When I walked in my room I had a huge surprise - my mom and sister had sent me a birthday gift from the Walt Disney World florist! It included a huge stuffed Mickey Mouse, a "mouse shaped" basket, a balloon and a "birthday cake" created out of Oreo cookies, chocolate bars and 2 Mickey rice krispie treats - and it was topped with a battery operated candle. It was a great surprise and of course, it made me cry.

So, you know how it's supposed to be warm and sunny in Florida? Well, Mother Nature had other plans for the few days we were in town to celebrate social media. It was so rainy, cold and windy on our last night there that they had to move the dinner/dance party inside just we wouldn't freeze to death on Disney property!

The dinner and dance party was fun...but the highlight of the evening was getting to ride Toy Story Midway Mania over and over and over again! At the time of our party, the park was closed but they opened the ride just for our group!

Jen and me on Toy Story Midway Mania

After all the fun, it was time to board the bus and head back to the Poly. Time to say goodbye to new friends and pack our bags. Time to return to the "real world". And so, I hugged my friends and shed some tears.

The time we spent together celebrating friendship, social media and magic was incredible. It was quite possibly three of the best days ever. I am grateful to Disney, Resourceful Mommy Media, Mom Bloggers Club, 5 Minutes for Mom and Mom Select for giving us so many amazing moments and memories.

Here's to Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2011!*

*What? A mom can hope, right?


  1. I just joined twitter this weekend and need to learn it quick!

  2. Hey girlie!

    Good post!!!! Love reliving the memories! I hope we can catch up soon!!!!

  3. Great post!

    Ahem...I DID gain weight after the weekend, but maybe mine is baby weight, LOL!

    Seeing how close we became after just a few short days together.

  4. Debbie: Thanks, hon! I hope we can catch up soon too! :) {{hugs}}

    Allison: LOL re: the weight gain! I love how close we became in a few short days...and I miss u all!