DisneySMMoms 2014 Conference Day Take Aways – My Favorites

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Photo Courtesy: @hyku

DisneySMMoms 2014 Conference Day Take Aways – My Favorites

After attending the first 3 Disney Social Media Moms Celebrations at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, you can only imagine how excited I was last year when the announcement was made that the exclusive event would be held at the Disneyland Resort in California in 2014! I absolutely love Disneyland and haven’t been there since we relocated to the East coast back in 2010. I was over-the-moon excited to have received an invitation for the event this year, and although it was too short of notice to organize flights and vacation time for my hubby and the kids, most of my family from Seattle was able to fly down and attend with me which was pretty awesome!

Each year that I’ve attended this event, I find it so fabulous to be surrounded by so many wonderful men and women who are just good people. It’s sometimes hard to meet people that have some of the same things in common with you but this is one event that, not only do I meet new people each time, but I also meet people who I’ve interacted with online for years so it’s somewhat of a reunion! Plus, it’s always good for the soul to meet people in-person and get real hugs from them, but it’s even better when you automatically know who they are because of their online profile pics. Social media is pretty cool, isn’t it? I have so many things still to share with you about this year’s event, but I thought I’d take some time today to share 6 of my favorite take-aways from our day of sessions.

Here goes…

1. Mickey Mouse Hugs Are The Best No Matter Your Age!

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Remember I told you that some of my family from Seattle was able to join me this year? Well, my mom was one of them! I absolutely love visiting Disney Parks with my mom.

After we checked in at The Disneyland Hotel, her and I walked into the ballroom together to get registered for the event when we stopped to look around before proceeding. There's nothing in the world like the feeling of walking into a grand welcome reception and looking over to your left [or right, whichever the case may be] where Mickey Mouse is standing by himself looking RIGHT AT YOU with open arms! When my mom and I saw this, we knew what we had to do which was to race right over to Mickey for big hugs and pictures! I love Mickey Mouse and so does she! It was sure fun to be greeted by The Big Cheese upon our arrival! We also got to spend some quality time with a few other Characters during registration! What a kick!

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Wordless Wednesday ~ I Love Mickey Mouse!

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Wordless Wednesday ~ I Love Mickey Mouse!

Wordless Wednesday: I LOVE The Disneyland Hotel

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Wordless Wednesday:
I LOVE The Disneyland Hotel

“it’s a small world” 50th Anniversary at Disneyland With Richard Sherman

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“it’s a small world” 50th Anniversary
at Disneyland With Richard Sherman

 

Some of you who have been reading my blog for a couple years may remember when I told you briefly about my mom’s love for “it’s a small world” and how she originally saw it at the 1964 World’s Fair.

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I was so excited to find out that the 50th Anniversary of “it’s a small world” would be taking place while my family was visiting the Disneyland Resort for the 5th annual Disney Social Media Moms Celebration! There were all different things going on for the special occasion including a sing-a-long where Richard Sherman would be parading down Main Street U.S.A. singing along with the world! We even had a special, reserved place on Main Street to watch the magic!

Small World Collage

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My mom was the cutest thing ever, you guys. She hand-wrote the lyrics before she left home and brought them with her to Disneyland so she’d be all ready to sing along. Seeing the excitement on her face when she heard Richard Sherman singing and hearing her sing along with him was an absolutely priceless memory that I’ll cherish forever! It was so sweet!

I was able to capture some video, but I really love the video that Wendy of Plugged In Family took, so have a look!

This was such a special treat to have a front row viewing for this super special afternoon and to be able to share it with my mom and family! A big thanks to the folks at Disney for continuing to make magic for families! These are the moments I live for!

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Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2014: I’m Going!

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Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2014:
I’m Going!

 

I’m so excited to share with you all how excited I am to have been invited to attend this absolutely fabulous event again! Even more exciting? The event is taking place at the Disneyland Resort this year! You guys, when we lived in Seattle, Disneyland was our Disney Park of choice and we haven’t been back since 2009. I miss it so much and we’ve been trying to figure out a way to get back there since we moved to the East coast. While I’m not bringing the entire family with me this time due to not enough notice, work and school, some of my family from Seattle is joining me for the fun!

I was lucky enough to have been invited to this special Celebration for it’s first year in back in 2010 and then again in 2011 and 2012 when the event took place at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. I’ve made some friendships over the years with people that I cherish so much. You’ve probably heard many people talk about how this event is life-changing and wondered how it could be. Well, let me tell you…it is life-changing.

Related: DisneySMMoms Celebration 2010: Friends & Parades

See, when you take a group of people who love to share their experiences online with the world and you bring them to a Disney Park to learn and bond with each other and their families, some pretty magical things happen. The folks at Disney are already unbelievably passionate about what they do and when those same people put together a Social Media conference, it affects people in ways that you just can’t imagine. Fadra Nally of All Things Fadra says it beautifully in her article titled “Why Gary Made Me Cry.” I was a blubbering mess after reading her piece. I just love it. Go ahead and go read it. You’ll love it too and you’ll see why this Celebration is so special.

The planning is well underway at our house as the Celebration is coming right up around the corner! I sure hope you’ll keep checking back here as I’ll be sharing my adventure right here will you all.

Disclosure: I paid to attend the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration. In exchange for my registration fee, I received deeply discounted rates on hotel, park tickets, events, meals, and swag. I am not required nor was I asked to write about the events by Disney or any other party affiliated with the event. Thoughts are 100% my own.

Saving Mr. Banks: A Spoonful of Memories to Help the Meaning go Down! (Part 1)

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Saving Mr. Banks:
A Spoonful of Memories to Help
the Meaning go Down!  (Part 1)

 Hey, everyone! I invited my sister-in-law to share her thoughts on Saving Mr. Banks after a fabulous phone conversation. I was excited about what she said and was eager to know more of her thoughts. Read on and let us know your take!

As a mother of a toddler, you can imagine that my trips to the movie theater are not frequent. However when my mom had a visit with my son last week, my husband and I were able to scamper off and see Saving Mr. Banks. I was so excited to see the film as Mary Poppins was a special movie to me in my childhood, as it probably was too with many of you! I remember going to my Grandma Doris’ house on Fridays, Grandpa Bill making his special spaghetti sauce, watching a movie (95% of the time it was Mary Poppins, likely putting me in the running for the world record title holder of “Most Views by a Little Girl of the Film, Mary Poppins“), and in the morning, my special Grandma Doris magically making pancakes in whatever shape I desired (flowers, princesses, etc.). So needless to say, watching Saving Mr. Banks and hearing the cast Sherman brothers sing these magical songs and discuss the iconic script in the rehearsal room brought me back in a very raw way to the memories of my childhood. But that is to be expected, I suppose, as I knew what the basis of the story line was before the film was turned on. However, I was surprised as I watched the film with what I felt the creators, script writers, actors, and director, were really communicating in this apparent art of storytelling. The art of storytelling generally is first to entertain, but also to teach lessons—lessons of both past events, warnings of potential future mistakes, and often even a general moral guideline. Was this film’s purpose merely to tell the audience of a historical event, or was the intent to use this story as a jumping off point to discuss something more?

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What first really caught my attention about this movie and its intent for a deeper level meaning was a conversation between P.L. Travers and her assigned Disney driver, Ralph, at the beginning of the film. As Ralph picks Mrs. Travers up for the second or third time they say:

“Look! You brought the sun out again,” says Ralph with a smile.
“…I would much rather be responsible for the rain than the sun,” replies Mrs. Travers.
“Why?” asks the driver.
“Because the rain brings life,” she says.
“So does the sun,” replies Ralph confidently.

This scene just about sucked all the air out of the theater for me. Its weight cannot be overstated because it mirrors perfectly the relationship between Walt Disney and P.L. Travers and the entire journey that we are about to embark on as the audience.

Before the film began we, the audience, know about Disney and his own character consumed with dreaming and living his life as the glass-half-full kind of guy. And Ralph here, an informal Walt Disney representative, values the sun because you blossom in the sun. He values it so much that he can’t even comprehend that rain may in fact have blessings of its own. And with his headquarters in sunny Los Angeles, California, the sun absolutely represents Walt Disney’s perspective and ideal of creating a perfect, clean-garbage-cans kind of world as the best way to better the life of society, a kind of, dream-relentlessly-for-the-wonderful-world-you-could-have-for-yourself idea. In the princess movies that Walt Disney helped to create, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, or Cinderella, Disney shows how an already wonderful, already good character dreams of a faraway place that is better than their present reality.

Related: Saving Mr. Banks Practically Perfect Preview

On the other side of this sidewalk drawing is Mrs. Travers. Ever the realist, she identifies most with the rain and cannot think of why the sun can even compare to its usefulness. Rain, I think she would argue, must be had as it nourishes us and washes away the coverup to reveal truth about our present circumstance, reality. As we progress through the film, we see more and more of her character come out to match this meteorologic classification. We see her become very upset with Disney and his studios when she sees Mary Poppins and even other characters associated with dreams and hope and OMGoodness, Pixie Dust. And Travers rants explaining what will children actually learn in order to survive their imperfect and difficult world? Wouldn’t it be much better to teach them a grounded version of order? This explains why she did not want the Bank’s house to be aristocratic, what kind of regular or relatable problems do they have to overcome? she would probably think. Though Travers has an imagination, she uses her art of writing more as a fable—happy on the surface, but a little darker in its depth as if to say, “Careful! Don’t end up here!” And we see this very clearly in Mary Poppins. When the kids get out of control or run away or question whether their father loves them, they are corrected and taught lessons so that those undesirable behaviors don’t return.

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Disucussing P.L.Travers character brings me to my next point which is, why are there so many blog posts and opinions about the film circling around the question was Saving Mr. Banks too hard on Travers? Every time I Google something about this film I see this topic being debated and discussed. And I have to turn my head sideways and ask, really? I find it very interesting that our society sees Travers unwillingness to change the characters she has createded as a flaw. Even Walt Disney in the film sees her struggle and admits that at one time he too had considered selling Mickey, but knew that it would kill him emotionally to lose those rights. And here is P.L. Travers in that similar situation seemingly without another option. I will not deny that Travers was depicted as rather blut, and probably rude, person. But actually, in further reading about her character she was like that. When I watched the actors in their movie press conference at the Beverly Hills Hotel on YouTube, Emma Thompson tells about interviewing Travers’ friends for the roll and the friends reporting that Travers would be nice to them one day, and short with them the next. And while some of the historical accuracy of the film is debated, that part of her character is not. But regardless of this, P.L.Travers closely resembles a loved, American hero: Shrek. (I know you just read that and think, “You’ve got to be kidding me,” but hear me out.)

In case you have been living under a rock like Patrick Star in Sponge Bob Square Pants, Shrek is the main character in a Mike Meyers film who is an ogre living in the Land of Fairy Tale Creatures. He isolates himself and doesn’t fit into what values the mainstream society has. And in talking with a beloved donkey, who is desperately trying to understand this ogre, the conversation leads itself to the complex layers of the ogre’s character. Shrek says of himself that “Ogres are like onions” because firstly, they have layers. The donkey in response to this turns his nose up to a stinky, undesirable vegetable and asks why don’t you identify with cake or parfaits? Everyone likes cakes or parfaits and they have layers. Shrek gives and emphatic, “NO! Ogres are like onions” because secondly, they are not out to please people or conform into something that everyone will like. Ogres are simply true to themselves and Mrs. Travers is no different. She is not someone everyone likes, but she has depth, complexity, and reasons behind her choices. As Americans we salute Shrek for his independent thinking, coarseness, and unwillingness to be anything but himself. Do we not owe the same right to Mrs. Travers?

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In the end, I believe both Disney and Travers are using their creative abilities to, what did that  Saving Mr. Banks quote from the beginning of this post say again??? … “to bring life.” They are using two separate tools to bring life, or in other words, to help their audience have a better life than they are currently living in. Disney wants you to day dream in the glorious, warm sun of a better world. Travers wants you to use the rain and wash away the things that clutter up the truth about our circumstances and to refresh ourselves. And really, we need both dreams and reality to help us along our path in life. Without dreaming, we have no compass. Without reality, we have no map.

What memorable aspects of your life have required hefty doses of both dreaming and reality to get you there? A career choice? A dream vacation? Maybe you are a dreamer and someone else close to you is a realist and both of you work together to accomplish great things like Disney and Travers? Or vise versa?

Chelsea Mathews is a stay-at-home momma of two year old, Eldon and five year old, Oscar the Dog. In her “spare” time ;), she is a part time ballet teacher and enjoys sewing, organizing, and starting projects. Chelsea lives in Poulsbo, WA, just outside of Seattle (Go Seahawks!). If you read the title of this post, you will know that this is just part one of some of Chelsea’s thoughts on this movie. Stay tuned if you want to see what she believes this film is saying about storytelling and the human condition.

Wordless Wednesday: Our Disney Side Treats

DisneyTreats

Wordless Wednesday:
Our Disney Side Treats


Focused on the Magic

Happy Birthday, Mickey Mouse!

Since today is Mickey’s special day, I thought I’d share some photos over the years of our family meeting The Big Cheese! Wow, the kids have grown up so quickly! It seems just yesterday that we met Mickey Mouse at his house in ToonTown at the Disneyland Resort!

Mickey, Mom, & Dad

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Happy Birthday, Mickey Mouse!

Thinking Back On My Moms Panel Journey

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Thinking Back On My
Moms Panel Journey

 

Well, today is the day that so many of my online and real-life friends will find out some very important, life-changing news on whether or not they will advance to Round 3 of the search for the newest members of the 2014 Disney Parks Moms Panel. In fact, today at 3:00 p.m. Eastern time to be exact, according to Gary Buchanan‘s very clever tweeted pic of his score on Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin yesterday! Nicely done!

I sincerely hope that you are all finding ways to keep busy today and that you are able to relax. And BREATHE! The 3 o’clock parade starts in just a couple of short hours and we must all be neat and pretty!

I have met so many of you over the last 5 or so years through our mutual love of Disney Parks. I’ve been through this process together with some of you for so many years now that it’s surreal. Today, I’m so full of many emotions, as I have been for nearly two months when the search first began. I can barely concentrate on a single thing other than holding you all close and sending as much Pixie Dust as I possibly can to you all.

See, each Fall since 2008, I would stalk the Moms Panel site. You know, by clicking the little button on the lower left corner that says “How to be a Panelist” like 5 million times a day. Just kidding.

Not really.

My point is that I have been exactly where you are right this very minute. I was there myself each year in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011. Each of those years that I wasn’t chosen were hard. Really REALLY hard. I questioned myself constantly and each year after the disappointment faded, I felt that my confidence grew. Looking back, I feel like those years that I wasn’t chosen to advance were somewhat of a training course, if you will. I don’t even need to imagine how excited and anxious you all are because I know. I know how very important this is to you all because it was [and still is] just that important to me. It’s a big deal.

It’s an even bigger deal to keep on chasing your dreams if at first [or second or …] you don’t succeed. I did. And then I was finally able to share My Most Magical Moment with you last year! Having you all by my side year after year made it easier to keep my chin up and to keep on keepin’ on. We’ve formed some pretty awesome friendships too! <3

I watched Tinkerbell and the Lost Treasure with my daughter the other day and I keep thinking about that scene in the Pixie Dust Tree. You know the one? Here’s a little peek just in case…

 

Tink needs to listen to herself and take her own advice, right?

You are all amazing, talented people and you all deserve to be a Part of the Magic but as we know, there isn’t room for everyone.

Be proud of who you are and know that even if you don’t receive the news you want today, there is always next year. There was a “next year” for me and there will be one for you too!

Who Wants To Win Some Disney Christmas Souvenirs?

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Who Wants To Win Some Disney Christmas Souvenirs?

 

Those of you who know me, know that Halloween happens to be my VERY FAVORITE holiday and the fact that the folks at Walt Disney World make it last for almost TWO months? Well, that’s the best ever. But the instant Halloween is over and the last Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is over, it’s Christmas at Magic Kingdom Park!

In fact, the very first Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party was held on November 8th and the Park is looking very festive all dressed up in its Holiday finest! I can’t wait to go down and enjoy a few of our family’s favorite activities like watching it “snow” on Main Street USA, touring the monorail Resorts and looking at the amazing Gingerbread House creations!

We were never able to visit Walt Disney World during the Holiday season before our move across the country. We’d come once a year and usually chose to come in the Fall because of Free Dining promotions that were available. Well, now that we live in Florida, we head over more often so we get a chance to take in all of the gorgeous sights and sounds of the season.

If you’re not heading to Walt Disney World this Winter season, have no fear! I’ve teamed up with some of my blogging buddies to offer you a cheery prize pack full of Disney Christmas Souvenirs! We’ve got a real simple Rafflecopter entry below.

One Lucky Winner will receive a Walt Disney World Holiday Popcorn Bucket, a Walt Disney World Holiday Coffee Mug, A Light-Up Mickey Mouse Necklace and a pair of the all new Light-Up Mickey Ears!

Best of luck to each of you!

a Rafflecopter giveaway