Home Walt Disney World #DisneySMMC Recap – Disney Social Media Moms Celebration Land & Sea Part 1

#DisneySMMC Recap – Disney Social Media Moms Celebration Land & Sea Part 1

written by familyadhd

Some of the destinations/events mentioned below were complimentary or a media rate was extended as part of our attendance at Disney Social Media Moms Celebration–an invite-only event held by Walt Disney World and Disney Cruise Line. 

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration recap

Update: Don’t forget to check out part 2 (our experience at sea with Disney Cruise Line) after you check out the fun we had in part 1 at the parks!

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration Land & Sea Part 1 Recap

We’ve been back home for about a week now, which is approximately how long it took me to begin sorting and editing the thousands of images and hours of video we brought back from our time at Disney Social Media Moms Celebration (in addition to some other Magical souvenirs and memories). We didn’t go straight home once DisneySMMC was over, so once we’re done recapping we’ll be sure to share our post-DisneySMMC adventures with you as well!

If you missed our earlier post on Animal Kingdom’s new Rivers of Light show, which launched last Friday, make sure you check that out.

Grab a snack (this post is lengthy) and get ready for the first of a handful of posts in which we’ll be discussing our experience at DisneySMMC, exciting things we learned and how our ADHD family navigated this fun, but very busy event! I’m going to break our general recap up into two parts–land and sea–then focus a few other posts on specific topics you guys are interested in. This post covers the first half of Disney Social Media Moms Celebration, which we enjoyed while staying at Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort.

Spoiler Alert: For those wondering how my ADHDers (big and small) managed without me at different points, I’m happy to say they all survived and had a great time! No one was lost, hungry or bored at any point–success.

This year, Disney Social Media Moms Celebration was a bit different, incorporating a “Land and Sea” experience into the mix. A little under half our time was spent on land, while a little over half our time was spent at sea aboard the Disney Wonder (including a day on Disney’s exclusive island, Castaway Cay).

If you’d like to see our DisneySMMC recap, check out part 1 below before diving into all the details!

I’d like to mention that the DisneySMMC fun began days before we even left for our trip! We received a surprise package from American Tourister (who also gave us the seriously amazing bags we got at check-in that most of us carried around after) a couple days before DisneySMMC began with a super cute C3PO carry-on in it! The boys must have been super excited for the trip because they agreed without hesitation that it could be the family’s suitcase (not just one person’s)–miracles do happen! If you missed our original share on Instagram, here it is…

Tips from our Experience During the Land Portion of Disney Social Media Moms Celebration

  • Get plenty of rest prior to attending DisneySMMC, you will be very busy once you arrive
  • Come up with a game plan for your spouse or whomever you plan to bring to watch the kiddos during their downtime so that their DisneySMMC experience is less stressful while you’re attending blogger-only events
  • Make good use of the Fast Passes you get to enjoy as many rides as possible (we were given 20 per person for the “Land” days)
  • Plan extra time at Walt Disney World before or after DisneySMMC so you can use the remaining days of your park tickets (we were given 5 park-hopper tickets per person and only used a couple during DisneySMMC)
  • If it’s your first time, don’t worry! Lots of the other bloggers are very friendly and even if you go knowing nobody (like I did) you’ll probably walk away with some really great new blogger friends.
  • Stay hydrated by bringing a water bottle! It’s very easy while on the go to forget to stay hydrated, but between the heat and how fast-paced things will be, it’s important to make a conscious effort to drink plenty of water.
  • Bring lots of sanitizer. Between the fact that you’re in a super populated area and there are so many kiddos around there’s bound to be some illnesses, so make sure you bring plenty of sanitizer and sanitizing wipes–especially if you have immune compromised kids.
  • Take notes. You’ll be presented with so much info during your time at DisneySMMC, I can’t imagine being able to remember most of it after the fact without taking notes!
  • Make sure you have extra room in your luggage because you’ll be bringing back a lot of swag. Brands sponsoring the event were super generous. More on this below and in our next recap!
  • Get ready to see a lot of behind-the-scenes parts of the Disney parks! Some events were held before or after parks closed so we were brought in through back entrances and to areas guests normally can’t visit. Pretty fun!

Big Announcements Made During the First Half of Disney Social Media Moms Celebration

Here’s a general overview of some of the big announcements we learned during the first part of DisneySMMC:

  • May 27th – Pandora will be officially opening at Animal Kingdom theme park
  • May 12th – Happily Ever After night time show is making its way to Magic Kingdom, featuring films like Big Hero 6, Moana, Princess and the Frog, etc. and a 75-piece orchestra musical score
  • Magic Band 2 is launching at Walt Disney World, featuring a new design and more flexibility
  • Magickeepers are also launching as a part of the Magic Band 2 launch, allowing visitors additional options for Magic Band wear (the center piece of Magic Band 2 is removable and can be placed in Magickeeper accessories)
  • Rivers of Light launched earlier this month (we attended a pre-opening showing, which we shared here)
  • GoGo Squeez is the exclusive apple sauce of Walt Disney World
  • Hanes is the official t-shirt brand used in the Walt Disney World t-shirt design shops
  • Disney Springs’ amazing makeover has completed transformed the area, adding a plethora of new shopping and dining options from quick-service to fine dining (we’ve discussed this over the last few years as things have developed)

Day 1 of Disney Social Media Moms Celebration – Arrival, Check-in, Welcome Reception, Animal Kingdom Dinner & Rivers of Light

When people ask how our time at DisneySMMC was, we tell them we hit the ground running! This is by no means an exaggeration. From the moment our plane touched down in Orlando to the morning we walked (or sleepily stumbled) off the Disney Wonder (we’ll discuss the cruise portion in part 2 of our recap), we were on the go from morning to night–most of which was pre-scheduled for me.

We flew ahead of a snowstorm back home on the first day of DisneySMMC. Looking back, I’m still unsure of whether or not I’d do it this way again. Plenty of bloggers traveling from out of state arrived a day (or even several days) ahead of time. We considered doing this, but knowing how hard we’d probably hit the parks beforehand we thought we might tire ourselves out too much before DisneySMMC even started. We extended our stay for 4 days after instead.

We opted not to rent a car during DisneySMMC, which we’d personally recommend, and took Disney’s Magic Express from the airpot to Port Orleans Riverside. If you’ve never used Disney’s Magic Express it’s a really convenient way to get between the airport and your resort (and back again) if you don’t plan on renting a car.

We’d never stayed at Port Orleans Riverside and once we arrived, were immediately taken with its cute, rural Louisiana vibe. Just a warning, Port Orleans Riverside required quite a bit of walking to get from place to place. If you’ve frequented a number of Disney World resorts you’re probably already familiar with the fact that some resorts are far more spread out than others. This one is definitely structured more horizontally than vertically.

After making a couple wrong turns and walking the entire perimeter of the building our room was in (let’s just say we took the scenic route) we found our room in time to drop our stuff off, change into flip flops and head to the building next door where DisneySMMC was conducting check-ins. This was also where we had our private Hanes shopping experience.

#DisneySMMC Check-in & Hanes Private Shopping Experience

DSMMC Private Hanes Shopping Experience

Sorry for the horrible lighting, products were positioned right in front of the window and the sun was intense!

Check-in was a breeze! We received a packet that included our DisneySMMC schedule (we had received a digital copy before arrival as well), our media passes, our cruise documents and a super fabulous swag bag, which I’ll show you guys below.

After checking in, we went to our scheduled Hanes private shopping experience. Here we got to learn about some of the new products Hanes is currently launching. I actually had no idea Hanes owned companies like Maidenform, Champion, Leggs and more! We had the opportunity to touch and feel some of the awesome fabrics and then we were able to choose a selection of items for ourselves. These haven’t been shipped to us yet, but we’ll be sure to share when they are!

Seamus was super amused by the open display of boxers and Liam shared a bunch of ideas he had for Hanes (this child fills notebooks with his ideas daily), which our Hanes representative found so interesting he wrote them down.

I know a private shopping experience with Hanes may not sound like the most glamorous experience, but we actually loved it. I mean, I buy boys/men’s boxers and socks pretty much every month (I wish I was kidding), so getting the opportunity to see some new, innovative products and have some sent to us for free was pretty much a dream come true for me! I’m just now realizing I may have just leveled up in the Mom Game because I was genuinely excited about those boxers for Patrick and the boys… How should I feel about that?!

They also gave us a cute little insulated bag filled with some cruise-themed swag.

Yes, swag, swag and more swag!

I know you guys are interested in the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration swag from day 1, so here it is…

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration swag bag

The bag and items on the left were a part of our initial DSMMC swag bag and the smaller bag and items on the right were a part of the swag bag we received from Hanes.

These was the first of many bags we received over the course of Disney Social Media Moms Celebration.

That DisneySMMC bag is the American Tourister bag I mentioned above and it is seriously one of the best travel totes I’ve ever seen–I’ve gone through quite a few over the years! It’s durable, roomy, has pockets and even a sleeve so it slides onto your rolling suitcase handle–it has it all. I’m genuine impressed with it and judging by the number of bloggers that were carrying them around the rest of DisneySMMC, they were happy with it too! I couldn’t find it on their site, but I’ll let you know if they get back to me with whether or not it’s available (without branding) for purchase.

#DisneySMMC Influencer Welcome Reception

With a little downtime between check-in and my next scheduled event, we grabbed a quick snack at Riverside Mill Food Court at Port Orleans Riverside before I changed and headed off to the influencer-only welcome reception at Animal Kingdom. This was a blogger-only event and families stayed behind at the resort (or went to the parks for a bit) to meet us later for a welcome dinner at Animal Kingdom.

I’m not going to lie, I was definitely a little nervous boarding one of several blogger-only buses. I went to DisneySMMC knowing no one and feeling a little like the new kid at school (not some of my fondest childhood memories), since many of the attendees were repeat attendees and/or they seemed to know quite a few other bloggers there. I sat down and waited to see if any other first-timers would spot me and sit down next to me. A few nerve-wracking moments passed before Maria of BiculturalMama stepped onto the bus and asked if the seat next to me was taken. Pure relief!

The bus ride to the welcome reception was filled with plenty of chatter and Maria and I quickly learned we shared some commonalities–her kids are half-Asian like I am and she’s from NY, so not too far from me. First DisneySMMC blogger friend made–check! Maria and I actually hung out throughout DisneySMMC and I’m so grateful to have met her. Definitely check her blog out!

The welcome reception began with a quick introduction and then we were given the opportunity to mill around and meet other bloggers while nibbling hors d’oeuvres. There weren’t many gluten-free options set out, but I asked one of the servers and they quickly brought back a plate of gluten-free appetizers for me! If you’ve ever been to Disney with a food allergy then you probably already know how hard they work to accommodate food restrictions. Most of my food experiences during DisneySMMC were actually pretty good in that regard.

During the reception we received a fabulous gift from GoGo Squeez, which included a super awesome tote, book of recipes and a box of GoGo Squeez. If you’ve been following us for a while then you know our youngest has a lot of sensory issues with foods, but loves fruit squeezes, so that was much appreciated! Also, the GoGo Squeez tote had a special flap that could be unbuttoned revealing a mesh bottom to allow sand out at the beach–super useful for our Castaway Cay day. More on that later!

Once the reception ended it was time to meet up with our families for the big welcome dinner. This part had me a little nervous! I had preplanned the stuffing out of our DisneySMMC time so that Patrick wasn’t anxious about getting from point A to point B during times I wasn’t with them. Being completely realistic, being on time and coordinating multiple people isn’t exactly a strength with ADHD. Patrick and the boys may have made one of the last buses for families headed to the dinner, but I’m just proud they got there!

We managed to find each other through a sea of families and after a little hunting, found some seats at one of the many large, round tables blogger families were sharing–scattered throughout one section of Animal Kingdom. A large buffet was spread out in multiple stations with other additional areas for GoGo Squeez, crafts for the kids and even a live Deejay!

The music was pumping and food was delicious! I had to do a little hunting to find out which dishes were gluten-free, but at least there were some readily available.

After eating, we were ushered to our private viewing of Rivers of Light, which hadn’t launched yet at Animal Kingdom! This show had it all–lights, water, fire, performers and massive, floating installations all coordinated to clips taken from Disneynature films (you’ll probably recognize a few clips if you’re a fan) and an impressive music/narrative soundtrack. We did our best to capture as much of it as we could for you guys. Make sure to check out the video sneak peek in our last post.

It was a little challenging to capture the show with my camera–limited light, moving pieces, etc.–but here’s a little something from the show…

New Disney Animal Kingdom Rivers of Light Show New Disney Animal Kingdom Rivers of Light Show New Disney Animal Kingdom Rivers of Light Show New Disney Animal Kingdom Rivers of Light Show New Disney Animal Kingdom Rivers of Light Show New Disney Animal Kingdom Rivers of Light Show New Disney Animal Kingdom Rivers of Light Show New Disney Animal Kingdom Rivers of Light Show New Disney Animal Kingdom Rivers of Light Show New Disney Animal Kingdom Rivers of Light Show New Disney Animal Kingdom Rivers of Light Show New Disney Animal Kingdom Rivers of Light Show New Disney Animal Kingdom Rivers of Light Show New Disney Animal Kingdom Rivers of Light Show New Disney Animal Kingdom Rivers of Light Show New Disney Animal Kingdom Rivers of Light Show New Disney Animal Kingdom Rivers of Light Show New Disney Animal Kingdom Rivers of Light Show New Disney Animal Kingdom Rivers of Light Show New Disney Animal Kingdom Rivers of Light Show New Disney Animal Kingdom Rivers of Light Show New Disney Animal Kingdom Rivers of Light Show New Disney Animal Kingdom Rivers of Light Show New Disney Animal Kingdom Rivers of Light Show New Disney Animal Kingdom Rivers of Light Show New Disney Animal Kingdom Rivers of Light Show New Disney Animal Kingdom Rivers of Light Show New Disney Animal Kingdom Rivers of Light Show New Disney Animal Kingdom Rivers of Light Show Disney Animal Kingdom Rivers of Light Show

After Rivers of Light we walked past the Tree of Life and got to see the amazing projection show Animal Kingdom does there. It was really beautiful and the boys thought it was so cool!

Animal Kingdom Tree of Life Animal Kingdom Tree of LIfe Animal Kingdom Tree of Life

From there we boarded a bus and headed back to the resort to sleep. By the time we got back to our room it was close to 9:45 pm and we were exhausted! I heard the next day that some people went to the parks after to take advantage of Magic Hours, but I have no idea where they got the energy to do that because we were completely beat and the boys definitely didn’t have it in them. Let’s be real, Patrick and I didn’t have it in us either!

Day 2 of Disney Social Media Moms Celebration Land & Sea – Soarin’ Around the World, Influencer Breakfast, Brand Meet & Greet, Epcot Downtime, Hollywood Studios PizzeRizzo Pizza Party, Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Fireworks and Galactic Dessert Party

Day 2 started bright and early for me at 6 am so that I could catch my blogger-only bus to Epcot for a special influencer breakfast, followed by a brand meet and greet. Thankfully, the boys and Patrick aren’t exactly morning people so I was able to slip out of bed, get ready and blow them all kisses on my way out the door. They ended up getting up a little while later and heading to Epcot on their own, where they met me afterwards for lunch and downtime in the afternoon.

I hopped on the bus and scanned the seats for an open one. I ended up sitting next to Nicky of Little Family Adventure, who was absolutely lovely and her family travel blog is definitely worth a peek. We chatted on the ride to Epcot where Maria of BiculturalMama caught up with us and we all headed to Soarin’ Around the World for a pre-park-opening ride!

If you were a fan of Soarin’ you’re going to lose your mind over Soarin’ Around the World! It is absolutely breathtaking and the smells are amazing! Everyone always talks about the oranges in the original; well imagine that times 10. I don’t want to spoil it, but let’s just say I was super impressed and quickly text Patrick and the boys after to let them know it was the first thing we needed to ride together later that day.

From there, we walked to World Showcase for some group pictures. I haven’t seen them yet, but when I find them I’ll be sure to share! By the time these were done our stomachs were growling and we were all grateful to head over to breakfast and the brand meet and greet.

#DisneySMMC Blogger Breakfast and Brand Meet & Greet

During breakfast we listened to presentations by different brands–Alamo, GoGo Squeez, Hanes, Disney Social Media Moms–and even got to a hear a bit from Olympic gold medalist Domonique Dawes. Breakfast was buffet style and I was able to track down a server that brought back some gluten-free options for me.

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration Brand Presentation

Once breakfast was over we were invited into an adjacent area where we met brands in person and had the opportunity to check out some of their products. This part was so fun! We milled around and went from station to station meeting reps from different brands, checking out the products they had on display, entering contests they were holding and getting to take home some pretty fun little gifts!

I know the boys and Patrick would have loved to see some of the booths–Lightning McQueen was pretty awesome–but they were off having fun at Epcot without me getting nauseous on Mission: SPACE and eating breakfast at Fountain View.

Disney Social Media Moms Brand Meet & Greet

Neutrogena presented some new products that could be used to create a Belle-inspired makeup look.

Disney Social Media Moms Brand Meet & Greet with Beauty & the Beast

Costumes from the upcoming live action Beauty & The Beast movie

Disney Social Media Moms Brand Meet & Greet

A rose by any other name… Don’t you just want to touch it?

Disney Social Media Moms Brand Meet & Greet

Disney Social Media Moms Brand Meet & Greet with HSN

Jewelry inspired by the upcoming live action Beauty & The Beast movie (Available March 1st at HSN.com. TV Event March 15th)

Disney Social Media Moms Brand Meet & Greet with HSN

How cute is this Mrs. Potts inspired jewelry set?

Disney Social Media Moms Brand Meet & Greet with HSN

Part of the HSN fashion collection inspired by Beauty & the Beast

Disney Social Media Moms Brand Meet & Greet with HSN

Cute, right?

Disney Social Media Moms Brand Meet & Greet with Lightning McQueen


Brands were very generous and in addition to samples, many held contests for us. Alamo even went so far as to give every blogger a Disney gift card, which was much appreciated! I entered a few drawings and ended up winning the one Alamo (who happens to be our go-to car rental company) held for a $250 Disney gift card. I was so incredibly excited! Thanks again, Alamo.

I know you’re probably eager to see what I brought home from the meet and greet so here you go…

Disney Social Media Moms Brand Meet & Greet Swag

Can you see why I recommend making sure you attend DisneySMMC with plenty of extra room in your suitcase? And there’s more to come! Again, sponsoring brands and Disney were incredibly generous. How cute is the Beauty & the Beast tea by Twinings by the way? Delicious, too!

After the meet and greet was over, we had the option to either particulate in a social media challenge or take some downtime. We originally planned to take part in the social media challenge, but decided in the end that we all needed some downtime together. I’m completely guilty of pushing myself too hard sometimes, but when it comes to traveling with kids we always preach gauging where everyone is at and taking downtime when you need downtime. Instead of boarding the bus to Disney Springs for the optional challenge, I headed off to meet up with Patrick and the boys at Epcot–it was the right choice. Maybe if we’re invited back again we’ll be up for taking part next time!

#DisneySMMC Downtime at Epcot with Family

A few texts and a little searching later, I met up with my boys and we made a beeline for Soarin’ Around the World. They definitely seemed to have a good time without me, but I think they all looked a little relieved once they saw me–so cute.

FamilyADHD at Epcot Mission: SPACE

We always tell them they can do anything they set their minds to… They must be listening! (Patrick sent me this pic while they were at Epcot without me)

We traveled across the globe on Soarin’ Around the World, then designed our own cars on the Chevy Test Track. We got lunch in France at Chefs de France (gluten-free boeuf bourguignon–yum!), had an ice cream at our favorite L’Artisan des Glaces and poked around World Showcase a bit before heading back to Disney Port Orleans Riverside to change and get ready for dinner.

L'Artisan des Glaces ice cream

This is our favorite ice cream place in all of Walt Disney World!

#DisneySMMC Dinner at Pizzerizzo

After a quick shower and some fresh clothes, we hopped on the bus and headed to Hollywood Studios for the evening. First stop, PizzeRizzo for a pizza party with all of the other bloggers and their families!

PizzeRizzo is a new, Muppet-themed restaurant at Hollywood Studios. Our dinner was served buffet style, but normally it’s a quick service restaurant that serves primarily pizza and subs. They did have a gluten-free pizza crust option and it wasn’t bad–soft and not crumbly!

FamilyADHD at Hollywood Studios

Sunset at Hollywood Studios (camera phone picture by Patrick)

Dinner at PizzeRizzo at Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney WOrld

Pizza party time! (camera phone picture by Patrick)

#DisneySMMC Viewing of Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Fireworks

When dinner was finished, we got to attend a special viewing of Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Fireworks. If you’re a Star Wars fan this show will knock your socks off! It was amazing. Basically, it told the story of the entire Star Wars saga up to episode 7 through projections, fireworks, lasers, fire, music and audio from the movies. It made me a little sad to see Carrie Fisher up there as Leia, but at least she’ll be immortalized through the amazing rolls she’s played. Not to mention her work to spread awareness regarding mental illness!

Note: The show is a bit loud and there are some pretty intense flashes, so if you have sensory kiddos or anyone prone to seizures in your group do a little research ahead of time before deciding to watch. 

I wish I could have kept the audio in our footage of the show so you could hear the boys reactions (included in our video recap up top), but it definitely would have been flagged by Youtube because it included the musical scores from the films. Just know that our entire viewing of the show was filled with gasps and exclamations from the boys … and maybe a few from Patrick and me as well. 😉

Definitely check out our video at the top if you haven’t already for a sneak peek of the show! I’ve included a few shots below that I captured with my camera, as well.

Hollywood Studios Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Fireworks Hollywood Studios Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Fireworks Hollywood Studios Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Fireworks Hollywood Studios Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Fireworks Hollywood Studios Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Fireworks Hollywood Studios Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Fireworks Hollywood Studios Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Fireworks Hollywood Studios Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Fireworks Hollywood Studios Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Fireworks Hollywood Studios Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Fireworks Hollywood Studios Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Fireworks Hollywood Studios Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Fireworks Hollywood Studios Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Fireworks Hollywood Studios Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Fireworks

Once the show was over we walked to another part of Hollywood Studios for a special Galactic Dessert Party with character meet and greets!

#DisneySMMC Galactic Dessert Party with Star Wars Character Meet & Greets

The Galactic Dessert Party was separated out into two areas–one for Star Wars and one for characters from some of the Disney Junior shows. We headed straight for Star Wars Launch Bay and got to meet a handful of characters including Kylo Ren, Chewie (who was incredibly distressed that the boys were both wearing dark side t-shirts, which we didn’t think about beforehand!), stormtroopers and even a Jawa.

Kylo Ren definitely had a fairly intimidating presence, but the boys enjoyed meeting him (you can see their reactions in the video at the top of this post).

Chewie was probably our favorite character to meet. He was incredibly interactive, dramatically showing how sad he was that the boys were wearing dark side t-shirts, and really took time with every visitor. The cast member acting as Chewie that night deserves some props!

The stormtroopers were hard to catch! They walked around throughout the party and only stopped once in a while. We spent the majority of the party trying to grab them for a picture and finally managed to snap one at the end of the night.

The Disney photographers snapping pics of character meet and greets offered to take some pictures with my camera, but I always shoot in manual with my DSLR and I think they assumed it was in Auto so the pics didn’t come out very well. However, I grabbed a few with Patrick’s phone in addition to footage we took with the GoPro (included in the video at the top of this post), so we have a couple semi-decent shots. We did scan our Magic Bands and I was able to check out the photos taken by Disney photographers, so I may grab the one or two that came out well.

We didn’t get a shot with the Jawa, who was also walking around like the stormtroopers, but we did catch video of him waving at the boys–included in our footage at the top of this post!

Hollywood Studios Character Meet & Greet with Chewbacca

Their faces! (Camera phone pic)

FamilyADHD at Hollywood Studios meeting stormtroopers

Another grainy phone pic, but we thought it was worth posting anyway!

Check out these fun Star Wars themed desserts that were available while we met characters. The boys thought they were so cool! There were no gluten-free Star Wars desserts, but they did bring me a gluten-free cookie and brownie made by one of my favorite gluten-free bakery brands–OMGitsGlutenFree.

Star Wars Desserts at Hollywood Studios

May the (sugar) force be with you!

After meeting some characters and enjoying some desserts, we hopped back on the bus and then crawled our way to our room to pack and go to bed. That was our last night at Port Orleans Riverside and the next morning we had to check out so that we could head off for part 2 of Disney Social Media Moms Celebration Land and Sea–our Disney cruise!

Day 3 of Disney Social Media Moms Celebration Land & Sea – Exclusive Preview of Born in China, Q&A and Leaving for Disney Cruise

We were due on the buses at 7:30 am, which meant packing the night before (or rather repacking everything we’d unpacked over the course of the first few days) and getting up at 6 am to make sure we were on the bus in time. We did it! We may have had to unzip every extendable bit of every suitcase, but we did it!

One of the reasons our luggage was so full at this point was that we’d acquired a decent portion of swag and I had all of our stuff for the cruise (including our Fish Extender, Fish Extender gifts and pixie dust–more on this in a future post) in our luggage.

Dragging our stuffed suitcases and half-carrying two sleepy boys, we hopped on the bus with time to spare and headed off to AMC Movies at Disney Springs.

We had read that we’d be eating breakfast while watching the movie, but were unsure of how it would all work. Disney was super clever and assembled breakfast bags for all those attending with breakfast sandwiches and snacks in each! I had to find a server who went in the back and got mine, which had a gluten-free breakfast sandwich and some gluten-free snacks. The breakfast sandwich the boys and Patrick ate looked so good! Mine was a little lackluster (two pieces of gluten-free bread and an egg with no cheese), but I found some condiments and was too hungry to mind.

Video and photography were forbid during our preview since the movie had not yet been released, but I can share with you that it was amazing! We’re fans of Disneynature in general (Monkey Kingdom and Bears are among our favorites), so it came as no surprise that we all really enjoyed Born in China. Once the movie was done, bloggers were ushered into another theater for a Q&A while our families remained in the first theater and had the option to watch a new episode of Elena of Avalor. The boys weren’t super enthusiastic about the series, so Patrick set them up with games on their phones.

Meanwhile, in the blogger session I got to attend a Q&A with Roy Conli who produced Born in China and is known for his work on Big Hero 6 among other fantastic films.  My only regret is that I didn’t get to see Roy Conli after to tell him how significant Big Hero 6 was to our family. Having a half-Japanese main character in a film voiced by a half-Japanese actor alongside such a diverse group of other characters was not something I grew up with, but it’s something I truly value for my children to grow up seeing. As a half-Japanese American kid, I didn’t have American-made films I related to, but I think it shows progress that my children do. I hope he knows how important that film is to people like myself and our families!

Producer Roy Conli of Big Hero 6 and Born in China Producer Roy Conli of Big Hero 6 and Born in China

During the Q&A I learned the following about Born in China:

  • Releases on Earth Day (April 21st)
  • Portion of initial ticket sales during first opening week donated to World Wildlife Fund
  • John Krasinski narrated the film
  • Directed by Lu Chuan
  • Produced by Roy Conli
  • Filming was long and done in segments
  • Production crew were careful not to cross lines with animals that required distance (monkeys consistently love to interact with humans, however)
  • 4 total trips were taken to film the snow leopards (who are notoriously difficult to film), done a few months at a time
  • Disney experienced great collaboration with the Chinese government
  • Animal stories evolved through the filming process
  • Those taking video took extensive notes throughout their time filming the animals, which helped filmmakers determine which story lines to highlight
  • Production wore black and white suits while filming the pandas to look and smell like pandas (they maintained a far distance)

After Roy Conli’s Q&A, Vice President of Disney’s Hollywood Studios Dan Cockerell took the stage. He shared with us some exciting new things coming to the Disney Parks including Magic Bands 2, their new Magickeeper accessories, Animal Kingdom’s upcoming Pandora launch and Magic Kingdom’s newest night show–Happily Ever After.

Dan Cockerell Vice President of Disney's Hollywood Studios Dan Cockerell Vice President of Disney's Hollywood Studios

Magic Band 2

Image Courtesy of Disney

Magic Band 2 Magickeeper

Image Courtesy of Disney

Once our session was done, we went out to meet our families and hop on the buses headed for Port Canaveral and the Disney Wonder for the “Sea” portion of our Disney Social Media Moms Celebration Land and Sea experience.  Patrick and I had planned a meeting spot beforehand because I anticipated that it would be hard to find one another in the crowd of families–especially being short like we are! I’m glad we did because I quickly spotted them and we headed off to the buses.

The land portion of our Disney Social Media Moms Celebration officially over, we were ready to start the second half of our adventure at sea!

Final Thoughts on the Land Portion of our Disney Social Media Moms Celebration Land & Sea

I had done a lot of research ahead of time and one thing I didn’t see a lot of bloggers touch upon was just how busy our schedules kept us during DisneySMMC as influencers. Before attending, I actually scheduled out our family’s entire time during DisneySMMC in our digital family calendar so that Patrick and the boys knew not only where I was going to be, but where they needed to be and when. I set up alerts and made sure the correct locations were marked as well. I think it would have been a lot more stressful for our ADHD family if I hadn’t. For a family that can fly by the seat of their pants without a lot of pre-planning this obviously wouldn’t be an issue, but for a family like ours we know in situations like this (especially when the primary organizer and time keeper isn’t around, meaning me) it’s a must that we pre-plan like crazy.

I loved that we got a sneak peek of some really awesome things like Rivers of Light at Animal Kingdom and Born in China. It was really fun to be able to share both experiences with the boys and Patrick! The brand meet and greet was also really fun in my opinion and I loved that it was a little less structured in the sense that we got to move through the space at our own paces. I look forward to connecting with the brands I spoke with!

I’d like to point out that when Disney throws you a party they go all out! Both the dinner at Animal Kingdom and the evening at Hollywood Studios were amazing (I can’t wait to share about the Pirate Party during our cruise)!

If you’re not a morning person, the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration schedule might be a little difficult for you. On average, I was up no later than 6 am every morning during DisneySMMC and other moms I talked to were up at 5:30/5:45 am because they had more to prepare before leaving their younger kiddos.

Given the fact this was the very first year in which they did a “Land and Sea” version of DisneySMMC, I think it worked out pretty well! The transition from land to sea did require some extra packing and coordinating on our parts, but all in all it worked out pretty well.

I think it’s important for families attending DisneySMMC to do what works for them in terms of pre-planning (or not) and choosing what they do with their downtime. It was really important to me that I made good use of my time while attending blogger-only events, but I also wanted to make sure that Patrick and the boys enjoyed themselves even when I wasn’t there. I think we managed it! We may have been tired, but the boys have had nothing but good things to say about their entire experiences–they actually wish it’d lasted longer. That sounds like success to me!

I’d also like to thank Patrick for doing such a great job of taking care of the boys on his own throughout DisneySMMC. It’s not exactly easy for 3 ADHDers to get themselves organized, fed and stay on schedule, but they did it! All the spouses, family members and friends that kept track of the kiddos while we were busy get a pat on the back from me.

Would I do it again?

Yes, we’d definitely do it again if we were lucky enough to be invited back. I’d be really interested to see if they do another land and sea celebration after this one! Being able to experience both sides of Disney down in Florida was something we haven’t done before, despite being frequent Walt Disney World park visitors.

I think that’s all for now, guys. Looking forward to sharing the second half of our DisneySMMC recap at sea soon!


Note: Events mentioned above were part of Disney Social Media Moms Celebration Land and Sea. Some events and items were complimentary, while others may have been offered at a discounted rate. All opinions are our own.

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Alli Smith February 24, 2017 at 5:04 am

What an awesome opportunity! The trip looks like such a fun adventure. My kids are all grown, but they always loved Disney when they were growing up and we visited often. Now we take the grandkids. Love all the swag too!

familyadhd February 24, 2017 at 3:33 pm

How fun! We definitely hope down the line our boys and their families will want to continue going with us 🙂 And yes, so much swag! Brands were super generous!

valmg @ Mom Knows It All February 24, 2017 at 7:15 am

Sounds like you had fun! We all love Disney, we are well overdue for a visit to Disney World and I would love to go on one of their cruises.

familyadhd February 24, 2017 at 3:33 pm

In that case I hope you get to go soon! This was our first Disney Cruise and we can’t wait to share our experience 🙂

Brooke Pakulski February 24, 2017 at 8:04 am

WOW this sounds amazing! Like a dream! I love the pic of your sons face with the underwear lmao mine would have looked the same way!

familyadhd February 24, 2017 at 3:34 pm

Hahahaha yes, boys and boxers!

Christa @perilouslypale February 24, 2017 at 8:31 am

One day I will make it here!

familyadhd February 24, 2017 at 3:35 pm

I hope you do! So much fun 🙂

candy February 24, 2017 at 8:35 am

Talk about a beautiful light show especially love the tree. You included a bunch of photos of your trip. Looks like fun was enjoy by everyone.

familyadhd February 24, 2017 at 3:35 pm

Isn’t that tree gorgeous? Watching all of the shows was just … magical! lol

Jeanette February 24, 2017 at 8:39 am

That looks like so much fun! I am so jealous I would have loved to have gone on this trip! One of my goals is to get on a Disney cruise and also go to Disney World.

familyadhd February 24, 2017 at 3:36 pm

Well now my fingers are crossed for you that it happens sooner than later! 🙂

Lisa Favre February 24, 2017 at 9:33 am

What a beautiful show! I am due to go back to Disney and I absolutely cannot wait.

familyadhd February 24, 2017 at 3:36 pm

You’re going to love all the new things they’ve brought in the last few months (with more to come in May)!

Paula Schuck February 24, 2017 at 10:35 am

It sounds like you had a fantastic time! I love social media conferences that are family friendly,a nd it doesn’t get much more family friendly than Disney.

familyadhd February 24, 2017 at 3:37 pm

So true! We don’t attend many conferences, but this celebration was absolutely fantastic!

Kendra February 24, 2017 at 12:07 pm

I saw them setting up for the Animal Kingdom show when I was there in January, it looks absolutely gorgeous at night!

familyadhd February 24, 2017 at 3:38 pm

It was seriously STUNNNNNING! Next time you go you’ll have to watch, Disney really outdid themselves with that one. 😉

Pam Wattenbarger February 24, 2017 at 2:29 pm

Disney SMMC sounds like a lot of fun, but also pretty hectic. These are great tips for making the best of it and enjoying yourself.

familyadhd February 24, 2017 at 3:39 pm

Yes, every true, we’ve been very honest about the schedule for a family like ours! And thank you, I hope they help any future DisneySMMC attendees prepare and know what to expect 🙂

Annemarie LeBlanc February 24, 2017 at 6:27 pm

Happy to know you guys had loads of fun! My eldest niece and her family will be going to Disney mid-March and after reading this post, I think I want to tag along with them!

familyadhd February 25, 2017 at 4:23 pm

We usually do one of our trips each year in early March! It’s a great time to go, you should DEFINITELY tag along 😉

Jeanine February 25, 2017 at 3:54 pm

Wow this looks magical! I was watching some of the hashtags and thought it looked like such a great opportunity! Never been to Disney myself so happy to see all the photos!

CourtneyLynne February 26, 2017 at 12:48 pm

Omg looks like y’all had a total blast!!!! Disney is so much fun!!!! How can you not have the best time at the most magical place on earth?!

Lisa February 26, 2017 at 3:12 pm

Wow what a detailed post! Love all the photos you took as well. I had an awesome time at #DisneySMMC. Not sure if we met, but I would have loved to. I wish and hope this dream will be true again next year!

Chubskulit Rose February 26, 2017 at 8:34 pm

How fun is this, wow! My kids would love to go back in Disney again, it’s been years!

Eloise February 26, 2017 at 9:18 pm

what an awesome time you guys had, glad you had this opportunity to share this moment together… great memories! Great photos : )

adriana February 26, 2017 at 9:34 pm

It looks like you guys had SUCH an amazing time! I love your pictures – those firework ones are incredible! The kids like they had so much fun too! 🙂 I’ve heard great things about Disney SMMC!

Lisa Heath February 26, 2017 at 11:16 pm

Wow! This has to be the most comprehensive post I’ve ever seen on DSMMC! So incredible and it looks like everyone had a blast!

Cynthia Nicoletti February 27, 2017 at 7:45 am

Looks like you and your family and a great time ! No better experience than Disney. We plan to go back soon !

Maria Adcock March 4, 2017 at 3:20 pm

You’re such a good photography and videographer…very impressed! Nice recap!

Agnes March 5, 2017 at 9:25 am

Lots of fun pictures here! looks like you had a blast as well.


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