On Tuesday, March 1, the hashtag #DisneySMMC was trending in the United States — and with good reason. For many mom bloggers, that day had the potential to be a roller coaster of emotions. That’s because invitations to the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration were sent out, and everyone wanted to talk about their joy or disappointment and try to figure out just how to get on the coveted list.
The short answer is that attendance at “The Most Magical Social Media Conference of the Year” is by invitation only, although there might be some ways to increase your odds. (More on that below.) This year’s conference takes place May 5 to 8 — Mother’s Day weekend — at Walt Disney World. This is the seventh year for the conference, with all but one held in Florida. Last year it was at Disneyland.
The Disney Social Media Moms Celebration is a conference for bloggers who get professional communication advice from a range of speakers from national companies. Some of the past speakers have included wedding designer David Tutera; Matt Jacobson, head of market development at Facebook; Chris Brogan, president of Human Business Works, New York Times best-selling author and consultant; Ridley Pearson, the author of the “Kingdom Keepers” series for young adults and many other novels; and Rene Syler, former CBS’ The Early Show Anchor and webmaster of goodenoughmother.com.
The four-day event also includes elements of a press junket, allowing conference attendees to experience what’s new at the Disney Parks. Plus, it’s a celebration that includes many fun family dinners and experiences. Participants pay their own way to the conference and a discounted registration fee that typically includes three nights at a deluxe resort, theme park tickets and dinners for the family, and meals for the blogger.
The big question is, of course, how to get invited to the conference. And, unfortunately, there is no definitive answer, except that it involves a lot of pixie dust.
I was among those fortunate enough to be invited to the 2011 Disney Social Media Moms Celebration when I worked at the Orlando Sentinel, and I learned as much from my fellow bloggers as the amazing speakers. Moms like me who blog about Disney and other Orlando theme parks actually were in the minority. Most participants were mom bloggers who write about their daily experiences with their families, while some had specialized blogs for travel and other niches. It’s a small group — somewhere between 150 to 200 bloggers and their families attend.
Although most of this year’s conference invitations have gone out — there may be some last-minute emails if some participants are unable attend — those interested in attending in 2017 might be able to increase their chances by getting involved online and in person.
** Begin by following and interacting on social media (when appropriate) with Maria Bailey, who helped create the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration. She is known as “the” authority on marketing to moms. She and her company, BSM Media, Inc., still are very involved with the conference. You also can connect with her by registering as a mom blogger at MomSelect.
** Be sure you are following on social media the Disney organizers behind the magic: @DisneyMoms @DisneyParks @WaltDisneyWorld @WDWToday @DisneylandToday @DisneyCruise @DisneySports @runDisney @leannej (Leanne J. O’Regan, Walt Disney World Director of Social Media)
** Try to attend a Disney Social Media Moms Celebration on the Road. These mini conferences take place during the summer in a handful of cities throughout the United States. They are a good way to network and promote yourself to the organizers of the big conference at the Disney Parks. Although the 2016 dates have not yet been announced, keep an eye out because they could be any time now. (Last year, the On the Road dates were announced shortly after the invitations for the main conference were sent.) The On the Road notice will include a link to express your interest in one of the events, and then invitations will be sent out.