In 2019, The “On the Road” Disney’s Social Media Conference taught bloggers how to be better story tellers to grow their blogs. Plus, they got a sneak peak at Galaxy’s Edge!
Years ago logging into AOL and hearing ‘You’ve got Mail” was a thrill. Now, that is my favorite movie, but I get more excited when I see an email from Disney in my inbox these days.
So, when I saw the invite for Disney’s Social Media “On the Road” Conference in my inbox a few weeks ago, I was basically jumping for joy!
I basically had a conflict with attending but did everything in my power to juggle it all and get over to Disney for the day. It was so worth the lack of sleep and driving around like a crazy person.
It was announced that Disney’s Social Media Mom’s Conference was on a “hiatus” for 2019. While that is disappointing, it seems that has just been rebranded as Disney’s Social Media Conference (#DisneySMC). So, it has evolved from just targeting the mom crowd to welcome all Disney bloggers, ‘grammers, and vloggers. This invite-only, multi-day event is held annually to connect with writers who love Disney.
The Disney’s Social Media Conference “On-The-Road” is their invite only 1 day boot camp. There is still plenty of fun Disney magic when it comes to attending this event.
I arrived early for the conference and met up with my blogging friend Krystal for a coffee. We met last year when we were invited to Disney for a mini vacation to check out their new Toy Story Land. So much fun! We signed in, picking up our welcome packets, that included 4 park hopper tickets to be used that weekend. Then we picked great seats up front for ourselves, for some friends, and some soon to be friends.
Cappy Surette- Master Storyteller
The Conference kicked off with Courtnee, Influencer Communications Manager, welcoming everyone to the conference. She is the go to for events like this so it was great getting to see her again (previously at other media days). She also explained that the music we were all listening into in the conference hall was from Apple Music. There are over 30 Disney related playlists on there. Perfect for everyone who loves Disney!
Then she invited Cappy Surette, Walt Disney World Senior Manager of Executive Communications, to the stage.
He is captivating with his storytelling about himself, his career at Disney, and Walt Disney. He shared how Walt developed Mickey Mouse after Walt loss the rights to Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. While that was a horrible experience for him and his family, it all led to what we all know and love about Disney today.
Cappy’s big focus was how to connect with our readers. He explained it’s all about storytelling. This is how they get to know you, trust you, relate to you, and root for you.
Why Do Stories Resonate? It’s important to share relatable content. This helps communicate a sense to ‘hope’. They hope for your success, just as much as their own. You’ll find success in “The hero’s journey” kind of storytelling
How to Get Stories to Resonate? Pixar says that people enjoy the journey more than the destination (success). They work hard on developing a story that allows you to make an emotional connection with the characters. This is through simple, clear stories have have an easy to understand structure and are purposeful.
This was a wonderful way to kick off my first “On the Road” Disney’s Social Media Conference.
Steve Guberman- SEO Master
Next up was Steve Guberman, the Senior Manager of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) at The Walt Disney Company.
He provided helpful information that every blogger can use to grown their blog traffic. He provided clear examples of blog posts that needed work to move up in ranking as well. It was helpful to see these examples so I could better visualize the areas I need to improve as well.
One thing that I need to work on is blog post length. He said that most page 1 results have over 1900 words. YIKES! that’s a lot of writing, especially for a recipe. And we all know people just want the recipe, without the story behind it. I’ve heard the villagers loud and clear as they yell with pitch forks in hand. Unfortunately, I have to what google favors to get better ranking, which finally translates to traffic. Sorry guys
Creating great content on your social media platforms is always important, but SEO should be our #1 focus. You own your blog content (and email list!), but our FB page and IG account are at the mercy of Zuckerberg and his buddies. I know too many people who have lost accounts, so I am always encouraging people to focus on the things they have possession over. Google’s algorithms are always changing, which can unfortunately effect your traffic, but at the end of the day, that blog- those words and photos- are yours.
John Breckow- Master of Joy
John Breckow is the Director of Corporate Citizenship for Walt Disney Parks and from the moment he started you speak you could tell he loves his job. He happily shared how Disney is very active in philanthropy. Before you think that Disney is just about a mouse, you have to think that this mouse is key in spreading so much happiness
One of the things that he discussed was Disney’s commitment to Make-A-Wish. They are continuing on a 40-year partnership in which Disney has helped grant more than 130,000 wishes.
Disney also arranged for Mickey and Minnie to visit hospitals, like what they did after the Vegas shooting. Just by having Mickey and Minnie there, spirits of the few that were still hospitalized and the medical staff that had been treating them were lifted. Everyone loves Mickey & Minnie!
They also promote a lot of voluntEARing, through various organizations, they they help fund. They feature the people that are special stars in there too.
John also explained that he helped create the Share Your Ears campaign, which has been a smashing success for the Make-A-Wish foundation. In 2018, it raised $3Million dollars. Be sure to continue to share all those fun #shareyourears pictures to Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Every public post with #ShareYourEars, results in a $5 donation to Make-A Wish.
Throughout the day they held prizes that included RunDisney race registration tickets, tickets to special events, designer Mickey ears, and so much more. I was bummed I didn’t win anything, but excited for those who did. Besides, I walked away with plenty of goods from the day, including 2 signed books, a “It’s my Birthday” Mickey Hat, a portable battery pack, Mickey Bar Flash Drive, and bag.
Besides the fun prizes, one of the big announcements that brought a lot of excitement were the upcoming medals for the Wine and Dine races.
Participating in RunDisney events is not just about running and getting some exercise. It’s so much more than just doing a run. It’s about making connections with others, building community, and creating lasting memories. And, of course, having a ton of fun.
Venturing to the Galaxy’s Edge
Before we knew it, it was time for that a BIG ANNOUNCEMENT!!!
We were be heading over to Galaxy’s Edge was made. Two Storm Troopers walked in and warned us not to join the resistance. It was a fun way to make the announcement. It got everyone really excited, even if we had to leave our phones behind. Top secret, no pictures!
Everyone loaded up onto buses for our ride over to Hollywood Studio. Then, in small groups, we walked over from our staging area at PizzaRizzo to the new Galaxy’s Edge. We entered off Grand Avenue (by the Muppet Vision 3D show).
Our guide was passionate about telling us about Galaxy’s Edge from the design process to the construction. He explained that it is just like the one in Disneyland, except that is has the opposite orientation to Disneyland. Also, Disneyland also has 3 entrances into the new land, but the Florida location only has 2. This is just due to how it fit into the existing park.
To be honest, I was sorta disappointed with my first visit to Galaxy’s Edge. Not because I didn’t love this new land, but because I wanted to see and experience more. It took a significant part of the day (about 2 hours) and we ‘just’ saw the entry of the land. I really was thrilled to even be in the not yet opened space, but I was just so disappointing that I didn’t get to see much more. Disney always leaves me wanting more.
Ashley Eckstein- Master of the Universe
Upon returning to the conference hall, we heard from the key note speaker.
Ashley Eckstein is an actress and entrepreneur who turned her passions into her amazing career and life. She shared with us how she became interested in becoming an actress, then how that journey took her to develop the brand Her Universe. Her Universe is a hugely successful brand that focuses on woman who are interested in brands like Disney, Star Wars, Dr Who, and Harry Potter. Perfect for any fangirl!
Years ago, Ashley noticed how she couldn’t find cute outfits that showed off her love of the different shows, movies, and comics that she loved. What was a fanfirl to do!?!? Well, she worked hard in creating the Her Universe.
It was inspiring to hear her speak about her passions, what she learned along the way, and how her dedication helped her create Her Universe.
Mickey & Minnie!
At the very end Mickey and Minnie came out to wrap up the day. I was excited to see them, but I had to hit the road before I was able to snag a picture with them.
I drove away with a giant smile on my face, as I just had an magical day at Disney. Thankfully, I was going back in just 2 days to get to have a fun filled day in the parks with my family.
What is Disney’s Social Media Conference?
Disney’s Social Media Mom’s Conference was been rebranded as Disney’s Social Media Conference, but in essence it’s still the same great conference for bloggers, vloggers, and others that love Disney.
The “On-The- Road” conference is a 1 day boot camp version of their larger conference. Those in attendance learn from the best that Disney has to offer from, executives to SEO managers. This is to help the them learn about
Where is Disney’s Social Media Conference held?
The #DisneySMC has been held in Disney World, Disneyland, and even on the Disney Cruise.
The “On-the-Road” conference in July of 2019, was held in the conference center of The Contemporary resort on the Walt Disney World Property. Past years locations have included Phoenix, Chicago, Philadelphia, and in Boston.
How do I get invited for the Disney conferences?
There is no exact check list to fit to get invite to Disney conferences and events. You’ll see all kids of people in attendance at these events, and other media day ones. You have Disney bloggers, life style bloggers, IG influencers, and YouTube vloggers. It’s a fun mix of people.
If your goal is to be invited to an invite like this, then it’s important to be yourself. Disney wants to find people that are true to themselves- on their social media platforms, and in person too.
Not required, but it certainly helps to write good content about Disney. Connect with Disney and send the links to the WDW PR dept.
How much is it to attend the Disney’s Social Media Conference?
Past #DisneySMMC attendees have shared the cost of the multi day conference on their blogs. For example, in 2018, the $1,450 included one guest and $450 for each additional family member. That doesn’t include transportion to and from the event. However, it also does include tickets to the parks for you and your family. In the end, attending the conference is ‘pricey’ but if you were to price out a Disney vacation with everything they include during the conference, you are really getting a steal in the end.
The “On The Road” day long conference is free! I am bit over an hour away from Disney World, so I am fairly local. I just had to pay for my gas in order to attend. If I wanted to stay a night, I would have needed to pay for it, but I already had other plans.
Do you get Walt Disney World tickets?
Since the “On-The-Road” conference was held at Disney World this year (2019), 4 complementary tickets were provided when we checked into the event.
Can you bring a guest?
The conference truly is family event with the invitee being able to being their family along with them, for an added fee.
The “On the Road” conference is invite only, so no guests. Some newborns were with their moms during the conference, other than that, it was just the invitee.