Once upon a time, there was a kind and beautiful princess who lived in a humble castle with four dwarfs and a hard working prince. Her days consisted mostly of cleaning and caring for others while trying to tell her own story to
thousandsmillions on her blog. But what she really dreamed of doing, was to one day join the likes of fellow princess bloggers to learn and be inspired by the people behind the most magical kingdom on earth. The Twitter fairy allowed her to make this one wish by filling out a form to express interest in the event. As luck would have it, her wish was granted and she was invited to the ball. Now this ball was not the Grand Ball at the Magic Kingdom but rather a smaller ball that takes place throughout the land, On The Road. Regardless, it was an event to be cherished and she was grateful for the opportunity.
This may sound like a fairy tale to you but it’s actually my dream come true. Recently, I had the opportunity to experience Disney On the Road, a Disney Social Media Moms event in Washington, D.C. and what an experience it was! If you happen to know me personally or have read any of my Disney posts such as Cabins to Club Level or Tips for Planning Your Disney World Vacation I’m sure you know I’m a Disney fan. In fact, for as long as I can remember I have always admired the Disney brand, especially Disney World. The way they manage to stay classic while continually bringing new and enhanced experiences to their guests is quite impressive. So, any opportunity to absorb some of their “magic” is a welcome one in my book.
It was only just over a month ago when I first heard of this event. As I was
stalking following all the buzz on Twitter for Disney Social Media Moms Conference in Disney World , I came across a link that told about the On The Road event and offered a form to express interest. Not too long after I got the invitation in my email.
What to expect? I had no idea. What I got out of it? Let me tell you about it…
Maria Bailey, host of Mom Talk Radio, set the tone for the day when she stated that “Mom owned businesses are something we need to be focussed on.” This is one woman who clearly understands the power and challenges that go along with being a mother while running a business and I was eager to soak in all the knowledge possible. Overall, I think she shared just as many tips for handling the business side of life as she did for handling the parenting side of life. It was turning out to be a good morning, indeed.
There were several other wonderful speakers at the event as well. Gary Buchanan (@Gary_Jerry), Disney’s Social Media Managing Editor, helped to start things off by giving us a rundown of what’s new and happening in the Disney Parks this summer. Disneyland is celebrating the new Carsland and Disney World is gearing up for a Monstrous Summer which was kicked off with an “All Nighter” where guests could spend the whole day and night celebrating in the Magic Kingdom. If they were selling vacation packages right there I may have just handed over my credit card. Lucky for me (and my husband) they weren’t, since we just visited in January, but it does have me looking forward to our return trip.
The keynote speaker for this event was Jennifer Labit founder of Cotton Babies, a cloth diaper company. She started out by telling us her company’s humble beginnings of basing her business out of her home and eventually moving into a large warehouse space. Also impressive was how she realized the unique needs of different marketing segments and met that need by offering diapering systems for every budget. One of the things I loved most about hearing Jennifer speak was how authentic and down to earth she was, giving solid advice that even if you already knew, it was good to hear again. She spoke about writing down the things that are important to you “in a pretty notebook”(definitely my kind of girl), understanding what it means to get what you want and knowing your exit plan. The most memorable part for me was when she pointed out that you cannot get answers to questions you don’t know to ask and because of this encourages going back to school. Going back to school has always been a little whisper in my ear and I definitely welcomed hearing it spoken out loud.
We also got to hear from Michelle Stephanie, a contributor to Disney Parks blog ,who gave us some great information on interacting with the media as well as a panel of Momtrepreneurs who shared some of their wisdom and best practices with us.
I think that too many times, as mothers, we get caught up in the either / or scenario… either I can be a great mom or a great business person but not both. I know, I for one have been guilty of this for far too long. Putting off having a career until you can give it your everything. Truth is I will probably NEVER want to give my career everything. It’s just not who I am or who I want to be. For now my kids are and will be my number one priority. After that, if I’m lucky I’ll have some awesome grandkids to dote on and love. In between, I’m sure my husband wouldn’t mind a little extra attention. Long story short, I will work to live, not live to work. I loved meeting and hearing from these fellow moms who seemed to have similar attitudes but are making it work in spite of the challenges. This day surely left me feeling refreshed, reinvented and connected to some incredible moms.
As the clock struck twelve, the princess hurried off to begin her long journey home. It was a morning filled with information, inspiration, and of course imagination… dreaming of the one day she will be invited to the Grand Ball. Until then, she will return to her castle where she will live Any Given Day, happily ever after.