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The single most important lesson I learned at Disney Social Media Moms 2014


Disney provided discounted accommodations and park tickets and also provided the most magical experiences and perks. The DSMM sponsors provided product and helped make the magic happen. All opinions magical or otherwise are my own.

When one goes to Disney (World or Land) for a conference. There is so much to take away, it’s like you need a post-conference conference to wrap your head around it. There are so many intelligent, amazing, and wonderful speakers that the amount of information is beyond overwhelming. 

But every night, and in the breaks where we were walking around the park, I was chatting with Mr. Serious with some of my take aways. The more I talked about them, the more I realized, I could really sum almost everything I learned up into one nice little tidy lesson with a big red bow on the top… it’s coming. I promise.

All 6 of us, the whole family, we all got on a plane to California. We woke up at 5:00 am and were out the door by 5:40. And, all smiles. Honestly, they stayed almost the entire time (do the 2 year old and 3 month old count, because I don’t think they do). It took team work, patience, love and some exhaustion on all parts to make our 5 day trip work.

Most important lesson I learned at Disney Social Media Moms

“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing” -Walt Disney. We talked about taking a family vacation. When the invite came, we were a little hesitant, but we registered, bought the plane tickets and didn’t look back. We were ALL IN

What ever you do, do it well. Do it so well that when people see you do it they will want to come back and see you do it again and they will want to bring others and show them how well you do what you do.” -Walt Disney.

Walt disney

{photo credit: @hyku} 

What was the most important lesson I learned? When you do it, do it right, do it well, do it 100% and then do it even better. Go ALL IN

Most important lesson I learned at Disney Social Media Moms

When Tom Staggs, Chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts talked about everything that was going on new with Disney including a Baltic Disney Cruise Line, Shanghai Disney, the Hong Kong Marvel-themed expansion, the FantasyLand expansion at Disney World and more, you know that they go ALL IN. They take the time, they plan it all out, and they make it 100% amazing.

Tom staggs

{photo credit: @hyku} 

“Only make the good stuff, and make less of it.” -Steve Jobs Excellent advice for anyone that works in a creative field via Jay Ward, Creative Director, Cars Franchise, Pixar – Cars Legacy Guardian

jay ward at disney social media moms.jpg

{photo credit: @hyku} 

Jay Ward worked very closely with making sure everything was right with Cars Land and the Cars Franchise. When they were a month out from getting ready to open Cars Land, he visited, took one look at Lightning McQueen and said, “nope, the red isn’t right.” And, he got a new a new detail job that was finished just before opening. It’s that attention to detail, down to the small things , like making die cast cars from the characters in the movie to be traded (that don’t ride on tracks) that lets you know they go ALL IN. They don’t cut corners. There is nothing spared. And look, I matched Lightning!


Most important lesson I learned at Disney Social Media Moms

Kathy Mangum, Executive Producer and Vice President Walt Disney Imagineering, spoke about her production of Cars Land. She discussed how she and her team actually drove along Route 66 for 10 days to capture the authenticity within the expansion of California Adventure. They spent over 10,000 hours on the creation. Starting from tiny mock ups of the park to something a little bigger, to something that was even bigger and able to be scanned into a computer for the rebar to be custom bent into shape.  

“When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestionable.” -Walt Disney

Kathy Mangum  Walt Disney Imagineering

{photo credit: @hyku} 

And when everything was completed, the goal was obtained. Cars Land looks just like the movie. Right down to that stop light having a longer blink on the third blink. When they put in those cadillac mountains, they aren’t just part of the park, but they cover anything beyond Cars Land, so you are totally immersed in the park. They even got Larry the Cable Guy to record the safety messages and songs for the tractor ride. It’s that attention to detail that makes you feel like you are right in the movie. They went ALL IN.

Cars land

{photo credit: @hyku} 

Maxine Clark, Founder of Build-a-Bear Workshops, started her company in 2001, she left a high paying job. Why? She believed in her dreams. She knew it’s what she wanted to do. What she had to do. She was inspired and became an inspiration. With over 130 million build-a-bears created, I think it’s safe to say, quitting her job and committing to her dream of Build-a-Bear was a success. And, it wouldn’t have been without her going ALL IN!  

Maxine Clark from Build A Bear

{photo credit: @hyku} 

Donald Driver, Super Bowl Champion, Dancing with the Stars winner and Social Media Expert wasn’t picked to be a football star. He had to dream big and give it everything he got. And, he had to make his success. He dealt with so many obstacles in his life head on, both on and off the football field. And, every single one of them he gave his 100%. If that meant leaving the football field to see his dying best friend. That’s what he did. Because he goes ALL IN.

“All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.” – Walt Disney

Most important lesson I learned at Disney Social Media Moms

Doug Bowman, Creative Director at Twitter spoke of a young lady (@makeastand) who tweeted that she was going to end Sex Trafficking. She started a lemonade stand that led to hundreds of children being bought out of slavery. And, there is now a documentary #StandWithMe about her story. She took to twitter, set a goal and even exceeded it. She went ALL IN!

“A person should set his goals as early as he can and devote all his energy and talent to getting there. With enough effort, he may achieve it. Or he may find something that is even more rewarding. But in the end, no matter what the outcome, he will know he has been alive.” -Walt Disney

Doug Bowman

{photo credit: @hyku} 

When we had two kids melting down and ready to be done for the night. We didn’t push them to see World of Color (I will get back to see it one day). Mommy took them back to the hotel for bed and daddy stayed up with them. It’s wasn’t ideal for all of us, but we committed to a family experience in the best way we could do it because we were ALL IN.

Most important lesson I learned at Disney Social Media Moms

Life is hard. Every moment of every day we are faced with decisions. Do we give it our all? Do we put in 100%? Or do we rush through it, giving a less than stellar result?

A family vacation across the country with 4 kids 7 and under? It’s crazy to think about. But we committed to the trip. We worked out the details and we did it. Because making memories is something that is important to us. And, we will go ALL IN to make those memories happen!

Most important lesson I learned at Disney Social Media Moms

We need to look for the big picture. See the important opportunities. Look at what matters and when we find it, go ALL IN!


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  1. You family is certainly all in when it comes to making good memories. I’m happy for you. Hugs, Grammy Lura

  2. It is amazing how much has changed at Disney since I was a kid. I think the last time I was there was 1992! I can’t wait until our kids are at the age for Disney parks!

    1. I was trying to figure out the last time I went to Disneyland. I think it was 2001 or 2002. Now, Disney World, I went last year, but before that it was 1999!

  3. I LOVE this! And now I am thinking … am I REALLY ALL IN with everything I do? For most things, the answer is yes. But now I need to cut the things that are a ‘no.’

    1. Most definitely. There are so many things we do that aren’t all in…and why?

  4. I love your recap, you did a great job of covering what you learned and how it applies to your family.

    1. Thanks, Kristin. I’m glad it paid off because it took me a while to get it all down!

  5. So glad you went and enjoyed your trip.
    I needed this motivation today considering I had some negativity this morning from a critical family member.
    I’m already working on my goals for the end of the year and realized my fear holds me back, a lot of times. I could do bigger, bolder things. But I get scared of failure.
    What I realized that as a solopreneur – no one really knows about my failure unless I tell them.
    Sooooo….I’m going all in.

    1. I’m sorry for the negativity. People can be jerks..and it’s most likely because of their own unhappiness!

      I need to work on writing out goals, and this is a good starting point.

      I don’t think there is really “failure” it’s just things didn’t go as YOU planned. You know? And when that happens you learn from them and move forward.

  6. Wow! What an amazing trip. I have to admit I’m a little jealous. Not only Disney but DONALD DRIVER!!!!! As a Packer fan (and football fan) I am drooling!!!!!
    So glad you had such a fabulous time. 🙂

    1. Don’t shoot me..I wasn’t sure who he was. I’ve never been a football fan, but you know, that doesn’t mean he didn’t do a fab job of speaking.

  7. I really enjoyed reading your #DisneySMMoms post. It is such an awesome experience.

    1. The memories definitely take the lead over the learning!

  8. Such an amazing experience! I always tell my kids to go into things with a happy heart – life is what you make it!

    1. So true. If you smile when you are doing it..it’s even better:)

  9. grandma pat says:

    great post – I am glad you went and especially glad you all had a good time

  10. I do try to see the big picture when possible. It’s not always easy, but looking at the whole scenario definitley helps making a better, more informed decision.

  11. It is so much more rewarding when you go ALL IN. It takes a certain amount of belief in yourself though to do that. When you fail, it is hard and it hurts, but you walk away knowing you gave it your all and you couldn’t have done more. But when you win and get something huge, well there is nothing that can take that away from you.

  12. Such great positive messages. I must admit, my fears holds me back all the time which I’m currently working on now. I’m going to work on ALL IN and just go for it!

  13. I haven’t been to Disney. My Hubs keeps wanting me to go and I keep balking. Maybe one day I will surprise him and say… Lets go to Disney.

  14. That is a great lesson! And Walt, he really is one of the best examples of his wisdom!

  15. Wow! Looks like you had an AMAZING time! But how could you not at Walt Disneyland?! Can’t wait to go back!

  16. What a great way to sum up an experience like a Disney Conference! Definitely a good outlook and can be applied to so much in life.

  17. Such a great message to take away from that experience. It looks like a wonderful time!

  18. I love to hear the success stories of others. The Build-a-Bear story made me smile. She was so spot on, my two youngest love that place like no other (and one of those kids is 15!).

  19. I’m not good at that because I hate being out of my comfort zone. I think I’m a dip a toe in, feel the temperature and if it’s comfy, I go all in. I should probably take more risks! Great recap!

  20. Wow, this must have been quite an inspiring day! I would have loved to hear these people speak…especially the Build a Bear lady! I had no idea about her.

  21. This sounds like it was a very inspiring conference. Thanks for sharing some of what you heard from the experts. I could definitely do a little more “all in” and less hanging back and overthinking things!

  22. Looks like you guys had a really fun trip! That is so great that it all worked out for you. I know it’s hard traveling with little ones. I agree, it’s better to go all in!

  23. Ah, I’m so sad I missed this! How inspiring! I need to go ALL IN more often!

  24. Sounds like an amazing experience. We didn’t make it to Cars Land when we went last year. My son would be so jealous of you with Lightning McQueen.

  25. I could definitely tell when I visited Disney that they went all in. I definitely need to commit to being all in more in my life.

  26. It took me a minute to find your 4th kid! 🙂 I love it! I think if you’re going to do something, you might as well go ALL IN! Glad you went for it and had a great trip!

  27. “Go all in.” I like this. You can apply this to SO much in your life, whether it’s a decision to go on vacation like you guys did, or something work related. Great short quote to write on the mirror to remind yourself!

  28. Looks like your family enjoyed your Disney experience. I need to take your advice. Lately I cannot go all in to anything. And quite honestly that is the only way you can succeed at anything, to make a true commitment.

  29. tee mccluskey says:

    This looks like so much fun! I would love to go, but cant afford it yet, and my kids are to young!

  30. This is a wonderful message for anyone and everyone who has goals and aspirations. I think it’s so important to have the “ALL IN” mentality for success. When you want something you go after it and get it done today, not tomorrow!

  31. What a wonderful takeaway from the conference! Disney really has mastered the art of going all in, and it looks like you have too! It was such a pleasure to chat with your girls at the event. You are doing an amazing job of raising them!

  32. Disney is the best! We always talk about how it is just the whole experience, even waiting in line is fun because they pay attention to details!

  33. What a wonderful experience! I was so sad to miss this year, but loving the take aways!

  34. This is so great! I totally believe that whatever we do, we should do it well. The Disney Social Media Moms conference is so inspiring. I am glad you and your family got to enjoy it this year.

  35. It’s so awesome that you got to go to this, and that’s a really great life lesson as well! I completely agree with it 🙂

  36. Blogging goal is to get to go to this!! I would *love* it!!!

  37. I’m “All In” with you on this one. If you’re going to do something do it with all your heart and energy, or else why do it at all!

  38. I like that lesson. I think it works because it applies to all areas of life and if you follow it, it works.

  39. I totally know what you mean! Conference = I love them but they make my head spin! Love the photos and take away points!

  40. I agree with this: “whatever you do, do it well.” I feel like I give my all to some things and not to others. It is important for me to pick what I am passionate about and really focus!

  41. This looks like it was such a great trip! I can really see why you would feel overwhelmed trying to wrap your head around all of the information.

  42. Oh wow that looks like a bunch of fun! What a great experience.

  43. What a great experience. It looks like everyone always has a great time at the Disney event.

  44. Sounds like a great experience! It looks like you had some fun too 😉

  45. “all in” like seriously one of the best mottos ever!!

    so glad you all had such an amazing trip friend!!

  46. Disney Land looks like so much fun! I LOVE your Walt Disney quote: “What ever you do, do it well. Do it so well that when people see you do it they will want to come back and see you do it again and they will want to bring others and show them how well you do what you do.” This is how I try to live my life 🙂

  47. Wow what a great trip. That Cars area looks fantastic! I’m always amazed at how well they are able to recreate the worlds of books and movies at Disney.

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