Disney Social Media Moms On The Road Chicago: #DisneySide

June 29, 2014

In late spring I received my invite to Disney Social Media Moms On The Road Celebration in Chicago. It would be an understatement to say I was excited. We love all things Disney. It is a great honour for all my hardwork on social media to be recognised like this. It can take a long time to build up a faithful following on instagram, unless you use an instagram bot of course!
I ran the Disney Princess half marathon last year at Walt Disney World and we made a vacation out of it. One of my earliest childhood memories was from a family trip to Walt Disney World. I have photos of my brother and I standing in front of Cinderella’s Castle, and I relived that memory with my son. Showing my #DisneySide is a way for me to recreate my fondest childhood memories and share them with Gabe.

So what is Disney Social Media Moms On The Road Celebration?
This year Disney Social Media Moms held conferences in Chicago, Philadelphia, and Phoenix. Everyone applies to get in and spots fill up fast. Disney Social Media Moms doesn’t just include moms, there were a few dads in attendance too. We spent the day listening to Disney employees, and various other speakers talk about practical uses of social media. We were each responsible for our own travel expenses and lodging, but the conference was free. They hosted a few really neat giveaways, and everyone received a “swag bag” full of goodies. Many attendees are hopeful that they will be invited to attend the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration held in the spring at Walt Disney World or Walt Disney Land.

jessica urgellesdisney parks gary

Here are a few of my Instagram photos, you can find more using the #DisneySMMoms hashtag

The Chicago event was held at the beautiful Hyatt Lodge on the McDonald’s campus. The hotel was stunning and the grounds were impeccable. They served a plated breakfast and we used that free time to say hello to one another. Everyone was so friendly, and I got to see a few old friends and make some new ones.
The speaker lineup varies between locations. Our agenda included:
  • Jamie Langdon, Walt Disney World Public Relations and Social Media Manager
  • Leanne Jakubowski O’Regan Director of Social Media Disney Parks
  • Gary Buchanan Walt Disney World Social Media Managing Editor
  • Jenn Fickley-Baker Walt Disney World Social Media Manager
  • Lori Lorenz Senior Director Direct Print Services Hewlett Packard
  • Michelle Stepney Content Director Disney Parks Global Content Development
  • Lily Winnail Padalily
  • Alicia Overby Baby Elephant Ears
  • Maria Bailey MomTV
  • Nick Weiland Huggies Mom Inspired
  • Ramon De Leon Senior Social Strategist Rise Interactive
  • Surprise Guest: Mickey Mouse!

jessica urgellesmickey mouse

It is hard to choose a favorite speaker in the crowd, but I really enjoyed Ramon De Leon (pictured with me in the bottom left photo). I am always drawn to someone with a good back story; the former pizza delivery guy turned businessman was nothing short of impressive. (It is hard to remain impartial when someone highlights your twitter conversation with them during their speech) You can read more about him in this Chicago Tribune article.

He and I “met” on Twitter before the conference. I had been following the #DisneySMMoms hashtag and so had he. We had a brief conversation via Twitter and that was the end of it… or so I thought.

Ramon is a talented social media strategist. He understands how to build a brand on social media and develops best practices. He used our conversation on Twitter to discuss social media engagement, similarly to companies such as Salesforce, who understand how important interaction and social media as a whole is for any business/brand. I typically post tweets and re-tweet on Twitter, but I struggle with follower engagement. Ramon actively engages his followers and because of this he has a strong social media presence. If I am going to get bigger on Instagram then I think I will need to get instagram followers from Buzzoid. Hopefully, this can generate more buzz around my posts!

I listened to Ramon and try to implement his social media practices as much as possible. Since Disney Social Media Moms I have had a steady growth of followers on Twitter and I believe it is because I listened and implemented things Ramon discussed. Some of my new Twitter followers are now readers on my blog and that helps to build my brand. A commenter also once told me that I should start vlogging some daily life every now and then to upload to YouTube considering the YouTube platform is so big, there’s one issue with that though, I’ve spent my time growing all of my other social media, can I really jump into another saturated platform and hope for the same growth? Sure the cross-platform aspect will help grow my other media with audiences from other places, but how long should I really put into growing a YouTube? Or should I be looking at giving myself a little boost, maybe if I were to comprar inscritos youtube I’d feel a little less stressed about trying to build another platform from the ground up.

It was a fantastic conference and I look forward to many more #DisneySide adventures with my family. If you are interested in apply for next year’s On The Road event check out Disney Social Media Moms.

Our “Knight” at Medieval Times: Family Travel Review & Giveaway

June 23, 2014
This post is sponsored by Medieval Times Schaumburg, Illinois 
Do you love knights, horses, wenches, and good food? If you do, you should take your family to Medieval Times. My family and I were invited to attend an event for bloggers, and we had so much fun.

Medieval Times Chicago

When you arrive they will assign your seats, and the sections are labeled to support a specific knight. We were assigned to the black and white knight. We had a few minutes to browse around before they began seating.

They have lots of fun medieval themed memorabilia. My son fell in love with a wooden shield that was painted with a crest and I purchased it for him.

Medieval TimesMedieval Times Chicago

Here are two of my Instagram photos but there are several more if you search using #MedievalTimesChi

When they called for our sections, we headed to our seats. We sat on the front row near the middle of the arena, we had a phenomenal view.

Medieval Times Chicago
Our “man wench” is pictured on the left

We were greeted by our “man wench” for the evening. He was our server and was responsible for plating our dinner.

Our dinner consisted of:

  • Lemonade or Soda
  • Tomato Bisque Soup
  • Roasted Chicken
  • Spare Rib
  • Garlic Toast
  • Apple Puff Pastry

I was impressed with our dinner. I can definitely be a food snob. I have been to a few other “dinner and a show” type businesses, and generally the show outshines the food. I worried that the food wouldn’t be good, but we were pleased. The tomato bisque was tasty. The roasted chicken was well seasoned and moist, and the rib was equally delicious. The chicken portion was huge. The apple puff pastry was just sweet enough to give me my sugar fix for the evening. I finished off my meal with a warm cup of coffee.

We faithfully cheered for our assigned knight. It was fun to watch him compete in the “games” including jousting and sword fighting. When the knights rode by my 4.5 year old son would yell and cheer, “I love you guys.” The best part of evening was watching his facial expressions while they were competing. He would get anxious and excited trying to cheer for his favorite knight.

Medieval Times was a family friendly venue with good food and a terrific show. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them. They offer special prices and packages for celebrations, and they can help make the celebration extra special.

If the dinner and a show wasn’t enough to attract your attention, philanthropic efforts of the company should add to their appeal. Medieval Times donated $10 from every ticket sold on Thanksgiving Day to the Red Cross Relief Fund in the Philippines. The company paid for several knights to hand deliver the funds and they helped rebuild schools destroyed by Hurricane Haiyan.

Medieval Times has locations in:

  • Atlanta, Georgia
  • Baltimore/Washington D.C.
  • Buena Park, CA
  • Chicago, IL
  • Dallas, TX
  • Lyndhurst, NJ
  • Myrtle Beach, SC
  • Orlando, FL
  • Toronto, ON

We have family trips planned to several cities that have Medieval Times locations, and we hope to add them to our schedule.

To check out show times, prices, and locations follow Medieval Times on social media.

Medieval Times Chicago which is located in Schaumburg, Illinois donated four passes to giveaway on my blog.

There are a few restrictions:

  • Passes are only good at the Schaumburg location.
  • Valid for shows Sunday through Thursday
  • Valid for 6 months from 5/21/14
  • Non-Transferrable and can not be copied.
  • Upgrade packages are additional
  • Voucher has no cash value and can not be replaced if lost or stolen
  • Additional adjacent seats maybe purchased at time of redemption
  • Gratuity is not included
  • Reservations must be made 48 hours in advance
Good luck everyone!