Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Disney Social Media Moms Conference

I'm reading: Disney Social Media Moms ConferenceTweet this!

I have a bit of history with Disney. You see, back in the late 1980s, a Mickey-loving friend of mine convinced me join her at the on-campus interviews for the Disney College Program. I was graduating a semester early and had some time to kill before my summer of travel, so why not earn a few bucks while spending that time at Disney World?

My friend excitedly told me she aced her interview, whereas I feared they'd never even let me pass through the gates as a guest after I challenged my interviewer on the written application. "I left the clothing size blank because it's illegal to ask that on a job application," I told her with the hubris of a soon-to-be college graduate.

She explained that because the company provides costumes for all employees, they could indeed legally ask that question.


Long story short, my Disneyphile friend did not make the cut and I did. I felt horrible when we shared our news.

So here I am roughly two decades later sharing the news that I am headed to Orlando in March for the Disney Social Media Moms Conference feeling much the same way--awkward.

The registration process was not what Disney promised it would be. Many bloggers (and their families) were upset by the system. I don't know if it was human error, server crashes, secret lists, good luck or something else that led my acceptance, but I got the green light.

I received the news late last Friday night in between carpools. It took time to sink in. Based on the conversations I'd seen on Twitter, I wondered if it was a mistake.

So...I'm going. I'm excited for those who get to join in and truly sorry for those who won't be there.

The Disney folks got flack last year, they're getting flack this year and I'm certain if they choose to host the conference in 2012, they will try to right their wrongs. Any suggestions for the team?

In 2011, I'm only headed to Disney for a matter of days. In the late 80s, I was there for five months working as an attractions hostess at a now defunct Epcot Center attraction. As part of the College Program, I also attended weekly management seminars, eventually earning my Ducktorate in Business from Disney University. It's an actual diploma, signed by Mickey and Donald, complete with a golden seal.

It used to hang in my office, but it's packed away goodness knows where until we are settled in a new house. But I found this old photo. Boy, did I look hot in my Disney-issued bright yellow, nearly see-through, high-waisted pants.

Oh, the stories I could tell! The guests I greeted, the lost children reunited with parents, the secret Disney tunnels I walked through, the rows and rows of strollers I straightened....

It was a good and crazy time; I'm looking forward to creating more Disney memories in March.


~Kristen~ The DVC Mom said...

I understand how you feel awkard, it's a little sad that something so exciting for many of us was marred by the giant headache on twitter. I too wondered if my spot was a mistake. But ya know what, just like all the other moms out there we work hard on our blogs too and should just be thrilled that we got a spot. Chin up and I'll see you in March! Congrats!

Amy @ The Q Family said...

I felt the same way. I felt sorry for the ones who didn't get in but at the same time I'm elated that I can go. I can't wait to meet you again. Our short time in Type A is way too short. :)

CBear said...

Great post. I wasn't picked to go, but you know what - it was what it was, and ce la vie, right? I'm cool with it. I asked @DisneySMMoms for clarification on the process so I know for next time, they told me what happened, and I'm cool with it!

I will just live through all you great gals going and I feel great with that! Just make sure you take good pictures, ok? I'll be sitting here in the snow sure to still be on the ground in Chicago!

here's my post on the issue: i hope i covered with as much class as you!

Leighann of D-Mom Blog said...

I feel like bloggers were trying to get information ahead of time about what the process actually was going to be and Disney was being too tight lipped.

If they wanted to pick and choose, they should have been up front about it. They should have allowed bloggers a day or two to fill out the form and then taken the time to review and select.

But the way that it was being presented was that it may have been first come, first served and it clearly wasn't. Bloggers who were able to log on early weren't selected, but bloggers who got in at the tail end were.

Don't we all talk about "disclosure" a lot? I think that Disney was short-sighted in not disclosing fully what the selection process was going to be.

I for one am not bitter or jealous, but I would have liked a fair shot at a chance to take my family on a vacation that they wouldn't otherwise be getting and to also interact with members of the blogging community as well as get to know Disney inside and out.

I blog about parenting a child with diabetes. My readers ask all the time how they can possibly take a trip such as a Disney vacation and manage their child's medical condition. What a wonderful opportunity it would have been for Disney to include a blogger such as myself.

Will I try for it in 2012? If Disney takes this as a lesson and decides to be upfront about the process and make it easier for people to register, if they say that they in fact are looking for a certain demographic, if they decide that they should spread the wealth and include bloggers who have not attended their conference already, then yes I will.

I hope this year's attendees have a great trip. I completely agree with the comment by Kristen above that it's sad that the excitement of those who did get accepted is marred by the process. But I guess this is a social media lesson that Disney needs to take and address.

New York Chica said...

I definitely feel awkward as well. To know that so many moms are heartbroken is just unbelievable. But I do feel grateful and very lucky to have been chosen. I really thought I was not going and that is how this post came about:
but then I got a late email with the best news ever and wrote this:

I just hope those moms who were rejected get their chance of a lifetime too next year. See you there!

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Tech Savvy Mama said...

Although I was one of the lucky ones who got to fill out the registration form after just 30 minutes, I was unlucky because apparently the spots were filled before they got to my registration. I would have loved to experience Disney Social Media Moms along with you but am thrilled that you get to go and know you will tell me all about it!

Joanna said...

Yeah, I don't know. Maybe because I didn't apply to go to the conference, I have a different view. But when I read through the information provided by Disney, because I'm nosey like that and read it anyway even when I have no intention of going, I did get the impression that not everyone was going to get in, even if they applied at the right time. But that's clearly just me. I was a little surprised by the huge backlash that came on Twitter because I did feel bad for the folks who didn't get to go and really wanted to, but I felt worse that the people who really wanted to go and did get accepted were made to feel like it was a mistake for them to be going. I haven't seen a single person who is going who isn't a great blogger - then again, it's not like I have a complete attendees list or anything. But I don't think that anyone who did make it should be made to feel badly because others aren't going. It's what happens when there are limited spaces. I know some great bloggers didn't get to go, but I'm pretty sure they'll be able to find some other great opportunities.

I guess I'm just full of silver lining. :-)

And wow, those are some hot pants! I hope you saved them! LOL

SuZ said...

Ah, Disney... I worked there for a year in the Imagineering department and loved it. Heck, I have loved Disney since I was little and my Dad would score us free passes thru his buddies at the fire station. I am truly sad that I can't go this year (they said I didn't register in enough time) because its the only conference I had a shot at attending. I really wanted to meet all these fantastic people I work with online... but maybe next year they will have all the kinks worked out or maybe I'll find some of that good luck floating around. Enjoy your trip down memory lane, well, except for those costumes because, damn (!) they were horrible. :)