Unlike other more traditional conferences I had heard that the Disney Social Media Moms Conference offered attendees a nice mix of fun and learning. One of the benefits to attending a Disney conference, besides the magic of Disneyland, is getting a sneak peek at new plans from Disney as well as a little park fun.
Tom Staggs (Chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts) along with other Disney employees shared a number of exciting developments across the various Disney properties. These are some of the updates that had me excited:
- A pirate-themed land – Treasure Cove — is opening in Shanghai Disneyland. The likelihood of visiting Shanghai is slim for me but as a big fan of Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean this news is pretty exciting.
- An inside peek at the soon to be opened Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. I was excited to hear that not only the coaster cars are designed to look like mine cars but they are suppose to swing and move independently like mine cars too. How cool! You can see some of the behind the scenes videos on the Disney Park Blog .
- With all the excitement around the film ‘Frozen’ (my own family has fallen under this film’s spell), Disney Cruise Line fans will be excited to hear about new itineraries exploring the chilly Northern Europe.
- The test of MyMagic+ in Disney World has led to a 40 per cent increase in fastpass usage. The fastpass is a staple for our family when we visit either park and I’m looking forward to sharing more news on the MyMagic+ features in future posts. Stay tuned.
- If you haven’t yet visited Cars Land it gives you the feeling of stepping into the movie. Jay Ward (Creative Director Cars Franchise, Pixar Animation Studios) and Kathy Mangum (Executive Producer and Vice President, Walt Disney Imagineering) were two of the conference speakers. It was from them that I learned that Cars Land was originally referred to as Car Land with a focus on California’s retro car culture. It wasn’t until the release and popularity of the Cars film that the park was changed.
- Cars Land wasn’t just a pull from the movie. An Imagineer team took a 10-day road trip along Route 66 to better understand the history, people, and feelings evoked from the area. It’s obvious having visited the parks first hand.
- You have probably heard that Disney World is opening an Avatar-themed land within their Animal Kingdom Park. I must admit that Animal Kingdom is probably the last park on our visit list but the inclusion of Avatar might just change my mind, especially when I heard about an experience that will enable you to ride on the back of a Banshee!
Some pretty exciting things planned in local parks and beyond. But the conference wasn’t all focused on learning about Disney’s magic, it was also about experiencing it.
If you were to ask my family, their favourite treat was the exclusive fastpass their guest badges earned them in the park (when I was visiting with them). Flashing our badges meant hitting some of our favourite rides quickly and often. We had a chance to ride on the new Disneyland Big Thunder Run Railroad. The updated track and interactive experience made an already family favourite even more popular.
We enjoyed a special dinner at the Big Thunder Ranch BBQ one night and in Toontown the next. We experienced a special viewing area for Color Your World and exclusive access to the Matterhorn Bobsled ride at night which was pretty cool. Let’s not forget the private access to Cars Land on the morning of the last conference day. Disney certainly knows how to balance a little learning with a lot of fun.
Beyond the Disney-focused messaging within the conference, I was surprised to learn some great tips on blogging and EverythingMom but that I will share in another post.
Note: Access to the parks and other special features were provided to guests within the conference fee guests had to pay. Transportation was an addional cost.