Healing Power of the Disney Social Media Mom Celebration (Disney SMMC)

The Disney Social Media Moms Celebration (Disney SMMC) is an invitation-only conference gathering social media gurus, bloggers, and fans together at Walt Disney World and Disney Cruise Line. Invites to Disney SMMC are highly sought-after, if not coveted. Don’t believe me? Google Disney SMMC, and you’ll find plenty of blogs offering “insight, tips, and tricks” for how to get invited. [Buyer beware, no one except the conference organizers really know what goes in to selecting attendees.] However, when I received the Disney SMMC invitation, I declined. Why? Well, with an Orlando trip planned for November to attend a conference plus my annual March service trip to Give Kids The World in March, it seemed February’s Disney SMMC was overkill. I changed my mind.

Leanne O'Regan presents during Disney SMMC

Leanne O’Regan presents during Disney SMMC. Photo by Alex Mirabal, courtesy Disney

Disney SMMC Reconsidered

In November my father passed away after a long battle with Alzheimer’s/dementia, thus cancelling one trip to Orlando. After the holidays, our oldest daughter made the difficult decision not to return to college for her second semester of sophomore year. School stress and anxiety was building in our youngest daughter – a high school junior. We then spent Martin Luther King, Jr. day in the ER with my wife due to a shingles virus infection on her face and in her eye. Frankly, the family was in desperate need for a Disney hug. I reached out to the Disney SMMC organizers and asked if I could change my RSVP. She said there was one spot left, and I quickly snatched it up for the family.

Disney SMMC Departure

Disney SMMC took place February 20-26th, 2018 with 3-nights at Walt Disney World and a 3-night cruise on the Disney Dream. I’ll have more specific conference details in later posts. By the time we checked in for our flights, the family was not much better. My wife decided not to come after missing 3-weeks of work due to the shingles virus. She had just returned, and didn’t feel right leaving right away to go to Disney. So it was my daughters and I. Our oldest was still gripped firmly by depression, not getting out of bed, and determined not to come as I checked in for our flights 24 hours before departure. She ultimately came around, I helped her with laundry and packing, and we made it out the door just in time to head to the airport.

Avatar - Flight of Passage during Disney SMMC

Disney SMMC Arrival

The Florida sun and Disney fun helped gradually melt our winter blahs. A private visit to Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom was a highlight. We explored the newest land without crowds, rode Avatar Flight of Passage 2x, Na’vi River Journey once, and had a hearty Pandoran breakfast (complete with Banshee bacon). After the early mornings and late nights at Walt Disney World, we thoroughly relaxed on our 3-night cruise. We loved the daily routine of dinner and a show, and our stop at Castaway Cay was heavenly. We snorkeled and watched a sea turtle munch grass as the sun baked our backs. Family time together during Disney SMMC was what we needed to snap our funk.

Castaway Cay during Disney SMMC

Disney SMMC Re-Entry

We are well aware a trip to Disney is not a cure-all. Once we returned home, both kids were sick after the trip, and the challenges left behind were still waiting for us to deal with. However, we’re determined to hold on to the good feelings we got from Disney SMMC. There may not be characters, rides, and ubiquitous bountiful buffets, but we have the strength of our family. There may still be some sadness, but we also remember the joy and inspiration from this trip. That’s the true healing power of Disney SMMC.

Pixar Joy and Sadness at Disney SMMC

DISCLOSURE: the author attended the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration at a discounted rate, and during Disney SMMC received promotional items.  However, all opinions are those of the author. For more family travel news, reviews, and trip reports, be sure to follow Adventures by Daddy on instagramtwitter and “like” our facebook page too.

About Dave Parfitt

Married, father of two girls, and living in the heart of the Finger Lakes. I'm a runner with a PhD in neuroscience and a passion for travel.