Disney Social Media Moms (DSMM) conference. It's a four-day conference for social media savvy moms (and dads!), and like all conferences, we'll be attending panels and sessions -- but there are a few things about this conference that make it unique:
1) It's invite-only. Don't ask me what criteria they apply, aside from "you're a mom or dad who blogs or is active on social media". Some people have gotten invited only once, some have received multiple invites, and many have never been invited. Every year hundreds (possibly thousands) of bloggers cross their fingers and pray, but every year only about 150 bloggers get to attend.
2) Your family is invited to attend with you. The conference fee includes 3 other family members (and you can add up to 2 more family members for an additional cost), and although only conference attendees participate in the conference sessions, the conference includes several parties and family activities.
3) The conference will be held at a Disney theme park! In past years it has been held at Walt Disney World, and this year it will be held for the first time at the Disneyland Resort. Not only is it held at a Disney park, the conference organizers have such a close partnership with Disney that conference attendees get park passes and on-site lodging included in their conference fee -- so you end up having a wonderful Disney vacation with some exclusive perks and events for a subsidized price (again, that only applies to a family of 4 -- larger families have to pay extra!).
It's not (just) a promotion fest for Disney, either -- the conference actually has great speakers and panelists. Last year I attended DSMM's On the Road conference in Berkeley (a smaller, 1-day version of the main conference) and I got to listen to Mindee Doney, inventor of Boogie Wipes, as well as other mom entrepreneurs. I left that conference armed with tips for growing a business, increasing brand exposure, conducting interviews, and more. More importantly, that conference left me inspired -- and I'm expecting DSMM to do the same.
When I received the invitation to this year's DSMM conference, I felt a rush of emotions: surprised, happy, excited, flattered, grateful... and stressed. Surprised, because I had actually been invited to this conference 2 years ago but had to decline because the timing and the budget weren't right. I turned down the chance of a lifetime, and I didn't think I'd ever be invited again. Happy and excited, because OMG DISNEYLAND we're going to have so much fun! Flattered and grateful, because it's invite-only and somehow I was chosen among a sea of amazing bloggers. Stressed, because we hadn't budgeted for this, and even though we'd be getting a vacation at a reduced cost, it's still a big cost. We're already going to the UK this summer to visit Alfie's parents, and of course there are the ever present expenses of soccer lessons, dance lessons, music lessons, summer camps, etc..
It's not easy to justify another Disneyland vacation when we've been to Disneyland multiple times before -- in fact the kids were there less than 6 months ago -- so when I told Alfie about the conference, I tried to keep the pleading out of my voice and resigned myself to not going, or at least to attending on my own. But this is why I love my husband -- he took a couple of days to think about it, then out of the blue he called me from the office and said, Let's Do It. Alfie could see how much I wanted to go, so he agreed to splurge, he agreed to use up some of his vacation days, and he agreed to take the kids out of school and follow them around the park while I'm at the conference sessions. Have I mentioned to anyone how much I love my husband?
To make a long story short, 1 month exactly from today, we'll be hopping into the van and driving down to Anaheim for the Happiest Conference on Earth. I can't wait!!