I recently returned from the fifth annual Disney Social Media Moms Celebration, and this year like each year in the past left me feeling inspired. Quite honestly, every visit to Disney Parks fills me with inspiration. Whether I’m learning about the incredible dreamer, thinker, and innovator Walt Disney or simply recharging my own batteries with much needed family time, it’s impossible to pass a day in the parks without being inspired.
What has left me fascinated, however, is how differently both the conference and the parks touched me this time. When I first visited the parks with my children, I had only been blogging for five months. I very easily left my work obligations for the week and was shocked to find that an amazing opportunity had passed me by during those few short days off the grid. I participated in a planning session for the first DSMMC the next year, and my professional life seemed to be growing exponentially, far beyond that one missed chance. Over the next few years I found myself buying new website domains during conference sessions, jotting down business ideas on notepads while listening to speakers, taking client calls while running to catch the monorail with my family.
This year I came to Disneyland Resort and the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration with a different perspective, but once again found incredible inspiration. My star is no longer rising. I’ve enjoyed success beyond my wildest imagination and have consciously, carefully chosen to shift my focus away from the professional. Yet it seems that the incredible speakers at this year’s event met me exactly where I was as they have always done.
I listened as Maxine Clark, founder of Build-a-Bear Workshop (among many other incredible accomplishments) spoke about life changing moments that led up to the creation of her globally recognizable brand. She wondered at mid-life if she had “found her sun,” and I found myself wondering the same thing. What is the center of my universe now? What should it be?
I watched as Disney Social Media genius Gary Buchanan paced the stage sharing glimpses into his brilliantly creative mind. I’ve heard Gary speak before, but this time I listened to him differently as he shared his favorite Walt Disney quote: “If you’re coasting, it means you’re going downhill.” I could picture myself on Tomorrowland Speedway, tires hitting against the safety rail. Maybe I wasn’t coasting. Maybe I was desperately wishing I could change tracks.
I felt the passion in Donald Driver’s voice as he told us he had reached every goal he had ever set professionally. He accomplished all he could ever want to accomplish. Now his goals in life are to love his wife the way she deserves to be loved and be the father to his children that they need him to be.
When Walt conceived Disneyland Park, he set out to create a space where children and parents could have fun together. He sat on a bench and watched his daughters on a carousel, wondering to himself what it would be like if a place existed where both children and parents could enjoy the attractions, making memories that would last a lifetime. Disney Parks are inspired spaces, brought to being from the dreams of one man and the creative inertia that that man sent out into the world. At the heart of all that inspired him was his love for his family. So it should come as no surprise that as Disney Parks continue to inspire me — as a mother, as a businesswoman, as a writer — that inspiration blends my dreams for my future with my renewed focus on my family.
How will Disney inspire you?
Thank you to Disney Parks for covering some expenses related to my family’s trip including park tickets and room stay. All opinions are my own.