Showing posts with label DisneyOTR. Show all posts
Showing posts with label DisneyOTR. Show all posts

Welcome to 2016!

With the turning of the calendar, a new chapter in the book life is about to be written.  I thought I would take some time to look back on my resolutions from my "Happy New Year" post from this time last year and reflect a bit before setting my goals and resolutions for this year.

  • Maintain balance between wife, mom, daughter, Kristi, and Assistant Principal.  Juggling multiple roles can be exhausting and I want to do my best to prioritize and make time for each of these important responsibilities in my life. - This is probably still my biggest struggle moving forward into 2016.  Keeping up with two kids, a full time job, my house and husband, and still making time for me is never easy.  I think as I move forward this year, this is going to continue to be an area I focus on with my resolution being to be present in every moment.  When I'm at home with my husband and kids, be at home and enjoy them.  When I'm working out, use that opportunity to clear my head and focus on me.  And when I'm at work, give 110% there so I can also have time for my family when I get done.

  • Run a half-marathon.  After the pregnancy, I've decided to set an ambitious training goal to force me to get off the couch and back into shape.  My plan is the Wine and Dine Half-Marathon in November.  Which leads me to Resolution #3. . . - At the end of the year, I'd have to say I half accomplished this goal.  The Wine & Dine Half-Marathon was shortened because of storms in the area to only 6.72 miles.  In 2016, I will run a half-marathon!  Currently, I'm planning to take part in the King Crab Challenge which includes the Frederick Half-Marathon in May, the Baltimore 10-miler in June, and the Baltimore Half-Marathon in October.  

  • Somewhere Disney.  If you know anything about me by now, you know that I need to feed my Disney addiction with a yearly trip.  Dan and I are celebrating our 5 year anniversary this year and are planning either a long weekend getaway to the Food and Wine Festival in November or a short DCL trip in October. - Well, we ended up blowing this one out of the water with a surprise last-minute trip to Walt Disney World with the kids for a week in July where we stayed at Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa.  My husband and I have different memories of this trip, but I say it was fabulous!  We then also went in November for a long weekend for the runDisney Wine & Dine Half-Marathon weekend where we stayed at the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek. The Food & Wine Festival was a fun time and I can't wait to participate in another runDisney race.  Sadly, it doesn't look like a trip to Walt Disney World or Disney Cruise Line is in our budget for this year, but my trip in November means that I'll still be eligible to apply for the 2017 Disney Parks Moms Panel and my husband has already tentatively given me the green light for a Disney trip in February 2017 to participate in the Princess Half-Marthon Weekend.  

  • Continue blogging and interacting with the social media community.  2014 was a first for me with beginning a blog and actually using Twitter.  I've had an amazing time connecting through these outlets and hope to build my skills and followers in the year to come.  If you don't currently follow me on Twitter, please do @dsnyrunrgrl.  I've also applied to host a #DisneySide @ Home Celebration and submitted my interest to be selected for the #DisneySMMoms On the Road Conference - fingers crossed!  And hopefully I'll make it past R2 in the Disney Parks Moms Panel Search this Fall. - This is another area where I feel like I exceeded even my own expectations.  My blog readership increased exponentially this year and my Twitter following has grown from under 100 at the beginning of 2015 to over 1,000 by the end of the year.  I've also entered into the world of Instagram.  I was so excited to host a DisneySide at Home Celebration in February and even more humbled and grateful for the chance to attend the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration On the Road in New York City.  This year, the Disney Parks Moms Panel search ended with an exit in Round 1, but it was exciting to chEAR on some amazing friends who were fortunate enough to make the panel this year and maybe next year will be my chance to be a part of the magic!  

2015 was a year of exciting changes personally too with the addition of our youngest son Caleb in February and purchasing a new home in January.  The beginning of the new year always brings excitement and anticipation and I hope that 2016 brings pixie dust and blessings to my family and yours!  Happy New Year!

My Top 5 Posts of 2015

Here are my top 5 blog posts of 2015!  Any of these among your favorites??

5.  2015 Disney Social Media Moms Celebration - This was a highlight of my year!  I felt like I learned so much from the wonderful presenters and speakers.  A big "thank you" to BSM Media and the Disney Social Media team that organizes this event.  It was due in part to their inspirational messages and powerful content that I saw the growth I did this year!

4.  runDisney - Creating Me Version 2.0 - I was surprised at first that this was on my top 5 list.  This was a pretty personal blog post about why I was training for a runDisney half-marathon and the ups and downs of my training.  It meant a lot to me, but didn't realize that it would speak to so many others.  I think everyone who runs, runs for their own reasons and regardless of where you are in your training journey, everyone experiences the highs and lows of training.

3.  What is the Disney Parks Moms Panel? - This blog post could really have been one simple sentence - they are simply the most awesome vacation planning resource ever!  The men and women who make up this panel are fabulous individuals who are genuinely enthusiastic and knowledgeable about all things Disney Parks.  If you haven't visited them, be sure to check them out and submit any questions you have!

2.  How to Organize Your Disney Vacation Plans - Even with the advent of My Disney Experience, I still rely on a good old fashioned table and some spreadsheets to make sure all of my plans line up the way I want.  I'm happy that my ideas have hopefully helped others plan a magical vacation for their family as well.

And drumroll please. . .

1.  runDisney Wine & Dine 2015 - My first runDisney experience was fabulous, even though it was not the race I was expecting.  I would highly recommend a runDisney race to anyone and literally cannot wait for the chance to participate in another one hopefully sometime soon!

Great Apps for Capturing Your Memories!

While at the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration in New York City last month, we were shown two great apps that I have thoroughly enjoyed using over the past few weeks.  In my opinion, both of these apps provide a great way to capture favorite memories and experiences.

The first app is Magisto.  When using Magisto, you add your photos and videos then choose a theme and background music.  The way the app puts everything together is out of your control so you can't choose what you want to go first, second, etc.  However, I think you'll enjoy the way everything comes together for a final project.  This is a video that I created from our recent trip to a Baltimore Orioles game.  There is a free version of the app available, but what you are seeing here is the pro version though.  We received a code to get the premium version of the app free for one year "magistotrial12" which you can also use!  

The second app is Videolicious.  Similar to Magisto, Videolicious takes videos and photos to create a finished product.  One big difference is that you control the order in which your media files are displayed as well as the timing.  Here, you'll see Brody talking about what he is most excited to see and do on our upcoming Walt Disney World trip.  As you can see, some of my pictures were cut off.  Videolicious works best with photos and videos shot in landscape - something I'll have to keep in mind in the future.  I put this video together using the free version of the Videolicious app, but they have plenty of upgrades for purchase that look like neat tools.

Both apps are enjoyable and, if you're anything like me, you can easily spend an afternoon playing and reliving some great memories.  I hope that you have fun with these two apps!

What's Happening with Disney Parks

During the opening presentation of the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration On the Road New York City event, we were given a recap of some exciting happenings around Disney Parks and their vacation destinations.  Here are a few highlights:

Disneyland Diamond Anniversary Celebration – That’s right!  Disneyland is turning 60 years old this year and the celebration is one that only Disney can throw!  The castle shimmers in special diamond decorations while Paint the Night Parade captivates young and old alike.  Disneyland is special in the hearts of all Disney fans and a celebration of this magnitude is well deserved.  Sleeping Beauty's Castle even received a makeover for the big birthday bash!

Disney Cruise Line Returns to NYC – In 2016, Disney Cruise Line will be returning to New York for a series of cruises that tour the New England coast and Canada.  There are also cruises out of New York to the Bahamas including a stop at Walt Disney World!  This is great news for those in the Northeast who can get all of the magic of a Disney cruise vacation but without the airfare.  There are very limited sailings offered for these unique cruise itineraries, so be sure to check them out soon!

Seeing Europe by RiverAdventures by Disney has entered the popular European market of River cruising.  For those of you unfamiliar, Adventures by Disney offers non-Disney destination vacations with the service and quality you’d expect from the industry leader in each.  Perfect for kids and adults who want to leaving the planning to the professionals, Adventures by Disney offers escapes on multiple continents including African safaris, exploring the Grand Canyon, and now cruising the river waters of Europe. 

Disney Marketing Campaigns – Disney knows how to reach it’s audience and is always trying to create new fans.  The #DisneySide campaign is still going strong which encourages everyone to show their #DisneySide – whatever that might mean to you!  More specific to traveling to Disney parks, Disney is hoping to reach out to parents of toddlers and preschoolers with it’s #DisneyKids campaign that showcases just how magical a trip to Walt Disney World can be for even the youngest members of the family.  In addition, they have also launched the #GrandDisney campaign which reminds us that “children are a blessing, but grandkids are a reward.”  Both of these show us that you are never too young or too old to enjoy a Disney Parks vacation.

Disney is always growing and changing which is why I can go every year (sometimes twice a year!) and constantly find new ways to enjoy the parks.  For all the latest Disney news watch the Disney Parks Blog (  What are you most looking forward to about your next Disney vacation?

Behind the Magic at the New Amsterdam Theatre

As part of the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration On the Road event in New York City, we were treated to a backstage tour of the New Amsterdam theatre.  Currently, the New Amsterdam Theatre, located on 7th Avenue and 42nd Street, is home to Disney’s Broadway hit, Aladdin.  While the show is relatively new to Broadway, the New Amsterdam theatre has a rich history and Disney has a tradition on Broadway that spans more than two decades.

We learned how they make miniature stages to plan out scenery and character placement.
The theatre itself was built in 1903 in the Art Nouveau style.  I’m not an architect or an artist, but I can say that it’s beautiful.  To give you an idea of the opulence and beauty inside the theater, it cost more than a million dollars to build back at the turn of the 20th century - think about how much that was back then!  Inside the theatre soft, muted colors and natural theming abound.  The theatre is also curvilinear meaning that you will rarely find a straight line inside.  While the theatre's history on Broadway has both its ups and downs, Disney has worked with the City of New York to restore this gem and keep it a treasured landmark of Old Broadway. 

Our tour guide shared lots of details about each Disney on Broadway show.
Enough of the history – let’s get to the fun stuff!  Disney on Broadway offers a Behind the Magic Tour of the theatre to groups of 10 or more.  We were treated to this unique and entertaining tour as part of our day.  The highlight of the tour (for me at least) was visiting the prop room.  Not only did we get the chance to see Broadway props and costumes from hits like Beauty and the Beast, Mary Poppins, The Little Mermaid, and The Lion King, but we also got to try them on and play with them.  Fun fact – the lioness headdress that I’m wearing below costs $7,000! 

The prop room was nothing short of amazing!

A big part of what I love about Disney is they know how to tap into the kid in all of us.  While I haven’t had the chance to see a Disney production on Broadway before, I now have a new appreciation for the work of the Disney team to bring magic to life each and every night.  I hope to be back soon for a night out on the town!

Disney Bounding - Show your #DisneySide!

Disney Bounding is a term that even some of the more experienced Disney travelers don't know.  This is all about fashion and brining a little #DisneySide to your day without looking like you're a cartoon character.

The idea behind Disney Bounding is to dress in outfits that are "inspired" by a Disney character.  One quick search on Pinterest will give you lots of great ideas.  I've started to compile some of my favorites on a Pinterest board to keep an eye out for pieces as I shop.

I made my first attempt at Disney Bounding this past Monday for the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration On the Road in New York City.  Here I am with Mickey. . .can you tell which character I'm going for??

If you guessed Belle, you'd be correct!  She is one of my favorite Disney princesses and the one I probably relate to the most.  This look is the classic small town Belle.  I have her signature blue dress and paired it a white cardigan.  I also wore black flats (which of course you can't see) to complete a simple Disney Bounding attempt.  The beauty of Disney Bounding is that it's like a little secret among Disney fans.  You wouldn't know that I'm Disney Bounding by the outfit above, unless you knew to look for it.  Periodically working Disney Bounding into your wardrobe is both a fun and fashionable way to share your #DisneySide!  Try it out and enjoy!!

2015 Disney Social Media Moms Celebration On the Road Recap

I felt as though I was still flying in a cloud of pixie dust from that magical email that had arrived about 3 weeks earlier inviting me to attend the #DisneySMMC event in New York City.  And it’s a good thing.  I needed all the pixie dust (and coffee!) I could find when my alarm went off at 2:30 AM on Monday, June 15.  With a spoonful of sugar to help the coffee go down and a Disney Bounding outfit ready to go, I boarded a 4:25 AM train out of Maryland and was on my way to the Big Apple. 

The New Amsterdam Theatre in New York City

"Genie, I wish for an amazing conference." Wish granted!

The day began with registration, breakfast, “swag bags,” a photo op, and pin trading all before 8:30 AM.  This was a great way to kick off the celebration and begin conversations with fellow bloggers and social media moms.  Unfortunately, nobody was interested in my pin so, alas, no pin trading for me – but the photo op and props added a great deal of fun as everyone showed their #DisneySide.

The props at the Disney photo booth were a lot of fun!
Yummy breakfast. . .and the much appreciated coffee!!

The event was held at the New Amsterdam Theatre, which is home to Disney’s Broadway production of Aladdin.  Promptly at 8:30 AM, we were invited upstairs to make our Broadway debut as we found our seats on stage at the theatre for the conference to begin.  Leanne O’Regan began the day with a welcome and a brief overview of some of the upcoming magic at Disney Parks and other vacation destinations in the Disney family.  I’ll have more on that in a later post!

Leanne welcoming us to he conference.

Ready to learn!
The learning component of the conference was made up of a series of speakers from both Disney and other brands speaking to us about building our brand and presence on social media.  Some of my favorite tips of the day included:

  • Make lists to get creative.  When you force your brain to list 10 - 12 ideas, you push past logic and see where your creativity can take you. - Jenn from the Disney Parks Blog (@DisneyParksJenn)
  • Apps like Magisto and Videolicious allow you to turn your photos and videos into professional looking content quickly and easily. - Victoria Lim (@VictoriaLim)
  • Tweet on trending topics, but through the lens of your brand. - The editing team from Babble (@Babble) 
  • Be personal, be creative, and craft a unique voice. - Melissa Kraxenberg (@ladyandprince) 

The day wrapped up with a visit from the mouse himself, Mickey!  Then we received a special surprise – a backstage tour of the New Amsterdam theatre.  There was so much history and fun packed into that tour that I’m dedicating a separate post to that later on.

I'm like a little kid. . .thrilled to have a photo op with Mickey Mouse!

Sadly, the day came to end all too quickly.  But our “swag bags” gave us lots of goodies to remember the day and embrace our #DisneySide.  As someone relatively new to the world of social media and blogging, the event was such a great opportunity to learn from some amazing speakers and gave me lots of ideas to take back and improve my blog.  And, the Disney fan in me enjoyed every pixie-dusted surprise of the day!
Thanks for a great day!

I'm Going On The Road!

The Friday before Memorial Day weekend is generally a reason for celebration.  It signals the start of summer, warmer weather, and the beginning of a holiday weekend to remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country.  The weekend also carries with it cookouts and time with family and friends.  But this year, that particular Friday was sprinkled with a little extra magic.

"Kristi, you just received a pixie dusted email.  What are you going to do know?"

I'm going to the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration in New York City!

Each year, Disney celebrates bloggers and social media mom influencers with a conference in either Disneyland or Walt Disney World plus a few other one day celebrations known as "On the Road" events.  Invites to each of these are anxiously anticipated and highly coveted!  No one quite knows the magic formula to get invited to one of the conferences as invitees range from novices in the world of social media to some big time bloggers and individuals with thousands of Twitter followers.  This year, by the grace of some Disney magic, I've been invited to attend Disney Social Media Moms Celebration On the Road in New York City.  I couldn't have been more excited to see that little ol' me was invited after just beginning my journey into the world of blogging a little over a year ago.

So what am I hoping to take away from the day?

Disney Surprises! - Everything Disney does is done well!  I can't wait to see the magic and surprises that await us in NYC.  Even though the conference is only 5 hours, I'm sure it will be packed with all of the special Disney touches that only Disney can do.

Learning - I am certainly new to the world of social media and blogging.  While my Twitter, Instagram, and blog following have grown a lot in the past few months, I have a lot to learn to continue my journey in the world of social media!

Meeting Friends - The Disney social media community is so wonderful and supportive.  Between Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook I feel like I've come to know some great ladies (and some Disney Dads too!) who are as passionate about Disney as I am even though we've never met.  Half the fun of yesterday, was celebrating with others invited and planning to say "hi" in the Big Apple!

In the weeks ahead, look for posts as I get ready to attend and then, of course, some follow-up posts on what I learned!  And for those of you on social media, follow the excitement by looking for #DisneySMMC and #Disney OTR on Twitter and Instagram.