Our First Disney SMMC Trip
Good things come to those who wait! After writing 45 Disney articles, visiting Walt Disney World countless times, and spreading our love of Disney to everyone we know, 2018 brought about an incredible adventure. My mom (Melody) and I were invited to attend the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration (Disney SMMC), an incredible six day land and sea adventure.
Disney SMMC is an event hosted by Walt Disney World Parks and Cruise Line for writers, bloggers, and digital influencers. For Disney fans, it is the holy-grail of invitations… the ultimate Pixie Dust. Our six days at Disney SMMC were packed full of fun, family bonding, and Disney’s epic plans for the future.
Day 1 of Disney SMMC
Melody and I began our first day of Disney SMMC exploring Animal Kingdom on our own. My husband (Blake) joined us for the day, too. We started our day with a Kilimanjaro Safari, then petted animals at the Affection Section part of Rafiki’s Planet Watch, rode the Na’vi Rvier Journey in Pandora, and took pictures with Mickey and Minnie in their safari outfits. For lunch, we ate at our favorite sit down restaurant, Yak & Yeti. Between the three of us, we had Pork Pot Stickers, Chicken Tikka Masala, Chicken Lo Mein, and the Korean Fried Chicken and Waffle. Around three o’clock, we wrapped up our afternoon at Animal Kingdom and headed to check in to our hotel.
Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort was our home during the Disney SMMC land portion. It is modeled after Spanish Colonial Mexico, using a Southwestern theme, bright colors, and rustic decorations.
Coronado Springs is undergoing a massive renovation so we were provided with special Disney construction trading pins. We happily added them to our pin collection!
Since Melody lives 90-minutes from Disney, we rarely stay on property. It was a huge treat having transportation to all of Disney’s parks right outside of our door. Although it can be a pain to spend a big portion of your day waiting on Disney’s buses and monorails, it is a convenient way to get around the Walt Disney World Resort.
Disney SMMC Kickoff
“To kick off Disney SMMC 2018, we gathered in a beautifully decorated conference room to hear a few words from George Kalogridis, President of WDW Resorts, about the future of the parks and its new openings, including the highly anticipated Toy Story Land. He also announced that 2018 is the year of Pixar, celebrating all of the marvelous stories they have provided for Disney. The Incredibles II comes out this summer and it is going to be a smash!
A night in Cinderella’s castle was given away to one lucky winner. Then, in true Toy Story fashion, we were marched by the green Army Men to a buffet style dinner complete with character photo ops (Monsters, Inc., Inside Out, Toy Story, and The Incredibles) and a preview of the Slinky Dog roller coaster, which had just come back from a visit to Good Morning America in NYC. We filled out patriotic Disney postcards while enjoying our meal to send to the Troops, a special touch.” -Melody
While Melody was at the Disney SMMC Kickoff dinner, Blake and I spent our evening at Magic Kingdom. We made our way through the park playing Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom (our favorite game!), seeing the revamped Hall of Presidents, and having dinner at Pecos Bill (my newest obsession). Instead of fighting for a spot on Main Street to see the Castle projections, we watched the fireworks from Adventureland. Afterwards, Blake and I took a lantern picture (modeled after Tangled) in Fantasyland; a perfect way to end the first day of my Disney vacation and Blake’s last (he headed home early the next morning).
Day 2 of Disney SMMC
Animal Kingdom and Blizzard Beach
Melody and I started day two of Disney SMMC bright and early, with a 6:00 AM pickup time. Animal Kingdom opened early for the Disney SMMC group so we could explore Pandora. This was our favorite part of the trip! For 90-minutes, we had Pandora entirely to ourselves. Melody and I rode Flight of Passage twice, the Na’vi River Journey, and enjoyed a yummy breakfast buffet full of Avatar-themed food. It was a truly magical morning!
When the park officially opened, we witnessed thousands of people rush to Pandora’s rides. It was like nothing we had seen before! Within minutes the wait times were three and four hours long. Melody and I took this opportunity to explore the rest of Animal Kingdom, which was almost entirely empty. The line for Expedition Everest was so short, that I was able to walk up and get right on twice, before 9:30 AM. Afterward, we rode Dinosaur, a first for Melody.
Since our Disney SMMC park tickets included admission to the waterparks, Melody and I stopped by Blizzard Beach. We have been missing out! Blizzard Beach is an adorable waterpark modeled after a ski resort. One waterslide looks like a ski slope and you have to take a lift to get to it. Melody and I enjoyed walking around taking pictures. When we were finished, we caught the bus back to Coronado Springs and took a break to catch up on our social media posts.
Recharged and ready to go, Melody and I boarded a bus to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, my favorite park aside from Magic Kingdom. At noon, we went to Hollywood & Vine for the character lunch buffet. While eating, Minnie, Daisy, Donald, and Goofy stopped by our table to say hello donning their Silver Screen attire. As Melody and I left, we had the chance to take a picture with Mickey, looking dapper in his blue shiny suit.
Our character meetings continued when we lucked out and saw several at the front of the park: Dopey, Tiana, Minnie Mouse, Pinocchio, and Jasmine. We were so excited! Melody and I spent the next few hours exploring Hollywood Studios, checking out the new Galaxy Edge model in Walt Disney Presents, playing Toy Story Mania!, and riding the Rock’n’Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith.
GoGo Squeez so kindly hosted our Disney SMMC dinner at PizzeRizzo. We enjoyed a yummy buffet with a wide array of choices. My favorite item was the Mickey shaped Key Lime Tart. Thanks, GoGo Squeez! We all stuck around for the Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Fireworks show but after thirty minutes with no announcements, it was canceled. We later found out it was due to technical difficulties, but felt bad for all of the other guests at the park who left with no explanation for the cancellation.
Day 3 of Disney SMMC
Magic Kingdom And Epcot
I woke up bright and early for day three of Disney SMMC because I had a breakfast reservation at Magic Kingdom’s Be Our Guest. The park was scheduled to open at 9 AM but since my reservation was at 8:45 AM, I was allowed to enter the park at 8 AM. I spent some time taking pictures and walking down Main Street before the crowds arrived. It was so peaceful!
The Be Our Guest restaurant is modeled after the Beast’s castle in Beauty and the Beast. It is my favorite restaurant in the Magic Kingdom. I tried Lumiere’s Gray Stuff Cupcake and yes, it was delicious! Since Disney SMMC provided us with FastPasses to use, I rode the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train… twice.
Next, I took the monorail over to Epcot to ride some favorite attractions and try out some new ones. When I was finished at Epcot, I met up with Melody to hear about her day. We spent the rest of the evening preparing for our Disney Cruise!
Disney SMMC Land Meetings
“We started off our day with a lovely breakfast buffet at Coronado Springs. Our Disney SMMC land meetings offered materials from several Disney employees (including Bob Chapek, WDW Parks & Resorts Chairman) sharing a sneak peek at what is happening with Disney properties worldwide, Toy Story Land (opening June 30th) and with the highly anticipated Galaxy’s Edge (Star Wars area). We also chatted about newer offerings, such as Marvel Days at Sea.
A lot of our meeting was learning about Disney’s philanthropic efforts with WDW Parks & Resorts Director, John Breckow. He shared stories about one of the park staff’s favorite Make-a-Wish recipients, Richie. Richie’s story moved us all to tears and part of it unfolded in front of our very eyes. I will hold the feelings I had while learning about these Disney stories near and dear to my heart. I felt very special being part of their inner circle, if only for a few days, and carrying away information that would move crowds to tears of happiness and joy.” -Melody
More Disney Excitement
“For the first time, Minnie and Mickey donned their brand new Pixar outfits. Several great gift baskets and Disney merchandise were given away, making for some very happy attendees. Our afternoon treats were Rose gold cupcakes and Temecula Road, an up and coming country music trio, provided musical entertainment.
GoGo Squeez shared a presentation about a big campaign they are working on, “Discover what they’re made of”, and brought along Caleb McLaughlin, Lucas from Stranger Things, as one of their speakers.
That afternoon, families, along with influencers, were invited to a buffet style lunch and a special marketplace with lots of fun and prizes from Alamo, Joffrey’s Coffee, Disney Springs, GoGo Squeez, Babybel, and others. Fashions from A Wrinkle In Time were on display. We had photo ops with Caleb McLaughlin as well as Minnie and Mickey in their new Pixar outfits.” -Melody
Day 4 of Disney SMMC
Star Wars Breakfast And The Disney Dream
We could have not asked for a better start to day four of Disney SMMC; Melody and I headed downstairs to breakfast to find Kylo Ren and Chewbacca waiting to take pictures with us. We then checked out of our room, loaded up our car, and headed to Port Canaveral for the sea portion of Disney SMMC.
Checking in and boarding the Disney Dream was a breeze. Once on the ship, we walked around taking pictures and eating lunch at the buffet. The Disney Dream is absolutely beautiful. The chandelier in the atrium is breathtaking and the attention to detail throughout the ship is spectacular. Disney really outdid themselves!
Our favorite part of the boat was Vanellope’s Sweets and Treats, modeled after Wreck-It Ralph. Here, you can find ice cream, gelato, cookies, candy apples, cupcakes, and more. It is absolutely adorable!
Melody and I had a Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom with a Verandah. Our favorite part of the room was the split bath. One separate area had a bathroom with a vanity and sink while the other area housed the shower and tub plus a vanity and sink. The room also featured a queen-sized bed with plush Euro-top mattress, 22″ LCD flat-screen TV on a swivel arm, two closets, in-room safe, H2O spa bath products, storage under the beds, a leather ottoman that was hollow inside for storage, and a sitting area with a couch, TV, and desk. Together with the Verandah, we had plenty of room to move around and did not feel cramped at all!
Disney SMMC Disney Dream Meet Up
“Our Disney SMMC group gathered in the Evolution bar for a champagne welcome reception and dance party with the Disney Cruise Line staff and a few surprise guests including Minnie, Mickey, Daisy, and Goofy, all dressed in outfits representing the different Disney properties around the world.” -Melody
Exploring The Disney Dream
While Melody was at her meet up, I continued exploring the ship. I ventured into the Oceaneer Lab and Club (for children 3 to 12) and I was blown away by how much fun it was. Kids can listen to stories from their favorite Disney characters, conduct science experiments, make arts and crafts, read books, play video games, create computer-generated characters, watch their favorite Disney movies, and more.
I also found the Midship Detective Agency, an interactive game that involves Enchanted Art throughout the ship. It uses similar technology to Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom, so I was glad to play along.
First Evening On The Disney Dream
Our first evening aboard the Disney Dream was full of cruise activities. Melody and I started with dinner in the Enchanted Garden dining room. I had read online that the room “blooms” throughout the evening but we did not quite see this play out. The highlights of our dinner were the Applewood Smoked Bacon Wild Mushroom Tart and North Atlantic Lobster Ravioli.
Then, we headed to Melody’s favorite cruise activity: trivia. The category was 70’s music and lo and behold, we won. We enjoyed getting to know the adult activity director #TonyFromSpain.
The evening’s show was The Golden Mickeys, fashioned after an awards show. Disney’s Main Stage production shows are Broadway caliber; you should not miss them. We appreciated the variety of characters and music used in the performance, not just the more well-known ones (have you seen The Hunchback of Notre Dame anywhere else?). Overall, we had a great first evening aboard the Disney Dream!
Day 5 of Disney SMMC
After three whirlwind days at Walt Disney World and one onboard the Disney Dream, I spent day five of Disney SMMC relaxing. I woke up early, yet again, to head to the Senses Spa & Salon. I treated myself to the Pamper Package, a 50-minute full body Swedish massage followed by a 25-minute facial. It was delightful! I then enjoyed hanging out at the Quiet Cove (adult pool) working on an article and waiting to hear about Melody’s meetings.
Disney SMMC Sea Meetings
“While our families enjoyed Nassau, we attended Disney SMMC meetings most of the day. Since we were in a theater, the crew provided laptop desks to make our lives much easier. I loved them!
Our first speaker was Leanne O’Regan, Director of Public Relations. She gave away more fun prizes and introduced our guest speakers. We were the first audience to watch the pilot episode of the adorable Muppet Babies coming soon to TV. We then got photography tips from Disney’s Editorial Content Director, Bob Hitchcock.
Next, came another presentation by John Breckow (queue the tears) about Disney’s philanthropical efforts including Hurricane Harvey relief and the Las Vegas Shootings. Disney’s “Share Your Ears” campaign went viral and reached 2 billion via social media potential impressions. Then, John gave us a part two of his Richie story from our first day of meetings. There was not a dry eye in the theater! I was shocked to learn how many wishes Disney grants each year for the Make-A-Wish Foundation (more than 10,000 since the beginning). Rest assured, Disney’s hearts are definitely in the right place; they are very private about the amazing things they do for those in need. Kudos to this incredible company for the amazing things they do behind the scenes; I was blown away!” -Melody
More Magic At Sea
“We also met Ashley Eckstein, creator of the Her Universe clothing empire, whose mission is to create stylish, fashion-forward merchandise for female Sci-Fi fans. Her story was inspiring; about perseverance and finding a need that isn’t being met and doing something about it. She sold her business a few years ago since it had outgrown how much she could handle, but today she has written a beautiful story in her soon to be released book, It’s Your Universe, as being an inspiration to those who need a little push. Besides all that, she was adorable and her fashions, sublime!
You Tuber Brent Rivera was there as well as Olivia Rodrigo and Madison Hu from Disney’s Bizaardvark show. Foodies preferred the food presentations in one of the dining rooms featuring favorite dishes from each Disney cruise ship restaurant, including the Instagram-worthy Vanellope’s Sweets and Treats.” -Melody
Second Evening On The Disney Dream
Truthfully, Melody and I were exhausted by this point. We skipped having dinner in the Royal Palace dining room and oped to eat burgers and fries by the pool. Tonight’s trivia theme was 80’s music. Since Melody insisted that “Under Pressure” was actually “Ice Ice Baby”, we missed that question and didn’t win. Thanks, Mom! The stage production was Beauty and the Beast. It was hands down, the best show that I have ever seen on a cruise ship and even rivals some that I have seen on Broadway. From the music to the costumes and sets, it was phenomenal!
Since it was Pirate Night, we ended day five of Disney SMMC watching the fireworks (Disney is the ONLY cruise ship allowed to have fireworks at sea) and sampling some food off of the Pirate Night buffet. We needed this day of relaxation!
Day 6 of Disney SMMC
Castaway Cay, Bahamas
I treated myself to yet another service at the spa, this time a hot stone massage. When I was done, I met Melody at Quiet Cove and we enjoyed some time at the pool by ourselves since everyone else was on the island.
Finally, we made our way off of the boat to start our day on Disney’s private island in the Bahamas, Castaway Cay (pronounced key). Disney has shuttles that will take you all over the island, which is very much appreciated. We explored the main family beach, saw Minnie in the dance party, ate lunch at Cookie’s BBQ, and then went to Serenity Bay, the adult’s only part of the island. Disney SMMC booked the Castaway Cay Getaway Package for us, so we picked up our rafts and floated out in the ocean for a while, even though the water was cold. Castaway Cay provided a great last day for our Disney SMMC trip.
Final Evening On The Disney Dream
After a day of sunbathing, Melody and I headed to our Champagne Tasting (which we booked on the first day of our cruise) in the PINK: Wine and Champagne Bar. It was a blast! Pen from Thailand explained the history of champagne and then we got to try several different kinds, including an Icy Pop (popsicle in Moët Ice) and Pomegranate Passion (Pama Pomegranate, Passion Fruit Purée, Champagne) mixed drink. Yum! We highly recommend participating in the Champagne Tasting. For $30 we got to sample five different types of Champagne that retail for $15-33 per glass.
Since we won a trivia, we received an invitation to Last Chance Smarty Pants, one final trivia game for all of the winners to see who was the ultimate champion on the boat. Melody proudly represented both of us in the Smarty Pants trivia. #TonyFromSpain made up the rules as he went and it was comical to watch all of the trivia winners struggle during this round. Ultimately, we didn’t win, but a man wearing an “I Met Lil Sebastian” shirt did so we were okay with it (any other Parks and Rec fans?).
Our last dinner was at Animator’s Palate. This was my favorite dining room; I love all of the creative artist decor. Our dinner highlights were the Black Truffle Pasta Purseittes and Garlic and Herb Foccacia bread with a Roasted Garlic Dip. We had to hurry through dinner so Melody could go to Officer Pin Trading. Since she had just started pin trading the week before, she welcomed the opportunity. The final stage show of our cruise was Disney’s Believe. A daughter tries to get her dad to believe in magic and after several run-ins with Disney characters, he finally believes. We enjoyed the show and thought the cast was great.
Afterward, Melody and I headed back to our stateroom where we packed our luggage and prepared to go back to real life.
Ending Disney SMMC
Getting off of the ship was a nightmare. Melody and I opted to walk off of the boat with our luggage but after meeting in the foyer at our designated time, we sat around waiting for an hour to leave the ship. Thousands of us had to fight our way through the cruise terminal and into the customs line. It was one of the most unorganized cruise disembarkations we have ever seen.
Fingers Crossed For Next Year’s Disney SMMC
Overall, Melody and I had a fantastic time at 2018’s Disney SMMC! We loved getting to spend time at both the Disney Parks and on Disney Cruise Line as well as learn about all of the wonderful things the company is doing behind the scenes. We are very appreciative of the opportunity and hope to head back to Disney SMMC next year!
Pin This Post For Later
Taylor Pittman Hardy wrote this article.
Check out some of our other Disney posts:
Walt Disney World Hacks
Ultimate Walt Disney World Planning Guide
We were invited guests of Disney SMMC. Walt Disney World Parks, Resorts, and Cruise Line sponsored part of these special activities.
As always, all opinions and reviews are 100% mine and unbiased.