Where Dreams Come True: A Walt Disney World Vacation with Disney SMMC

If there was ever a time that I was desperate for uplifting news, it was the day that the invitation to the 2016 Disney Social Media Moms Celebration came in.  In-route to face the hardest days of my life, I had happy news to carry with me.

We had happy news to carry with us.


Kids are natural joy-spreaders. This superpower is hardwired into the very core of their beings.  Heading with my husband and super-excited children to the most magical place on earth, while clinging to their joy, was indeed enchantment personified.

“The greatest natural resource is in the minds of our children.” ~ Walt Disney


We visited Disney as a family once prior, two and half years ago.  And this recent trip was certainly elevated by staying on Disney Resorts property for the first time.  As guests at Disney’s Beach Club Resort, we experienced the ways in which everything fits together so seamlessly while vacationing on Disney property.  From our Magical Express pickup to utilizing the intuitive MagicBand system, all while being in a short walking distance to Epcot, the magic carried through our charming stay at the resort.


While I attended the #DisneySMMC conference, my husband had a day alone with the children at the Magic Kingdom.  Nearly every text that he sent me was wrapped in glowing superlatives and exclamation marks, which is definitely not his usual tone in communication!  He was thrilled to be off creating a cherished day with our littles – while I had an inside view of what’s to come to Disney.  From inspirational speakers, sensational performances and early looks into movies including “Finding Dory” and “Alice Through The Looking Glass” – my family was completely blown away by the #DisneySMMC experience and the intricate attention to detail that is synonymous with the Disney brand.  We’re excited to continue to share more stories with info gleaned from the conference, including the introduction of a new, resilient, and strong female character- Princess Elena of Avalor – Disney’s first Latina Princess.


Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Image via Disney’s Memory Maker gifted to conference attendees. 

During our stay, we hit up every park from morning till closing, and once again, Walt Disney World treated us in ways that we want to emulate. In a place of long lines and children pining for their turns on rides – every cast member we encountered was patient, kind and helpful; while making each child feel incredibly special.


In just one week, we collected what felt like a lifetime of memories. I imagine that I’ll always remember the children’s wide-eyed wonderment as we stepped onto Main Street USA, where music plays, parades float by, and the scent of fresh cookies streams throughout the warm Florida sky.  Our long list of treasured moments is filled with riding my favorite whimsical ride (it’s a small world) as a family, holding hands through elaborate parades, thrilling rides, and spectacular fireworks. In a place where childhood dreams are built upon seeing Cinderella’s illuminated castle, meeting beloved characters and watching Tinkerbell fly through the night sky – we now understand why some families make Disney a repeat pilgrimage.


The timing and circumstances surrounding our Disney vacation will forever carry tremendous meaning.  According to our five-year-old, this particular trip came to fruition because “Disney and heaven talk to each other.”


Perhaps, he’s right.


A photo posted by Monica (@marinobambinos) on

Thank you to the Disney Social Media Moms team and Walt Disney world for having us at the year’s DisneySMMC. We are grateful to have been included.  As always, all opinions are my own.


Walt Disney World – A First Family Vacation

Seven and a half years ago, my husband and I traveled to Walt Disney World to celebrate our one-year wedding anniversary.  We meshed together memories of our own childhood Disney vacations and imagined a distant trip with our future children.

disney_edited-1Celebrating one year of marriage in June 2006

Bringing Lucia and Adrian to Walt Disney World has been a family dream, and this past December our wishes came true.  We managed to contain the big surprise by using a code word, and I burned the midnight oil designing and sewing a Queen Elsa costume, and packing while little ones were sleeping.  We will forever cherish the video of letting the kids in on our immediate travel plans.  After presenting Lucia with her mama-made Elsa dress and giving the boy a set of Mickey ears, we were off to collect more memories than we could possibly imagine.

traveling to Walt Disney World

I don’t think that there’s a way to accurately describe the sort of palpable magic that exists at Walt Disney World – or the incomparable feeling of seeing your children burst with excitement.

At ages 3 and 6, Adrian and Lucia are in the height of character adoration and the amount of attention that the cast members gave to each child was unbelievable.

In lieu of a birthday party back home in NYC, we surprised the kids with a special character lunch at Cinderella’s Royal Table at the Magic Kingdom to celebrate Lucia’s upcoming sixth birthday.  The experience was absolutely unforgettable, as the beloved Disney Princesses master being present with each child in a way that makes them feel incredibly special.   It was truly childhood enchantment at its finest – described by Lucia as the best day of her life.

disneydisney 1disney 2Cinderella's Royal Table Disney World

Venturing to Epcot to find Queen Elsa and Anna at Norway Pavilion was also a top priority!  The children have been Frozen obsessed ever since we were lucky enough to attend a Frozen Movie screening with Idina Menzel.   Meeting Elsa and Anna was an absolute dream moment for Lucia and Adrian.

frozen Epcot Centerfrozen at epcotphoto(14)visiting Elsa and Anna at Epcot Center

There was so much joy in exploring The Magic Kingdom and Epcot.  Adrian loved Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin and driving a car around the race track at Tomorrowland Speedway in the Magic KingdomLucia’s Magic Kingdom favorites were Under The Sea Journey of the Little Mermaid, and dancing with Stitch at Club 626 Stitch’s Dance Party.  The kids met Mickey and friends at the Epcot Character Spot in Epcot, and we all loved venturing through Epcot’s enchanting international pavilions.

dumbo disney worlddriving disneyWalt Disney World Magic Kingdom Cinderella's Casltemeet minnie mouse at epcot centerariel's grotto disney world

Even stolen moments of parental rest and recharge time were memorable.

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We experienced many acts of over the top kindness – that exemplified the kind of beauty that is inherent with being a part of Disney.  Amidst an incredible line to visit Merida at Fairytale Gardens – we watched staff members direct visitors to clear a path for Merida to escort a child all the way out of Fairytale Gardens.  Merida chatted with the little girl the entire time and her parents had tears streaming down their faces.  These sorts of magical moments are not few and far between at Disney.

merida at magic kindgdom brave merida at disney

I’ll forever remember my children’s wide-eyed wonder in experiencing the beauty of Cinderella’s illuminated castle and seeing Tinkerbell fly through the night sky.  Our long list of treasured moments is filled with holding hands through elaborate parades, sensational performances and spectacular fireworks.  I shed tons of happy tears.  We were pleasantly surprised by the unexpected perspective that Walt Disney World gave us.  In a place of lines and business, every single Disney team member was incredibly kind, patient and welcoming. From Kathy P. at Cinderella’s Royal Table to the present and gracious cast members – Walt Disney World treated us in ways that we want to emulate.

Cinderella's Castle-Disney-World Magic Kindgdom Fireworksdisney parademickey mouse epcotwalt disney world magic kingdom

There isn’t a day that has since passed when the children don’t speak of Disney.  Adrian repeatedly asks if he’s woken up tall enough to go on the rocket ship ride and Lucia greatest hope is to return again someday.  In a few whirlwind days, we stored up an incredible amount of cherished family memories.

Memories of enchantment and real life magic that are a treasured piece of our family story.

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Special thanks to Walt Disney World for providing two one-day park-hopper tickets for review purposes.  Opinions, as always, are strictly my own.