What I Ate, Wore and Saw on My Trip to the Pacific Northwest – Disney Social Media Moms #DISNEYSMMC

Vacations are the best!! Restaurants, dressing up, going out late and best of all…no housework!

My husband and I headed up to Portland for the #DisneySMMC, Disney Social Media Moms On-the-Road Conference but first we took a few stops. We flew into Seattle, drove to Gig Harbor to stay with friends, then finished up in Portland. For my first trip to the Pacific Northwest, I didn’t have to bring an umbrella or a rain jacket because the weather was in the high 80s! Beautiful bright blue, clear skies so I could dress pretty much as I do at home in San Diego. I decided on a color palette of black, white and red (with a dash of hot pink) to keep things simple and still “Disney-fied!”

My husband and I opted to share many of our meals most of the trip so we could try as many different flavors as possible. Fortunately we were able to agree on dishes and we only experienced amazing meals for the entire 4 days. Here is our adventure:


First time visiting the north #seattle skyline #tmom

A photo posted by Julie Bigboy (@juliebutterfly2000) on

Day One – Seattle – We flew out of San Diego at 6:30 am. I wore a black tank under this fun and quirky reversible Mickey top from I liked that it was a nice lightweight layer and that I was able to turn it inside out (two shirts in one). I wore this top throughout the entire trip, it was very versatile. Plus it features classic Mickey!

What I Ate, Wore and Saw on My Trip to the Pacific Northwest - Disney Social Media Moms #DISNEYSMMC

My reversible Mickey shirt, complements from

We explored Pike Place Market in the afternoon. I was a bit concerned that it would smell like seafood everywhere (as I wrote about in my post on Traveling Mom) but there was plenty to eat besides fish. We shared a sandwich at Le Panier and each splurged on a pastry. 

What I Ate, Wore and Saw on My Trip to the Pacific Northwest - Disney Social Media Moms #DISNEYSMMC

As we headed out of Pike Place Market, we stopped at an information booth and my husband asked where we could find the best fish and chips. The guy pulled out a map and quickly told us where to drive. 

What I Ate, Wore and Saw on My Trip to the Pacific Northwest - Disney Social Media Moms #DISNEYSMMC

We drove for what seemed like forever, ending up in Edmonds, which I don’t think was where the guide had directed us to go (since it was completely off the map!) We shared a late lunch, a plate of light and flaky fish and chips at Arnie’s Restaurant which overlooked Puget Sound. 

What I Ate, Wore and Saw on My Trip to the Pacific Northwest - Disney Social Media Moms #DISNEYSMMC

Our hotel was in Bellevue. By the time we headed out for dinner, it was nearly 8pm. We drove into the downtown area and dined at the Tap House Grill. We sat at the bar and ordered a burger platter to share. Fresh ground beef with cheddar and fries…this was heaven.  Tap House Grill features 160 beers on tap, the largest number in the Northwest. I discovered that I love the ciders, especially the very refreshing Wyders Pear Cider. We had the best bartender ever and he even comped my husband’s beer because he liked it so much!

  Who are these people, going out to dinner at nearly eight?! People on vacation without kids, that’s who!! #tmom   A photo posted by Julie Bigboy (@juliebutterfly2000) on

What I Ate, Wore and Saw on My Trip to the Pacific Northwest - Disney Social Media Moms #DISNEYSMMC

We returned to the hotel and nibbled dessert, Rainier cherries purchased that morning at the Pike Place Market.

What I Ate, Wore and Saw on My Trip to the Pacific Northwest - Disney Social Media Moms #DISNEYSMMC

Rainier cherries in Washington

Day Two – Gig Harbor – I have a friend that just moved to this area so we were going to be staying at her house overnight. We decided to explore the little town first and discovered that it was “Gig Fest” that day. The town was hosting a classic car show, the Knights of Columbus were serving salmon burgers and oysters on the half-shell, there was a band playing and they were going to be blessing the fleet of fishing boats later that day. What an opportune time to visit, we loved it! My husband dug right into the seafood spirit with a plate of oysters.

Our #vacation motto, eat like the locals #oysters #washington (except me, I’m picky!)#tmom

A photo posted by Julie Bigboy (@juliebutterfly2000) on

It was a gloriously sunny day and we were informed on more than one occasion that this weather was particularly rare…lucky us!

What I Ate, Wore and Saw on My Trip to the Pacific Northwest - Disney Social Media Moms #DISNEYSMMC

I held out for lunch from the 7 Seas food truck (The Galley) parked outside their brewery. What a cool vibe the 7 Seas Brewery had! Guests are encouraged to bring in a picnic lunch and dine on the benches inside and out with their family.

What I Ate, Wore and Saw on My Trip to the Pacific Northwest - Disney Social Media Moms #DISNEYSMMC

Food truck goodies included a gourmet salad with goat cheese and a Philly cheese steak sandwich. No ciders served here so I settled for a beer/orange juice combo. It was…interesting. At least the food was delicious!

What I Ate, Wore and Saw on My Trip to the Pacific Northwest - Disney Social Media Moms #DISNEYSMMC

This is the view from my friend’s backyard. It was lovely and warm and we ate dinner on the porch as the sun was setting. I adore all the trees here, it’s all very relaxing. I can see myself living here (if only it weren’t so far away from Disneyland!)

  View of the backyard, wow #gigharbor #washington   A photo posted by Julie Bigboy (@juliebutterfly2000) on

What a meal they treated us to! Ribs, corn on the cob, beans, salad and biscuits. Good food, good wine and good friends, what more could we ask for?

What I Ate, Wore and Saw on My Trip to the Pacific Northwest - Disney Social Media Moms #DISNEYSMMC

Day Three – Portland –  After a few hours drive south, we hit Portland. We were staying at the very hip Residence Inn in the Pearl District. Maps in the lobby guided us around the area and we walked only a few blocks before coming upon the BridgePort Brewing Company. My husband stopped dead in his tracks when he saw another diner eating a huge bowl of chili verde and he just had to have one for himself.

What I Ate, Wore and Saw on My Trip to the Pacific Northwest - Disney Social Media Moms #DISNEYSMMC

I had the delicious Brewpub salad with apples, goat cheese and hazelnuts. The Saint Johns pizza with simple garlic, tomato and mozzarella hit the spot (and yes, I did almost finish this by myself!)

What I Ate, Wore and Saw on My Trip to the Pacific Northwest - Disney Social Media Moms #DISNEYSMMC

That evening we attended the MyPrintly Event in Portland. It was a fantastic night with crafts, cupcake decorating and photographs. We were able to print out as many of our personal photos as we wished, using the HP printers provided. It was my first time using washi tape, so fun! I wore one of my favorite black and white dresses but alas, forgot to take a picture (that’s a bummer, since this event was ALL about pictures!)

What I Ate, Wore and Saw on My Trip to the Pacific Northwest - Disney Social Media Moms #DISNEYSMMC

I had no idea the sun set so late in the Pacific Northwest. It was nearly ten by the time we were driving back to the hotel and the sun was just going down. Isn’t it pretty?

Pretty #portland #sunset #tmom   A photo posted by Julie Bigboy (@juliebutterfly2000) on

Day Four – Disney On-the-Road event in Portland – This is what I wore to the Disney Social Media On-the-Road Conference. I chose a stretchy pencil skirt from Target and a structured jacket from Kohls. I paired it with a lightweight crinkle top from Lauren Conrad’s Minnie Mouse collection at Kohls. I love my wedges from Crocs. They are cute and comfy. The piece de resistence is my mom’s vintage Mickey scarf. I received so many compliments on that scarf, including from Erin Glover and from Mickey himself!

What I Ate, Wore and Saw on My Trip to the Pacific Northwest - Disney Social Media Moms #DISNEYSMMC

Touring the Pearl District in Portland – After the event we had time to burn so we wandered the streets in the Pearl District near our hotel. I slipped on my jeans and another Lauren Conrad Minnie Mouse collection top, one that features a white bow design.

What I Ate, Wore and Saw on My Trip to the Pacific Northwest - Disney Social Media Moms #DISNEYSMMC

We ate a light lunch inside the bustling Whole Foods Market. Here you can make your own box of food, picking and choosing from the hot and cold dishes. Curry chicken with rice and a salad with mandarin orange soda was very tasty on a warm day. Also very reasonably priced. 

#portland #lunch in a box   A photo posted by Julie Bigboy (@juliebutterfly2000) on

What I Ate, Wore and Saw on My Trip to the Pacific Northwest - Disney Social Media Moms #DISNEYSMMC

At this point in our adventure, we’d done a lot of walking and a lot of eating! We dropped off the rental car at the airport and flew back home, full of delicious food and wonderful Pacific Northwest memories.

Disclosure: I was given the reversible Mickey sweatshirt from We also received complimentary lodging at the Residence Inn in Portland. All thoughts and opinions are my own.


What I Learned My First Time “On the Road” at Disney Social Media Moms On-the-Road Portland #DisneySMMC

What I Learned My First Time "On the Road" at Disney Social Media Moms On-the-Road - Portland #DisneySMMC

I returned from the Disney Social Media Moms On-the-Road event several weeks ago and it’s taken me this long to process and absorb all of the fantastic information we had dished out to us during this great conference. I arrived bright and early and met and mingled with familiar faces (from Facebook!)

What I Learned My First Time "On the Road" at Disney Social Media Moms On-the-Road - Portland #DisneySMMC

Conference room

My fellow bloggers and I hover in the same Disney circles online and have a bit of a mutual admiration club going. It was great to put faces and personalities together in person after chatting with them online for the past year!

We were served a lovely breakfast and given time to chat. I position myself near the front since my vision isn't the best (and I didn't want to miss anything!) There was a lot of valuable information and I captured as much as I could via my laptop so I could share here with you. Buckle up and here we go!

We were served a lovely breakfast and given time to chat. I positioned myself near the front since my vision isn’t the best (and I didn’t want to miss anything!) There was a lot of valuable information and I captured as much as I could via my laptop so I could share here with you. Buckle up and here we go!

What I Learned My First Time "On the Road" at Disney Social Media Moms On-the-Road - Portland #DisneySMMC

Mmm, bacon, bagels and pastries!

The Disney Social Media Moms On-the-Road in Portland started with introductions from Jamie Langdon (@LangdonJamie on Twitter). Jamie returned to the podium between speakers to share videos and updates about Disney Parks as well. With three little ones at home (and another on the way!), Jamie holds a child’s experience at Disney Parks close to her heart. She showed a video mash-up called Kids Remember which proved just how much little kids remember about their magical vacation.

I was able to speak with Jamie a bit after the conference and discussed how much my three year old talks about his Disney experiences. She loved that his Park maps from our first trip to Walt Disney World this year are his regular “bedtime stories”!


Tyler Slater, writer for Aulani on the Disney Parks Blog website, introduced several Disney updates. These included a Show your DisneySide video and Disneyland and Walt Disney World highlights with their upcoming summer events. Did you know there will be an Amphicar from the Boathouse restaurant in Downtown Disney at WDW? This is a land/water vehicle that drives right into the lagoon, how cool is that! Adventures by Disney is adding river cruising to their itinerary with 8 different cruises to four different countries. And of course, being the Disney Parks Blog writer for Aulani, Tyler did mention how the hotel in Hawaii has just been chosen as the best family hotel in the US. Also the Disney Cruise Line will soon be offering a new musical show at sea. A Tangled musical will entertain guests, with three new original songs by Alan Menken. After hearing Tyler’s reports about Aulani & the Disney Cruise Line, I’m ready to “save up for Hawaii!”

Erin Glover, social media director and Disney Parks Blog writer about Disneyland spoke next. She discussed how much research goes into each post that appears on the site. Only 10% of the work ends up being what the public sees with the other 90% being content planning and research. The Blog hosts 100 authors that are each experts in their Disney field. While Erin had high praise for the use of Google Docs, Erin suggested that each blogger find a system that works for you and keep it simple. Erin confirmed that each of us should do what works for us individually.  She encouraged us to tell our untold story and to step out of the hesitation. She asked us to consider why we hold back: Maybe out of fear or shyness? That is a big one for me as I’ve been one to question myself in the past, second guessing to the point of not doing something I want to do because I’m embarrassed or afraid. Pressing forward and stepping out of the hesitation is something I’m definitely striving for.

What I Learned My First Time "On the Road" at Disney Social Media Moms On-the-Road - Portland #DisneySMMC

Erin discussed how Disney has integrated their social media sharing across all channels from Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube on the Disney Parks Blog. They have created a network for Disney where Pins can be shared on their blog site or YouTube videos on Facebook and their team works together to create sharable ideas.  Another helpful tip from Erin was to find your own network.  What and who is in your network? Who shares your content? Is there a network that you can create to develop others content? I’m very lucky to have been included in networks like the Magical Blogorail and the Traveling Moms. We know that sharing each others content boosts the entire team. Create Pinterest boards where other can contribute or share posts of other bloggers on Twitter.

Erin also discussed how the Disney Parks Blog “teases” upcoming projects to build suspense. She used the example of the Hatbox Ghost from the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland. The Hatbox Ghost appeared briefly in 1969 but was soon removed. There was a tease in a January blog post. In April his return was confirmed with a sneak peek. A post in May was accompanied with a video and photos of behind the scenes. Guests were delighted with the reveal and as a result the Haunted Mansion is again offering FastPasses due to the lengthy lines. How can you use the “tease” in your own blog? It’s something to think about for sure.

Next up was Victoria Lim, managing editor for Disney World public relations.  Victoria had some great suggestions for bringing video to your posts.

  • Clean your lens.
  • Steady shots.
  • Try different angles.
  • Zoom with your feet and not with the on-camera zoom as it will likely be blurry or wobbly.
  • Hold horizontally, not vertically.
  • Be purposeful in shooting.
  • Don’t tilt, pan or “TMZ-Mtv” unless purposeful.
  • Use airplane mode so you don’t have a call interrupt your video.
  • When interviewing, be mindful of ambient noise and wind. Also decide where you want interview subjects to look.

What I Learned My First Time "On the Road" at Disney Social Media Moms On-the-Road - Portland #DisneySMMC

Victoria gave some tips for special camera gear including a portable charger, tripod, Rode smartLav+ Lavalier Microphone for iPhone and Smartphones, vericorder mini mic and lenses to fit on your tablet. I only recently purchased a portable charger and wonder now why I waited so long! It’s nice to be able to snap pics and video, post to social media and be able to charge your phone mid-day so you’ll still be able to take pictures and make phone calls in the evening and not be stuck with a dead battery.

Suggested apps for photos included Dropbox, Disney Memories HD, Show Your Disney Side, PicCollage and PhotoGrid.

For video apps, Victoria had several she showed us. She even created several videos during her discussion so it was a quick and easy process. Magisto is very quick but less customization. Use code magistotrial12 in redeem coupon in box. Videolicious offers more customization. CuteCut add voice track and edits like trimming. WeVideo is worthy for Android. I don’t often make videos but I like the idea of using photos to create a video and posting them on my blog.

Andrea Rojas and Megan Sayers from were up next. Connect and grow is their motto and they had some intriguing thoughts about sharing via social media. Spend the most time on the platform that will do the most for you. To know the best time of day to reach your readers, you really need to check the analytics of your personal social media accounts and schedule posting during that time. I work full time outside the home, so I can’t be on social media all day. But I still want to post relevant info to my accounts so I sit down on Sunday night and schedule all my Tweets on TweetDeck and my Facebook posts on CinchShare.

For Facebook, they suggested that we use short clear engaging copy. Post more than just links, try shareables as in Pin-worthy items or images. Take note of your analytics in regards to the time of day and content and analyze what works best for you and your audience. Look at the click through and analytics of the posts to see what is effective for you.

For Pinterest, the best Pin-able links are vertical images with a text overlay. Write a descriptive copy that tells a story.  When pinners use guided search, find which keywords are most valuable to layer in your pin description. Put those key words into your pin description for the best chances of coming up in Pinterest search.

In regards to Twitter, they suggest that there no such thing as too many tweets. Tag, tag, tag! Follow the hashtags and join in on social media if you can’t be there. Retweet and follow others to gain a larger audience. Tweet on trending topics, but through the lens of your brand. They believe that the best way to reach out to a brand is through Twitter. If you have an issue that requires addressing, take it to Twitter and tag that brand for near instant response.


With Instagram, photo quality is key. They offered the suggestion to keep your look consistent, such as using a similar style, color palate or filter to create a “look” to your postings. Share your Instagram photos on other social platforms to drive engagement. I love that when I take a picture on my Android, I can open up Instagram and from there share the image and description to Facebook and Twitter as well.

When looking to grow your brand, connect with other bloggers and websites. Join communities, scope out social media, go to blogger events, don’t just hunt out “big” blogs. This was a theme we’d heard earlier from Erin Glover about creating a network.

Also don’t be afraid to branch out and pitch to larger sites. Find an editor or submissions contract, craft your pitch & have fun with it. Find a direct contact or tweet to the brand asking for a contact. Send information like, “who are you”, background, relevant links, ideas (include if you will have photos, what kind of story is it, etc.) And definitely show your personality.

4 Meaningful Connections:

  • Don’t be afraid to cold email.
  • Suggest mutually beneficial ways to collaborate, social swap, crowd sourced content, guest posts (Give your voice another platform to live on).
  • Approach it as a relationship rather than a favor or business transaction.
  • Put out there what you expect to get back.

Next to speak was Marianne Richmond, author and artist. While recovering from brain surgery in her early twenties, Marianne took to art as therapy. She has written and illustrated many uplifting books and is passionate about “Knowing Your Why”. What is your “Why?” What drives it? Marianne suggested that we all connect to our true passion and understand why it matters in the world.

Knowing your why will give you focus. Is this your business or just something to do “on the side”? Evaluate opportunities/partnerships/future projects. Consider if these projects will tap into your passion. Double check to make sure you are on track.

What’s your goal? What do you want from your business? It it to pay the mortgage, take more vacations, etc. Do you have any absolutes, like being home for your kids?

What I Learned My First Time "On the Road" at Disney Social Media Moms On-the-Road - Portland #DisneySMMC

Two questions that Marianne posed: What are willing to do and what are you not willing to do? Are you willing to work at night and possibly make no money at first? Are you not willing to put your kids in day care or spend money to get in business? Everyone’s “willings” are going to be different. Keeping your “why” and goals in mind will help you answer what you’re willing to do.

As an artist, Marianne encouraged us to embrace your unique design. She suggested that we ask what brings us joy. Take a look around in your home to reveal your style and what things bring you happiness. Think back into your memories and consider what you were doing as a child. Marianne notes that when you truly own your gifts, you business will convey an authentic, soul energy . How will you convey this “soul energy” through your touch points?

The next point is something I’ve struggled with and it’s “Find Your Brave”. Marianne offers that we should root ourselves in what we uniquely have to offer. In keeping with the vein of the day, she suggested creating a “courage team” of other people. That way you all have something to gain from working with another. Create a mantra that emboldens your bravery and try something out of the box. Depersonalize the decision. That was a big light bulb moment for me. I have always worried too much about doing something and then regretted when I let the moment slip by. I’m definitely “finding my brave” this year!

Finally she ask us to envision our next level and question “how do I grow?” Envision/brainstorm, what’s next? Marianne said, “We are all in this together: to feel cared about, to feel talented, connected and appreciated.”

The last speakers of the day were Kathy Cano-Murillo (the Crafty Chica) and her daughter Maya from Maya in the Moment. Both ladies had been at the MyPrintly event the night before so we’d been able to do some Washi tape crafting together!

Kathy stressed that each blogger should respect their own signature style and do their own thing. There’s only one Martha Stewart in the world and you’re not her, so what’s your style? Bring your own personality to every post. Embrace new things and don’t be afraid to make your readers laugh, cry or gasp. In regards to social media, think of each platform as a party. You have a place on each one. What do you bring to the party?


Moms love to read about kids so involve your kids when you can. Kathy suggested that we should all have a book proposal ready. What is your book proposal? What kind of book would you write if given the choice? They also mentioned that we should know our five-year destination. We should set big goals and see through to the end result.

Finally let yourself have fun. Fun is a magnet, it’s contagious. These women are so upbeat and happy that their positive attitudes really were contagious!


I had a great time at the conference and my brain was a-whirl afterward with all the wonderful content. When Mickey bounded out from the curtains, I think I squealed in delight! I was so happy to give him a big hug and take a photo, it was the perfect end to a rewarding day!

My fellow Traveling Mom Meghan Shamy and I, with Mickey.

I was sent an email requesting my interest in this conference and later received an invitation. The conference was free however, I paid my own travel expenses. All thoughts and opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.


Disney Social Media Moms Celebration – On-the-Road in Portland

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration - On-the-Road in Portland

Not to be confused with the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration that recently took place at Walt Disney World, the On-the-Road events are a multi-city tour that brings the magic to three locations around the nation. This event accepted applications for those who were interested in receiving an invitation. Options were Portland, Austin and New York City. I applied for Portland, then crossed my fingers and waited. Portland is the first stop on the On-the-Road tour this summer.

I am pleased to say that earlier this week I received a magical email inviting me to attend. After a day of discussion with my husband, we took the leap and I sent my RSVP saying “Yes!” We booked our flight tonight so it’s finally starting to feel real to me now.

My little heart is a-pitter patter with excitement on taking this trip to what will surely be a conference filled with content and connections. It will be my first Disney-sponsored conference (and only my second blogger conference ever). I am excited to fill my brain with knowledge and to lift my heart with hope for the future of this blog.

I started Saving Up for Disney less than one year ago after the death of my father. I knew I wanted to do something in his honor, as he was my introduction to the world of Disney and loved Disneyland and what it stood for. Since starting this blog I have been able to see, experience and write about so many new and wonderful experiences. I am truly blessed to be able to connect with like-minded souls through my blog and through my writing.

Snippet from the Invitation


The conference is on June 9th, 2015. Please follow my adventures along the way! My husband and I have decided to make a little vacation out of the opportunity and will be flying in to Seattle a few days early. We’ll drive down to Portland and see the sights along the way. Look for the hashtag #TMOM (@TravelingMoms) during the trip. On conference day I’ll be using the hashtag #DisneySMMC.

You can also follow the conference highlights straight from Disney @DisneyMoms on Twitter and WaltDisneyWorld on Instagram.