I Am a Disney Nerd’s Top 10 Disney Moments of 2013

With 2013 coming to a close I thought it only fitting to recap my top 10 Disney moments.  It has been a pretty amazing year for me in terms of Disney.  It is true, that if you follow your passion then happiness will lead a path to your door.  I can only dream that 2014 brings me even more Disney pixie dust beyond my wildest dreams.  As I sat down to write this list I found something funny, the list is actually in chronological order. It is like every time something Disney related happened in my life, it has topped the one before it.

#10 – Disneyland Trip in April 2013

My husband and I surprised our daughters Lily and Abby with the trip and we meet their cousins there too.  Being back at Disneyland gave me that spark I needed to pick up where I left off with my Disney passion. The last time I was at Disneyland was in 2007 for Lily’s 2nd birthday.  We had not seen Cars Land until this trip, it was over whelming for me and yeah I teared up a bit.  Being back at Disneyland felt like something woke up inside of me and I knew that I had a passion that I needed to follow.  Which leads into moment #9.

2013 - Abby's 1st visit, Lily's 2nd.

2013 – Abby’s 1st visit, Lily’s 2nd.

#9 – Launch of the “I Am a Disney Nerd” blog – May 2013

After our Disneyland trip in April I knew I had to find an outlet to talk about Disney anytime I wanted to and to anyone who would listen.  I knew I needed to start up blogging again.  I previously had a Mom Blog from 2004 – 2012 but I needed to take a break from it.  Honestly, most of the posts ended up being about Disney during the last year, so it just seemed natural to rebrand my blog.  I had a hard time thinking of a name for my new blog.  I tried many ideas using my name or snazzy catch phrases about Disney.  The worst one was Dawn’s Disney….um ok that is boring.  Then on Facebook my Husbands Cousin said “you are such a Disney nerd” and BAM that was it!! She was so right, I Am a Disney Nerd.  The next day I bought the domain and started to build the site and here we are today.

I am a Disney Nerd

#8 – Disney Social Media Moms Celebration – On the Road Tour in Berkeley – June 2013

I was lucky enough to attend the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration On the Road Tour in Berkeley just one month after I launched my blog.  I am so glad that I took that leap and reached out to the right people to get my foot into the door.  When I was there, the first people that I meet and took a picture with is posted below.  Everyone was so nice and we had a lot of fun together.  I eventually ended up going to Club 33 with two of my new friends in this picture below, Beth and Michaelyn.  I am still in contact with many of the wonderful people that I meet at the event.

Disney Social Media Moms On The Road Berk 2013

It had been many years since I set foot into a networking function and part of me just wanted to hide in the corner and watch everyone.  But, I didn’t do that, instead I reached out and talked to people such as Erin Glover from the Disney Parks Blog, Michele Himmelberg, Public Relations Director of  Disneyland Resort and Maria Bailey of MomTalkRadio and MomTV.  I also meet our keynote speaker Mindee Doney of Boogie Wipes fame.  Being at the event really helped me kick start back into the blogging and networking world, but this time it was all related to Disney. That is a WIN for sure.

Disney Social Media Moms On The Road Berk Photos 2013

#7 – Joining the Magical Blogorail – July 2013

Once I started blogging again I did some research about other blogging sites and I came across the Magical Blogorail and I really wanted to be a part of it.  I applied to be a contributor and I was accepted.  This was a big step for me because up until then I had only been writing on my own blog but I really wanted to expand my circle.

This year I have written on the following topics

  • Disney New Years Resolutions
  • Where We Would Have Christmas Dinner at Disney
  • What To Do When the Disney Parks are SUPER Crowded
  • Our Favorite Aspect of Halloween Time at Disney
  • The Most Frightening Disney Attractions
  • Family Traditions at Disney

There really are some great blogs featured on the Magical Blogorail and they all provide great advice.  You can check us out at http://www.magicalblogorail.com  I am so happy to continue to be a part of this group and look forward to 2014.  I was previously on the Blue line, but I will be moving over to the Orange line.

Magical Blogorail Orange Logo

#6 – Attending the D23 Expo with a Press Pass – August 2013

Wow, where do I begin with this one?  I had such an amazing time at the D23 Expo.  It was exhausting and amazing all at the same time.  I hemmed and hawed about going on this trip by myself, I was really nervous.  I had never done such a thing before.  A friend from the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration – On the Road Tour in Berkeley told us that we could apply for press passes for the expo.  I told my husband that if I get approved for the press pass I really wanted to make it happen and go. When I got the approval for the press pass I knew that I needed to put on my big girl panties and fly down to Anaheim.

I had been keeping in contact with the On the Road Tour buddies and we all planned to meet at the D23 Expo, which made me feel a lot better about going alone.  Honestly I was never really alone at all, I was with my Disney buddies.  The expo was three days long and it was very crowded and sold out on Saturday.  I was so grateful to have the press pass because it allowed us to enter into the building without waiting in line and we had a break room with diet coke, coffee and water.

I still have yet to blog about all of my adventures, but the one that I loved the most was the  Richard M. Sherman and Alan Menken: The Disney Songbook and that is the only event I wrote a blog post on.  Most of my other updates ended up on Twitter and Facebook because there was so much happening so fast it was the only way to get the updates done quickly.

D23 Expo Press Pass 2013

These were the highlights for me of the D23 Expo

  • Attending the press breakfast and Waffle-inator demonstration.
  • Seeing Idina Menzel sing “Let It Go” LIVE during the Art and Imagination: Animation at The Walt Disney Studios presentation. – You know when you are watching something unfold before our eyes and you can’t believe that you are a part of it? That is how I felt when she was singing this beautiful song.  It was (as the kids say) amazeballs.
  • Attending Disney Imagineering Legend Marty Sklar’s presentation where he talked about his new book Dream It! Do It!
  • Working the press line for Dog with a Blog – it was fun to take pictures of the stars of the show as they talked with other bloggers.
  • Richard M. Sherman and Alan Menken: The Disney Songbook – we waited in line for almost 2 hours for this and it was worth it.
  • To Infinity and Beyond: Disney Interactive presentation where I was given a Sorcerer Mickey for the Disney Infinity game.

 #5 – Dining at Club 33 – August 2013

While attending the D23 Expo I was blessed to be invited to dine at Club 33.  This is an exclusive members only club located inside Disneyland in New Orleans Square.  I blogged about my experience here – http://iamamommynerd.com/disney-nerd-eats-dinner-at-club-33-in-disneyland/ I dined with two of my friends from Disney Social Media Moms Celebration – On the Road Tour and meet a new friend Sandy that is such a hoot.  I am so glad that I had the opportunity to meet her.  As if dinning at Club 33 wasn’t enough we were able to watch Fantastmic from the balcony of the restaurant.  Again, it was yet another amazing experience.


#4 – Meeting Richard M. Sherman – August 2013

The D23 Expo trip ended with yet another magical experience.  On the final day of the expo I decided to only do a 1/2 day at the expo and the rest at Disneyland.  While I was there I happened to go to the Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe and the Soundsational parade was just finishing up.  I could hear “Step in Time” from Mary Poppins playing and I stopped to watch it.  I looked over to my right and I saw Richard M. Sherman standing there watching the parade too.  I was in awe, didn’t know what to do.  I waited for the parade to pass and then I did it, I walked over to him and told him that I enjoyed the D23 Songbook concert from the previous night, told him that I thought he was awesome and I shook his hand.  He replied “Thank you dear”.   I walked away and just started crying, it was another amazing event that capped off a magical trip.

Richard M. Sherman Disneyland August 11 2013

# 3 – Disneyland in October – Disney Magic with Lily, Abby tall enough to ride Radiator Springs – October 2013

We headed back to Disneyland in October to let the girls experience Halloween time.  I had never seen the Haunted Mansion transformed with the Nightmare Before Christmas theme.  Also, Abby had finally grown tall enough to ride the big girl rides and she was so exited to go on Radiator Springs.  During our trip, so many magical things happened to us. Sometimes when the magic keeps on happening I always think that I am part of some crazy reality hidden camera show.  But nope! I’m just at Disneyland.

Cullo Disneyland Radiator Springs Racers Abby 2013

Cullo Family at Disney’s California Adventure Radiator Springs Racers – Abby’s 1st Time

I had been on the hunt for the Maleficent Mickey Ears and was told by several Cast Members that they were sold out.  I then found the right Cast Member and he went backstage and found me a pair! I was so excited.

Maleficent Mickey Ears from Disneyland

Maleficent Mickey Ears from Disneyland

Then right after that Lily got some new Minnie Mouse ears at the Mad Hatter on Main Street and the Cast Member gave us free upgraded embroidery.  Right after we walked out of the Mad Hatter’s a Cast Member came over to Lily and asked her if she wanted to be part of the skit they were doing with Donald Duck and the Main Street Straw Hatters.  Here is the blog post I did about her performance – http://iamamommynerd.com/lily-disneyland-main-street-straw-hatters-band/

Lily playing a drum with the Main Street Straw Hatters at Disneyland

Lily playing a drum with the Main Street Straw Hatters at Disneyland

We had such great luck with characters too.  Abby was able to finally meet Belle, thank goodness because we missed her in April.  But most of all she just wanted to hug Mickey.  She had already meet him in April but saw the line for him and looked up at me and said “can I get in line to see Mickey? I just want to hug him”.  Oh, I could just eat her up!!   Of course I could not resist getting in a family picture too with the big cheese.  One day he will be my boss again.

Cullo Disneyland with Mickey Mouse 2013

Cullo Family at Disneyland with Mickey Mouse October 2013

#2 – Disney Parks Moms Panel – Round 2 on my first try – November 2013

For a few years now I have known about the Disney Parks Moms Panel.  I wasn’t qualified to apply for the panel because I hadn’t been to Disneyland since 2007 and the main requirement is that you have been to one of the parks in the year that you are applying for. Up until 2007 I had been to Disneyland Park 15 times and Walt Disney World one time.  But now that I had my April 2013 trip done I was qualified to apply.  There are 10,000 people who apply and I am happy to say that I made it to round 2 of 3 rounds.  I have been told that there are 250 people that make it to round 2 and about 40-50 who make it to round 3.  So for it being my first time applying and making it to round 2 I am pretty darn happy.  Of course, not as happy as if I would have made it to round 3 or on the panel.  I will apply again next year, I think I know what the secret sauce is to advancing further so we will see if I can make it on the panel for 2015. I meet some fantastic new Disney buddies along the way as well, it really is a fun ride.

Disney Parks Moms Panel Round 2

#1 – Writing the Foreward to 101 Disneyland Tips – November 2013

The number one Disney related event that happened to me this year is that I was asked by my friend Cam Bowman to write the foreword for her new book “101 Disneyland Tips“. We are not talking an ebook, it’s a real book! Of course you can download it on your kindle or iPad but it’s a real book.

101 Disneyland Tips by Cam Bowman

101 Disneyland Tips by Cam Bowman

I’ve only been in one other book and that was a business book. But this time, someone wanted me to write about Disney.  It was very exciting and I knew what I wanted to say so putting it together wasn’t hard.  The hardest part was reading it in a printed book. I know that sounds weird, but now I know why some actors don’t watch their own movies.

Looking ahead to 2014

I have many Disney related projects brewing for 2014.  My goals for 2014 include attending networking functions that mix Disney and Social Media, this is where my two passions cross.  My goal is to be invited to the Disney Social Media Moms event in May, this year it will be held in Disneyland.  In July I will be attending the Type-A Bootcamp at Disneyland and the BlogHer ’14 in San Jose.  I will also be applying for the Disney Parks Moms Panel in September and my goal is to be on the 2015 panel.  Lastly, I want to start writing a Disney related book.

I hope you have enjoyed taking a trip down my Disney 2013 memory lane.  Happy New Year Disney Nerds!!

About Dawn

Dawn is a social influencer and has been writing about her nerdy side since 2004. She enjoys writing about Entertainment, Travel, Disney, Star Wars and life with two little girls. Her advice is to keep on dreaming, do what you love and life will lead you a path to your happiness. Dawn also writes for 5 Minutes for Mom.


  1. Cam Bowman says:

    I am so so happy you agreed to write the foreword! It was perfect! My book wouldn’t be the same without it!

  2. Great moments and I am so happy we will actually meet in person n 2014!

  3. I loved reading back on all your great Disney moments! My D23 press pass was certainly a highlight for me! That was so fun. Congrats on a great 2013!

  4. Maureen Litz- Diehl-Brown says:

    DAWN! A truly Magical Year (2013)! I was holding my breath while reading your experiences and accomplishments from 10 to 1.. getting butterflies when reading your experience with Richard M. Sherman! I am pretty much speechless (in awe) of your awesome year and wish you continued awesomeness! in 2014! Can’t wait to read all about it! PS.. what an amazing opportunity to have dined in Club33…WOW! Were you able to walk around and view all the treasures Walt collected through his travels?


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    I Am a Disney Nerd’s Top 10 Disney Moments of 2013 – I Am a Mommy Nerd

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    I Am a Disney Nerd’s Top 10 Disney Moments of 2013 – I Am a Mommy Nerd

  3. […] year I wrote a blog post called “Disney Nerd’s Top 10 Disney Moments of 2013“ and it was a fun process.  So this year I present “Dawn’s Top 10 Moments of […]

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