Thursday, November 19, 2015

Disney's Earmarked Conference

Disney’s Earmarked conference for 2015 was my first invitation to attend and I couldn’t find very much information anywhere about what to expect. I thought I would write a quick blog for others that might need information next year.

Who Gets to Attend:
Disney Earmarked is for top selling Disney travel planners. Disney watches sales and monitors service and performance to offer annual recognition to agencies.  This will allow an agency to send delegates (1-4 people based on sales) to an annual event.  This event has been hosted at Disney World, Disneyland and Disney Cruiseline.  The information is kept very quiet throughout the year. It is generally held in November and Earmarked agents are notified by email in September. It is on a first come first serve basis and fills up quickly.

2015 Earmarked Conference was $399 per person to attend and another $180/night for your hotel stay at Disneyland Hotel.  The event was Monday - Wednesday. Included with that cost are several lunches, a couple of breakfasts, snacks throughout the conference, a reception event, a four day park hopper pass, a tote bag with pen, journal, water bottle and tshirt.

What to pack:
Most of your time will be monopolized by the conference. However, if you don’t require rest or sleep remember you are on property and can go out at night to see the parks. So, I needed two wardrobes. Both parkware and convention ware. As an authorized Disney Travel planner I will assume you know how to pack for your parkware!  During the day you will be in cool convention rooms so bring something to layer. Most men wore khakis or navy pants with button down shirts or polos. Women wore black pants or skirts. Several had fun NICE Disney tops (not t-shirts), necklaces, earrings, or Disney ears. I took only long knit skirts and should have brought some pants along.  MANY people seemed to be wearing black and red which was really cute and I will be more intentional in the future. On the final day people were asked to dress in formal ware for the evening farewell. I do not enjoy formal ware and decided once I received that email not to attend.  However, after talking with some District Sales Managers at meetings some would come in formal ware but nice dress clothes would have sufficed.

Bringing family along:
Since you have to pay for your own room (at a discount) you are welcome to bring family along but let me warn you it is depressing to be inside at meetings knowing they are out and about! A great plan, if time allows, is to come out for the convention then have family join you for a few days after.

What to expect at the conference:
Day One:
  • Check in: you will check in with ID to get your goody bag and a lanyard that identifies you as a participant. This ID badge will be required to access every event and there is security absolutely everywhere.
  • Cocktail Regional Reception: We met with our regional area to have appetizers and drinks.
Days Two and Three:
  • General Session: everyone in attendance reports to a main area. This year there appeared to be about 350 in attendance. There are keynote speakers from Disney. There is information shared about what to expect in the future from Disney and some inspirational speakers that encourage you to stay positive and look for opportunities for growth.
  • Break Out sessions: These sessions are chosen by YOU in advance by email once you sign up to attend.  There are some that are just for fun “Disneyland: The way we were” which was a history of Disneyland and others geared towards how Disney does business “Disney Marketing”.  Your credentials are checked at entry and you cannot attend a session you did not sign up for. So, if you want to attend with friends make that plan in advance.
  • Food: There is breakfast, snack, lunch, and another snack throughout the day.  I was sitting with people with allergies and of course Disney accommodated their needs.
  • Guest Surprises: on the second day we were joined at lunch from people from the Dancing with the Stars series. In our final session we were joined by Dick Van Dyke.
  • Parting Gift: at the end of the last day’s general session we were given a plaque with the Earmarked info.
Tips and Tricks
  • There were simple black Disneyland pens everywhere that many agents were taking to use in their offices or booths. They were available throughout the event so stock up!
  • Lanyards are different colors by region so you will see colors clustering together.
  • Bring a small portable laptop to sessions. I used mine throughout.
  • Have an active Instagram, Twitter and Facebook account you are encouraged to post.

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