Thursday, August 18, 2016

Mickey, Moms, and Memories - My year on the Disney Parks Moms Panel



The search will start again soon for the next Disney Parks Moms Panel! Wait - the whaaaa? The Disney Parks Moms Panel! It is a group of moms, dads, aunts, uncles, and grandparents who have a passion for Walt Disney World Resort, Disneyland Resort, and / or Disney Cruise Line. They have vast knowledge of their specialty. After an extensive application process, new panel members are asked to join the panel where they will spend their term answering questions that Guests submit to the panel online. Pretty cool, right?




I was one of the 22 panelists chosen for the 2015 Panel. Honestly, even to this day, I can not believe that little old me was chosen out of thousands of applicants. My friends and family all say, "OF COURSE they picked you - nobody is more Disney-obsessed than you are!" But really, there are so very many people who would also do an absolute wonderful job. I am still honored to be part of the Moms Panel Family.

 What did I 'get' for serving my year? We are not 'paid' per se for our time answering questions. There was, of course, some pretty epic swag involved. I also received a complimentary trip for our family to Walt Disney World. It was hands down my favorite trip of them all! I was thrilled to be able to provide this for my family. Of course, yes, we do visit on a regular basis on our own. After all - how else would I have become knowledgeable enough to serve on the panel? But this just 'felt' different. I earned it, and it felt good! Below is a picture from that awesome trip. But all of this is not even close to what my 'prize' really was. The biggest things I received were absolutely priceless.


Your first responsibility when you are invited to the panel is training. We were sent down to Walt Disney World for a long weekend to learn the computer system, and gain some additional knowledge on various topics. You can see the video I made covering the entire weekend below!



Y'all I was terrified. It was my first time IN MY LIFE that I was alone. You see, I met Mr. Incredible when I was only 16. We have always done everything together. Rule #1 for training weekend was NO GUESTS were allowed. I flew down by myself. Looking back it was silly, but I was really scared. No actually - I was terrified! Until I met . . . my tribe.


The biggest 'perk' for me I received from serving on the Disney Parks Moms Panel was the deep life-long friendships I have made. I am a 30 (something) year old woman who LOVES Disney World. Believe it or not, you don't find those people everywhere. We are a special breed. Yes of course we know that mice don't make clothing, carpets don't fly, slippers are not made of glass, and pixie dust can't take you to Neverland. But when we need to step back from the daily stresses of illnesses, bills, work, and responsibilities - those things are all waiting for us deep down in our hearts. For just a moment in time, our minds are innocent and possibilities are endless. The impossible becomes comforting. And we get it. We get each other. We can open up and let our fairy flags fly with no judgment. It's a pretty awesome thing. EVERYONE needs to find their tribe!


I also gained some much needed confidence in myself. I wrote answers that thousands of people across the entire world were reading. And do you know what? They were good! I have good advice! People not only valued what I said, but they enjoyed reading it. All this knowledge and passion I have went to good use. I was helping people experience my most favorite thing in the world. I simply can't explain that feeling other than I felt like I was just where I was supposed to be and I was doing exactly what I was supposed to be doing. My life motto has always been this quote from Walt Disney himself, “Whatever you do, do it well. Do it so well that when people see you do it, they will want to come back and see you do it again, and they will want to bring others and show them how well you do what you do.” I poured my heart and soul into every answer. And I do believe it showed!

 
I have had one amazing and unforgettable year serving on the Disney Parks Moms Panel. I will never forget each magical second of it. Sitting down each evening to help other Guests plan their family trips was the highlight of each and every day for me. When my term ended, I just couldn't fathom giving it all up! That is when I decided to become a travel agent with Looking Glass Travel. But then . . . I missed the writing. Answering questions on the panel didn't always mean I typed up a simple answer. Some were fun, creative and just filled with pixie dust. After just 2 months of being away from the writing - I started this blog. For those of you following along at home you are correct. I have a full time job. I work part time as a travel agent. AND I have a blog that I 'think' is doing pretty good. Better than I thought at least. I sure must like to stay busy!



Do you love Disney Parks as much as I do? Do you find yourself answering Disney Parks questions from your family, friends, neighbors, and mailmen? Do you jump into stranger's conversations you overhear to correct their nomenclature? YOU better head on over to the Disney Parks Moms Panel to apply for the 2017 panel! Applications will be accepted from September 7th, 2016 - September 14th, 2016. Is it a long shot? Probably. But I can tell you from experience - DREAMS COME TRUE! 

55 comments:

  1. Sounds like an amazing experience. My family is heading to Disney tomorrow actually! We can't wait to get back.

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  2. Wow what an awesome opportunity! I have a few moms in mind to share this with!

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  3. Reading posts like this get me even more excited for the process this year - the fun of sharing your passion for Disney, imparting wisdom to others, making tremendous new friends and creating such unforgettable memories for you and your family (and many others). What a year you had! Thanks for sharing the excitement ~ it's contagious!

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    1. ^^Nailed it. You are making me cry! Good luck Tina!

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  4. I'm so glad you loved your time on the panel! I always go back and forth about applying and my blogging partner was a finalist one year!

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  5. So excited for the process this year!!! Thanks for sharing your experience, it's such fun to see on the inside!

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  6. How. Fun! Nothing is more exciting than Disney, and you got to be a Mickey Mom! I'm jelly like Smuckers!

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  7. I have never been to Disney, but I plan to take my children once they are a little older. If I ever need any advice or just want the ins of Disney, I'll keep you in mind. Congrats on the panel; it sounds like a once in a lifetime experience, and completely worth it whether you get paid or not.

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    1. I will be honored to help you with your family vacation!

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  8. Sounds like you had a great time. I am applying for the third year in a row hoping to make it. Each year i make it a bit further in the process so maybe this year is my winning year. So happy you made the panel.

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    1. Best of luck Rebecca!! I am chEARing you on!!

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  9. I have been to Disney Land once, I was 35 or 36 had a 12 year old daughter and a new husband... It was wonderful... I especially enjoyed eating at the themed restaurants... Not exactly what I expected when I was 12 but pretty good...

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  10. Ok, that's the coolest thing I have heard a blogger get for working! That's so fun and I bet your family was thrilled. I loved reading about your work.

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    1. I'm so glad you love reading it because I sure do love writing about Disney!

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  11. Definitely an experience you'd treasure for a lifetime! It is so nice to be doing what is close to your heart and I am sure you did a very good job. All the best for the next batch of people for the Disney Parks Moms Panel.

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    1. I'm excited to see who will join the family!

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  12. That is really amazing. Definitely a once in a lifetime experience. I would be nervous to go somewhere alone, too. Mostly nervous to leave my daughter.

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    1. I wasn't nervous about that but it snuck up on me! Seeing all the files together made me miss having them in the parks with me. But I am now so glad I was there!!!

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  13. What an incredible opportunity for you! I never knew such a panel existed, I may have to apply

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  14. I grew up with Disney and so did my kids, we are all huge fans! It would be nice to be part of such an awesome project! I'm sure it's a lot of fun and you get to gain new friends as well.

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  15. Holy cow! I didn't know something like this existed. You are so lucky. That looks so awesome.

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    1. It was totes awesome and yes I was so lucky!

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  16. I will apply again and keep my fingers crossed! You look like you had an amazing time

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    1. Yahoo Shirley!!!! I'll cross mine too!

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  17. Aw no wonder you got chosen you are more than qualified to be on the panel. It is sad when we have to give things up but it is amazing that you started this blog and became a part time travel agent to fulfill your dreams.

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    1. Ana you are always so sweet. Thank you for the kind words!

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  18. I am sure being on the panel was a wonderful experience for you. I wish I visited Disneyworld enough to be considered an expert! We will be taking our two boys next year, and I cannot wait.

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  19. Perfectly said, Rachel. So glad you had the courage to make that trip and that we're #DisneyMP2015 sisters! :)

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  20. Not sure why, but this totally made me cry. It's been a rotten few months since our last trip for Mother's Day weekend. We head back again for Labor Day weekend with me in a cast for a broken foot. Ha! Maybe that's why I'm so emotional. I applied for the first time last year and will definitely apply again...broken foot n' all. Thanks for sharing your experience and congrats on a dream come true!

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    1. Oh man what rotten luck with the foot! Time to turn that around. Best of luck!

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  21. I had NO idea!! A Mom's Panel For Disney?!! My sister in law is a Disney Fanatic, like 12-15 times a year with NO little kids! Well, she takes the grandkids once or twice but is in love with the place. I am so going to share my newfound knowledge of this with her!!!

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    1. Yes, please tell her!!! There are several grandparents on the panel. Wishing her luck!

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  22. I love how you found your happy medium to combine the travel planning and the writing. That's a great transition. Several of my friends have been on the Mom's Panel and it sounds like an amazing experience. Here's to year 2 of applying!

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    1. Best of luck, Kimberly! You never know when it will be your year to shine!

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  23. That is so awesome. What great memories you had! Best of luck to your future!

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  24. Thanks for sharing your experience!
    What an amazing opportunity for you.

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  25. What an amazing trip to go on!!! I love Disney, it's so much fun even as an adult!

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    1. Absolutely! I love going home to my happy place.

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  26. That looks like such an amazing opportunity! Looked so much fun too! I've only been to Disneyland once in my whole life, and that was when I was an adult. I never got the opportunity to go to Disneyland or Disneyworld growing up :(

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    1. Secret? Me either. I was 27 my very first visit in 2008!

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  27. What a fun experience! Thanks for sharing your story.

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  28. I am a little envious. This had to be a really fun experience. I am a big kid too and I love anything Disney! I am so happy you got chosen to be apart of this experience and meet women to call your new tribe!

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