“Sprinkling Pixie Dust is FUN!” “Magical. Incredible. Rewarding. Dream fulfilled.”
The above are exuberant statements made by members of the 2012 Walt Disney World Mom’s Panel after I asked them to describe, in five words or less, their first year as Panelists. It is evident that those who are selected for this coveted role are grateful not only for the opportunities presented to them, but for the memories they are able to help create for others.
The Walt Disney World Mom’s Panel was founded in 2007 so that individuals and families planning Walt Disney World vacations could seek out advice from fellow Disney fans who are experts when it comes to planning a Disney vacation. Panelists receive questions on everything, from “What change do the laundry machines take at the resorts?” to “What character meals may feature an appearance from Prince Charming?” and “What is the name of the shop in Downtown Disney that has gifts for $10 and under?” In recent years, the Walt Disney World Mom’s Panel has also started to answer questions about Disneyland, the Disney Cruise Line, runDisney, Adventures by Disney and the Disney Vacation Club.
Recently Laura Spencer, who is the Social Media Manager for the Walt Disney World Resort, as well as a former Panelist herself, announced on the DisneyParksBlog that the 2013 Walt Disney World Mom’s Panel Search will get underway in September. Few details on this year’s application process have been released at this point, but the big news so far has been the search for an additional Panelist category. As mentioned in this DisneyParksBlogs post, the new Sports Team Panelist should be someone “who is heavily involved in planning sports events, from cheerleading, soccer, football to gymnastics.”
In previous years, the application process for the Walt Disney World’s Mom’s Panel has been as follows: In Round One, you will respond to a series of questions, with responses limited to 100 words or less. These questions change every year, but typically revolve around your Disney vacation planning and preferences. If you are selected to proceed to Round Two, you will be asked to respond to additional questions and possibly record a short video. In this round, if you have chosen to apply for one of the specialized categories, your questions will likely be designed to share your knowledge in that area. The lucky individuals who make it to Round Three, the final round, will schedule a phone interview with members of the selection committee. There are generally very few prerequisites for applicants. Even though the Panel is called the Walt Disney World Mom’s Panel, you do not need to be a mother, or even female, in order to be considered. Disney generally just asks that you have been to either Walt Disney World or Disneyland within the past 12 months, are not a travel agent or a Disney employee (or relative of an employee) and that you have a love and passion for planning Disney vacations and helping others to plan their vacations as well!
I have applied to be on the Panel for the past two years, and even though I have not been selected, the bonds I have made with other Panelist hopefuls are ones that I cherish. Some of those friends have gone on to have places on the Panel and some remain hopefuls, like me, that this will be our year! I asked two of my friends who were selected for the 2012 Walt Disney World Mom’s Panel, Kirsten and Kim, to share some details about their first year as Panelists:
What surprised you the most in your first year as a Panelist?
Kirsten: The incredible bonds of friendship so quickly formed with my fellow panelists – both from my training year and from previous years. Indescribable really!
Kim: I’ve been most surprised by how much I’m learning right along with the guests! I thought I knew a lot about all-things-Mickey but, Walt Disney World Resort encompasses SO much material (and things change so frequently) that I often need to spend extra time researching my answers and making phone calls to get accurate information.
What has been the most rewarding part of your time on the Mom’s Panel?
Kirsten: The Magical opportunities and the incredible, new, life-long friends I’ve made. I attended WDW Resort Showcase 2012 – I represented the Moms Panel as ‘WDW Talent’ for radio interviews and also got to attend Sneak Preview tours and experiences at Art of Animation prior to its opening as well as a ‘Behind the Wall’ Fantasyland Expansion tour with an Imagineer. Incredible!
Kim: For me, the reward of being part of the Moms Panel Family is really two-fold. I’ve made some AMAZING Disney-loving lifelong friends AND I’ve been able to help guests squeeze the most magic out of their Disney vacations while learning even more about my favorite place on Earth! What’s not to LOVE about that?
What advice would you give to the 2013 Walt Disney World Mom’s Panel hopefuls?
Kirsten: NEVER give up on your dream to be a panelist. I applied 5 years in a row – since inception of the panel – before my dream was fulfilled. Now, I can’t imagine my daily life without the Moms Panel being part of it! Be true to yourself. Don’t try to be someone you aren’t during the process. Let your love and passion for Disney shine through in your answers, but don’t force it. If you over-think your answers, you may lose the initial point you were trying to make! Dream. Wish. Believe!
Kim: Relax, take a deep breath and try to enjoy the selection process. Spend time getting to know the other Hopefuls that are on this thrilling roller coaster journey with you. With each round of the application process, try to let your unique qualities shine through in your answers and then, take a step back and put it all into perspective. We can share our love of Disney with the world in so many ways…the Moms Panel is just one option for sharing your passion with others.Share