Thursday, November 11, 2010

New Moms Panelists

So today concludes the 2011 Disney Moms Panel search. Congratulations to all who have been selected to the coveted positions. Weird, but I felt a little sad for myself again, I guess just the finality! Like maybe they would say "we messed up, let's call that Teri girl out in New Mexico" ;). Feeling a bit of a let down for some of the people on the Dis who had an even bigger disappointment today. Five of the fifteen Disers who interviewed made it on to the panel, but last year I think almost all of the Disers who interviewed made it. Last year was a larger panel, seems like they took close to 20, some part-time, some full time, where as this year I believe they were taking only 10. Pretty sure I would have gotten pretty confident had I been granted an interview. (Change that to 6 of 16, someone came out of hiding to join the Disers)

Every year I look at the "Moms" chosen and try to figure out what made them stand out from the others. One of those games that will make you crazy. This year was even harder, several of the"Moms" from the Dis were infrequent posters, so didn't get a feel for their personalities or qualifications. I can see there are demographics being represented, can't wait to see the whole panel, we're missing the "guy moms"!  So I've come to the conclusion that it is impossible to tell anything about the "whys" of the whole selection process, an ever changing process, each year challenges my perception of the previous year. One year it seems like being involved in social media, the twitter phenomenon, Facebook, etc, is a plus, followed by a year where that doesn't seem important. Best conclusion I can come up with, keep being yourself and maybe one year that special something you have, will be the "desired" something of the year!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Disney in Your Day

Frequently something happens, a noise, an odor, in an unexpected place that takes you right back to WDW. Yesterday as my daughter and I were shopping at Smith's grocery store, it's an infrequent occurrence that we are together, usually I shop while she is at school. But as we were looking at produce the water sprayers came on, accompanied by a noise I had heard many times, but my daughter said "It's the Rainforest Cafe"! It was playing the thunderstorm soundtrack, and it does sound exactly like Rainforest. Every time I hear the sprayers, it makes me smile, but it was double the fun being there with my WDW loving kid.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Under Construction

Although I started the blog as a way to talk about the Mom's Panel, which has sadly come to an end for me, I've found that trying to write after years of non-writing is a great stress reliever. My passion for WDW will be the foundation for my blog going forward, but I'm not really sure of the format, maybe trip planning, maybe just a hodge-podge of daily Disney. This week is a crazy week, so hopefully by next week I'll have had time to come up with a plan! Always a planner!

Here's a little daily Disney news:

If like me, you are always looking for ways to win a free trip to WDW, Disney has a new "Tangled" contest. The grand prize is a all expense paid trip to WDW, as well as other great prizes like a $1000.00 gift cert to the Disney Store.   Check it out at . Good Luck!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Farewell for Now?

Today I'm moving from heartache to a little PO'd, just a spoiler in case you want to skip this post. I told myself I would write with total honesty about the process and my feelings, by tomorrow I'll have my Mickey Mojo back, but today I'm trying to get it out.

What to do when your blog is about the process, and you are rejected? Just pick up all the little pieces of your broken heart, stop the blog, move on? How easy to write that, how hard to put it action. Yesterday after reading the rejection, and yes, no matter how they try to pixie dust the response, it is still a rejection.  The consolation prize has never really appealed to me. I've never even gotten the cute stuff everyone else seems to get. You'd think they could figure out a database that could handle a mailing list, I know I'm not the only one that never gets the goodies. The special events sound like fun, but hello I live in New Mexico! Who gets to attend? Moms who live local. What I would give to live local!!!!!!! Dream come true. I read the newsletter once, but I want to be a WDW planner, I don't want to read tips, I want to be giving them.

My heart ached all day, I didn't tell my family until today, because I didn't want to cry and have their hearts break for me. Today I feel sad, but a little annoyed, both at myself and Disney. I look at people who I know are moving on and can't figure out what they have that I don't have. I think that is what drives me crazy about this whole process is that I might not even fit a demographic that will ever lead to an opportunity to be on the DMP.  If someone could tell me that living 1800 miles from Disney or being too old, or having kids that aren't little anymore, or not photogenic enough, it would keep me from attempting this again. I could just forget about it! But I look at those possible negatives as reasons I'd be great!
  • Every trip to WDW,  we look at as a "once in a lifetime trip", costs a fortune anymore to fly from NM, so we stay at least 8-9 days, sometimes two weeks, because it might be our last trip, with the economy you just never know! So even though 1800 miles away seems like a long way away to truly experience WDW, we've been a dozen times, makes us truly Disney fanatics to everyone we know.
  • Come on, 49 is the new 39! I have more time and energy now than 10 years ago when my kids were little!
  • My girls are teenagers, so it's true they aren't little and adorable anymore, many days big and annoying, but growing up with an annual WDW trip has given me experience with toddlers to teens. I would think that would be a huge positive, unlike applicants that only have little people.
  • I'm sure I would have looked way cuter with professional lighting and makeup people! I have potential:)
I just would like someone to step up and say, you really need to live on the East coast or Midwest(UK or Canada), truthfully NM is never going to be represented on the DMP. I can't figure out why it would matter, but the geographic breakdown on the past boards and the current round three applicants, points to a bias, I can answer questions via the computer from anywhere! Maybe they want "moms" who can drive down and be a representative at events, there's a 4 hour non-stop Albuquerque-Orlando flight! Really I can get there as fast as the drivers! If I knew, I would save myself this pain, but I'm sure such things are never said out loud, probably some discrimination issues.

Annoyed at myself for getting carried away again, even after the dumb video, I still thought I had a chance. I think I am smart, funny, hard working and have tons of Disney experience and the time to give to the job. I have always been a high achiever, I've gotten every job I wanted! That's probably why this drives me crazy, I just can't figure out what they want!

I can hear the dialogue in my head telling me to not apply next year(sounds a whole lot like the voices I heard last year!), and then the voices will dim and then change to "apply, apply,apply". I probably will apply next year,but I have to stay off of the Dis, ok maybe an occasional peak, but it just gets me all wound up and overly invested. Somehow I need to send myself a note next September telling me to take it easy, just apply like a job and wait for the emails. Not check the computer constantly for a month! Get a life! It's so funny that with the exception of this one thing, I am the organized type-A person that everybody in every aspect of my life counts on.

I guess I need to reevaluate the blog, hmmmmmmm. This is the last blog on the DMP process, at least until next year:)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Arggh! Another Day

Arggh! Pirate speak for COME ON! Not another sleepless night. I know at times I've said that "no news is good news', now I know that was crap. Just put me out of my misery. I know that I really want to do this, really really! But the process is driving me crazy, I thought last year was bad and I didn't even make it past round one. Yes, I want them to pick the very best, me (confidently she said!) so I suppose the effort being made to do that takes a lot of time. I actually thought it was going to be Tuesday afternoon anyway, just got caught up in the Twittering(is that a word?).

Go cook dinner and let it go for the night. I know that nothing is going to happen tonight, but I know I'll be back on email, just in case they work late to get it done. Craziness is back.

How to Explain?

With all the "Twitters" busy, tempting us with little tweets about the Mom's Panel on Friday, it is almost certain that today will be the day the round 3 announcements will go out. It is too early, I imagine it will be sometime this afternoon, I don't remember there ever being an announcement before noon mountain time(my time!). Instead of sitting here at the computer for the next four hours, relentlessly refreshing, refreshing .......
I'm not going to begin the now familiar waiting game until 1:00 pm MT. Plenty to do to occupy the time, after a hectic weekend both the house and I am a mess. A quick reflection on my feelings and then off to workout and clean(surely the refreshing would be more fun!)

How to explain this DMP phenomenon? I can only try to understand my own feelings and reasons for attempting this "job" opportunity, but I do ponder the motivation of many of the other applicants. Many are parents of very young children, some babies and toddlers. I know that at that point in my life, I had very little energy or desire to take on this commitment. I wouldn't have been ready. Now as my girls are teenagers, I have plenty of time to do this job well.

Having "replied" to several of the Moms Panel questions, primarily as a way to kill time while waiting, I can honestly judge the extent of this work. Some questions may take only 10 minutes, some may take as long as an hour. Why so long? Even 10 minutes may seem like too long to handle a simple question. The answer is simple, the response to the question is only part of the response. Your answers need to be factual, but also warm, inviting and  friendly in the Disney way. Writing the facts may be quick, phrasing them in an interesting manner takes more effort.  Time is required to check out the facts, although I have been to WDW a dozen time, I would never presume to just start typing without checking to make sure the facts as I believe them are true. Whether that entails grabbing a guidebook, logging onto http://www.disney/....... or checking another reputable online source, time is involved.  The commitment of 25 responses a week should take the average "mom" at least 10 hours a week. I suppose you could just pick the easy answers, but somebody has to answer the people who want to know the best parks to go to if you can only go to three. You really have to spell out options on that type of question.

So how to explain this phenomenon? Why would 20,000 people want to work this hard for no real pay? Yes there is a trip to WDW as compensation, but no paycheck will be coming. I know there are many fully qualified "moms" out there that didn't make the round 2 cuts, who would be a great asset to the DMP, but I think there are many that did it as a whim and would have been shocked to learn the work involved. Back to the why for the many who understand exactly what they are getting into. Disney has a way of working itself into your heart, WDW in specific makes you feel like your real world has just vanished, at least for the short time you are there. We as a family are better people, we either behave better, or we really are these better people underneath the stress of our daily lives. I hope it is the latter, Disney just gives us a place to be who we really are. I think if you feel that, you just want to share that joy with others. Some will get it, many won't. You have to let that feeling into your heart(I think that might be a line from Scrooged!), and for many, letting go of the outside world is for them just impossible. We who truly "get it", need a place to share. I know I do. New Mexico is not close to WDW, for many this far west, it may be a once in a lifetime trip. Maybe if I lived within a days drive to WDW, where most families will take a WDW trip, my Disney planning needs could be met by helping plan trips all the time. I'm not sure though, this idea of "working" for Disney calls to me. My family all knows that my retirement days are planned as a cast member, preferably at Haunted Mansion or Tower of Terror(love the crabby, spooky acting job, plus the ToT costumes call to me!). This way I get to be a cast member twenty years ahead of schedule.

Anybody reading this post, leave a comment about any reasons you may have for wanting this "moms" job. I know I'd love to hear your feelings.

Off to work! I'll post later on the new results and the aftermath.;)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Worn Out

The video is done, actually everything is done. Just waiting for my husband to come home and make sure the video is in a correct format and such, he is the techie, I'm too nervous to just do it myself. What if after all the effort I screwed it up! Just be patient and wait. Still over 7 hours til the deadline. I haven't been having any of the technical difficulties logging in the the website that many are having, so I'm not really worried.

I expected the video to be difficult. I'm a storyteller, I love to talk, especially about WDW, but to try to convey a good story in 60 is incredibly difficult. Plus I've never liked photos of myself, chubby round face, never flattering. So I just kept looking at the video thinking, do I really look like that or even worse do I sound like that, because it sounds like my MOTHER!!!!. Too bad the camera doesn't take off 10 pounds(20 would be great!). If Disney wanted perfect actresses, they could hire some, heck they have a bunch already working for them. Hoping it's heart they are looking for instead.

My cameraman was my daughter, who was also the subject of the video, she liked it, so I guess that is what is truly important.

Another two weeks of agonizing waiting. This is the round that I don't think I'll get past. My sample itinerary looks good, but I'm sure most of us use something very similar. The essay seemed a little fluffy, I mean we all love the panel or we wouldn't be participating. I think we'll all have great, again similar essays. So that just leaves the video. I'm a good writer and speaker, but the video was just not a great showcase. I look forward to the phone interview, if I make it that far, I feel pretty confident I can do very well. It's just this video. I'm going to try to think I'm out of it, great big surprise if I get to move on.

Think I'll try to take the focus off of the DMP for the next couple weeks, try to catch up on my real life(much of which has gone to the wayside!) and try to quit thinking about it all of the time.

Good Luck to the rest of my fellow round twoers, wish we all could make it.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Day One Again!

Still hasn't sunk in that I might actually have a chance, I've been telling myself for the past three weeks that there is just no way I could make the cut to round two when there are 20,000 applicants! Today feels like starting over, but now the stakes are much higher. The odds are better, probably not significantly, now something like ten of us will make it out of several hundred, I've heard 200, but then 500. Either number is still pretty daunting.

Do you think that this was all some semi-random draw from a hat? People are saying that on the Dis, I'm hoping that I actually exhibited some skills, or else the next round will end quickly for me.

Last year when I didn't make it beyond round one, I soooo wanted to read what a winning essay looked like. Nobody posted theirs, probably afraid the Disney police would find out and  they would be banned from DMP!  I believe in a kind and gentle Disney, so here are my responses:

Question One:

High school graduation is a time of intense emotions, both happy and sad, beginning and ending. Where to celebrate all of our mixed emotions? Go to our favorite place on earth, WDW of course! Three generations of family celebrated my eldest mouseketeer’s accomplishments with an 8 day WDW trip in May 2010.
I am an industry of one!   As a SAHM to two teens, except the envy of family and friends and increased hits to my blog, I have little potential impact either positively or negatively.
False. Beautiful 1.24 mile World Showcase Lagoon is home to eleven countries. Too easy!
Question Two:
A”veteran” of two trips to WDW in 1998, with a toddler, kindergartner and grandmother, I felt confident dispensing advice to a mom in my daughter’s class! Ten trips later my advice would still be the same:
Stay at WDW resorts to take advantage of the many perks available to guests.
Arrive at parks 1/2 hour before opening with a basic plan of “must see” in place.  This will ensure the most enjoyment, least frustration on even the busiest day.
Relax during the busy times. Enjoy the magic. It’s everywhere!  Slow down and look around.
Remember, wishes do come true!

Question Three:
Information is the key to a successful WDW trip. Sources include:
Information from the heart.  Experiences from our multigenerational annual trips provide a unique perspective on many trip planning questions.
 Information from the web.   Extensive, diverse online resources including official websites, travel agents, fan-based forums, Facebook, commercial and personal blogs, Twitter, etc. are available at the touch of a key.
Information from literature.  An avid reader, I own over 25 current guidebooks. All are well loved and used, covering the facts, but also the fun.
Information from Cast Members:  A well trained professional is only a call away at 1-407-WDISNEY.

I have no idea if they are really any good, and even if they are, next year they will change what they are looking for!
I've read people's post on the Dis that they have already taped their video, typed up everything and hit the submit button! That would be a whole lot easier, but there is no possibility that I could go that route. I couldn't even sleep last night, just kept waking up and thinking of what to say! So far today I have worried about my hair, my weight and the likelihood that the video camera works! Plus there is some question on which video formats are acceptable, what????? I know about WDW not MP4 vs.MPG(hey isn't that gas mileage?). I have at least worked up the required sample trip itinerary, looks really good, at least I am confident in my WDW planning abilities. Started working on the new essay, and am trying to pick from dozens of favorite memories for the video. At least the multiple choice questions were easy, I was always good at those ;). I will no doubt use up almost all of my allotted time, Friday night at 11:59 EST. I'm in the mountain time zone so I already lost 2 hours!

Better get to working! Thanks to everyone for the support!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Not so Done for the Day

Just when you give up for the day, everything changes in the click of the mouse. Of course I couldn't just stop looking at my email, even though Done for the Day did seem like that was my plan ;). Maybe just one more peak, why in the world they would send it out that late WDW time I don't know, but after refreshing 92 times today, what is one more time! Nope, no email from WDW, not even Disney Movie Club, which I get allllll the time.

I'll go check in at the Dis, share in the misery of waiting until tomorrow. As soon as I saw the page count since I last checked in, my heart sank, I couldn't breathe, it was all over. Dang it, reject again. My daughter was working on her computer, she doesn't know anything about the whole DMP, so I just held it together and started reading the posts. Sure enough the board was a buzz with happiness and sadness. Count me in the sadness. The odd thing was that so many of the active posters, who I assumed would be amongst the round twoers, weren't. Just plain weren't..........and a bunch of people who call themselves lurkers were moving on.  I kept thinking the emails might be coming out in waves, ok someone else came up with that, I just latched onto it like a life preserver. Keep refreshing emails, maybe there is still hope, nope.

This month has had one happy ending so far, my daughter is happy and healthy after her health scare, but it looks like I get two. I've always liked October! After reading one Dis poster say hers ended up in her junk mail, I grabbed on to that life preserver. Did I really think I was going to get a congratulations email? No, but I did!

Now this "thing" that I've wanted so badly, is frankly scaring me. I have to put together a video. A video? What happened to last years head shot? Yikes!

Back to the Dis, check on people I've come to admire, hope for junk mail for them.

Done for the Day

5:16 pm Orlando time. Done for the day. Feeling disappointed, wasted the bulk of the day, anxiety still really high. The idea of not having heard meaning I haven't been cut, has pretty much faded. I think I just want to know and move on, get my focus back.

Let's try a DMP question, get some good WDW vibes going!

Hi, We are visiting Epcot sometime from 22 - 31 October 2010 and wondered which restaurant gives the best view of the 9pm illuminations. Thanks

- Asked by Ju from Guernsey on 10/2/2010

There are only a couple of the World Showcase restaurants that have viewing of Illuminations, the Rose and Crown in the United Kingdom, and the new La Hacienda de San Angel. Both require ADRs(Advanced Dining Reservations), and the tables for Illuminations viewing go very quickly. Call Disney Dining at (407) 939-3463 as soon as possible to check for possible seating times available.

Having never gotten an ADR for Illuminations, I can tell you that there are many locations around the World Showcase Lagoon that provide perfect viewing of Illuminations. On most of our trips we position ourselves on the fence in front of the Mexican pavilion. On our last trip we actually ended up on the bridge between France and the United Kingdom and had a spectacular view.  Depending on the crowd level during your trip, you will want to stake out your spot approximately 8:15-8:30, to ensure front row viewing. Check out your spot for trees, as they can obscure the higher fireworks. Our family usually splits up, one half safe guarding our spot, while the other half go find food(excellent fish and chips at Yorkshire County Fish Shop in the United Kingdom!)

Have a wonderful trip to Epcot.

To See or not to See

Florida time it is now 2:21pm. This time last year the emails to the lucky ones had gone out. I've checked my email, nada, but am to nervous to go look at the Dis. Think I'll go have lunch first, why ruin perfectly good leftover Chinese?  This is the part of the process that drives me crazy, would it be too hard to have a definitive time when the announcement will be made? I know it is hard to know how long it will take to read the essays, well actually I imagine after this many years they actually do have a pretty good idea. The rest of us have deadlines at our jobs, seems like this someone(s) job, make a deadline! So, that's out of my system, not bad that I have made it this far without even a tiny meltdown! I'm so losing the Zen-like attitude I espoused  early in the process, probably in post #1. That day, sooooooo loooooong ago, I was in Happytown, I was going to be a better person. 

Stress? Maybe a little chocolate for lunch instead of leftovers, who am I kidding, a lot of chocolate.

If you are reading me and already know you are on to round two, a big congratulations!! Of course if that is the case, you're not reading me, you're excited and freaking out about how to answer your next three totally inadequately sized questions.  I'm hoping they just haven't sent out the announcements yet. On to the chocolate.


No email yet, but nobody has gotten one, so I can keep hoping. After checking email, I was almost too nervous to go check with the Dis. What if everybody got a positive 2nd round announcement and I didn't? It seems like last year the yes, went out before the no. It would be great if they could just hit the send button at the same time! Don't they know they are driving us all crazy?

In lieu of spending the entire day glued to my computer, I am going to go get on the treadmill and put this nerve racking energy to some use. So no looking at emails for at least an hour! Good thing my phone doesn't have data services or I'd be running and trying to read emails. Must find an outlet for this craziness!

Good luck to anyone reading me from the same boat!

It's Time!

I think today is the day we will hear if we are moving on to the 2nd round of the DMP. I really believed that last Friday was "the day", seemed like with the reduced entry time period, there would be fewer applicants, therefore  taking less time to read.  I still think there had to be fewer applicants, a lot of people procrastinate, just get busy, life gets in their way and 5 days would have just slipped away before they realized. Hopefully that just means more time is being spent reading the responses. I think that will benefit the real WDW fans, hopefully our knowledge will be obvious.

So what I am feeling? First I'm happy that it wasn't Friday, I didn't even think about writing my thoughts that day, I just rushed to email and the Disboards. Now I have the opportunity to reflect, this blogging is brand new to me, I'm more of a go rushing in kinda girl. Taking a moment to breathe and think is actually very calming, I'm enjoying the process.

That said, why have I taken two weeks to write. My college freshman was sick when I last posted, it went seriously downhill  after that afternoon. She has the stomach flu, not that big of a problem, unless you are diabetic. She has had type 1 diabetes since she was 11, but this was our first crisis. If you know about diabetes is is all about the food, eat, take insulin. Oddly when diabetics get stomach bugs it doesn't matter that they aren't eating, their blood sugar skyrockets. Very hard to get a handle on, at home with mom monitoring we've always managed to make it through the episodes, but first time at college, it all got away from her and she ended up in the ER. Followed by an airlift to a larger hospital, and ending up in ICU. Anyway, happy ending, she is back at school, already caught up and studying for mid-terms. For the blogger, life got in my way(not that I haven't been religiously checking email and Dis) and I haven't had the time to write.

So what am I feeling today?  Absolutely not confident, I'm still not convinced that they received my responses, just too much effort getting the system to accept it, kept telling me too many characters, no I didn't cut and paste ;). That has been in the back of my head the whole time telling me not to get too confident, they may not even have a chance to read my witty, informative, well written 100 word gems. Last year I was my first year to apply, and I was devastated not to move to Round 2, this year I am better prepared for the possibility. At least I think that I am, we'll have to see what reality truly is. Do I still want this? Yes!!!, absolutely, however watching my kid lay in the ICU, may have gained me a whole lot of perspective on priorities. I'll just try again and again until I get on the panel. It doesn't have to be this year, patience is a virtue, one I've never really practiced, but I am a quick study!

Let's go check those emails. WDW claims they won't necessarily tell you if you are a "reject", I know, I know,  we're all winners, except that in truth we aren't! I just know that is how I felt last year, and probably will again this year. The difference this year is that I can handle being a reject better, and can be happier for those moving on. I feel certain I will still be envious, just not angry like I felt last year. But I hope they do send out the email, with the thanks but no thanks, at least then you know for sure. Hopefully Disney ironed out some of the problems that occurred last year, a lot of unhappiness resulted from some negligence on their part. Too easy to be already disappointed, then get caught up in a negative reaction.

All right, here we go................

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Impatiently Waiting

Nothing much going on but waiting, even the Disboard seems to have settled into a bit of a lull. Not too many people chiming in. They probably feel like I do; just get it over with! At least today I managed to get a lot done with very little checking the Dis and Facebook. Thank goodness I haven't gotten in to Twitter yet, one more source of information I don't need right now. If I get selected I guess I'll have to figure it out. I did read DMP Kaylene's blog on all of her feelings leading up to being selected, and then her trip reports for her training. The trip sounds incredible. How fun it would be to hang out with other people who just get it!

My college girl is sick, trying to help her out from afar, but it's so very frustrating. I'm a freshman mom, I guess it will get easier over time. 

Let's take a look at a DMP question:

We will be going to WDW the 2nd week of December. What can we expect crowd wise and wait times? 

- Asked by Michelle on 9/16/2010

Michelle you will love going to WDW in December.  With the exception of possibly Saturdays, compared with much of the rest of the year, you will find the crowds very manageable and the wait times short.

My family has gone in December several times in the past, and it is our favorite time of the year. The holiday decorations are beautiful and the weather is lovely. Be sure to plan for cool evenings. There are many special things you won't want to miss. At Disney's Hollywood Studios, the Osbourne Lights are a truly breath taking display of lights timed to holiday music, with a little magic(snow in Florida!) thrown in. Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party at the Magic Kingdom is fun for all ages. One of our favorite December treats is to visit many of the WDW resorts and see their distinctive holiday decorations. One of our favorites is the Animal Kingdom Lodge, a fun resort to visit for animal viewing, has uniquely beautiful decorations.

Have a wonderful trip!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Finally Friday

After a long, busy week it is"Finally Friday". I've been lax keeping up with the Disboards, so checked in to see what was going on. Yes, it's too early for the Mom's Panel readers to have weeded through thousands of applications, but even in my laid back approach(that will make anyone who knows me laugh) I just can't break away. Certainly if I don't keep a close watch, everyone will know they are in or out and I'll be the last to know! Last year it took 23 days for the 2nd round invites to go out, yes I actually counted, precision is important! So if that is the case this year, that makes it the 10th, which is Sunday, so that totally messes up my calculations! Theoretically, they should have fewer applications to read, because of the shortened initial window. Friday, October 8th is my guess for annoucement dream come true/dreams dashed day! Does that seem like a really long time away? Yikes, now I wish I hadn't counted.

Disney released the "Share the magic of Disney memories!" promotion yesterday. Although my favorite was the Year(s) of a Million Dreams, just the possibility of being chosen was exciting, it is fun to sit and look at every one's joy of being at WDW. You can check out the directions at  I'm not sure I'll send any of our trip photos, just one more reason to sit firmly in front of the computer! Instead, let's take a look at the Question of the Day!

Why isn't the entertainment schedule for the parks available online? I have searched everywhere and can not find a time for Wishes for today. I get park hours 9 AM - 9 PM but no entertainment listed for the parks. How can one make plans?

- Asked by Terry from FL on 9/24/2010

Hi Terry, Welcome to the Mom's Panel!

You're right, it is so important to know the times of all special events in order to plan ahead. I try to always have every detail, I don't want to miss a thing.

Here's what you need to do online at

Go to the individual parks monthly calendar, then click on the day you're headed to a specific park, and a schedule of events for that day will pop up. Conveniently located on the daily schedule page is a list of any attractions closed for refurbishment.

Have fun tonight at Wishes! It will be starting at 9:00 pm.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Question of the Day

Since we are driving to WDW would it make more sence to drive from the Pop Centry to the parks instead of taking the Disney bus? Sometimes the lines to get back are really long and you have to wait for several buses before you can get on.

 Asked by Joan from NJ on 9/10/2010

Hi Joan! Great question. Many people drive to WDW, or like we always do, rent a vehicle. We just like the flexibility to be able to explore the entire Orlando area. Walt Disney World does provide an extensive transportation system, that provides a free and convenient way to get around the resort. However, we have found that there are definitely times where your own vehicle can come in handy. We always take advantage of the bus to the Magic Kingdom, because the vehicle parking lot is only accessible by ferry or monorail. That always seems like one too many steps to us, the bus drops you off right at the front. Yes, sometimes at closing, it may take awhile and a second bus, but that time would have been spent getting to the parking lot, then catching a tram to the car, getting out of the lot and then driving and parking back at you resort. We typically drive to the remaining parks.

Remember that parking is free to WDW hotel guests, including checkout day!

Time is Passing Slowwwwwwwwly!

Somehow I've managed to get caught up in the going crazy waiting to see if I've moved on to Round 2 of the Disney Mom's Panel. Yes, I know for a fact, absolutely, without a doubt, conclusively, decidedly, unquestionably(see Disney, I know a lot of words) that there will be no word on Round 2 for weeks. I feel really good about my responses, I think they were totally on target for what they are looking for, if I only knew what they wanted! The questions seemed easier for me this year, words just came without too much effort. Last year I really agonized over every word, and second guessed myself. However, this year I am also more realistic, I don't really anticipate moving forward. So why this constant need to see what everyone is saying on the Disboard? No one knows anything!

This is what I'm thinking; It is a camaraderie of a sort, we don't know each other personally, but we share a passion. If most of them are anything like me, it is a passion we don't share with too many of our friends or family.  Therefore being able to share our passion is really liberating, they get it!

So I guess I just need to come to terms with the constant pull to check in with the forum, it will be over before too long, and I'll probably miss it.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Monday's Mouse

So it's Monday, who really likes Monday? My college daughter was home for the weekend and is gone again, my younger daughter is home with some stomach thing and of course it is just Monday. So let's give a DMP question a try:

Hi, we are travelling for the 1st time to WDW and have to decide on ONLY 3 PARKS. Our son is 4, which park would you skip? I'm thinking Epcot, but my husband disagrees. Please give us some insight.

- Asked by ERIKA from TX on 9/10/2010

First congratulations on your first trip to WDW! You will have amazing trip regardless of which 3 parks you try.

All the WDW parks have something to offer a 4-year old, but it does help to know how your child reacts to certain rides. Are they fearful of the dark, loud noises or fast movements?  Of course there is always the "rider's switch", so that you and your husband can ride the more grown up rides.

The Magic Kingdom is of course a must see for a 4 year old, actually even for a 40 year old! If your son is adventurous, the Magic Kingdom has enough for him that you might consider visiting it for 2 days. If a little less adventurous, you can do the rides most suited for him in one day.

While Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios might be considered a more adult parks there are many opportunities for your son at both. Epcot has a fun activity called the "Kidcot Fun Stops" that my kids always enjoyed.

Animal Kingdom is the park I would say has the least to do for a very young child. Although it is an amazing park, most of the major attractions are not geared towards a 4 year old. Many of the rides are either height restricted or have dark or loud components. If your son loves animals then you may want to consider Animal Kingdom, enjoy the shows and walk the trails. There is a lot to do without riding the rides.

A good idea before making your decision is to purchase a WDW guidebook, there are dozens available at bookstores and online, many specifically geared towards children. They can give you ride information to use specifically with your child's comfort level in mind.  Also check out the WDW website; You can take a look at the attractions with you son and get an idea which ones he might find the most appealing.

I wouldn't worry too much about regretting your decision, no matter which parks you visit, you will have a magical trip.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Mom's Panel Question

I've decided to start answering current questions on the official Disney Mom's Panel as practice for when I win a spot! Power of positive thinking. Here is the question I picked today. Most days I'll just try to pick a new question, but today I just picked an open ended type question to start the brain thinking like a Disney Mom.

I want to make sure I pack all the right stuff for a 3 yr old and 10 yr old. What are some must haves (aside from the obvious)?"   Asked by Jama from WV on 9/8/2010

Jama you are right to start thinking beyond the basics. Having everything you need for your kids WDW trip will make for a lot less stress and less money spent on basics. Save your vacation money to spend on fun activities and souvenirs instead!

The following are a few things you just can't do without.
  • Sunscreen.  The Florida sun is very intense even on a winter day. Although Disney does a wonderful job of getting you out of the sun as quickly as possible on most rides, you will find that you are still out in the sun quite a bit. Getting everyone covered before you leave the hotel is easier than trying to achieve that in line at the parks. Take a handy sunscreen stick or travel size sunscreen with you for touch ups through out the day.
  • Jackets and Pants. If traveling to Florida in the summer you probably won't need to worry about being cold. However during the rest of the year, especially winter, you may find that Florida can actually get quite cool. My family has had to buy jackets and pants because we were ill prepared, it's Florida! You can usually count on rain at some point during your trip. Rain clears out the crowds, so take advantage, just be prepared with inexpensive ponchos from the dollar store. Make sure you have a back up set of shoes and socks, just in case they get wet.
  • Stroller. Your 3 year old may be a great walker, I know mine had given up her stroller at 3, but the distances at WDW will wear out the best little walkers. You may find that you don't use it at some parks, but at others it will help.
  • Fanny Packs. Waiting in lines, even a short 10 minute wait, can seem like forever to a child of any age. Even my teen-age kids are impatient! A fanny pack filled with small "treasures", gum and snacks can make the wait go by much quicker. Let the kids have their own fanny packs, it will save you having to get in to your bag all the time.  I look for small inexpensive treats all year and save them as surprises for the trip. Glow sticks/bracelets/necklaces from your dollar store are a fun treat for nighttime at the parks.
  • Identification. Be sure your kids have your cell phone number in their bag, just in case they should get separated from you. Cast Members are on the look out for lost little people at all times and are trained to assist. If they have your phone number they can contact you quickly.
  • Quarters and Pennies. Smashed pennies are a great souvenir. They are located all over WDW and are fun for kids to do. I collect new shiny pennies all year for our trip. Most machines cost  $.51, have change ready and it will save you having to ask a Cast Member for change. It is fun and quick.
Have a wonderful trip! The most important thing to take is your sense of adventure. WDW is a magical place with adventure around every turn!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Application Deadline Approaches

Today is the last day for the DMP applications. Finally!!!!, well really this year it seems to have flown by. Last year the open application time was longer, Sept 10-20th. This year less than half that time, I have to wonder why they shortened the time period? There was never a mention last year of having reached the magical 20,000 application cut off, so I'm hoping that they believe we "early birds" are the people they really want! Why weed through 20,000 if the cream of the crop is in the the first 10,000? I like that theory!

This year I'm just participating in one WDW forum, the Disboard, instead of every forum I can find. Refer to my Obssesion blog about that craziness......... Anyway, the Dis is a very devoted WDW group and I'm sure all of us on that forum applied in the first 2-3 days, I mean if this was something you really wanted, why wait 10 days? Last year(my first attempt), I was totally convinced if I didn't get it done on the first day by lunchtime, I'd miss the 20,000 cut! So maybe I am as "weird" about Disney as my non-Disney friends imply? This year with my more "take a breath, calm down" approach, I can appreciate the idea that there aren't millions of WDW addicts that want to do this. Is competing against 10,000 isn't that much better odds than the 20,000? If my smarty pants husband was here, he'd figure out the difference for me. I'm just going to say if sure seems like my chances are better.

Kind of feels like the last day of finals, nothing else to do but wait and see. Hope for the best! So for everyone who applied, Hope you passed!

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Big Day

At least this weekend I was busy and couldn't think too much about the DMP questions. Well, I did check in last night at 10:02 pm MT, just in case the questions would be up at 12:00 pm ET! Should have read the rules, because it said clearly 9:00 am ET. No reason to lay in bed dreaming up sparkling answers at least.

So up and logging in to see what the questions were, wow, definitely different from last year. Now I knew they would be different, but I still wrote up a bunch of ideas based on those same three questions. Back to the drawing board. I was expecting more of the heartfelt, talk about your WDW passion, but they seem to want more facts. Hmmmmmmmmm. Lunches and carpool took precedent at that point, don't these kids know that I want to be a Disney Mom(well actually no, because I haven't really shared my obsession with them, less disappointment all around, when/if I don't make it!), anyway took another hour to get back to business.

It is a job based on writing skills, so I knew well enough the no cut and paste rule, misspelled words will knock you out, and by the way maybe punctuation does count, kind of issues. So first typed it all up on a Word document, everything spelled perfectly, word count 99 in all three questions. I of course have no idea what they want on content, if I did I'd already be a DM. The feel of last years answers got me nowhere, I mean really nowhere, not even to round 2. So try a different feel, humorous yet professional, I'm sure there are all the same people reading again????, no doubt last years answers would be perfect for this years readers!

Now to just get it all written up in the Disney boxes. Sounds easy enough, type, proof, submit. Except after hitting submit, it came back with 12-23 word overages in every question. What???? I was looking right at the 1 word remaining in all boxes. Now what? Tried submit again, same response. Logged back in typed it up again, now only one question was 19 words too much, really????? Finally took out a bunch of spaces, hit submit, this time it took it. But what exactly did it take. I got one thanks for your submission, followed by a you've already submitted. I'm a big believer in Karma, so I must be making up for some crabby day, but I'd have preferred a flat tire!

So I may or may not have an application to the DPM, it could just be blank, 12-23 words too many or just a big blob of letters with few spaces. I'd complain to someone, but are they looking for a whiner?

Oh well, it's over. Now just the waiting. If I remember from last year, we'll be waiting about 3 weeks to know the round two candidates. Happy waiting to all!

Friday, September 10, 2010


Late August of 2009 I saw the "coming soon" teaser for the 2010 Disney Mom's Panel(let's call it the DMP, save me a lot of typing!). Last year was the first year I submitted my application to Disney to be a part of the Mom's Panel. It started off as just a whim, I thought "this might be a lot of fun". I also thought, geez, who could know more about WDW than I do? I know it all............ok maybe a little too much confidence. But honestly in New Mexico where I live, I don't know a soul who has more WDW knowledge than I do. I get a lot of people who are actually stunned that I return to WDW every year. Of course, they have never been. They have been to Disneyland or Six Flags, and throw WDW into the same category. So I patiently explain that WDW is actually very nearly paradise, I get some converts, but many who think I may be a little nutty.

Oops, little off topic, back to the DMP! After making the decision to apply, I immediately went overboard. That is nothing new for me, I have a tendency to do that, especially when it comes to Disney. I was already a member of the Yahoo Disney group, but they didn't seem all that excited about the DMP, so I went searching for more Disney nuts. I knew they were out there somewhere. So I joined the Disboards, Passporter's, Netcot, Facebook group and Twitter(there may be more, I've probably blocked the extent of my craziness.), not to mention any blogs I could find. First I read the the posts from the previous panelist about their training. It blew me away that Disney made their whole adventure so incredible. Then I read every post from the earliest mention of the DMP to the very latest posts. I rejected the "just for fun" and it became my obsession. I became Neurotic Disney Mom #125 at, a truly exceptional Disney blog. Waiting impatiently for the applications to open, I started reading my guide books, just in case they gave me a pop quiz! I would be ready!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Day One

Not a particularly inspired title, however there has to be one day where you just begin something. Today is that day! With the exception of a half hearted blog, an assignment that I participated on with my 15 year old daughter, I have never given the blog world a try.

Why begin a blog? Disney in general and Walt Disney World specifically, have been an important part of my family's life since 1992 when my oldest daughter Rachel was born. I had been to WDW in 1979 with my mom and brother, and watched "The Mickey Mouse Club" as a kid, but really came to love all things Disney when I had my own kids. I think it started with the Disney characters, Disney television programs and the movies. Disney became a part of our lives. Our first trip to WDW in May 1998 introduced us to a whole "World" of the Disney characters and ideals come to life. A second trip at halloween in 1998(well we had purchased annual passes for our long trip in May, what else could we do but get the most value out of the tickets!)for Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party had us hooked. Sometimes to my husband's dismay, we have returned year after year. I know there are families who are lucky to live near WDW and visit multiple times a year, we live in New Mexico and for us to travel to Florida annually is a big event.

Back to the blog. Last year I applied for the Disney Mom's Panel, didn't make it past round one, but I'm going to keep trying. I think I tried last year more as a whim, but was surprised by how emotional I felt when I didn't make it. Turns out the panel is something I really want to be a part of. I have always been the planner of trips to WDW, for our family and any other family who would listen to me! I have the guidebooks, the websites bookmarked, the maps, the DVDs, notes and photographs, if there is a reference to WDW I have it! The applications open on September 13th and I'll have my essays written and turned in that day,just in case being enthusiastically early gets you brownie points ;).

So welcome to my journey. Good luck to anyone else who shares the passion to join the Disney Mom's Panel. If I don't make the panel again this year, I'll share my WDW enthusiasm with my readers and attempt it again next year.