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 http://memories.disneyparks.disney.go.com/.  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 http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/parks/.

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; http://disneyworld.disney.go.com. 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 thedisneydrivenlife.com, 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.