To most people the beginning of September means the start of another school year, or the coming of fall. To myself, and thousands of other moms and dads, it means that it is almost time for the search for the new group of panelists for the Disney World Mom's Panel. That day this year is Monday September 13th.
What is the Mom's Panel you ask? It is an online forum on the Disney World website that allows guests to ask any question they have about the WDW resort. Not sure which deluxe resort to choose? Ask the Mom's Panel. Which character meal is the best for a Goofy lover? Ask the Mom's Panel. Not sure when you can catch a performance of Fantasmic! during your trip? Ask the Mom's Panel.
Who are these Mom's? Well, let me first say that the name "Mom's Panel" is a bit misleading. There are in fact Dad's on the panel! In addition to the Dad's, there are even grandmothers! Each and every one of them was selected based on their love and knowledge of all things Disney.
How are the lucky folks selected you ask? Each September for the past 3 years, Disney has held an online application process. The first phase is 3 essay questions that let the selection committee know who you are, why you love Disney and why you think you would be an essential member of the panel. If you are lucky enough to pass this phase, you get to answer another set of essay questions that are a bit more in depth and (from what I understand) focus more on your specialties and other characteristics of why you would be an awesome panelist. The third and final round is the ever so daunting phone interview! Yep, the people who you have been writing to actually exist! A week or two after the phone interviews (in October or November) the lucky new Mom's and Dad's are informed of their selection and they are in heaven (or at least I am assuming they are)!!
So there you go. Sounds easy right? NOT! This will be my second year applying and I have not yet made it past the first round. Last year when I answered, I took forever and really thought about it and probably totally over analyzed each little word. After talking to some current and past panel members, I think this year I am just going to write from the heart and really be myself, after all, that is what they are looking for.
I should also say that I have made some great online friends throughout this whole process! These are people who are now my friends on Facebook and Twitter as well as buddies on the DIS boards! I have also gotten to meet some of them in person recently at the Mickey Mom's Club Illuminations party held at Epcot a few weeks ago! *The Mickey Mom's Club-MMC is sort of like a consolation prize for not making the actual Mom's Panel. If you apply to the panel and don't make it, you are automatically part of the MMC. There is a special newsletter, and many different opportunities throughout the year.
I cannot say enough how much I would love to be a part of this amazing panel! I have loved all things Disney since my first visit when I was 4 years old and my grandparents took me. I started converting my husband to a Disney lover when we took our first trip together when I was 4 months pregnant with Olivia. Although he says he is not a fan, his eyes light up as soon as we get there and he is just as sad as me when we leave. Olivia has had no choice but to be a Disney lover, she was born into it! From her first visit at the age of 15 months to the most recent trip a couple of weeks ago she has loved every single second. I start planning our next trip to the World even before our current one has finished and get great joy from helping others plan theirs! Making this panel would be an incredible honor and I would be so proud to say that I am a member of the Walt Disney World Mom's Panel!