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Walt Disney World Moms Panel Search 2011

Walt Disney World Moms PanelIt’s that time again! In less than a month – September 13th to be exact – the search will again begin for new members of the Walt Disney World Moms Panel. Those of you familiar with the blog may remember my journey last year, which I chronicled here (and on twitter) pretty much to the point of making everyone around me nauseous with my pixie-dusted self. My only defense is that I was, in fact, very excited and determined to succeed in my goal of being on the panel and the blog hadn’t really taken off yet at that point, so I had a bit of time on my hands in order to wax poetic on the Moms Panel. A LOT. I’m still not sure how I was picked from all the amazing applicants. I have never doubted my Disney vacation planning knowledge or passion, but in meeting other panelists, they all seem to have something incredible that sets them apart. So while I’m not sure what it was that set me apart, I am forever grateful for the opportunities I was given and the friends I have made as a result. This past year really has been life-changing and opened my eyes to so many wonderful things.

Now, onto the point of my post. So you say you want to be on the Walt Disney World Moms Panel, eh? Well I’m here to explain how it all works. Of course, the actual process of choosing the applicants is top secret and not something we panelists are involved in, but that doesn’t mean I can’t give you a little info on how things go down.

First, the misconceptions – Most people think you have to a) be a mom and b) have kids to be chosen for the panel. This is simply not true. While the panel has the moniker of “Moms” panel it really is not exclusive to moms at all. Each year up until last year, one dad was chosen with each new panel. Last year, six dads joined the team. While there has not been a panelist without children chosen yet, they are still welcome to apply. The questions we receive on the panel range from what time Fantasmic shows on a certain date, how to make a celebration at Walt Disney World special, recommending hotels or restaurants, to which attractions are the most enjoyable for certain guests. There are just as many questions that have nothing to do with being a parent per se, as there are questions about how to handle the parks with kids. Bottom line, Disney is looking for knowledge, passion, and the ability to convey those two things clearly as you help guests plan their vacations.  The official qualifications from last year include visiting the WDW resort within the last 12 months along with some other must-haves.

Well, why don’t I let the Pink Princess herself, Walt Disney World Moms Panel and Social Media Manager Laura Spencer share some tips for what they are looking for, in her own words:

  • The competition is VERY stiff. The Walt Disney World Moms Panel website is based on writing, so poor grammar and typos will probably get you eliminated almost immediately. Proofread your applications.
  • Things like calling the Magic Kingdom ‘Disney World’  or the monorail the ‘train’ to the parks are subtle hints to reviewers that let them know your knowledge level.
  • Just be you. It’s not possible to know everything about Disney Parks. Fine dining, Disney architecture and multicultural family travel were my areas of expertise when I applied for the panel, so that’s what I talked about.
  • If your friends and family cannot help themselves from calling YOU for their Disney trip planning advice, somehow show that passion on the application. You have to literally “jump” off of the page to be picked from applicants that seem to get better each year.
  • Do your friends and family recommend you to other people to help them plan their Disney Parks vacations? If you cannot answer ‘yes’ to that question, then perhaps the Walt Disney World Moms Panel isn’t for you.  Current and former panel members have such a high passion for all things Disney, that everyone in their inner and outer circle knows it. Panelists were usually known as the ‘go-to’ person in their communities for Disney trip planning advice before they ever made it onto the panel.

Great words of wisdom. The first year I applied, I tried to fit in as many things as I could to “prove” what I knew and why I “deserved” to be on the panel. I realized that coming from that frame of mind – “I know it all, I SHOULD be on this panel!” is not the way to go about it. I feel, personally, that you must show your true self in your words and show what you DO with all that knowledge you have. There are thousands of Disney experts out there, but do you want them to help plan your vacation? And do they want to help?

As far as the actual process – the Walt Disney World Moms Panel search page will switch over to a form for writing your essay questions, in 100 words or less, on the date applications begin. If you already have a log-in for WaltDisneyWorld.com, simply use that to log-in and begin writing your answers. If you do not, you’ll be able to register before you start. You will then answer three questions, which could be about you, your family, what makes you a great Disney vacation planner, or other topics to help those reading get to know you a little better.

That email you use to register will be where all future communications from the Moms Panel are sent. You will receive a confirmation email that your application has been received. If you do not receive this email, do not panic. It could be lost in your spam folder, or somewhere in space between Disney and your computer. As long as you received the confirmation page on the site where you applied, your application has been received. While Disney cannot guarantee replying to all the applicants that do not make the cut, in the past emails have been sent out thanking you for your time and efforts and inviting you to the Mickey Moms Club.

One word of warning – do not write your answers in a word processor and copy and paste them into the form. Coding and invisible characters can be pasted in, making your answers virtually impossible to read. The form does note this, but it can be easy to miss in the excitement. You want to make sure all your words come across clearly!

If you move on to the second round, there will be another set of three essay questions to answer, most likely looking for specific examples of how you’ve helped others plan successful Disney vacations. I know many people want to know the questions ahead of time to prepare answers and not have to worry about being under pressure to fit it all in, in 100 words or less, under pressure. My view on this is that it doesn’t help. You are then so focused on trying to find the ‘right’ thing to say, you lose yourself in the process and that will be evident to those reading your responses. Let the real you shine through, spontaneously.

The third round then turns to a phone interview. You’ll be asked a few more questions and if you make it to this point, you’ll probably think your replies were horrible when you get off the phone. Pretty much every single panelist I spoke to last year thought they failed the phone interview miserably (myself included!) and obviously, that was not the case! My advice here is to relax, be yourself and try to speak as if you are just talking to a friend about Disney. That’s easy to do right?

As I did last year, I will update this page with information when applications open and as each new round starts. I can’t wait to meet the 2011 panel!

Have you applied in the past? Will you again this year? I’d love to hear from you here and have you keep me posted on how the process goes for you. Wishing all of my friends who joined me on this path last year, as well as those reading this now, the best of luck this year. I hope you will get to receive the exciting message I was honored to be given last year. No matter what happens, be confident in your knowledge and passion for our favorite place – Walt Disney World. Pixie dust to all!

Update: From Laura Spencer at the Mickey Moms Club Illuminations Party, the 2011 Walt Disney World Moms Panel search will begin on September 13 and run for 5 days, until September 17. Best of luck!

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  • Theresa

    I’ll keep on trying. Third times a charm, right? :)

  • http://disneybabiesblog.blogspot.com Jenn

    I’ve never applied in the past, but I’ve been curious about the MOMS panel for a few years and definitely want to apply this year. A few years ago, I passed a car in my suburb with a Moms sticker and license plate to spark my interest. I’m very curious to see what the essays are!

  • http://zannaland.com Zanna

    Best of luck to you! I can’t wait to see what the questions are this year either! :)

  • http://twitter.com/marcmantoo Marc Lorenzo

    Awesome article Zanna and so true! :-)

  • http://wdwnotjustforkids.com Hedy

    I applied last year, arguing why a PANK(professional aunt no kids)/non-parent should be on the panel. I didn’t get anywhere, but it made me realize my passion for the topic, which led to my blog. :)

  • Disneymom2jhe

    Great article – thank you! I applied last year and am looking forward to trying again this year. Can’t wait!

  • http://tracifishbowl.blogspot.com/ tracileigh

    this post got my heart racing just a bit :)

  • http://southernwebgirl.blogspot.com Southern Web Girl

    I would love to apply — I’m a late 20s newlywed PANK. I know a LOT about the honeymoon/anniversary aspect of WDW, so maybe that is an angle I can take.

  • http://zannaland.com Zanna

    I’ll be cheering for you Traci!!

  • Shelley

    Zanna,

    Thank you for blogging about the Mom’s panel 2011. I remeber when it first rolled out in 2008, I applied but did not make it. In 2009 I did not apply since I had many personal issues consuming my life and I felt it best not to apply since I migh tnot be able to commit. I then applied in 2010 also not making the panel, I will say though that is a I am a dedicated follwer of all things Disney, I have been able to meet a few of the Moms Panel through FB or twitter and they all have been wonderful ladies and some have become friends that I have been able to learn from.

  • Sarah

    I got teary eyed just reading this! I’m so excited to apply again this year. It’s a goal I really hope to achieve and I will just have to keep taking “research” trips to keep my knowledge up-to-date if I don’t make it, right?!

  • Tiffany

    I applied every year except last year. It had been about 13 months since our last trip and I wasn’t eligible. I’m excited to apply again this year. Thanks for writing about the process! I love reading the stories of those who made it.

  • http://www.thedisneyexplorer.net Stacyrackley

    Thank you for this post! It did make me feel a little better about what angle I should take when I apply. I could not apply last year(due to being near due date) and I will be applying this year. My husband has been hearing about this since a couple of months ago and now it’s all I talk about. One of the hardest things will be conveying how passionate I am through writing. I am so nervous.

  • RocketScienceMom

    I have applied twice, and never made it past that first application process. I was so disappointed afterwards that I think I might skip out on applying this year. I know, the competition is stiff, and tons of folks apply. I tweet disney, I blog disney and I am the disney planning expert for my family. That might be enough….:)

  • Lynne from Texas

    Hey doll! What a wonderful post – gives some very helpful information. And thank you for the link to your video – it makes me cry happy tears when I think what that must have meant. I appreciate you sharing your experience

  • Tere

    I’ve applied every year since the panel was formed. I am determined to be a panelist one day. Thank you for the article. :)

  • http://impressyourkids.com ohamanda {impress your kids}

    I still get sick when I think about my phone interview. Secretly I wonder if those interviewers look at me and remember it…

    a

    • jen

      oh no! what happened?

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  • Ghasty

    enjoyed reading…and yes, I’m once again ready to be a mom (even though I’m actually wdwdaddy.com )

  • Sarahbarnes

    Thanks for your thoughts on the application process. Just one quick question… if you can answer… how long of a time period is there between round 1 and round 2? I will be trying again for the Moms Panel this year and I will actually be in Walt Disney World when I do. If (and that’s a big “if”) I made it to round 2 when would that take usually take place?

  • http://zannaland.com Zanna

    Best of luck to you!! We love our Disney Dads! 😀

  • http://zannaland.com Zanna

    In looking at my emails from last year, it seems to be right around 4 weeks
    between submitting the first essays and hearing about round 2. I’m not sure
    if that will be the case this year, as you never know when Disney will
    change things up. :) I actually know quite a few people that submitted
    either their first or second round answers while in a Disney park, so maybe
    it’ll bring you luck! 😉

  • Sarahbarnes

    Thanks so much for your response Zanna! I’m hoping a little Pixie Dust in the air will bring me good luck!

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  • http://twitter.com/bebefehr2 Brooke Fehr

    Zanna – thanks for the awesome blog! I’m applying this year for the first time. I can’t wait to begin the process. If I didn’t have a baby napping in the next room, I’d head over to the parks this very second :-)

  • Lpk9168021

    I am so excited to apply this year! I am a disney junkie! I take my daughter 3 times a year (people actually make fun of me) but, it’s our home away from home and such a magical place. I plan all my friends and families vactions to disney and actually get excited even though I’m not going. I am a single mom and for me being able to bring my daughter to disney is a gift to myself and to my daughter and no matter where we are in disney everyone makes us feel special and theirs always something new to see and do. Being on the moms panel would be such an honor!

  • http://twitter.com/ghidotti Natalie Ghidotti

    Hi, Zanna, quick question that you might know: It’s been just a little longer than 12 months since we’ve been, but I’m headed there Sept. 28, and then again after Thanksgiving with the family. Wondering if that would count or if we have to start from Sept. 13 and go back a year. Thanks for any insight. You are THE source for Moms Panel application process!!

    • http://zannaland.com Zanna

      I don’t have an official answer for you but my personal opinion is if you
      are going to be there really soon it shouldn’t be an issue. Apply, and good
      luck! :-)

      Sent from a mobile device, please excuse any typos or brevity. Thank you.

      • http://twitter.com/ghidotti Natalie Ghidotti

        Thanks, Zanna! I appreciate the response!

  • Nick Manship

    Does anyone know of when the notifications for 2nd round qualifiers will be released? Anxious to hear if I will be invited for that round.

  • Mickey9876

    Laura I applied this year I saw that Disney was taking applications till midnight on the 17th . It was 11:45 I had 15 minutes to fill out the application. I was so nervous but made the dead line. Can’t wait to hear from them. Have a magical day. Barb

  • Tamela Hansen

    I really appreciate your help. I made it to round two and I think I messed up the itinerary or the format for it. Do you have any suggestions of what they want. With mine, I pulled an itinerary from my last trip I planned for a family. Maybe there is something else they wanted. Thanks for any and all help. Tammy

  • Bmswart3

    So, I made it to round 2 this year and I submitted my answers and video this morning. I copied my answers from the website to a word processor so I could go back and fret over them later :) However, after submitting my application, I realized I misspelled one word :( Should I assume that this will negate my application?

  • Heather Petro

    Hello Laura,
    I was wondering if you knew when Disney would be looking for new members for their moms panel? I feel I have something unique to contirubute to the panel and I was hoping to follow up with any plans Disney might have in the future. My husband is military and there are many great things Disney does for the military and there families. I have Traveled much do to the Air Force moving us around. We go to Disney parks where ever we are stationed. I feel I could pass on this wonderful information to others. If there is a way I could be a part of the moms panel and represent the many military families with questions answered, I would love it! Disney IS the most magical place on earth. Thanks to Disney we always feel a part of home even when we are thousands of miles away from family. Thank you for your time and consideration Laura! Have a magical day. Sincerely, Heather Petro  

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  • http://www.facebook.com/andreza.trivillin Andreza Trivillin

    Zanna, what kind of questions and how many they are on the phone interview? Thank you very much.