Meet Your Walt Disney World Moms Panel – Diane L

We are now at our fourth week of the Meet Your Walt Disney World Moms Panel series on ZannaLand. These informal interviews are meant to be a jumping off point from the bios that appear on the site where you can learn about every panelist’s background and experience with Walt Disney World, and see their personal videos as well. Once you check them out there, you can get to know the panelists a little better here!

Today we meet a mom who started on the panel in 2009, Diane L. I remember Diane being another one of the first moms I found on twitter and I was lucky enough to spend some time with her during the 2010 panel’s training since she was one of the 2009 moms there to help us out. She, along with Kay and Karen, made us all feel so welcome during that training session and they all had some great stories to share.

Walt Disney World Moms Panel
The Walt Disney World Moms Panel {image ©Disney}


How did you first get interested in the Disney parks?

I knew I was hooked with Disney back in 1993 when my oldest son was only two.  Our previous travels with him to other destinations did not turn out so well but this all changed at Disney.  There was so much for him to see and do.  Experiencing Disney through his eyes was definitely addicting and I couldn’t get enough of it.  We started going at least yearly from that point on (with the exception of missing two years when I had my other two children).  It became triple the fun with three children!

Besides Disney, what are you most passionate about?

Besides my family, I love sports.  One of my first jobs as a teenager was working for the Bristol Red Sox (a farm team for the Boston Red Sox).  I worked there with my best friend as we had a blast.  We were responsible for various duties including ticket sales, concession stand, ushers and washing the player’s uniforms.

Of course being  from Connecticut it’s practically a requirement to be a UConn Huskies Fan!  We love our beloved Huskies and the basketball teams definitely help us get through the winter!


Tell us about your family – are they Disney fans too? What are some of your most memorable family experiences?

I am married with 3 wonderful children.  All three of my children are Disney fans, especially my youngest and oldest.  My oldest recently was recently accepted to Disney’s College Program and there is nothing better as a parent then to watch your child live a dream.  My other son loves to ride the Magic Kingdom Mountains with me and my daughter loves any ride – especially if it goes backwards and/or upside down.  She is the true daredevil of our family!

I have so many memorable family experiences at Disney – that is probably one of the main reasons that draws us back to Disney.  A few of our special memories:

  • We were selected to be the first family at Animal Kingdom one very hot and steamy August morning.  This involved a cast member bringing us into the park before it opened and gave us a nice leisurely stroll through Animal Kingdom over to the Tree of Life.  The cast member took some nice photos of our family in front of the tree and then we headed over to Kilimanjaro Safaris.  We were definitely on a VIP tour which lasted at least 45 minutes.  We stopped often to view some of the details you would normally miss when riding the safari.
  • Our first stay at the Polynesian/Hawaii building.  We were located on the 2nd floor and our children were thrilled to be able to watch the castle, fireworks and Electric Water Pageant from our room.  I can remember watching their excitement with the reflection of Cinderella Castle in their eyes – especially my daughter’s when she would try to keep her eyes open at night when she tried not to fall asleep.
  • Watching my younger son when he braved going down a water slide and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad for the first time.
  • Waking up at 5:00 in the morning with my oldest son for the sole purpose of watching the monorails load onto the tracks each morning.  This also involved walking to the monorail switch at that early hour to watch it move back and forth as the monorails loaded. {How cool is that!? ~Z}
  • Riding Rock ‘N Roller Coaster with my daughter for the first time – it was my first time too.  It was one of the scariest memories and of course we followed it up with another first for us both – Tower of Terror!


What is your dream job (Disney or non-Disney)

I think it would be a blast to be an Event Planner for Disney.  There is a wonderful woman who assists with travel arrangements and other events for us moms.  She and her staff always make our visits magical and I would love to pass that magic along to others.


What is your favorite Disney restaurant and why?

This one is a tough one as it changes over the years.  Plus, it’s hard to choose just one!  However, I’m going to chose ‘Ohana.  ‘Ohana

means family and that is what Disney is all about. Dinner is a must do for every vacation.  We just love the food they serve here, especially the shrimp on the skewers!   It’s a relaxing atmosphere as they bring all the food to you vs. having to get up for a buffet.  The entertainment at ‘Ohana is always a lot of fun for dinner as well.

I also enjoy the breakfast and we try to get a reservation for the last morning of our Disney vacation.  It is so nice to sit and relax and have the staff bring the food to you family style after a long and sometimes tiring vacation at Disney.  It’s also a great time to reflect on all the wonderful times we had as a family during our vacation.


What is the first thing you do when you arrive at Disney visit? What is your MUST DO during each visit?

We used to dine at Chef Mickey’s the first night of every vacation but now that the kids are older that isn’t as important to them.  Since we normally stay at a resort on the monorail line, the kids usually ride the monorail with dad while I handle the check-in.  From there, we usually unpack if our room is ready and then head over to Magic Kingdom to let the vacation begin!

As a family, we have several must-dos for our vacations.  One of our top must-dos is to secure a dining reservation at Crystal Palace for breakfast before Magic Kingdom opens.  There is something super magical about walking down Main Street U.S.A. before Magic Kingdom officially opens.

Kay and Diane
Kay and Diane during the 2010 panel training trip

What do you wish there were more of at Disney? Less?

I wish there were more hours in the day when vacationing at Disney!  But I bet everyone wishes that!  I will answer this question in honor of my daughter.  We wish there was more Chip and Dale merchandise available!  She is a huge fan and it is so hard to get this merchandise!

I really don’t have an answer for what I wish there was less of at Disney…the more the better.  But if I could make a wish, it would be that the wait times on certain rides were – less!

What type of music are you into?

As one of my favorite radio stations would report, I like music from the 80’s, 90’s and today!  Really I’ll listen to almost anything – although too much country drives me crazy.  I’m also an American Idol junkie.  I love that show.


What’s the last book you read that you really enjoyed?

I honestly haven’t had time to read a good book lately.  However, one of my favorite authors is Mary Higgins Clark.  I love a good mystery with a little romance mixed in.


Describe YOUR perfect Disney vacation (could be solo, with family, friends anything, no limitations).

My perfect Disney vacation is a family vacation for 7-10 days.  It involves staying at a deluxe resort – usually the Contemporary or Polynesian.  (Note: although we can only afford one room, my perfect vacation would include two rooms to give us a little extra room!)  Our itineraries are in place with all the parks we will visit on what day along with our dining reservations.  We are flexible enough to change plans depending on how things are going on any given day.

Our perfect vacation also includes taking advantage of the recreation and tours Disney has to offer.  There is nothing more relaxing than renting a pontoon boat with the family as we tour the Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake.  The views from the water of the resorts and Magic Kingdom are amazing!  I am a big fan of the Segway tours and enjoy taking the tour with my son.

We also make sure we have plenty of time scheduled to enjoy the amenities the resorts have to offer.  The theming of the pools are great and there is nothing more relaxing than finding a lounge chair by the pool or beach to relax.


What is an interesting tid-bit or surprising fact about you?

My “interesting” tidbit from the Moms Panel training that I divulged is, I often work from home on snowy days in my PJs. {Your secret is safe with us, Diane! 😉 ~Z}


Thank you so much for sharing a bit more with us, Diane! Remember to look for Diane L. at the Walt Disney World Moms Panel, where you can ask her all of your Disney World vacation planning questions. You can also keep up with Diane L. on twitter @MPDiane. And just maybe you’ll see her the next time you visit Walt Disney World, too!