I was selected to serve as a 2017 Disney Parks Mom Panelist, an independent contract position with magical benefits. This is a totally unsponsored post, and all opinions are my own.
Y’all. I can hardly believe it. This week, I started my journey as a part of the Disney Parks Moms Panel. A few years ago was the first time I caught wind of the panel, which is a portion of the Walt Disney World website, where folks can go to ask vacation questions large and small of a group of panelists. These panelists are hand chosen by Disney for their expertise in various fields (Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise, DVC, and various foreign languages in combination with these), writing skills, and overall who knows what.
That’s right. It’s a mystery. Even to me, a current panelist. Thousands upon thousands apply for the panel, and only a few are invited to the ball. I still don’t know how it’s done. I just know that I tried my best, put forth a huge effort, a dose of my real self and that was what was needed in this moment. If I can give you even a glimpse into my journey to this point, I will feel mighty accomplished. Oh, and if you’re headed down to Walt Disney World, be sure to drop by and ask me, Lindsey P, Panelist for the Disney Parks Moms Panel a question! I can’t wait to help you plan your next vacation.
Round 1: Application
Round one opened up Wednesday, September 7, 2016, a short series of “About Me” questions, a few faux panelist questions and that was it! I had applied to the panel in the fall of 2015, but I remember being flustered, panicking over the questions and trying to fit too much in. I wanted to relax. This time, my second attempt, I took a deep breath, and the application was done in less than an hour. I clicked submit and it was done. Now I had to wait for Round 1 to close on September 14th.
Round 2: Questions and a Video
I was sitting at home the day the Round 2 email came, on 10/3; it was nearly a month after Round 1 Applications came out, and I couldn’t believe my eyes. I had been passed on to the next round! Say whaaaaat?! The next round opened on 10/7, and consisted of more questions PLUS a one minute video. I thought long and hard about my questions, but I felt SO CONFIDENT in my answers. I just felt like they were spot on, well-written and showed my personality. The video, however, stewed in my brain for days. After I figured out a creative angle that didn’t “do too much,” I finally sat in my basement for 30 minutes and shot it. I was very thankful GrandMartha was here that day so I could push out my answers while she played with Red and Scarlett. Thanks, GrandMartha!! Now, here’s my Round 2 Application Video for the Disney Parks Moms Panel:
Silly, right? But totally shows off my true self… goofy, fun and lots of costume changes! Round 2 closed on 10/14.
Round 3: Phone Call
My email for the final round of the 2017 Disney Parks Moms Panel came at a lunch during a Travel Expo on October 21. While folks were being seating and gathering their things, I routinely whipped out my phone to screen my emails and notifications. Behold, an email. An email that stilled my breath. I’m pretty sure I inhaled all the oxygen in the room as it spun and spun. I made it to the final round. A phone interview was next, and I could expect a scheduling call later that day. WOW!
That phone interview ended up being scheduled for a time that I was going to be IN THE PARKS at Walt Disney World Resort (week of October 23)! My best friends Meghan and Krystyn boarded Jungle Cruise for a tropical tour while I sat in one of the quietest places in Adventureland, the dock of the Cruise beside the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse waterfall. I prayed my cell phone would keep reception and plugged in my portable charger. Here we go! (This was my view RIGHT BEFORE the call…..)
The phone rang and my heart leapt into my throat. Speak, Lindsey speak!! The phone call was only 15 minutes, with the tiny hold I was placed on while the interview panel assembled. It was a rather informal interview, with questions about me. I get so nervous talking about myself like that, but I let my guard down and went with it! I felt really good about the call and that let me have an even better time in the parks with my gals. Thank you to both of them for enduring my nerves on that trip!
It was Halloween Day, October 31st. A day I thought I’d never receive a phone call. I was getting the candy bowl ready, laying the baby down, when the Hopefuls Facebook group started to light up. People were getting calls. Yeses and Nos… I was sweating! When my yes call came, I almost had to ask the lady to repeat herself. Come again? I made the panel? Are you sure? Oh MAN!!! To say I was on Cloud 9 would have been an understatement, for sure. I was told to prepare for my training trip…
Training was UN. REAL. I’ve been on insanely busy press trips. I’ve been to a few conferences held at Disney when you hardly have time to breathe. But training took the cake. We were shown around property to see new things, learn about experiences we may have missed before, and spent quite a while learning just how to be on the panel. It was a handful of days to create chemistry with my fellow panelists, and I could almost weep with love for my new friends.
Do you remember the last day of camp when you were a kid? When you had to say goodbye in person, but knew you’d be friends forever? It’s like that. Times 10. Memories were made, things were learned, we laughed, we cried at the end, and it was glorious. The photo above was the very moment we all met as half of us got off Disney’s Magical Express and onto the property at The Grand Floridian Resort.
So how about it? In my past years of sharing my Disney experiences with you, giving you a look into my nerdy soul and showing you my passion, do you feel moved to have a magical vacation? Chances are, if you are a regular reader, a friend or a family member, I’ve already helped you choose a hotel, a restaurant, or given you tips on how to cut from Space Mountain to Pirate of the Caribbean, all while avoiding the 3pm parade crowd. But if you are hungry for more (I know I never need MORE reasons to go to Walt Disney World!), please visit the Disney Parks Moms Panel and ask me a question or two. Or find one of my fellow panelists that might also know the answer. We’re there to help, and we’re so passionate about what we do.
So Aloha, my Ohana. I’ll see you down the rabbit hole, just around the riverbend. Where Mickey and Goofy are waiting to say, “Hiya, pal!” I’ll be the one waving you down Main Street, U.S.A., and so happy to see you. ♥