As most of you know, the search is underway to find those special Disney experts to become the next set of “Moms” for the Walt Disney World Moms Panel. The application window opened on Monday, September 12, 2011 at 9:00 AM, and closed on Friday, September 16, 2011 at 11:59 PM. Round two of the application process began on Monday, October 10, 2011 at 9:00 AM, and ended on Friday, October 14, 2011 at 11:59 PM. The final process will be phone interviews in Round three, sometime around the first week of November.
Today I am honored to be able to chat with current Walt Disney World Mom Amanda. Amanda hails from my neck of the woods, and has been extremely gracious in her time. Thanks Amanda!
MDOD: Amanda, thank you so much for agreeing to participate in my
interview. As you know well, the Walt Disney World Moms Panel is one of
the best Disney forums available on the Internet. So tell me, what made
you want to apply for the Moms Panel?
Amanda: I’ve always been a huge
fan of Walt Disney World. My parents took me to the Magic Kingdom soon
after it opened in the early 1970s, and I was hooked. When I was a
little girl I used to watch reruns of the original Mickey Mouse Club on
television and sing along to the album with my favorite Mouseketeer,
Annette. (Yes, I’m old!) My grandparents lived in Florida when I was
growing up, so our yearly trips to visit them usually included a stop at
Walt Disney World. When my husband and I had our first child, we
rediscovered Disney World as not just a theme park, but also as a place
where we could stay in luxury hotels and dine at gourmet restaurants
with our children in tow. Since we were visiting Disney World multiple
times each year, friends and family started asking me to help plan their
Disney vacations, and I would sometimes receive phone calls and emails
from people I’d never met, but who had been told by a mutual friend that
I was the go-to person for Disney trip advice. I remember receiving an
email from Disney about the inaugural Moms Panel, but I didn’t really
pay much attention to it at that time. Then a few years later, I
stumbled across the www.disneyworldmoms.com
website, and as I read about the Moms there, I just knew that I was
meant to be one of them. I relished the prospect of being able to help
others discover how magical a Disney vacation could be, and I made a
note to myself to apply for the Panel when the application window opened
later that year.
MDOD: As one that has applied for the Moms Panel,
I know what it was like for me when I applied the first time – I felt
like I really messed up my chances, and I was right! What did you think
the when you applied?
Amanda: I didn’t initially tell my family or my
friends that I was applying for the Moms Panel, so I suppose part of me
wondered if I really had a chance to be chosen as a Panelist. However,
before I applied I had spent time researching the Moms Panel and the
backgrounds of the current Panelists, and I really believed that my
Disney knowledge and passion, as well as my background in journalism,
made me perfect for a spot on the Panel, and I felt confident that I had
effectively conveyed that in my essay questions. Now, the interview
portion of the application process was a different story! I like to
think I’m a master-Googler who can find anything online, but I had no
idea what I would be asked in the interview – I think those questions
are the world’s tightest-kept secret! I would lie in bed at night
thinking of possible questions and how I would answer them. When the
time for my interview came, the interviewers did actually ask me several
of the questions I had anticipated, and I started talking a
mile-a-minute giving them the answers I’d been rehearsing in my head. I
could hear them trying to interrupt me to ask another question, but I
just kept talking right over them because I wanted to give them all the
information I had planned. Then, they asked some questions that I hadn’t
anticipated, and I was so nervous, my mind just froze. There was
awkward silence, and I stammered and couldn’t think of anything
intelligent to say. After that interview, I understood how my
baseball-playing son felt when he came up to bat and struck out. I knew I
had totally blown my chance at being on the Panel, and that night I
shut myself in my bedroom and just sobbed because I was so disappointed
in myself. Imagine my surprise a week or so later when I was sitting in
the school cafeteria having lunch with my son and I received a phone
call inviting me to join the Moms Panel! I can only surmise that my
non-stop babbling during that interview came across as Disney passion
MDOD: When you were selected for the Moms Panel, was that the first time you had applied?
Amanda: Yes. I feel guilty saying that because I know many people have applied
for several years. Each year the Moms Panel seeks new Panelists with
different qualities and the Pixie Dust just happened to align for me the
year I applied. If it’s your heart’s desire to be on the Moms Panel,
don’t give up on your dream if you didn’t make the cut in the past. Many
of the current Panelists applied multiple times before ultimately
securing their spot on the Moms Panel.
MDOD: Do you have a
favorite story to tell from your time on the Moms Panel, or is there a
memory that you will never forget about the Moms Panel?
certainly never forget sitting on a bed in my pajamas in the Wilderness
Lodge while a camera crew and a room full of people looked on! Panelists
sometimes film videos for the www.disneyworldmoms.com site and I was excited to do a holiday one, but I never imagined it would mean I’d be forever on the internet in my PJs!
(Editors Note: You can see that video on the Walt Disney World Moms Panel website by clicking the link!)
MDOD: How long does your term last, and when you are done, are you still a defacto member that can answer questions, or is that it?
Amanda: We on the Moms Panel like to think that once you’re a member of the
Moms Panel family, you’re always part of the Panel, and there are many
members of the inaugural 2008 Panel who are still answering questions
today. Panelists are, however, required to take time off, and since I
have been answering questions continuously for the past two years, I
will be on hiatus in 2012. I hope to answer questions again at some
point in the future.
MDOD: Is there anything about the application process that you can recommend for those of us striving to become one of the “Moms?”
Amanda: The best advice I can give is to let your Disney passion shine and make
sure your application stands out from all the others. Everyone who
applies to be a Panelist will say they love Disney and have lots of
Disney vacation planning experience. What’s different about you? What
unique qualities can you bring to the Panel? And, if you make it to the
interview portion of the application process, just relax and be
yourself. The people on the other end of the phone are very nice!
MDOD: Lastly, how has being on the Moms Panel changed your outlook about Walt Disney World?
Amanda: I thought I knew a lot about Walt Disney World when I applied for the
Moms Panel, but I know so much more now. Disney World is such a vast
place with so many things to see and do that it’s impossible for one
person to know everything. Before I was on the Moms Panel, I had never
thought about whether you could pitch a tent and sleep under one of the
Saratoga Springs Treehouses or how far the coffee pot is from the
bathroom at Port Orleans Riverside, but these are questions I’ve
answered on the Moms Panel in the past few years! Also, before I applied
for the Moms Panel, I didn’t know there was such a large Disney
community on Twitter and Facebook, and it’s been fun finding so many new
friends who share my love of Disney. My family never used to see anyone
we knew during our Disney World vacations, but now our Disney trips are
forever changed because I constantly run into people I know from the
Moms Panel or Twitter when I’m in the parks. I love that!
Once again I would like to thank Amanda from the Walt Disney World Moms Panel for taking the time to answer my questions. If you have any planning questions for the Panel, click on the image at the top to head on over to the site.
Jodi Whisenhunt / Magical Mouse Schoolhouse
Excellent interview! Amanda, you've given me hope for next year's round :) Mike, congratulations on making it this far. I'm so excited for you & really hope you get in as a Disney Moms Panel Dad!
I love this interview Mike. Congratulations on your achievement thus far!!
Amanda- your personality shines through in this text; no wonder you're such a successful MOM!
Thanks so much Jodi! Sending you Pixie Dust for next year!
@DISTherapy You are so sweet! Thank you!
Great interview! Good luck Mike!
Thanks Jenn, Donna, and especially Amanda for taking the time to chat with me! I really appreciate it!