Top 10 Disney Parks Moms Panel Wishes

Disney Parks Moms Panel Application 2015Later this morning, at 10 AM EST, the Disney Parks Moms Panel applications open in search of magical moms and dads to help other guests make the most of their Disney vacations.

Third time’s the charm?

If you’d like to dive down the rabbit hole and explore my previous years of applying to the panel, visit my #DisneyMP page.

In honor of the continuation of my quest for a seat of the panel, I offer 10 wishes for the Disney Parks Moms Panel Search!

  1. Peace and not nerves.
  2. The courage to speak in your own voice. And use proper grammar.
  3. Kindness to each other.
  4. Excitement over the editing process.
  5. Hope.
    pursue
  6. Love of nomenclature.
  7. Patience as the waiting game continues.
  8. Sense of humor.
  9. Perseverance in your editing.
  10. Pixie dust!

MP2016

It’s time for my Disney Parks Moms Panel journey to continue!

Who’s with me?

Ten Easy to Follow Steps to Reach the Final Round of the Disney Parks Moms Panel

Last year by late June, the #DisneyMP twitter tag enjoyed a workout as all of the #2015Hopefuls proceeded to begin the annual process of waiting and hoping for pixie dust emails know as the Disney Parks Moms Panel Search. The aura of mystery around the selection process keeps us hopefuls coming back each year to wish on a star for this year to be “our year” on the panel.

Just keep writing. Just keep writing. What do we do?

Somehow last year, I *did* manage to make the final round(s) so I feel well equipped to tell you roughly the proper process to make it through to the finals.

1.) Notice round 1 dates are announced on the Disney Parks Blog, Twitter and/or other forms of social media. (Approximately end of August) 

2.) Apply as soon as applications open. (Around Labor Day week.)

3.) Read over your essays. Spellcheck. More than once. Be mindful of proper nomenclature. (I’m embarrassed to say that this takes me an hour or two depending how much “assistance” I get from my two kiddos.)

On your mark.
Get set.
Spellcheck!

4.) Develop patience. (They review the applications for a month to a month and a half.)
     a.) Swear off social media because it isn’t helping with patience.
     b.) Tell your husband, BFF and dental hygienist about your commitment to/hatred of the Oxford comma.
     c.) Reread essays. They’re perfect.
     d.) Wake husband/BFF/etc. in dead of night because you had a nightmare about spelling and nomenclature.
     e.) Over breakfast husband/roommate/pet hamster insists you rejoin social media as a support group.
     f.) Rejoin social media.

5.) Announcement Day! (16 hours) 

Refresh. Refresh. Refresh.

6.) Find out if you make the next round (five minutes). You feel (pick one):
     a.) Elated
     b.) Gassy
     c.) Somewhere in that zone.

7.) Repeat steps 1-5 for round 2 going into the final round. (About one month.) If you did not make the second round, you still stick around to be a ch-EAR-leader for all of your friends!

8.) Last round is just before Thanksgiving with a very, very quick turn around. (One week or so, but it feels MUCH longer!)
     a.) Re-read your essays from round 1 and round 2. You still like your answers, but wish you could tweak them.
     b.) Make lifelong friends with other mouseketeers.
     c.) Phone interview and maybe a little something for a surprise. (Fastest 15 minutes of your life.)
     d.) Re-read your essays. It’s a bad idea at this point, but you can’t resist going back over it again.
    e.) Know that whoever makes it, you will end up crying. Each one of the other hopefuls is an amazing person and you feel blessed to hang out together online.

9.) Ten minutes of internet silence as all of the final emails go out. Wish a hearty, “Congratulations!” to the new panelists. Reset the countdown to next year’s applications for the other finalists. (Eight months until it starts all over again!)

10.) Plan a consolation/celebration trip to Walt Disney World. If it’s not your year, use this trip as your “qualifying trip” for the following year!
   

How do you actually make the panel?
I haven’t the foggiest.
I’d imagine it involves the right combination of research, nomenclature and just a pinch of magic.

Are you planning to apply to the Disney Parks Moms Panel this year?

For what not to do see:
http://www.magicalfamilyadventures.blogspot.com/…/how…

Disney Parks Moms Panel | Round 3 Round Up

Less than a week after finding out that I made round 3 for the Disney Parks Moms Panel, I found myself dropping my kids off at a friends and pacing all over my house. In less than ten minutes I would be talking to Gary.




Do you want to build a snowman?
It kills time while you’re waiting.
 

My daughter gave me serious Disney cred for talking to “the dragon jammies guy” and finally my interview would start in five minutes.

I finally felt nervous.



T-minus 15 minutes until my magical interview!

Not nervous about talking to Gary in front of the selection committee, because he is as approachable and welcoming as they come. Nervous because I was on a callback for my dream job. And possibly another surprise…

The fifteen minutes on the phone flew by in a blink until finally, we came to a (surprise) timed essay.

Discussing the essay and interview later through the haze of pixie-dusted memory, I loved most of my answers during the interview and thought that had gone well. Then I went over my essay. It seemed pretty good. Maybe a little short, but perfectly good. Then after further discussion I started to second guess my answers. I was awfully excited during the interview and it hopefully came across well.

On further reflection on my phone interview I had one answer that was just…

Seriously, I can’t even.

At the end of the week when I finally got the world’s most magical “this isn’t your year” it wasn’t a surprise (but I still cried.)

What was a surprise is that I didn’t feel super depressed.

I think I already knew that this wasn’t my year (based on the essay and interview.) I also am pretty sure if I had an instant do over I could have done better. So that at least was comforting, albeit slightly frustrating.

Going on a ridiculously fabulous cruise onboard the Disney Fantasy last week didn’t hurt much either.

To all those magical moms who are heading off to training this week, hold onto your ears. I hear you’re in for quite the adventure!

For all of the 2016 hopefuls, hold onto your dreams, keep moving forward and have faith!

#DisneyMP Round 3 | Pixie Dust is REAL Y’all!

I woke up early, taught spelling and history in record time, and even had time to hit the gym. That should do it. I should have my email by now. Do I want to pull my phone out of sleep mode and check?
Dozens of Facebook messages and tweets confirmed what Gary promised.
It was pixie dust day.

My kids finished up their math while the first messages popped up on Facebook.
Still nothing.

Refresh, refresh, refresh…
 

I refreshed a couple of times then turned off notifications on my phone after fifteen minutes passed and the only news so far were of the “not my year” variety. As the emails slowly pulsed out over the hour, I periodically checked my email and peeked in on the waiting room between correcting arithmetic.
Tons of conciliation, and still no yeses.
Then an hour and five minutes in, I checked my email.
The email sat there and rather than puzzling over the “Disney Parks Moms Panel 2015 missive for another instant, I clicked and opened my email.
Kylee had crawled up next to me to finish her math and when I read down to the second paragraph, where it finally became clear that I had been invited to join round three, I gasped and dropped my phone. With shaking hands, I texted my husband and family then hopped back to the waiting room.

Between my grandfather’s death the previous week, my husband being out of the country for work, and getting such pixie dusted news, I decided to declare the rest of the afternoon a school holiday! It’s been almost a week and I am STILL amazed, thankful, and honored to still be on the quest for a seat on the 2015 Disney Parks Moms Panel.

Faith, trust, pixie dust, and round 3!?! Pixie Dust is REAL y’all!

Where does is go from here?
Interviews, y’all.
I get an interview with Gary Buchanan and the rest of the review committee in just a few minutes~
Wish me luck!

 

Three Things Thursday | Three Reactions to Round Two

Here’s one of my new favorite blog hops today:
Three Things Thursday!


http://heidi-strawser.com/category/three-things-thursday/

(Be sure to link up on her blog!)
Since I already have a blog (and three blogs preceding this one) what haven’t I already shared?

Once Upon a Time There Was a Princess Who Hit the Submit Button on Round 2 of the Disney Parks Moms Panel Application and then…
 
1.) Sighed a deep sigh of relief!



And done!

After a long afternoon of editing, homeschooling, and proofreading, Chris ended up with an upset stomach. Rather than wait to see if I also got sick, I ran outside to take advantage of the last bit of daylight and shoot my application video (after cleaning up the floor and taking care of my kiddo, of course).
Once the children were nestled all snug in their beds, I uploaded, copied, and compressed my video. Then I took out my trusty application and prepared to copy it word for word, comma for comma, into the online application.
(No copying and pasting!)
After all the double checking and uploading the video, hitting the submit button felt like a wonderful relief. I finished it to the best of my ability!

2.) Totally Spazzed Out

Did my video upload properly?
Wait.
I didn’t remember if I saw the file name listed next to the dot!!!
After several long, grueling seconds, I checked the Moms Panel Search verification page (so useful).

And slowly my breathing returned to a normal rate.

3.) Pulled a Snow White

After all of the love I put into my essays and video, I needed a long nap. I feel so glad to be able to answer sample Moms Panel questions and follow my dreams!

Pixie Dust is real, y’all!

P.S. Did you know I have a pretty strong Southern accent?
In re-watching my application video last night, I became transfixed with my own voice. My mother is from Illinois and we moved all over the country so for most of my childhood, I possessed a very oddly blended accent. Cajun by way of upstate New York with some Valley Girl thrown in for good measure. We moved to Texas around middle school, but I still sounded vaguely blended or Midwestern well through college despite liberal addition of y’all and fixin’ to my vocabulary.
Sometime in the last year, I replaced my native melting pot tones with a strong southern accent. The funny part is in my head I still sound Midwestern. 🙂
P.P.S. I will not be choosing to share my application video at this time. I love it and may choose to share it later, but as applications are still open until Monday, I would prefer to keep it in the family for the time being.

P.P.P.S. You’re still reading?
Wow.
Impressive diligence on your part!
When I earn a spot on the panel (determinism, y’all!), I promise to post the whole embarrassing back log of old application videos. Honestly, I apply mostly because I love to help people and to write, so the videos are very homemade.

2015 Disney Parks Moms Panel Search | Round 2

Hang onto your pixie dust!
In case you don’t follow the hullaballoo on either twitter (via #DisneyMP), Facebook (Amazing Adventures of the DisneyMP 2014 Search and others), or discussion boards (like the DIS Moms Panel Search thread), the last six weeks slowly melted away.

2015 Disney Parks Moms Panel Search | R2, is that you?

We submitted our round one applications, featuring such puzzlers as “How many “frozen
fractals” do you think Queen Elsa had all around?” before the end of Friday, September 5th. 

Then we waited, visited, and wondered about rice and the number 71. We debated the virtues of the Oxford comma, spellcheck, and generally hung out having fun. After all the mystery clues and spectacular fun of waiting in round 1, last Friday, my email exploded with pixie dust!

That’s about how much I read, before I forwarded it to my husband, dropped the phone, and started bouncing around the house.

I spent most of the weekend grinning like a crazy person, enjoying moving onward.

Today, I got my first look at round two and it is amazing, challenging and magical!
Featuring eight essays and a video, this invitation only round makes me want to get down to business and write. I’m super excited that two of the questions are sample questions similar to the panel.

Between homeschool, applications, and the absence of my prince charming (corporate conferences), I’m going to be a *little* busy this week.

Six days?
Let’s get down to Dis-ness.
 
      974 word count allowed for the essays
        71 seconds allowed for the videos
 +       6 days allowed for submissions
___________________________________________________________________________________________
If you don’t hear from me in a week, send in an emergency  Dole Whip.

Squee!!!

I should probably get off of my blog now.

How NOT to Apply for the Disney Parks Moms Panel

I’ll be the first to admit: I do NOT know how to successfully apply for the #DisneyMP. Sure, I made round two last year, which is both an honor and an incredible way to make friends with a great big beautiful group of Disney fans, but that’s not quite the same as serving on the panel.

I did pick up a few different ways to NOT make it onto the panel. Here’s hoping I’ve learned from these mistakes and that they might help you in your application adventure!

Ignore Social Media
My peaceful, lazy Labor Day weekend is about to give way to the exciting adventures of the #DisneyMP search. If you’ve caught the Disney Parks Blog last Thursday, you noticed that Leanne’s lovely article finally let us peek behind the scenes. Yes, it’s that time of year again. Disney Park Moms Panel Search 2015 begins next Tuesday the second of September at 10am EST and runs through Friday the fifth of September at noon EST.
Let the spell checking commence!

A whole week early with a day and a half less time?
“Hang onto your hats and glasses, folks, cause this here’s the wildest ride in the wilderness!”

If I did not follow the #DisneyMP hashtag and @Gary_Jerry on twitter, I could have happily floated through this weekend. Late next week, I might remember to check if applications would open the Monday after Labor Day “as usual.” At the very least, I end up filling out the application last minute; worst case scenario, I miss the application window entirely. If you do follow along on social media, the second comes as no surprise, but the confirmation of a fortnight of clues.
Gary Buchannan is very kind and helpful to us applicants, so feel free to ask questions about the process as it goes.
If twitter isn’t your thing, there are many different Facebook groups that will keep you abreast of news, clues and other antics of the applicants. I love the ladies (and gentleman) in Amazing Adventures of the DisneyMP 2014 Search! Ignore the name. There were too many of us to change the name after last year’s search.

Don’t Read the Fine Print
If you know and love Disney, chances are you help anyone and everyone with their vacation plans.
After all, your husband completed the Disney College of Knowledge through his travel agency so you must be a complete shoe-in for the panel!
Not so fast.
Being a travel agent (or living with one) is a no-no (or at least it was last year.) The same rule applied to cast members, as well as member of the travel, hotel and theme park industry. You needed to have completed your “qualifying trip” in the previous calendar year for WDW and Disneyland (or 24 months for runDisney, DCL, DVC and WWoS) We’ll have to read the rules on Tuesday, I guess!

Type How You Text or Tweet
Do you see all of those lovely Disney specific acronyms in the paragraph above this?
Forget that you know those.
The application ventures far into both the land of fantasy and the realm of the Oxford comma. These common place acronyms and nicknames for the parks and attractions are not your friend.

“Stay on target…”

Basically everything you learned in high school English regarding spelling, spacing, and spell check suddenly becomes very important.

Cut and Paste Your Answers Directly From Other Programs
With all  of the pressure to use proper grammar and spelling, running answers through a word processor seems to be the way to go. So you copy it and paste it back into the application (creating unreadable alphanumeric soup on the receiving end, hence the end of your journey.)
Please just don’t.

Expect to Find Out Quickly
Round one will “be reviewed at least five weeks.”
There will be four or more rounds.
This is a marathon not a sprint so get on your comfy pants and get ready to make friends!

If you need me on Tuesday, I will be cuddled up in my yoga pants and Minnie Ears filling out my application at www.MomsPanelSearch.com

Have a magical week!

#DisneyMP 2015: One Week More!

Time to stock up on Mickey Bars, Oxford commas, and patience. The best guess, based on rather cryptic Seinfeld tweets from the Jedi Master himself, is that next Tuesday morning the applications for the 2015 Disney Parks Moms Panel will open.

I’m excited, yet calm. (Which is a good thing considering that review of round one often stretches over a month.) Will there be multiple choice questions? A lightning round? Videos? Skype? It’s really wide open as the panel application process continues to evolve under Gary Buchannan’s leadership. I plan to dream pixie dust dreams and enjoy every minute of this year meeting the most magical ladies (and men) in the world.

Who else is applying?

 

Why I Plan to Apply to #DisneyMP (Again)

As a child walking into Disneyland I seriously considered running away from home and hiding out in Fantasyland for the rest of their life. I figured Aurora wouldn’t mind if I slept in the castle. In this magical wonderful place that inexplicably smelt of hot buttered popcorn and ice cream cones and hope, everyone feels welcome and at home.

Sharing the magic of family togetherness and memory-making with other people is a real treat. Nothing comes quite so close to the idea of living everyday in Walt Disney World or onboard the Disney Magic. Nothing is quite so fun as meeting for coffee with a friend to discuss port adventures, kids clubs, and amazing destinations.

Then, I applied for the panel last year.

Everything changed.

I belonged to a few different Disney discussion forums, but somehow, meeting fellow super fans among the Disney Parks Moms Panel hopefuls made the whole community come to life for me. Maybe it was the mystery of figuring out the tweets. Maybe it was the feeling that everything routine about the search was new last year. Maybe it was serendipity of social media blooming and new leadership at the panel search. Whatever it was, it was above all else incredible, wonderful and special to talk to these ladies (and men) in our own little “waiting room.” The humor and wild creativity was heady stuff. The antics and off the wall theories (Hunger Games round? Reality Show for the final contestants?) made the waiting quite the bonding experience.

These are my people.

People who have an issue figuring out what a #DisneySide could be because they are all Disney Side. Almost a year later, we are still friends. We follow each other’s blogs. We share well wishes and help and laughter. This community is surprisingly without drama aside from the obvious who made the next round shake-up.

If I made the #DisneyMP (the Disney Parks Moms Panel, that is) last year when I had applied, I would have jumped up and down, squealed, run a half marathon, checked that it was real a million times and started planning for the training. Then I would have helped hundreds of people plan the Disney Cruise of their dreams. The #DisneyMP hopeful friends I’ve made would cheer (just like I will cheer if it is their year to be recognized for their incredible love of Disney.)

Instead I got the world’s most pixie-dusted “no” and after a brief mope, returned to helping friends, relations, and acquaintances decide on sail dates, staterooms, and ships. There is something remarkably rewarding in knowing that you told the family with the “Total Ironman Fan” boys about MARVEL’s  Avengers Academy on the Disney Magic. So while I did not make the Disney Parks Moms Panel in an official capacity last year, I continue to be the most outspoken advocate of all things Disney in my circle of friends. I continue to help plan trips. I continue to hope and dream and help others imagine their own perfect vacation.

Though I love my role in the Disney Fan chorus, some part of me still longs to explore the role of Disney Moms Panel and see what adventures lie down that path.
I am ready to apply again.
Let’s get this party started!

Do you plan to apply? Have you applied a previous year?

The Game is Afoot!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!
Disney Parks Moms Panel applications should open sometime in the next fifty-five days.
Everyone is full of hope and pixie dust.

And everyone is already having fun driving themselves crazy over twitter.
Specifically over the twitter account of Gary Buchanan. Gary, also known as the Jedi Master of the Moms Panel and the Social Media Manager of Disney Parks,  rallies the hopeful guests during application season (which is fast approaching.) He tirelessly puts a face and a smile on the search team. He made getting the world’s most magical rejection letter easier to bear. Kuleen wrote an perfect blog post about Gary the other day. His unbridled enthusiasm leads to fun and hijinks often characterized by late night, Red Bull fueled twitter-fests.

While a normal person would look at Gary’s tweet about the munchkin coroner visiting The Great Movie Ride as an interesting bit of trivia, #DisneyMP hopefuls jumped right into researching and discovered vital details. The actor who portrayed the munchkin coroner celebrates his birthday on September 2, so will that be the date that applications open up?
Or will that be the date they close?
Will it be the only date to apply?
Or is it, as it appears to a casual observer, random trivia.

Some of his clues are more obvious.
For example, a recent tweet in Na’vi, when translated, let us know that there would be four or more rounds this year. Yes, the obvious clue required translating the language of Avatar into English. He occasionally gives hard cut off dates (like this tweet with the promise that an announcement will be made within 17 days.)
My favorite (possible) clue so far?
This tweet.
Are you (like me) hanging on Gary’s every tweet hoping to find a hint of #DisneyMP pixie dust?