I recently applied to be a member of the Disney Parks Moms Panel for the first time and it was an amazing experience! According to Disney, “The Disney Parks Moms Panel is the ultimate digital resource for you to receive helpful tips and heartfelt advice about Disney vacation destinations from real moms, dads, and in the know family members.”
How many applicants?
The program began in 2008 and although Disney has not released official numbers, legend has it that applications topped 10k several years ago and the number exceeded 20k in 2016.
How many panel members?
The 2016 panel consists of twenty-eight members but the number varies from year-to-year. Disney does not share many details but panelists serve for one year and are sometimes invited to extend for a second year. Not knowing this information creates a guessing game and stirs up a bunch of excitement among the moms who are vying for a coveted position on the Disney Parks Moms Panel!
Step 1: The written application
Applicants select a category in which they would like to specialize. I chose Disney World but there is a wide variety to pick from including runDisney, Disney Vacation Club, or Disney Cruise Line. This part of the application involves responding to several written questions in 100 words or less and grammar, spelling, and punctuation is a winner at this point.
I enjoyed the process and felt comfortable with my answers until I hit the submit button and began second guessing myself. I searched the internet and lo and behold, I found Facebook pages specifically designed for the thousands of Disney Parks Mom Panel hopefuls.
I realized I had stepped into a venture much bigger than I ever imagined after joining two Facebook groups and reading stories from other candidates. I posted the question, “What jobs do you have?” and the replies were unbelievable. Doctors, lawyers, accountants, teachers, stay-at-home moms…this group could rule the world! Amazing people who share a passion for Disney.
Passing Round 1
A week following the submission deadline, I received an e-mail with the exhilarating news that I made it to round 2!!! I immediately went to the Facebook pages and began reading comments, learning that of the rumored 20k people who applied, the candidates were narrowed to several hundred. I was in shock.
Round two consisted of more questions AND a sixty-second video. Those who know me can attest that videos are not my strong point and I only do them under duress! I happened to be in Orlando at the same time Hurricane Matthew was paying a visit and I had the great idea to produce my video at Epcot.
Friends, I do not know what happened to this mother of five and grandmother to six but my eyebrows turned into solid gold dancers! I kid you not, no amount of pixie dust could stop them. My family recorded videos for hours and every time I watched the replays, the only thing I noticed was my out-of-control eyebrows. Perhaps it was the hurricane, people staring at me like I was a crazy woman or the legend of 20k applicants that made me nervous. No matter, my eyebrows were on the move!
The deadline was looming with one day remaining. Time was out and I had to submit something! I shot one last video from my home living room with a selfie stick and my cell phone. No bells and whistles or Mickey’s ears this time. Yes, it was awful and yes, my eyebrows were doing the electric slide across my face.
A week later, after checking my email more times in an hour than I had in the past year, the notice arrived. It was not my year. I am not sure if the conga line on my forehead had anything to do with it or if I was simply not a good fit for the current needs of the panel but everything was okay!
Something magical had happened during the ten-day application process as I became part of a community with the nicest, smartest, and most creative Disney moms on the planet. I can always track their adventures at the happiest place on earth when I open Facebook and rumor goes that some of my new friends have dancing eyebrows like me!
If you should make it past the video to round 3, a personal phone interview is scheduled with a panel of ‘judges’. This final step can last from 15-30 minutes and some applicants were also asked to answer a written question, especially if they spoke multiple languages.
Can you re-apply?
Certainly. Chances are high that I will apply again next year. You never know, this Midwest small-town girl with crazy dancing eyebrows just might be selected as a member of the Disney Parks Mom Panel! Until then, I will enjoy my new friends, travel with my family, and dream of pixie dust and dole whip.