I am so excited I can hardly contain myself! The search for the 2016 Disney Parks Moms Panel begins today, September 8th at 10am (ET). For the next week, thousands of Disney enthusiasts will begin a most pixie dusted journey, with the hopes of becoming a member of the elusive panel.
What is the Disney Parks Moms Panel you may ask? It is a group of women and men who share tips, tricks and information with Guests vacationing at the Disney Parks and on Disney Cruise Line. The specialties include: Walt Disney World Resort, Disneyland Resort, Disney Cruise Line, Disney Vacation Club and runDisney along with experts fluent in Spanish, French and Portuguese.
What are they looking for? This is the secret that every hopeful would love to have unlocked! We know for a fact that they are looking for people with strong writing skills; especially grammar and nomenclature. Other than that, based on current panelists, it’s safe to assume they are looking for fun, Disney-loving folks who truly enjoy helping Guests plan practically perfect vacations.
How does the application process work? The Disney Parks team reviews applications in a series of rounds. Round 1 includes basic “getting to know you” questions, the submission of a photo, and a handful of essays that have very specific word limits (no authoring the Anna Karenina here). After the round closes it takes 5 to 6 weeks for the judges to review and make their selections for Round 2. A common question is how many applicants are participating in each round? This is part of the backstage magic that is not released. Numbers for Round 1 have been estimated anywhere between 10,000-15,000 (however there is no way of knowing).
Round 2 begins with another series of essays and a video (last year it was 70 seconds). We have no idea how many folks are brought into Round 2; guesses have ranged from 1500-5000 (that’s a wide range right there!). This round has a shorter turnaround time–around 3 weeks. A sample question that Walt Disney World Resort hopefuls had last year was: “My husband and I have been to Walt Disney World® Resort many times and love it. We’re both in our mid-30s and have been coming with our families since we were kids. We love to be active and also love all-things-history when it comes to the parks. This trip we’d like to try some of the recreation we hear about all over Walt Disney World® Resort property. We have 2 days — what would you suggest we consider booking? Regards, Flora” We had 142 words that we could use to answer this question! Yes, you read that right, 142.
When those pixie dusted Round 3 emails came in, hearts were pounding and palms were sweating! Those who received the happy news that they were moving on to Round 3 learned that the round would be a phone interview. Yes, we got the opportunity to spend 15 minutes on the phone chatting with Disney Parks representatives about our most favorite place on earth! That was sheer magic. And then there was a bonus Round 4, which was a question that came directly from the Disney Parks Moms Panel website. Once again, we have no idea how many moved into this round however guesses have ranged from 100-200+.
Several members of the DIStracted team will be applying for a coveted spot. A few of us were finalists and have FastPasses on to Round 2 (meaning that we will automatically make it into the next round). Some, like Mary S., have applied every year since the Moms Panel was founded, “This is my ninth year! Yes, I’ve tried every year since it began. I was so excited and honored to make it to the final round last year. So I have a FastPass for this year. As much as I would love to be part of the Disney Parks Moms Panel, I’ve already gained so much through the process each year. I’ve met amazing people that share my love of Disney. Through the process, I became part of the Magical DIStractions team! So even if I don’t make the Panel, the process has been worth it.”
What advice do the veterans have? Lisa S. says to, “Just go for it! You never know what they are looking for, and you just might be the perfect fit!”.
As we begin our next adventure keep in mind that there are thousands of wonderful, knowledgeable people applying for a select number of spots (around 20ish). We do not know what the special sauce is that they are looking for each year; just be yourself, show your knowledge and let your Disney passion shine. In the end, the lessons we learn and the friendships we create are worth so very much.
As Lisa M. says, “I have applied every year and won’t ever give up trying! One day pixie dust will fly my way and I will be on the panel. I can only be myself and hope that I am what they are looking for.”
Round 1 opens up at 10am (ET) today and will remain open until Tuesday, September 15 at 12pm (ET). Good luck and pixie dust to all. May our dreams come true!!!