For years I have toyed with the idea of applying for the Walt Disney World Mom's Panel, but never officially took the plunge until the "recruitment period" opened for the 2012 panel last month. I decided to apply this year because of my work situation, and the fact that they advertised that they would be looking for specialists in several Disney areas for the first time. These areas are Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, Disney Vacation Club, Adventures by Disney and RunDisney. For anybody who has spent much time on this site it should be pretty obvious which specialty I applied for... Disney Cruise Line! So lets start the voyage for a Dad of 3 Dis Kids trying to make it onto the Walt Disney World mom's Panel!
The first round of the application process opened up on September 12 for five days or 20,000 applications. Mom's Panel hopefuls logged on to the website and found an application that consisted of Disney knowledge questions, and a few essays about trip planning. The knowledge questions were by no means softballs... One asked who the designed the Partners statue at Disneyland, and the other one asked about Pirate's League at Disney World. The Pirate's League question was worded where if you didn't read carefully, you could easily answer incorrectly. I saw these as a "thinning of the herd", if you missed these I assume your application was shown the circular file. The essay questions were very straight forward, but all of the answers were required to be 100 words or less. This was a little tricky for me, but not as daunting a task as I thought it could have been. To be honest I don't remember what the questions were, and like a "dumbkopf" I forgot to save my answers for future reference. Oh well...
I spent a couple of hours on the essay questions, having my wife read and check for stupid errors I might not catch, and to see if she liked the wording. Since she has written more speeches than she can count over the years her eye and ears for flow and wording are well tuned. She has been an invaluable resource in this process, and is almost as excited about it as I am!
After I submitted my application on the first night, because I was a little fearful that they might reach capacity, I found a little "support group" of other Mom's Panel hopefuls over on the Disboards. A thread titled "Amazing Adventures of the 2012 Disney Mom's Panel" is a group of DISers that share and support each other through the entire process. Several of the posters have been through this process from the beginning, with this being their 5th year of applying! It should not be a surprise that at last count there were over 70 DISers that made it through to the 2nd round!
Well, I must have found the right balance of knowledge and fanboy because last week I found out that I had advanced to round 2 of the process! I had high hopes that I would get past the first round, but didn't get my hopes up. I knew that the numbers were stacked against me, and that there are so many people out there who are very passionate about Disney. I did think that it was to my advantage that I chose DCL as my specialty, because the pool for applicants would probably be smaller than some of the other categories. I got the email after everyone was asleep in the house, so I had to sit on my good news until morning! I also had 2 days of waiting before I was able to go on the website to see the questions. But again I had 5 days to complete the process after that.
Round 2 served up (using my tennis terms there) another batch of questions, but this time they were geared more towards the specialty you chose. Another knowledge question led off. This time they asked where the sports lounge "687" on the Disney Dream got its name. Luckily, my podcast habit helped me out here. I remembered Lou Mongello on the WDW Radio Podcast taking about this when he reviewed the Dream back in January. Not that I don't trust Lou's knowledge, but I also double checked a couple other sources online as well, just to be safe. In case you were wondering... 687 was the keel number that Meyer Werft shipbuilders assigned the Dream during construction. Fun Fact #2 the Disney Fantasy is #688. In addition there were three more 100 word essays about Disney Cruise planning.
The big change-up for round 2 was the video requirement! Applicants were to submit a 60 second video describing their favorite Disney Parks memory. Ruh Roh! Video!? This is for a position that requires answering 25 questions submitted online a week, not video conferencing! This was totally new to me. I knew what my memory would be, and I knew that I could get it out in under a minute, but to do it on camera would be a challenge. Luckily with some serious help from my wife, I was prepped and ready to shoot. It came out OK, but ultimately I would shoot another one hours before the deadline that ended up being the submission. I had some grand ideas for it, but I was hindered by a 50 MB file size limit, and the fact that Microsoft Live Movie Maker is not nearly the video editor that Apple's iMovie is. I have got to get a Mac...
So everything is done, and submitted for final approval by the Mouse. If I should advance to round 3 a phone interview is scheduled, and then who knows... I really feel blessed to have gotten this far, it was a real answer to prayers, but obviously I want to make it all the way. I'll continue to pray about it, and hopefully I have shown them what they would like to see for a Disney World Mom's (Disney Cruise Line) Panelist!