Behind The Scenes: The Walt Disney World Moms Panel - Our Last Days - PassPorter.com
PassPorter.com
Award-winning travel guidebooks
Home Florida - Walt Disney World Caribbean - Disney Cruise Line California - Disneyland Resort Anywhere and Everywhere! Travelers Store Message Boards PassPorter's Club Help!
  About Us  |  Customs Office   |   Register Your Book   |   Book Updates   |  Newsletter  |  Articles  |  Photos  |   Follow Us on
       LINKS
       ARTICLES
WDW Planning Articles

WDW Traveling Articles

WDW Lodging Articles

WDW Touring Articles

WDW Dining Articles

WDW Making Magic Articles
'Dream It! Do it! My Half Century Creating Disney's Magic Kingdoms' by Marty Sklar
2013 Expedition Everest Challenge
A Birds' Eye View
A Magical Wedding Day
A Pirates League For Us
A Trio of Backstage Disney Tours
Adventuring Forth
Amazing Autograph Books
Amazingly E-Racing the Guilt
Animal Kingdom Lodge
Around the World on a Segway
Backstage Magic Tour
Backstage Tour
Be Our Guest: Perfecting the Art of Customer Service by Disney Institute with Theodore Kinni
Behind The Scenes
Behind the Scenes
Behind the Scenes
Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique for Boys
Bringing 'Frozen' to Life at Disney
Busch Gardens Tour
Cast Member Confidential
Cast Members Save the Day
Chaperoning at Walt Disney World
Christmas Day At Disney
Christmas Day Delights
Cinderella Royal Family 5k
Cirque du Soleil
Dashing Through The ... Snow?
Dealing With the Post-Vacation Disney Blues
Decade of Dreams
Discovering the Magic
Disney Every Day
Disney Fan Gathering
Disney Podcasts
Disney Tech Primer - Part 2
Disney Vacations
Disney World and Down Syndrome - A Winning Combination
Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge
Disney's Hollywood Studios Then and Now
Disney's PhotoPass and PhotoPass Plus
DisneyQuest
Fantasyland
Fireworks Photo Ops!
Gardens of The World Tour
Getting Your Disney Fix
Give a Day, Get a Disney Day
Grad Nites @ Disney
Holiday Highlights at Walt Disney World
Holidays At The World
Holidays At The World
How I Helped My Scaredy-Cat Kid
How Young Is Too Young?
IllumiNations Reflections of Earth
Keeping the Magic Alive
Keys To The Kingdom
Last Day Disney Blues
Learning To Like Disney
Meeting Marty Sklar
Meeting Mickey Mouse
Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party
Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party
Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party
Munching With Mickey
My Disney Wins
My Hidden Mickey Surprise
My Three Sons
Our Decade of Disney
Our Happily Ever After
Pack Your Pixie Dust
Pin Trading at Disney
Pirates & Princess Party
Pirates at Disney Parks Worldwide
Pirates, Pirates Everywhere!
Pleasure Island
Preserving Memories with PassPorter
Rediscovering Walt Disney World
Richard Petty Driving Experience
Romance at Walt Disney World
Rumor Round-Up
runDisney Races - Better with Friends
Say Cheese!
Say Cheese!
Scrapbooking Disney
Senses: A Disney Spa at the Grand Floridian
Soarin' Over South Africa
Specialty Cruises
Spreading a Bit of Pixie Dust
Spreading A Little Pixie Dust
Star Wars Weekends
Stories from a Theme Park Insider by Robert Niles
Summer at Disney vs. Winter in Michigan
Survey Marks
Taking It Easy at Walt Disney World
Teeing Off at Disney
The 2009 Holiday Season at Walt Disney World
The 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend
The American Idol Experience
The Behinds the Seeds Tour at Epcot
The Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund
The Laugh Floor Comedy Club
The Magic Behind Our Steam Trains
The Magic of Disney
The Monorails of Disney's Wonderful World of Theme Parks
The Osborne Spectacle of Lights
The Rest of the "World" For Kids
The Richard Petty Driving Experience
The Richard Petty Exotic Driving Experience
The School that Walt Built
The Seas with Nemo and Friends
The Sunrise Safari
The Unwitting Scrapper
The Vault of Walt by Jim Korkis
The Year Without Disney
There is More to Disney Than Rides
Three Generations of Disney Lovers
Tips & Tricks
Top 10 Disney Questions
Tower of Terror 10 Miler
Travels with
Unexpected Pleasures & Treasures
Unusual Photo Opportunities
Using YouTube for Disney Magic
Valentine's Day at Walt Disney World
Walt Disney World At The Holidays
Walt Disney World Hidden History - Remnants of Former Attractions and Other Tributes by Kevin Yee
Walt Disney World With the Grandkids
What A Wonderful World (of Disney)
What I Miss About a Disney Christmas
What Keeps Us Coming Back to Disney?
When Bad Trips Happen to Good People
When Illness Interferes with Your Vacation
When to Splurge and When to Save at Walt Disney World
Where to Find the Best Views in Walt Disney World - Part 3
Where to Find the Best Views in Walt Disney World - Part 4
Where to Find the Best Views in Walt Disney World - Part 5
Wilderness Back Trail Adventure
Wishes
Ye Olde Magic Kingdom
Yuletide Magic

WDW General Travel Articles

View all PassPorter articles
PassPorter's
Article Tools
Print Article
Download PDF
View Photos
Visit Forum
Read Comments on This Article

Behind The Scenes: The Walt Disney World Moms Panel - Our Last Days

by Kim LaPaglia, PassPorter Guest Contributor
Last modified 3/27/2008
  

Cool Tip: Click here to get a FREE PDF version of this article, fully formatted to print and put into your PassPorter Deluxe Binder!


Filed in Articles > Walt Disney World > Making Magic  

(Part three of three part series. Click to read parts one and two)


Maybe it was the special good-night snack. I slept much better this evening although I was still too excited for a normal night's rest. My life at the moment was certainly far from ordinary. The next morning dawned warm and sunny as I enjoyed the walk to the Coronado Springs Convention Center. I wondered if Leanne had arranged the surprise weather as well. I knew anything was possible at Walt Disney World.

I entered the Walt Disney World Moms Panel training room to enjoy breakfast and was greeted by what were now familiar faces. As we sat at our computer stations, we were finally able to see what the site would look like to visitors. As we learned how to navigate the administrative side, we were given practice questions to work on. Typing my first practice answer, I tapped the keys hoping to offer my best personal experience.

How many business trainings have you been to where a blue fairy godmother named Ivanna Dream enters? Ivanna had read our bios, and with her sarcastic sense of humor proceeded to draw attention to each of us. The room was filled with laughter as she continued to "quiz" us on Disney trivia. And then... Leanne had another announcement.

We would get to meet Meg Crofton, the first female President of Walt Disney World and it would be commemorated in photos. For a group of "Moms" and Walt Disney World fans, this was extraordinary, life-altering news.

Next, a lovely lunch was set up in the outdoor courtyard, directly off our training room. I grabbed a plate of food (as did the other Moms) and rushed back to the room to prepare for our next task; a photo and video shoot at the Magic Kingdom. Between bites, I paced the room while practicing my video bio. I also changed into my "starring moment" ensemble. We had been given tips on what to avoid (clunky jewelry, for instance). I chose my favorite turquoise color and black pants. In hindsight, I wish I had worn capris which would have looked more like I was spending a day in the parks. But at 5 ft tall (okay short), I was worried about appearing even less vertically challenged. Truthfully, I was more worried about my video bio than my attire. If only I had just sat in the Acapulco room and enjoyed my lunch like our one "Dad," Bret!

At 12:15, our minibus headed to the Magic Kingdom. The bus parked backstage and we entered near the Plaza Restaurant. We headed to the Rose Garden area to the right of the Castle. It was roped off and set up for a photo and video shoot. My husband was allowed past the ropes to watch the production. It was sunny and hot, but our thirst-quenching wish was soon granted with bottles of water. This afternoon was a complete whirlwind. We were led out towards the hub and soon after, a horse-drawn trolley pulled up. The horse was taken away and we took a group photo aboard the front of the trolley. By now, we had many spectators, again wondering who we were. I can not even begin to tell you what it felt like climbing aboard the trolley with my new friends. It was magical, dreamlike, and fun. The photo really captures our memorable moment.



As we returned to the Rose Garden, I believe a magic spell was cast over me. My nerves were now calm and I did nothing but enjoy every second of the afternoon. I had a great time watching the smiles on everyone's faces. I took time now and then to look at the people staring at us. I frequently glanced at Cinderella Castle to imprint this day in my memory. We each had individual shots taken. Candice Coleman from the Disney News Bureau also interviewed each of us. It was much easier to have a conversation led by her enthusiasm than to remember what I wanted to say with just a camera staring at me.

We were called over to do our video bios, where producers at three camera areas were available to help us. When it was time for mine, I asked the producer to break mine into segments. She asked me to tell her about myself and then share my favorite park tip and so on. While I did this in only a few takes, I wish I had spoken more eloquently. I also wish the sun hadn't been glaring in my eyes causing me to squint. What mattered most was that I was finished.

When Mickey made his entrance, I felt like a child entering the Magic Kingdom for the first time. I couldn't contain myself and started yelling "Mickey!" I quickly calmed myself as not to interfere with the video bios being made. As you can imagine, the boss' arrival really made quite a stir and guests were trying to figure out what was going on in the Rose Garden. Believe me; I still couldn't believe this was happening. I felt magical merriment all day.

Meg Crofton arrived and she was absolutely gracious. Meg was so elegant in her Mickey Red suit with her "Meg"Cast Member pin. She and her husband had read our biographies over the weekend. I was stunned. She asked us what the most exciting thing we had done over our weekend was. Brigitta said, "Meeting you!" We all agreed. What struck me was that Meg really gets why people are so passionate about Walt Disney World; that it's the experiences we have rather than a single attraction or hotel that make us return again...and again.

We took more photos. Each of us with Meg, each of us with Mickey, our group with the Moms Panel logo sign and so on. Click! Our enchanted day was captured. When our starring moments were finished, we were given free time in the Magic Kingdom until 5:00 pm. As we made our way to the Jungle Cruise, we thought about going on It's A Small World, but the line was too long. Perhaps we had been spoiled from the VIP entrances that we had enjoyed during the previous day's tour.

We went to the Jungle Cruise for a boatful of laughter. Next, Michael and I left the group so I could phone my son who was now home from school, and then do some shopping. Michael left to play and I returned to the bus at 5:00pm. Back at Coronado Springs, we had a short time to get ready and at 6:00pm. we were back on the bus, headed to Epcot.

Again we arrived via a backstage entrance and went directly to Tutto Italia, the restaurant in the Italy pavilion. We sat at two round tables with Moms Panelists and Cast Members enjoying great conversation and delectable food. Near 8pm we were led to the Candlelight Processional to enjoy VIP seating. We were led past all of the guests waiting in line and directly to our seats in the third row, where we enjoyed the heartfelt show.

As if the day wasn't magical enough, we were then taken to a private Illuminations dessert party. We were in Morocco now. There was a bar doling out beverages and a dessert table with an assortment of tasty treats. Our families (and friends) were invited to join us. Beth and Laura had their families in attendance. Bret had his sister and some friends. The conversation, drinks, and fireworks were sparkling.

It was very late when we returned to the Coronado Springs Resort. Some of us were not ready for the revelry to end so we stopped at the outdoor bar. It was another warm evening. It was nice to chat and get to know each other better.

Finally this enchanting day had to end, or so I thought. Our surprise tonight was a framed picture from our first evening with all of the panelists at the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights. Here we were captured with the giddy looks of children on their first trip to Walt Disney World. At last, I slept peacefully.

On Sunday, we had a later flight so Michael and I had breakfast at the Pepper Market before going to Downtown Disney to shop. I was happy to run into Darcie one more time and we chatted before reluctantly sharing a good-bye hug. After shopping, Michael and I relaxed at the pool before finally dragging ourselves to get ready for the trip home. I was happy to see another panelist, Michelle, waiting for the VIP Tours transportation. This gave us time to chat on the way to the airport.

At home, I slowly acclimated myself back to reality until disneyworldmoms.com was launched on January 7th. Answering my first question was so exciting. We had been told at training that our answers could express how we truly felt and the moderators would not be editing our content. If we didn't like a hotel, restaurant, price, etc., then we could share our honest views. We could send people to other sites that we felt were helpful in planning a vacation. I received some requests for interviews. Our local TV station came to our house and our family excitedly watched the 6:00 show that night (as well as set the DVRs in our house to record). I had two local newspaper interviews. One printed a TOO large photo of me with my "boss," Mickey.

We now have monthly conference calls so we can touch base with the Cast Members. We offer suggestions to make the site more user-friendly. I hope that guests (especially first-time visitors) will continue to find information to help ease their Walt Disney World vacation planning. We have all been pleased with the success of the site. Thank you to the many friends from PassPorter and DisBoards that have been cheering us on.

What's next for me? I have been asked (along with Darcie) to attend an informal media event April 18-20. I hope that whatever comes after the Walt Disney World Moms Panel, that it involves writing, Walt Disney World and my new lifelong friends. So for now, I'll close this saga with 12 words: Beatrice, Beth, Bret, Brigitta, Darcie, Erin, Heather M., Heather R., Kara, Kim, Laura and Michelle.

Click here to read the first part of Kim's series on the Disney Mom's Panel.

Click here to read the second part of Kim's series on the Disney Mom's Panel.



About the Author:
Kimberly LaPaglia thrives on answering questions about Walt Disney World vacations. Stay tuned for her last day of training which includes the Walt Disney World Moms Panel photo shoot and what it's been like since the site went live.

Related Links:


Gardens of The World Tour - A Guided Tour During Epcot's International Flower and Garden Festival last updated 5/28/2009
Star Wars Weekends - Feel the Force at Disney's Hollywood Studios last updated 6/4/2009
Unusual Photo Opportunities - Getting Unique Photos at Disney last updated 6/18/2009
The Osborne Spectacle of Lights - Disney's Hollywood Studios last updated 7/6/2009
Dashing Through The ... Snow? - Sleigh Rides at Walt Disney World last updated 11/30/08




Reader Comments:


One of the perks of being selected as a Walt Disney World Moms Panelist was a trip to Walt Disney World! So my husband and I took a flight into Orlando International Airport in early December. As I neared the Orlando Baggage Claim, I noticed a cast member holding a sign with my name on it. While my husband, Michael, went to get our luggage, the cast member and I began a nice chat. Once we were loaded into her SUV, she continued to share interesting stories of her experiences with VIP Tours.



Upon entering the Coronado Springs front desk area, there was a sign welcoming the Walt Disney World Moms Panel. We had our own check-in desk and a manager came out to greet me. I was receiving the red carpet treatment at my favorite vacation destination, and again, I nearly broke out into strains of "When You Wish Upon A Star." My itinerary was enclosed in a blue folder with that endearing Disney Moms Panel logo. The first memo read "Dear Kimberly, Welcome to Walt Disney World."



For another warm welcome, there was a beautiful resort pen from the Coronado Springs manager in my room. I had to quickly prepare for the first Moms Panel function at the outdoor Laguna Bar. My husband called bell services, but they could not locate our luggage, which we had given them just 15 minutes earlier. Okay, Plan B: Open my carry-on bag and iron my back-up outfit. Before I had to leave, the luggage arrived and I was at least able to retrieve Plan A shoes. Now, you know how important shoes are. However, I have to admit that I've never really had a shoe issue in Walt Disney World. Maybe that's because I really like my comfortable walking sneakers and have a great disdain for blisters. This was indeed a different kind of trip.



Finally, I was walking to the Laguna Bar. I felt an immediate sense of togetherness after our introductions were made. Everyone had the same giddy smiles. I think we all had the identical surreal, "I can't believe I'm here" feeling. We were introduced to some of the cast members that had been instrumental in the creation of the Mom's Panel, including Leanne, our exuberant leader with Walt Disney World Public Relations. Meeting these dedicated people was a true highlight. I tend to look at cast members in awe anyhow. But the Walt Disney World Moms Panel Team are truly dream-makers. Little did I know the dreams yet to unfold.



We enjoyed drinks and nervous, excited chatter. The cast members took group photos using all of our cameras. Then we were led to what would be our personal bus for the weekend.



The next scheduled function was the "Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights." We arrived at Disney's Hollywood Studios (yes, it was still called MGM then) via a backstage entrance. We shared laughs about not wanting to see anything that would take away from the magic. We cleared security and entered near the Lights, Motors, Action Extreme Stunt Show. Now, I was in a state of disbelief and probably stayed in this enchanted fog for the next three days. It was similar to my wedding day, when I wanted to take it all in and not forget a moment.



Soon, we were treated to the spectacle of the Osborne Lights being turned on. We were then led through the lights to a photographer who was waiting to capture our first group photo. In a sea of people, the masses parted and we were somehow all lined up. (I have this framed photo -- another gift -- to view while answering questions for the Moms Panel.) People were pointing at us, wondering who we were. I was beginning to wonder myself!



We had free time until our 7:20 pm Brown Derby reservation, an Advance Dining Reservation for which I didn't have to call myself! (All of you fellow obsessive planners understand, I'm sure.) Most of the group headed to Rock 'n' Roller Coaster. Kara (a fellow panelist) and I decided to walk around the shops. It was a delight being able to wander without having to meet up with family or having our children pulling us away from the merchandise. More important, it was nice having some quality time with another Mom and being able to share the amazement of this wonderful experience.



At the Brown Derby, we were seated at a long table. The food was delicious, and the conversation and company was delightful. We met more cast members, who shared wonderful stories with us. After enjoying the grapefruit cake dessert, we were led out of the empty restaurant. The conversation had been so engaging that I hadn't noticed the restaurant close. We were led back to our bus via the empty streets of the Studios. Again, I was in a dream-like state.



Back at the resort, I found even more surprises. Waiting on the table was a basket brimming over with Walt Disney World Moms Panel logo items such as pens, a pink jacket, watch, hat, and more. I was too excited to sleep. My husband and I went outside to enjoy the warm evening, while I shared my journey with him. Finally, with refillable mugs in hand, I tried to read and then sleep. I didn't do well at either attempt.



At 7:30 am, I arrived at the Coronado Springs Convention Center to a welcoming breakfast buffet. It was wonderful to see the panelists as they strolled in. I enjoyed the breakfast and thanked Leanne for the amazing gifts.



The Acapulco Room was set up with computers, and at our desks we found more gifts, including pens and a mouse pad. A highlight of this session was a presentation by Imagineers, introducing the interactive Toy Story Mania attraction. During a short break, I made a call to my son and my mom. I couldn't wait to share the fact that Leanne had surprised us again; we would be touring the Cinderella Castle Dream Suite! When she told us, I felt a bit dizzy with excitement.



Our mini-bus took us to the Magic Kingdom. Again we were led backstage (should I close my eyes?), cleared security, and walked right in to the Magic Kingdom. We entered near the Plaza Restaurant and walked to Cinderella Castle. After posing in the lobby with Cinderella for a group photo, we ascended the stairs and were seated at three tables. Somewhere along the way, we had picked up a photographer and camera man, who were busy capturing our royal lunch. Then, the chef and manager came out to greet us. It was these special touches that made everything so magical. For the crowning finale the chef presented us with three Cinderella slipper desserts, which we all shared. (I had the white slipper at my vow renewal.) This was a divine milk chocolate. It was a magnificent lunch, especially knowing that my dream come true of seeing the suite above us was not far away.



We put on our previously-purchased tiaras (for the record, Bret, our lone Dad, skipped this step) and were led outside to an unassuming door. We went up to the suite in two groups, along with our "paparazzi." We stepped in to a small but special parlor. This was where the concierge waits to receive any wishes from the lucky Castle Suite winners. Here, the clock was not going to strike midnight. It was perpetually stuck at one minute before that un-magical hour.



After the elevator ride, I found myself standing in the suite's foyer led by Alexis, a cast member, who regaled us with stories about the suite. The most often heard request from the Dream Suite winners is to have a picture taken of them in their pajamas in the Magic Kingdom after park closing, and one group of college girls wanted manicures and pedicures.



Biting my lip to hold back tears, I stepped inside the suite. Again, I reminded myself to just soak in the moment. I wanted to breathe in the magic of the experience and keep it with me forever. I am such a Cinderella fanatic/wannabe. The suite has many royal touches. The picture over the fireplace becomes a flat-screen television. In the bathroom, there is indeed a throne. Soak in the tub and you will find yourself beneath simulated stars. I had my picture taken seated on the sofa, but we were asked not to sit on the beds as the next Year of a Million Dreams winners would be arriving soon. I was in awe and it was bittersweet to depart. I will especially cherish the mementos we were given: a Cinderella Castle Suite Privacy Please sign and a Your Key to the World key to the suite. Our next group event was a modified Traditions Tour (Traditions is Walt Disney World's cast member orientation program). It was the Guestology Tour, "plussed" up by Lisa, a cast member with the Disney Institute. The first question posed was, "How many employees work at Walt Disney World?" I raised my hand and said, "None." Correct! (They are cast members, not employees!) By this time, I wanted to head over to the Casting Office to secure myself a role. The tour was informative and challenged even our knowledgeable group. We rode the Haunted Mansion (with the new special effects) and then went over to Pirates of the Caribbean. Again, we were led to a private entrance and onto a boat. I was ecstatic that the Walt Disney World Moms Panel was sharing a ride through my favorite attraction, but I refrained from singing along, "Yo Ho, Yo Ho."



We returned to our hotel before our 5:35 pm Artist Point dinner. At the Wilderness Lodge, we were met again by cameras. We were fortunate that these people were on hand to help commemorate our trip. Dinner was again delicious; we were introduced to the chef and manager and given personalized menus. There was no time for dessert, though, as we had a party to attend; Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party.



(During the day, while I was with the panel, my husband was playing in the parks. However, any family members who had traveled with us were kindly invited to join us for the Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party that evening.)



Waiting at the Magic Kingdom with our family members was a roped-off area atop the train station. We were treated to hot chocolate, coffee, and cookies. Although I had been to Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party a few times with my family, viewing it with the Moms Panel was special. There were some bittersweet moments -- I recalled seeing my son at a previous party, waving at Santa and trying to catch snow on Main Street. It was a pleasure to meet some of the Moms Panel's family members and watch the children enjoying this magical evening. After the parade, Michael and I watched the fireworks. Michael took the "real" bus back to the hotel, but I wanted to enjoy my private transport and time with the panel members (although I was too exhausted to talk much). The lack of sleep, a full day of events, and emotional moments were catching up with me. I perked up a bit when I saw another surprise waiting in our room. It was a plate of cookies and a carafe of milk. Sweet dreams, indeed!

     PassPorter News on May 1, 2008 @ 12:04 pm
Maybe it was the special good-night snack. I slept much better this evening although I was still too excited for a normal night's rest. My life at the moment was certainly far from ordinary. The next morning dawned warm and sunny as I enjoyed the walk to the Coronado Springs Convention Center. I wondered if Leanne had arranged the surprise weather as well. I knew anything was possible at Walt Disney World.



I entered the Walt Disney World Moms Panel training room to enjoy breakfast and was greeted by what were now familiar faces. As we sat at our computer stations, we were finally able to see what the site would look like to visitors. As we learned how to navigate the administrative side, we were given practice questions to work on. Typing my first practice answer, I tapped the keys hoping to offer my best personal experience.



How many business trainings have you been to where a blue fairy godmother named Ivanna Dream enters? Ivanna had read our bios, and with her sarcastic sense of humor proceeded to draw attention to each of us. The room was filled with laughter as she continued to "quiz" us on Disney trivia. And then... Leanne had another announcement.



We would get to meet Meg Crofton, the first female President of Walt Disney World and it would be commemorated in photos. For a group of "Moms" and Walt Disney World fans, this was extraordinary, life-altering news.



Next, a lovely lunch was set up in the outdoor courtyard, directly off our training room. I grabbed a plate of food (as did the other Moms) and rushed back to the room to prepare for our next task; a photo and video shoot at the Magic Kingdom. Between bites, I paced the room while practicing my video bio. I also changed into my "starring moment" ensemble. We had been given tips on what to avoid (clunky jewelry, for instance). I chose my favorite turquoise color and black pants. In hindsight, I wish I had worn capris which would have looked more like I was spending a day in the parks. But at 5 ft tall (okay short), I was worried about appearing even less vertically challenged. Truthfully, I was more worried about my video bio than my attire. If only I had just sat in the Acapulco room and enjoyed my lunch like our one "Dad," Bret!



At 12:15, our minibus headed to the Magic Kingdom. The bus parked backstage and we entered near the Plaza Restaurant. We headed to the Rose Garden area to the right of the Castle. It was roped off and set up for a photo and video shoot. My husband was allowed past the ropes to watch the production. It was sunny and hot, but our thirst-quenching wish was soon granted with bottles of water. This afternoon was a complete whirlwind. We were led out towards the hub and soon after, a horse-drawn trolley pulled up. The horse was taken away and we took a group photo aboard the front of the trolley. By now, we had many spectators, again wondering who we were. I can not even begin to tell you what it felt like climbing aboard the trolley with my new friends. It was magical, dreamlike, and fun. The photo really captures our memorable moment.



As we returned to the Rose Garden, I believe a magic spell was cast over me. My nerves were now calm and I did nothing but enjoy every second of the afternoon. I had a great time watching the smiles on everyone's faces. I took time now and then to look at the people staring at us. I frequently glanced at Cinderella Castle to imprint this day in my memory. We each had individual shots taken. Candice Coleman from the Disney News Bureau also interviewed each of us. It was much easier to have a conversation led by her enthusiasm than to remember what I wanted to say with just a camera staring at me.



We were called over to do our video bios, where producers at three camera areas were available to help us. When it was time for mine, I asked the producer to break mine into segments. She asked me to tell her about myself and then share my favorite park tip and so on. While I did this in only a few takes, I wish I had spoken more eloquently. I also wish the sun hadn't been glaring in my eyes causing me to squint. What mattered most was that I was finished.



When Mickey made his entrance, I felt like a child entering the Magic Kingdom for the first time. I couldn't contain myself and started yelling "Mickey!" I quickly calmed myself as not to interfere with the video bios being made. As you can imagine, the boss' arrival really made quite a stir and guests were trying to figure out what was going on in the Rose Garden. Believe me; I still couldn't believe this was happening. I felt magical merriment all day.



Meg Crofton arrived and she was absolutely gracious. Meg was so elegant in her Mickey Red suit with her "Meg"Cast Member pin. She and her husband had read our biographies over the weekend. I was stunned. She asked us what the most exciting thing we had done over our weekend was. Brigitta said, "Meeting you!" We all agreed. What struck me was that Meg really gets why people are so passionate about Walt Disney World; that it's the experiences we have rather than a single attraction or hotel that make us return again...and again.



We took more photos. Each of us with Meg, each of us with Mickey, our group with the Moms Panel logo sign and so on. Click! Our enchanted day was captured. When our starring moments were finished, we were given free time in the Magic Kingdom until 5:00 pm. As we made our way to the Jungle Cruise, we thought about going on It's A Small World, but the line was too long. Perhaps we had been spoiled from the VIP entrances that we had enjoyed during the previous day's tour.



We went to the Jungle Cruise for a boatful of laughter. Next, Michael and I left the group so I could phone my son who was now home from school, and then do some shopping. Michael left to play and I returned to the bus at 5:00pm. Back at Coronado Springs, we had a short time to get ready and at 6:00pm. we were back on the bus, headed to Epcot.



Again we arrived via a backstage entrance and went directly to Tutto Italia, the restaurant in the Italy pavilion. We sat at two round tables with Moms Panelists and Cast Members enjoying great conversation and delectable food. Near 8pm we were led to the Candlelight Processional to enjoy VIP seating. We were led past all of the guests waiting in line and directly to our seats in the third row, where we enjoyed the heartfelt show.



As if the day wasn't magical enough, we were then taken to a private Illuminations dessert party. We were in Morocco now. There was a bar doling out beverages and a dessert table with an assortment of tasty treats. Our families (and friends) were invited to join us. Beth and Laura had their families in attendance. Bret had his sister and some friends. The conversation, drinks, and fireworks were sparkling.



It was very late when we returned to the Coronado Springs Resort. Some of us were not ready for the revelry to end so we stopped at the outdoor bar. It was another warm evening. It was nice to chat and get to know each other better.



Finally this enchanting day had to end, or so I thought. Our surprise tonight was a framed picture from our first evening with all of the panelists at the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights. Here we were captured with the giddy looks of children on their first trip to Walt Disney World. At last, I slept peacefully.



On Sunday, we had a later flight so Michael and I had breakfast at the Pepper Market before going to Downtown Disney to shop. I was happy to run into Darcie one more time and we chatted before reluctantly sharing a good-bye hug. After shopping, Michael and I relaxed at the pool before finally dragging ourselves to get ready for the trip home. I was happy to see another panelist, Michelle, waiting for the VIP Tours transportation. This gave us time to chat on the way to the airport.



At home, I slowly acclimated myself back to reality until disneyworldmoms.com was launched on January 7th. Answering my first question was so exciting. We had been told at training that our answers could express how we truly felt and the moderators would not be editing our content. If we didn't like a hotel, restaurant, price, etc., then we could share our honest views. We could send people to other sites that we felt were helpful in planning a vacation. I received some requests for interviews. Our local TV station came to our house and our family excitedly watched the 6:00 show that night (as well as set the DVRs in our house to record). I had two local newspaper interviews. One printed a TOO large photo of me with my "boss," Mickey.



We now have monthly conference calls so we can touch base with the Cast Members. We offer suggestions to make the site more user-friendly. I hope that guests (especially first-time visitors) will continue to find information to help ease their Walt Disney World vacation planning. We have all been pleased with the success of the site. Thank you to the many friends from PassPorter and DisBoards that have been cheering us on.



What's next for me? I have been asked (along with Darcie) to attend an informal media event April 18-20. I hope that whatever comes after the Walt Disney World Moms Panel, that it involves writing, Walt Disney World and my new lifelong friends. So for now, I'll close this saga with 12 words: Beatrice, Beth, Bret, Brigitta, Darcie, Erin, Heather M., Heather R., Kara, Kim, Laura and Michelle.

     PassPorter News on May 1, 2008 @ 12:05 pm
View all 2 comments in forum thread

So what do you think? Click here to share your comments, feedback, and experiences on this article and topic!

(Note: You must be a member of our PassPorter Message Board Community to leave comments. Join today for free!)




Updated 3/27/2008 - Article #173 



Read additional articles from PassPorter.com

Subscribe to our free e-mail newsletter, PassPorter News, published for more than 58,000 opt-in subscribers worldwide. As an added bonus for subscribing, you will receive a 20% discount coupon for the PassPorter Store -- no catch!

E-mail Address:

First Name:

E-mail Format:
-Text/Don't Know  

-HTML

 
 

We respect your privacy and never sell or rent our subscriber list. Subscribing will not result in more spam! We guarantee it.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Copyright 1999-2014
by PassPorter Travel Press, an imprint of MediaMarx, Inc.

       SEARCH
       LEARN MORE
Learn More With Our Award-Winning Guidebooks


 

RSS General PassPorter Community - Boards & Forums on Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, and General Travel - 13,14,15,16,17,18
PassPorter Community - Boards & Forums on Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disn...
Discussion forums about Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, and General Travel provided by PassPorter Travel Press, the ultimate Disney travel guide and book series.


What do you get in disney mail?
by suzanne1972
31 Aug 2014 at 4:35am
Just being nosey! Lol I'm in the UK haven't booked through disney direct so I've never received disney mail. I was just wondering what it was....
(click title above to view replies)

Disney World on Independence day
by howdoyoudo
29 Aug 2014 at 6:09am
Next year, I am planning to be in the USA for my 30th birthday. I imagine I'll be there for about 3 weeks or so (I have friends in New York), but I...
(click title above to view replies)

Disney Mail Already
by Roxie2006
28 Aug 2014 at 5:26pm
I checked our mail and much to my surprise we received Disney Mail. This is the 1st time we ever received our documents this early. Our trip will...
(click title above to view replies)




Total Visits: 6005


PassPorter ~ 1998-2014 ~ 16 Years of Making Dreams Come True!
Publishers of bestselling travel guidebooks and proud recipients of 13 national book awards
About PassPorter
About Us
Site Map
Press
Privacy Policy
Images & Artwork
Guidebooks
About
Previews
Buy
Reviews
Updates
Features
News & Updates
Articles
Podcasts
Photos
Message Boards
Newsletter
Concierge Desk
Desktop
Trips
Books & E-Books
Tips
Settings
Customs Office
Register Books
Book Updates
Contests
Checklists
Help & Info
Finding Answers to Questions
Help Desk
Using Your PassPorter Forum
Store Customer Service
E-Mail Us
Follow Us
PassPorter.com Front Page (Updated Daily!)
PassPorter Newsletter (weekly and free)
Latest Posts
Facebook
Pinterest
YouTube Channel
Questions? Check our Site Map and visit our Help Desk to learn how to contact us online, by e-mail, and by phone.
Please feel free to link to this page so that other vacationers can find it.