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PassPorter News Brought to you by PassPorter Guidebooks
  March 6, 2008 * Issue 8.10
In This Newsletter

From the Authors: California Dreaming

Travel Feature: Hong Kong Disneyland

Disney Feature: Disney Moms Panel

Updates: What's New and Changed

Tips: Book 'Em!, Less Laundry, Birthday Card Bonus

Captain's Corner: All Aboard

PassPorter PhotoPick: Butterfly Topiary

Q&A: Are they building a Disney park in Australia?

Our Sponsors: We Recommend...
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What's New and Changed

Here are a few items of relevant news:

Disney's Contemporary and Polynesian Resorts have been awarded the coveted AAA Four Diamond rating for 2008. The Yacht & Beach Club and Grand Floridian are the other Walt Disney World resorts to have this AAA rating.

Effective March 5, 2008, Disney Cruise Line is passing along increased government taxes and fees for new sailings that include a Mexican port: 15-Night Eastbound Panama Canal, 7-Night Mexican Riviera, 7-Night Western Caribbean, 7-Night Western Caribbean with two calls at Castaway Cay and Costa Maya. The increase is $5 per Mexican port. Cruises that were paid in full prior to March 5th will not be affected.

Block Party Bash, Disney's Hollywood Studios' new parade featuring many of the stars of Disney / Pixar films, is scheduled to begin Friday, March 14, 2008. In very similar news, Pixar Play Parade is scheduled to debut on the same day (March 14) at Disney's California Adventure. (Pixar Play Parade replaces Block Party Bash at that park.)

A con artist recently targeted Walt Disney World guests by listening in on conversations in Disney resort lobbies, then calling guests' rooms and offering them discounted tickets to events and asking for their credit card information. Disney is reminding guests that cast members will never contact a guest and ask for credit card information over the phone.

Our thanks to and from which we get some of our news leads.

Hear some news? Be a "PassPorter Reporter" and send it to us!

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Reader Feedback

In last week's newsletter, Dave wrote about Passports and REAL ID, and the article received more than the usual reader response.

Jim Van L. wrote to say, "I just read Dave's article about the whole Passport/ID fiasco. There is one thing that is either confusing or incorrect. While it is true that current Passport Book holders can receive a Passport Card for $20, it requires surrendering your current Passport Book..."

Jim is correct in noting that you must enclose your current Passport Book when you apply for a "renewal" Passport Card. However, that Passport Book will be returned to you, still valid, once your application has been processed (just as your birth certificate or other proof of citizenship is returned to you when you apply for a new passport). To obtain a Passport Card in addition to your current Passport Book, use Form DS-82, check-off "U.S. Passport Card" near the top of page 1 of the form, and supply the required information, documentation, and fee.

Kelly A. wrote, "I just wanted to add to your article, particularly the land, sea and air travel. When a US citizen or Canadian citizen travels by land, sea or air between the two countries, a trusted traveler card is accepted. This trusted traveler card can also be used when traveling just within the US. The trusted traveler card we have is a Nexus card... These cards can be very worthwhile even if you have a passport."

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection web site has more information on these "Trusted Traveler Programs" (NEXUS, SENTRI, and FAST). NEXUS can be used for air, land, and sea crossings between the U.S. and Canada by U.S. and Canadian citizens and legal residents, SENTRI can be used for crossings between the U.S. and Mexico, and FAST can be used by commercial truck drivers traveling between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.

Sheila S. asks, "Does this new legislation on the Real I.D.'s include children?  I usually try to carry my daughter's birth certificate just in case, but would it be wise to go ahead and get her a passport for domestic travel since we fly a couple of times a year?"

The REAL ID Act does not change the requirements for children's ID for domestic travel. Minors under the age of 18 still do not have to present ID. The adults traveling with them, or checking them in at the airport if the child is traveling unaccompanied, do have to present valid ID. (Officially, individual airlines set the age requirements for ID, but we know of no airline that requires ID for anyone under 18.) So, a passport won't be needed.

Click here to read the full article on passports and REAL IDs.

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Disney Tips:
From Fellow Readers

Our readers deliver a wealth of information! 
Here are the winners in this month's tip contest:

"On our last trip to Disney, I wanted to get something other than the usual autograph books for the characters to sign. I found a princess board book that had stories about each princess at a book fair for our local library. The book cost me only $1 and it even became a hunt to find all of the princesses so they could sign it. When we saw Jasmine she was with Aladdin and Genie and they loved signing their own story and my kids were thrilled that they made a big deal about it."
-- contributed by Kim O.

"I have heard many people say how they have so much laundry to do when they get home from  vacation. Well my tip is this: I do laundry the day before I leave for home. By this time I am worn out and want a vacation from my vacation. So to unwind a little bit, I take a good book and all our laundry and go to the laundry room to do our wash. This way when we get home we only have about two days worth of wash to do rather than a week or more."
-- contributed by Mary A.

"My 65th birthday just happened to fall during our scheduled Disneyland vacation. Since we were not going to be home for my special day, my daughter planned a surprise for me. About a month prior to our trip she mailed out notices to family and friends instructing them to forward my birthday cards to her, early enough to arrive before our departure date. The morning of my birthday she hid the cards in her purse. During lunch, as we sat at Carnation Cafe, she proceeded to hand the cards to me, one by one. What a great way for my family and friends to be part of my special day."
-- contributed by Sunny S.

Send us your tips! You may see them in this newsletter and win a copy of PassPorter!

Want more Disney tips? For Walt Disney World fans, we've collected 500 of the best tips submitted by readers over the past six years. All have been edited for accuracy and categorized. For details, visit the PassPorter Disney 500 info page or the PassPorter store. For Disney Cruise Line fans, we have an e-book with 250 cruiser tips, as well as a special cruise line comparison section and seven customized packing lists. For information, visit the Disney Cruise Clues info page.

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Captain's Corner:
Treasure Hunting Game

Play our fun and quirky treasure hunting game, hosted by Captain Jack Skatt from our book, "PassPorter's Treasure Hunts at Walt Disney World." 

The Captain makes a study of the delightful details -- sometimes hidden, sometimes in plain sight but often overlooked -- at Walt Disney World and aboard the Disney Cruise Line. Using notes from his journals, he will lead you to this "treasure" at Disney with clues, questions, photos, or riddles. Your challenge is to discover the answer by searching your memory, visiting Disney, or even just looking really hard on the Internet. If you think you've found the answer, e-mail it to -- the first person to correctly submit the FULL answer will receive a free PassPorter enamel pin or PassPorter name badge pin. (Please note: Players can win once every 3 months.) 

Here is this week's journal entry:

"Today I was enjoying a photo album of treasured places at Walt Disney World. After a reliving -- through pictures -- a particularly memorable afternoon with my sweetheart in Main Street Town Square, I came across an unfamiliar scene. The photo depicts a log cabin in a heavily wooded area. Surrounding the cabin are old wagon wheels and a broken down wooden fence. The cabin's roof is falling in and it appears someone's used the side of the house as target practice. I just cannot place this cabin."

click for a larger photo

Where can you spot this log cabin? For bonus credit, locate the photographic evidence in the PassPorter Photo Archive and post a comment with the photo!

Send your full answer to -- the winner will be notified by e-mail and announced in a future newsletter, along with the correct answer!

Congratulations to Marianna Clark who was the winner of last week's trivia contest! Marianna was the first person to identify "Richard" as Richard F. Irvine, a former Disney / WED executive. Marianna was also the first person to find the photo on our web site. To view the original clue, see last week's newsletter.

If you enjoy treasure hunts, we've got an entire book with over 100 distinct treasure hunts and over 1500 questions, complete with clues and contributions from Captain Jack Skatt. Get more details on "PassPorter's Treasure Hunts at Walt Disney World" book at
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PassPorter PhotoPick

Each issue we choose a special photo from the PassPorter Photo Archive which highlights something beautiful, interesting, humorous, or timely at Disney or around the world. Here is this issue's PassPorter PhotoPick:

End of the Track!
contributed by duck addict

(click the photo or link to see a larger photo with details)

You can nominate photos as a PassPorter PhotoPick by giving ratings in the PassPorter Photo Archive (you'll need to be logged in to do this). If you'd like to contribute your own photos to the Photo Archive and be considered as a PhotoPick, please read our Photo Upload Guidelines for details and benefits.

chezp 536 photos
Meggera 347 photos
Dopey007 270 photos
OffKilter_Disneymom 261 photos
DeBestWife 192 photos
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Q & A:
With Jennifer and Dave

Tigger71 asks: "Does anyone know about a news story today that mentions Disney has had negotiations with the Australian government about purchasing land in Sydney? The story went on to say the land would be developed into another park to add to the increasing Disney empire... Boy if this is true I am so ready for a job there! Please tell me it's true!"

Dave and Jennifer answer: "I remember when a Spanish government agency announced talks with Disney regarding a World Showcase pavilion. It's been at least five years, and nothing's happened.

Based on the illustration in the article, the first thing that comes to mind is a cruise terminal, but it's kind of rare to home-port a major ship in Australia before you home port in larger cruise markets, like Alaska, the Mediterranean and China/Japan. But they could be planning way ahead. You never know. 

Whether it's a theme park or a cruise terminal, Australia doesn't quite have the population to support it. But Disney is a huge, worldwide company with many needs for real estate that have nothing to do with theme parks or cruise ships. Film studios and merchandise warehouses are two thoughts that come to mind.

Meantime, a savvy politician might understand that Disney will neither confirm or deny most reports of this sort. So, the politician can improve his/her own image by claiming to be working on a big deal with Disney. And even if such talks existed but the deal didn't go through, the politician can still spin that news to his/her benefit.

One way or the other, there are many news reports of this sort, from a variety of places in the U.S. and around the world. They almost always come up as a bust when you look closer. Disney is good for local property values.

Have a question? Post questions at -- and if you're lucky, you may find that folks have already asked and answered the same question that's on your mind!
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Future Newsletters:
Want To See Your Name in Print?

PassPorter News is published weekly, and this means we're always in need of articles! We're on the lookout for guest columnists who want to contribute articles to this newsletter. No professional writing experience is necessary, just a desire to share your experience with others! Not only is this a great way to give something back to the PassPorter community, but you get to see your name in "print" and receive a $25 gift certificate for use at

For details and our article submission guidelines, please e-mail Articles about Disney and general travel are welcomed!
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Our Sponsors:
We Recommend...

PassPorter only accepts advertising from services of the highest quality -- we recommend these companies because we use them ourselves. Please support our sponsors and, in turn, support this newsletter! This week's sponsors are (in order of appearance): -- Disney Cruise Line Special Offers

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From the Authors: California Dreaming

Hi, {{user("firstname")}}!

We're back from warm, sunny California, and boy, we're missing it already! For a week, the only snow we saw was on the peaks of distant mountains and on the top of the not-so-distant Matterhorn in Disneyland park. The first thing Dave had to do when we arrived home on the Red Eye (several hours later than anticipated due to air delays, snow-related baggage handling delays, and snow-related highway delays) was to dig out from the latest Michigan snow storm.

The good weather was just icing on the cake, though. We had a very fruitful research trip, the results of which will be poured into the upcoming edition of PassPorter's Disneyland and Southern California Attractions guidebook. Among other things, now that three-and-a-half-year-old Alexander has grown beyond the 40" mark (and has become much more articulate), we've got a lot of great new input from our not-so-little theme park expert. He qualified for entry onto a wide range of height-restricted attractions, though we didn't think he was quite ready for all of them (Soarin' Over California and Star Tours, yes! Space Mountain? Not quite yet).

Continuing our newest "tradition," Jennifer maintained a real-time photo blog of the journey. If you missed it in real-time, don't worry, it's just as much fun to read now!

SPECIAL COUPON ALERT: In celebration of the 25,000th member due to arrive in the PassPorter Message Board Community any day now, we're offering a 25% off coupon in the PassPorter Store for PassPorter guidebooks and e-books. To get 25% off the list price, simply type the number 25000 as your discount coupon code during the checkout process. This coupon will remain in effect up to 24 hours after the 25,000th member signs up, so act now at

Will you be joining us for PassPorter's Decade of Dream Tour? PassPorter is celebrating our 10th anniversary in 2009 year-long celebration from coast-to-coast! Everyone is invited and all are warmly welcome to join us at all or part of our celebration. We are combining small parties (meets) with grand, multi-day trips, including a 7-night Disney Cruise, a 4-night stay at Walt Disney World, and a Disneyland visit that includes park time and an Adventures by Disney expedition. See our Tour Schedule for the latest details.

Our 2008 edition of PassPorter's Disney Cruise Line and its Ports of Call is on track for a March 15 release date. Just a reminder that all chapters of this new edition are in an electronic preview file for anyone who pre-orders through the PassPorter Store.

PassPorter's Club Update
  • More than 1300 vacationers are now enjoying access to all our e-books, e-worksheets, and super-sized photo archive images.Thank you for your continued support!
  • Our next e-book, "PassPorter's Answer Book" by the PassPorter Guide Team will debut for Club passholders on March 24. Stay tuned for more details!
  • We have two new e-worksheets for you to use to plan your next trip (click the link to go directly to them): the Disney Dining Plan E-Worksheet for 2 Adults and 1 Child and the Disneyland Park Hours E-Worksheet!
  • More details at

  • In this issue, Featured Columist Cheryl Pendry reports on her recent visit to Hong Kong Disneyland. Then, Guest Columnist and Disney Moms Panelist Kim LaPaglia  shares her insider's experience with the
    Walt Disney Moms Panel Selection Process. Finally, Jack Skatt is back with a brand-new Walt Disney World Treasure Hunt. Have a great week!

    Dave and Jennifer Marx
    PassPorter Authors

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      Travel Feature: 

    Hong Kong Disneyland
    by Cheryl Pendry, PassPorter Featured Columnist

    If you're a Disney fan and the place you're visiting just happens to have a Disney park on its outskirts, it would be rude not to pop in and visit, wouldn't it?

    That's exactly how we felt when planning our trip to Hong Kong. We knew we would have plenty of time to visit Hong Kong Disneyland, as we would be there for a total of seven nights. After a bit of research, we settled on the Monday of our trip, as that seemed to be a quiet day. It's easy to work out which days will be busier at this park, as the one day tickets are valid for either regular, peak or special days. Aim for a regular day and you should be guaranteed the lowest crowds. That certainly worked for us.

    Our first surprise was on the train heading to the park. It's the only Disney park in the world that is part of a city's main transport system. The MTR runs throughout Hong Kong and the Disneyland Resort route takes you straight from the Sunny Bay station to the park itself. As soon as I saw the train pull into Sunny Bay Station, I knew we were in for a treat, with the familiar sight of Mickey ears greeting us in the shape of the windows. Inside were plush blue seats and models of the main Disney characters, all helping to transition you from the real world into a world of magic and imagination.

    That continued when we arrived at the Disneyland Resort station, which reminded me of a grand Victorian station, with steps and escalators leading up to the ticket barriers to outside. From there, it's a short walk and you're greeted by a superb water feature, with Mickey surfing the fountain waves, surrounded by his closest friends, including Goofy, Minnie, and Donald. Your attention is first drawn to that and then, as you wander around, taking it all in, you realize that the real attraction is to your right, with the park awaiting you down another short avenue.

    We found out quite late on during our day in the park that it's the only other park in the world to be based so closely on the original Disneyland in California. As soon as we realized that, it made so much sense. There are touches of California everywhere you look, from the Mickey topiary that greets you as you enter the gates, which is almost exactly the same as the one from Disneyland, to the castle, which has some similarities to the original Sleeping Beauty Castle and is nowhere near as dominating over the park as the ones in Florida and Paris.

    It's important to know that this is the newest addition to the Disney theme park family, having opened to visitors in 2005. That means that it has fewer attractions than the more established parks. Notable omissions include Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, the Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean and Splash Mountain. Even It's a Small World isn't here... yet! It's due to open later this spring, but it's interesting how many Disney classics that we take for granted at the other parks aren't in existence here two and-a-half years in.

    Despite that, this park has charms of its own and, like every other theme park; it also has unique attractions and familiar rides that are superior to those found anywhere else. The Imagineers had a tremendous challenge here with the language issue. It's the only Disney park in the world to be based in a place that has two official languages -- English and Cantonese -- and it's a challenge that they managed to respond to, ensuring that no-one is left out.

    The park has four lands, going clockwise: Main Street USA, Adventureland, Fantasyland and Tomorrowland. That's exactly the way we explored it, heading to Adventureland first. The first attraction we came across was one much beloved by many Disney fans for its corny jokes -- the Jungle River Cruise. Here's where they came up with a brilliant way to tackle the language issue, with two separate waiting areas, depending on your language. You'll then be taken around with a skipper who's fluent in your language - and yes, they do still crack exactly the same corny jokes as you'd find in the American parks! The piranhas added into California put in an appearance here and, as you'd expect, the animatronics all just look so much fresher and smoother. The stunning finale sees you facing fire and water, and is a great touch.

    Adventureland is also home to the Liki Tikis, an interactive water play area for youngsters that looked like a lot of fun, Festival of the Lion King, and Tarzan's Treehouse, which is set on an island in the middle of the Jungle River Cruise and is reached by rafts. Sadly, our day didn't leave enough time for exploring any of these attractions.

    Without a doubt, Fantasyland is where most of the action takes place, as it's home to the majority of the park's rides. It's not necessarily the line-up you'd expect, although you will find the familiar Dumbo flying over the roofs of this land, Cinderella's Carousel and the Mad Hatter Tea Cups. Other attractions include Mickey's PhilharMagic and the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, both of which pretty much appeared to be carbon copies of their cousins in Orlando. Interestingly, they have added ride photos to Winnie the Pooh, but we couldn't see any other differences. The Snow White Grotto by the castle will be familiar to anyone who's been to Disneyland, but sadly there's not much to the castle itself. It's little more than a walk through attraction and it's a shame not to see something more exciting in there, as you find in Disneyland Paris. You can also hop on the railroad around the park at the Fantasyland Train Station, but sadly we felt this left a lot to be desired, with very few views into the parks, thanks to some rather enthusiastic tree planting alongside the tracks!

    Perhaps the biggest surprise here is the Golden Mickey's, the stage show that anyone who's been on board a Disney cruise will be familiar with. This started off the same as the version we've seen on board both the Magic and the Wonder, but then changed halfway through, adding in various new scenes and bringing in different movies. The songs are all performed in English, although the interaction between scenes is in Cantonese, although you'll find English translations on big screens next to the stage. Another great example of how the Imagineers dealt with the language issue.

    Finally, it's into Tomorrowland, where there are more familiar favorites, such as Space Mountain, the Orbitron, Autopia, and Buzz Lightyear, which has fully removable guns and targets that explode when they're hit - great improvements, both of which helped to build a score I could never have dreamt of otherwise! The UFO Zone is another interactive water play area for kids, but my favorite attraction falls into the unique category and it's one that I would dearly love to see exported to other parks around the world - Stitch Encounter.

    Using similar technology to Turtle Talk with Crush and Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor, Stitch interacts with you, and even got himself a girlfriend in the show we saw! And of course, he gets himself into trouble. There are shows in both Cantonese and English and the one we saw was a lot of fun. You instantly warm to the little blue troublesome alien and that makes the interaction so much more fun. It looks like Disneyland Paris will be opening a version of this shortly and hopefully one day it will make an appearance on American soil. [Editor: Before Turtle Talk debuted, Disney tried out this technology with a "Talk to Stitch" attraction at Disneyland in California. Up to five guests at a time could have a "picturephone" conversation with Experiment 626. The attraction, at Innoventions in Tomorrowland, is still open occasionally.]

    Although there's not comparatively that much to see at Hong Kong Disneyland yet, it's a very pleasant addition to the Disney park line-up around the world and it's the little touches, such as the beautiful theming, the additions to popular attractions like the Jungle River Cruise and fun and unique attractions that make it so special. A day wasn't long enough here and I hope one day we can return to finish our tour properly of the newest addition to Disney's wonderful world of theme parks.

    About the Author: Cheryl and husband Mark live in England and love to travel, particularly to America. They are in the process of visiting every Disney theme park around the world, having already spent a day in Disneyland Resort Paris and Hong Kong Disneyland so far this year. They are looking forward to returning to America in October to visit both Walt Disney World and Disneyland in California.

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    Did you enjoy this article? Have questions? E-mail us at or visit to discuss your travel plans. Also check out our Article Collection for more great information! 

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    Disney Feature:

    Behind the Scenes: The Walt Disney World Moms Panel Selection Process
    by Kim LaPaglia, PassPorter Guest Columnist and Walt Disney World Moms Panelist

    While researching my next Walt Disney World trip, I happened upon an advertisement for the first ever Walt Disney World Moms Panel. Apparently the team selected would be providing advice on planning a Walt Disney World trip. My immediate thought was "This is me!"

    As a stay at home Mom, I wasn't actually looking for a new challenge, but this opportunity seemed perfect since I was always helping other families anyhow. I filled out the questionnaire, briefly mentioned to my husband that I applied for this "Disney Mom thing" and forgot all about it. So on October 17, 2007 when I got an e-mail congratulating me for making it to the next phase of the selection process, I was truly surprised. The e-mail had the cutest Walt Disney World Moms logo and the password to fill out the next questionnaire was Cinderella (my favorite princess). Now my heart was pounding with excitement and magical possibilities.

    I spent several days writing and editing my answers for the next three essays. I submitted them and made a wish. Of course, the odds were staggering so I tried not to get my hopes up too high.

    Around 5:00 p.m. on October 26, I received another e-mail with the same Walt Disney World Moms Panel logo. So adorable! This e-mail congratulated me on making it to the final phase and invited me to schedule a phone interview. I was now among 26 Disney fanatic Moms filled with hope. (No kidding, Hope is my real middle name.) I spent the next couple days seeking advice on whether I should schedule my interview for the first available day. My mom gave me some good advice (gotta love Moms) and I waited for the call to schedule the interview. Over the three days, I had family and friends sending me all kinds of pixie-dust greetings filled with remarks of good luck.

    I kept thinking about the search. They were specifically looking for moms that have "mastered the art of planning a Walt Disney World vacation." Over the years I've planned numerous trips for our family, friends, teachers, neighbors, and acquaintances that had been told to call or e-mail me about a Walt Disney World trip. I really concentrated on what it had meant to me to help people plan their trips to this vacation destination that meant so much to me. I reflected on how meaningful it was for first time visitors to return and tell me, "Oh, now I get it." I also remembered what it was like when our son was born 12 weeks premature and how I cried, "But I just want to take him to Disney World." Two years later, my husband Michael and I walked hand in hand down Main Street with our son Nicolas between us and our extended family looking on.

    I scheduled my interview for Monday, October 29 at 4:00 p.m. My weekend was spent preparing. I am much more comfortable writing than talking (especially over the phone) so I had my husband call me several times to do practice interviews. I printed out "cue cards" in case I went blank and taped them to the wall of my bedroom. I wanted to take the call where I was surrounded by photos of our son in Walt Disney World, our Disney Vow Renewal (when I rode in Cinderella's Coach), as well as Grand Floridian, Cinderella and Castle memorabilia.

    The interview went well and I wrote, "I feel like I did my best and I'll have no regrets either way. I just didn't want to bomb and then regret it." I also told my mom, "All I know is that never in my life did I think I'd be talking to FOUR Disney executives for an opportunity that involves writing and vacation planning. I'm just thankful for this chance because it's an experience I can always be proud of."

    Then I waited and dreamed. It really helped exchanging e-mails with some of the other finalists as we could all understand the anticipation. I was grateful to be part of such an outstanding group of Walt Disney World fans. On November 7, I tried to keep busy by getting out luggage for our upcoming (pre-planned) trip to Disneyland. I used packing to go to the Mouse's House in California as a wonderful diversion.

    At a little after 4:00 p.m., I got the call of, "Congratulations!" It was absolutely surreal. I got off the phone and ran downstairs. I was crying and laughing. Okay, I was sobbing like a baby. I kept telling my son, "Mommy got it. I got it." Then I told him to always believe in his dreams. I knew the call could go either way so I also had a speech ready for him about how you should always try your best and that winning isn't everything.

    I didn't even realize the magic was just beginning. I got an e-mail of congratulations with Minnie Mouse actually speaking my name!

    I called everyone. I wrote to my family and friends:

    "I just wanted to thank each of you for your support during the application process for the Disney World Moms Panel.

    In January, go online to

    I made it!!!

    10,000 applied

    26 finalists

    12 made the online panel forum

    I'm going to Disney world!!!!"

    All evening I kept singing "When you wish upon a star." My son clearly thought I had gone nuts. No, just Goofy! But then it was back to being a mom, as of all nights, my husband was working late and I had to take care of dinner and homework.

    As the days followed, I kept getting more e-mails from Walt Disney World about the upcoming training. There would be a photo shoot in front of Cinderella Castle. But more unbelievable, my room had been booked, transportation would be arranged for me, meals had been planned, and this obsessive planner didn't have to do any research. It was a great trip for a mom who usually plans every detail.

    We were instructed to begin work on our video biography. This would be a short clip where we should "Tell about yourself," "Tell about your family," and "Tell about your favorite Walt Disney World tip." We also needed to begin drafting a written bio that would go on the web site. Even as I worked on these assignments, I felt like none of it was truly real.

    By December 8, my husband Michael and I were on a plane to Orlando. Michael wanted to live his dream (playing in the parks by himself) so I purchased airfare so he could join me. He also said he couldn't imagine not being able to at least get a glimpse of me enjoying this once in a lifetime experience. Our son was a great sport about us heading off alone to Walt Disney World, and we were proud of him. Okay, it definitely helped that we had just gotten home from Disneyland five days earlier.

    I was nervous and excited on the journey to Walt Disney World for the Moms Panel training. Thankfully I had been in touch with nine of the Moms and Bret, the lone Dad. It was nice to get to know each other before arriving Orlando. To this day, we still keep in daily contact. Discovering new friendships with people as passionate about Walt Disney World as I am has been a magical experience. We all come from different places and yet, we have one thing in common that really holds us together; our love for sharing Walt Disney World with our families and our desire to inspire other travelers to find the magic inside Walt Disney World.

    Stay tuned next week for more on Kim's experience as a Walt Disney World Moms Panelist!

    About the Author: Kimberly LaPaglia is honored to be part of the first ever Walt Disney World Moms Panel. She is looking forward to her next Disney vacation in June 2008.

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    Did you enjoy this article? Have questions? E-mail us at or visit to discuss your Disney vacation plans. Also check out our Article Collection for more great information!


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