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PassPorter News Brought to you by PassPorter Guidebooks
  March 13, 2008 * Issue 8.11
In This Newsletter

From the Authors: Lucky 13 and Luckier 14!

Travel Feature: Tips On Driving Through The Night

Disney Feature: Disney Moms Panel Part 2

Updates: What's New and Changed

Tips: Annual Photo Op, Tidy Toiletries, Suitcase Stickers

Captain's Corner: Steve's Desk

PassPorter PhotoPick: Mary Poppins and The Buskers

Q&A: Will my 17 year old be able to attend any adult activities?

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

Here are a few items of relevant news:

Primeval Whirl at Disney's Animal Kingdom is getting some safety enhancements in the aftermath of a cast member fatality in November. Sensor mats are being installed in the restricted section of the loading area. Any motion detected on these mats will cause the ride to come to a full stop. Bold striping is also being added to further delineate the loading and unloading zones and will not disrupt operation of the attraction.

Tickets go on sale tomorrow, Friday March 14, 2008 for this year's Night of Joy concert series taking place September 5 and 6, 2008 at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Advanced purchase one-night tickets are $44.95, a two-night ticket is $75.95. Purchase your tickets by calling 407-W-DISNEY. The tentative line-up is as follows:

September 5: Chris Tomlin, MercyMe, Rebecca St. James, BarlowGirl, Matthew West, Rush of Fools, Brandon Heath and Britt Nichole

September 6: Casting Crowns, tobyMac, Fred Hammond, Marcos Witt, Mandisa, Aaron Shust, RED and Pure NRG

Strollers and Wheelchairs are now available for rent in Downtown Disney Marketplace, at Disney's Wonderful World of Memories; and in Downtown Disney West Side, at DisneyQuest Emporium. The cost is $10 per rental but there is a deposit of $100 charged to your credit card that will be refunded once the unit is returned to the location from which it was rented. ECV rentals are still available at Marketplace Guest Relations for $35, also with a $100 deposit.

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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Disney Tips:
From Fellow Readers

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

"We have visited Walt Disney World many times over the last 20 years. On our first visit, in 1986, our daughter was five years old. We took a photo of her eating an ice cream at one of the little round tables outside the Main Street Bakery. Since then, on every trip we have taken to the Magic Kingdom, we have taken a picture of her in the exact same spot, always eating an ice cream! It is a wonderful chronicle of how she has grown. In fact, when she visited Walt Disney World as a college student on spring break, she had her friends take a picture of her in that spot as well, so that we would not miss that special photo op. Our next trip to Disney is in two months, and you can be sure we'll have a photo of our now 26-year-old eating an ice cream at "her" table. Perhaps in a few years, we'll have pictures of her and her future children to add to our collection.
-- contributed by Natalie H.

"Before our family left for our trip to Disney, I purchased two sets of small plastic baskets that sell for $1 per set at your local big box store. I used the oblong set for our toothbrushes, floss, toothpaste and mouthwash. The other set worked well for our other toiletries. When we were in the room, they fit nicely on the bathroom counter and kept the sink area tidy. Then each day before we left the room I put the baskets up on the shelf in the closet where they were out of the way when Mousekeeping came in to clean the bathroom. Since each of us had our own baskets, everything was right there whenever we needed it.
-- contributed by Pam M.

"Place brightly colored tape on the opposite corners of your suitcases or your own stickers so you can easily identify it on the packed conveyor belt. This makes the process of finding your luggage quicker and less stressful."
-- contributed by Annette 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:

"My computer was acting wonky today, so I paid a visit to my friend Steve. He has a nice little setup, though I fear his equipment may be a bit out of date at this point. I offered him a check for $666.66 for his work, suggesting it might help him buy newer speakers and take his girlfriend Lisa out for a date, but he said all he really wanted was an apple. Alas, I didn't have one, but I told him to check nearby at Sunshine Seasons and gave him a buck for it. But, hey, it was money well spent because now my computer works wonderfully ... though it does have an odd tendency to crash."

Steve's Messy Desk
(click for a larger image)

Where can you spot this desk? 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 Debbie Collins who was the winner of last week's trivia contest! Debbie was the first person to identify the location of the log cabin as the Settler's Cabin as seen from the Walt Disney World Railroad. DopeyGirl was 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:

Mary Poppins and the Buskers at Disneyland
contributed by Jennifer Marx

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

Somecomic asks: "I am traveling (on the Disney Cruise Line) with my son who is 17. Does he get a bracelet or something identifying him as 17? I see there are often lectures by Imagineers and designers on the ships but it says they are for 18 and up. My son wants to be an Imagineer and would love to go to these lectures. Will they know if he is not over 18? Also how about the adult beach at Castaway Cay?"

Dave and Jennifer answer: "No, he doesn't get a bracelet/wrist band. His room key will identify him by age, but he probably won't be asked to show that for entry to lectures or the adult beach. Of course, he's automatically carded if he tries to buy a drink, since he can only use that room key for payment.

As I've said previously about "almost 18" -- if he behaves as an adult, he's not likely to be challenged. There's even a chance that he won't care about the adult beach, considering he may have friends by that time who will be hanging at the teen beach."

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):

Mouse Fan Travel -- New Offer! Free Ticket Upgrades -- Disney Cruise Line Special Offers

Quicksilver Tours & Transportation -- Save $5 off airport round-trip transportation in a town car

From the Authors: Lucky 13 and Luckier 14!

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

As Walt Kelly's Pogo used to say, "Friday the 13th falls on a Thursday this month!" Personally, we're of the opinion that 13 is a lucky number, and you may agree when you learn that ...

PassPorter's Disney Cruise Line and its Ports of Call 2008 is in our warehouse a couple of days early and pre-orders are beginning to ship! It'll take a few days to work through the pre-order backlog -- paperbacks will ship first, followed by deluxe editions and refill kits -- but by the end of next week we expect that every pre-order will be on its way! New orders of our cruise guide will ship by the end of next week, too.

Where does 14 fit into all this luck? March 14 marks the first anniversary of PassPorter's Club! The Club now has more than 1300 subscribers (there's another lucky 13!), which far exceeds any expectations we had a year ago. We'd like to thank you all for your continued enthusiasm and support. Here are a couple of tidbits for you: Our seven e-books have been downloaded more than 7,500 times -- an average of more than 1,000 downloads per e-book; and our e-worksheets have been downloaded an additional 20,650 times -- more than 28,000 downloads altogether! Club members should hold onto their hats, because we've got another e-book debuting later this month (PassPorter's Answer Book: Expert Answers to Common Disney and Travel Questions), and two more will follow in the spring!

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.

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. This nearly 100-page e-book is full of the detailed, up-to-date information on the topics that really matter to you.
  • 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, Guest Contributor Michelle Kosloff shares her tips for that popular practice among Disney-bound drivers, Driving Through the Night. Then, Guest Contributor and Disney Moms Panelist Kim LaPaglia  returns with the second installment of her insider's report,
    Walt Disney World Moms Panel: Our Magical Tour. 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: 

    Tips For Driving Through The Night
    by Michelle Kosloff, PassPorter Guest Contributor

    Some people take long distance car trips for sheer enjoyment. We however, often do it out of necessity. Well, not quite necessity. But we want to take trips to far away places and can't afford to fly our whole family. So the best option? Driving. When you do the math, even considering wear and tear on the car, for four people, driving often comes out to be the less expensive option. Then again, if there could be a price tag put on sanity ...

    Now we could take our time, drive only so many hours per day, and relax and enjoy the scenery. But we would rather get there and enjoy our time at our destination. So we are 'drive through the night' sort of people. My husband and I take turns driving (we are both comfortable driving long distances) while the other plops in the back and sleeps, ready to take over in a few hours. One of the non-drivers (older kids) gets to try to sleep in the uncomfortable front seat. (It's far more important that the person who will be driving be well rested, so resist the urge to sacrifice for your kids in this particular instance.)

    We've taken many car trips at this point, most of them in the winter. (What better way to get away from our wonderful Canadian weather?) So here is my list of through-the-night, long distance trip tips. Some are humorous, some are serious, but all are ripped from real life experience.
    • If your transmission blows, try to go to a transmission shop, not just any side-of-the-road garage. Going to a no-name garage will likely result in you ending up at a real transmission shop a few more hours down the road.
    • If your tire blows, go to a tire shop.
    • If your muffler blows, go to a muffler shop ... you get the idea!
    • Pack a winter survival kit -- ice melt, windshield scraper, etc. Chances are you won't use it but the peace of mind is worth it.
    • Pack snowsuits, boots, hats, and mittens, just in case. You probably won't use them, but knowing they are there practically guarantees you won't need them.
    • Pack lots of food. Yes, some of it will go uneaten as the pull of the drive-through window grows with each passing mile, but you will feel like you are saving money anyway.
    • Caffeine is your friend!
    • If you almost hit a deer at 2:00 in the morning, screaming will only disturb your sleeping passengers. They'll just grumble, "We didn't hit it, there was no reason to wake us up!"
    • Diaper changes are optional, but the diaper rash that follows isn't!
    • There are truck stops with showers. This makes an excellent pick me up after a night of driving and will wake you up for the next day of driving.
    • GPS units are the through-the-night driver's saving grace. No navigator with maps required.
    • Keep the passenger compartments of your car as empty as possible (a cargo pod for the roof of the car is very useful). You'll need the extra space so you can stretch out and sleep.
    • Books on tape (or CD) make the time pass faster and help the driver stay alert as he/she stares at the endless horizon. Check out your local library for tapes/CDs you can borrow. Our library now offers downloadable books for free! This is also a great boon for families with car-sick prone children who can't read or watch DVDs without getting nauseous.
    • Anti-motion sickness pills are also great if your children are prone to car-sickness. (Be sure to test for potential side effects BEFORE your trip!) A nice side-effect of this medication is that it can make the user drowsy and everyone knows that the time passes more quickly when you are sleeping ...
    • A bucket doubles as a garbage bucket and a bucket for holding other messes (when the anti-motion sick pills don't work).
    • When someone in our family says "I'm not feeling well, can you pull over?" you pull over -- right away! Saves a lot of messy clean up time.
    • Once you get to your destination, stop by a car wash. You will feel much more comfortable in your car when it is clean and vacuumed. Remember -- you still need to drive home!

    About the Author: Michelle Kosloff has previously contributed articles on Prince Edward Island and Niagara Falls to PassPorter News. She is a Computer Programmer from Woodstock, Ontario, Canada and is married with two children.

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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 - Our Magical Tour
    by Kim LaPaglia, PassPorter Guest Columnist and Walt Disney World Moms Panelist

    [To read part one of Kim's series on the Disney Moms Panel, click here.]

    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!

    Click here to read the first 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.

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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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