In 2014, I caught wind of the Disney Parks Moms Panel (now called planDisney). I asked this impressive group of expert panelists, handpicked by Disney themselves, how to prioritize my many tickets for various upcoming trips since I had no experience with this, and was so happy to get a personalized answer!
After I had a few more years of visits under my belt, I decided I wanted to apply for this panel and share my nerdy knowledge of Walt Disney World Resort… it was a wild ride that resulted in two years of service to Disney Guests and the Panel!
But how was I selected to be a part of the Disney Parks Moms Panel (now planDisney)? All I can share is my personal experience... and perhaps give you some confidence to apply yourself!
How I Got Selected for the planDisney Panel
If you’re looking to apply to the planDisney panel, start paying attention to the planDisney search website or the Disney Parks Blog in August. “Search Dates” are typically early September, but of course, things can change. Be prepared to share things about yourself, your vacation style, your Disney Parks knowledge, and of course, your personality! The planDisney panelists’ 2022 Search video gives you some good tips to start the annual search season!
Round 1: Application
During my application year (for the 2017 panel), Round One of the applications opened up on September 7, 2016, with a short series of “About Me” questions and a few panel-style questions. My first attempt to pass Round One was in 2015. I was incredibly nervous, flustered, and un-composed. I dove into the application headfirst, over-edited, and likely butchered the nomenclature. I was cut from Round One!
This time, for my second attempt, I took a deep breath, and my Round One application was finished in less than an hour. I clicked submit, and it was done… Now I had to wait for Round One to close on September 14th, and for the “You’re in Round Two” email or the “Thank you, but no” email.
ADVICE: I would highly recommend copying the questions into a word processing document and creating your answers there. What a lot of first-time applicants don’t realize is that the website will time out on you and everything you have written may evaporate. Also, in the application, you’ll read that you don’t want to copy and paste anything into the boxes to avoid extra characters, etc. It’s a pain in the panic, but retype everything in there and proofread it a billion times! It’s good practice for the actual work!
Round 2: Questions and a Video
I was sitting at home the day the Round Two email came, on October 3, nearly a month after Round One applications debuted, and I couldn’t believe my eyes. I had been passed on to the next round!
Round Two opened on October 7 and consisted of more questions PLUS a one-minute video. I thought long and hard about my questions, but I felt SO CONFIDENT in my answers. They spilled forth from my brain, unlike my Round One “thinkers” and really felt like me. The video, however, stewed in my brain for days.
After I figured out a true-to-me creative angle that didn’t “do too much,” I finally sat in my basement for 30 minutes and shot it. It shows my true self, with a little goofiness, lots of costume changes, and gets the job done. Below, you can see my Round Two Application Video for the Disney Parks Moms Panel. This round closed on October 14, 2016.
Round 3: The Phone Call
While waiting nervously to hear if I had made round three, I found myself sitting at lunch for a Travel Expo. It was October 21, 2016, when the email came in. I routinely whipped out my phone to screen my emails and notifications before the session started.
Behold, an email. An email that stilled my breath. I’m pretty sure I inhaled all the oxygen in the room as it spun and spun. I made it to the final round!! A phone interview was next, and I could expect a scheduling call later that day.
That phone interview ended up being scheduled for a time that I was going to be IN THE PARKS at Walt Disney World Resort (week of October 23)! While my best friends boarded the Jungle Cruise for a tropical tour while I sat down on the dock beside the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse waterfall. I prayed my cell phone would keep reception and plugged in my portable charger. Here we go! (This was my view RIGHT BEFORE the call…..)
My phone rang, and my heart leapt into my throat at the same time. The phone call was only 15 minutes, including being on hold. It was a rather informal interview, with questions about me, my vacation style, and general Parks knowledge.
Round 4: Notification…
It was Halloween Day, October 31st. A day I thought I’d never receive a phone call. I was getting the candy bowl ready for the trick or treaters and generally sprucing the house when my phone lit up with a new number.
When my call came, I had to ask the lady to repeat herself. Come again? I made the panel? Are you sure? Wait, what? Me????? To say I was on Cloud 9 would have been an understatement, for sure. I was told to prepare for my training trip… and thanked her for the opportunity to apply and serve more times than I could count.
How YOU Can Apply
The planDisney Panel search opens applications for new panelists each September (early in the month) for about a week. Applicants will fill out a short question and answer form about themselves as well as answer a few questions based on their specialty (Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World Resort, Disney Cruise Line, Disney Vacation Club, etc.). The Panel Experts are made up of Grandparents, Dads, Military families, Non-parents, Aunts and Uncles, Pet Parents, Families with Disabilities, and more. Together, their (our) combined experience about Disney Parks gives us more knowledge to help Guests solve problems every day.
My best advice for someone applying to the Disney Parks Moms Panel? Be yourself. No, I’m not kidding. Seriously, be yourself. The power of the Panel is that they are real people. Real Disney Park Nerds who can tell you EVERYTHING about their personal trips to the Disney Resorts and the ones they helped their friends plan. What time the 2 o’clock parade is and what snacks fit their family of 6 best. Disney wants to see YOU shine and hear about your experience at your Disney destination. Let your Disney flag fly!
Will you be applying to be a 2022 planDisney panelist this year? Leave us a comment below!