A Magical Dream Come True - 2010 Disney Moms Panel Training Trip Report

5fromabove

A dream is a wish your heart makes...
Joined
Feb 9, 2007
It has been a whirlwind of a week since I returned from my incredible trip of a lifetime. I was immediately thrown back into the "chaos" that comes with raising 5 active children. All of the kids had school, DS-9 had a craft fair, the girls had gymnastics, DS-13 had a concert, there was laundry climbing the walls, grocery shopping to be done, I needed to unpack...not to mention that fact that I had not even started Christmas shopping! I've been aching to find the time to jot my thoughts down and capture some of my precious memories on here...but I simply have not had the time. Even now as I type, I am helping one with his homework, answering DD-17's Christmas shopping questions and juggling a few other things.


I want to take a moment to reflect on Thursday, December 3rd. It was the day before I left for my trip. I spent the day running around with last minute errands, baking brownies and hiding dessert surprises for Steve and the kids. Except for when I helped our friends during their sons kidney transplant, I had never left my kids before. I was starting to feel a bit nervous about it all. I'd made a list for Steve with all the many events of the weekend mapped out for him...complete with times and other little reminders. I had high hopes of getting to bed early, as I needed to be up at 1:50am in order to catch the 3:30am bus out of Sagamore in the morning. However, that wasn't to be. When it was time to say goodnight to DD-5, time stopped in it's tracks. She came in my room and saw me putting the new SD card in my camera. She asked what other pictures were on it and I said, "None, yet...I'm going to fill it with pictures of Disney so I can remember my trip."

She said, "Well, take a picture of me so you can remember me."

So I did :lovestruc ... and I looked at it often :)

She then gave me a big, huge hug and then she started crying...and kept crying...for a good hour. I snuggled with her in her bed, as she kept hugging me tightly. I promised her I'd bring her a special gift from Disney, and told her this was VERY important to Mommy and I really needed to know that she would be ok...so that my heart would be ok too. At one point, I told her I'd send her photos of the castle, etc to Daddy's phone. She said, "I want you to send photos of YOU, Mommy...so I can see you." I promised I would.
DD-7 told her little sister that "this trip is special for Mommy and she should have a lot of fun, we should be happy for her." How sweet and mature for a 7 year old :) She told me she'd miss me, but wanted me to "have lots of fun". :) :lovestruc

At 11pm, I put a few finishing touches on my "video spiel" that I planned to continue to memorize on the plane. I climbed into bed at midnight. I started talking to Steve about how excited I was, but how nervous I was too...and I started to get all choked up. It was going to be really hard for me to leave my babies. :( I told him that I wouldn't do it for anything other than Disney...for this dream of a lifetime. I closed my eyes and less than an hour and a half later...my alarm went off. The clock read: 1:50am...the day I'd been waiting for had finally arrived...my dreams were coming true!!! :cloud9: :yay:

Day 1: On My Way...
Day1 Continued...Cocktail Recption...
More from Day 1: Dinner at Prop Shop
Day 1: Sweet Ending
Day 2: Kouzzina, Video Shoot and More!
Day 2: Street Party and Downtown Disney
Day 2 Ends: Napa Room Dinner
Day 3: Photo Shoot & Breakfast in American Adventure
Day 3: Video Shoot Italy Isola
Day 3: Hollywood Studios and More
Day 3: Hoop-Dee-Doo!
Day 3 Ends: In a Very Merry Way!
Day 4: Our Surprises & Computer Training
Day 4: A Visit from Disney Royalty!
Day 4: ESPN Sports and Morocco!
Day 4: American Christmas & Candlelight Processional
Day 4: IllumiNations Dessert Reception
Day 5: Farewell Breakfast
Day 5: Farewell for Now
 

cdotla

Trish
Joined
Jul 13, 2006
Yay! Another TR from the new Panelists!

Thanks so much for taking the time to share your experiences with us!:)

What, by the way, is the "video spiel" that you were planning to memorize on the plane? Was this just the personal introduction for the site that you decided you would plan out in advance, or were you asked to do this?

Can't wait for more!:goodvibes
 
  • 5fromabove

    A dream is a wish your heart makes...
    Joined
    Feb 9, 2007
    Yay! Another TR from the new Panelists!

    Thanks so much for taking the time to share your experiences with us!:)

    What, by the way, is the "video spiel" that you were planning to memorize on the plane? Was this just the personal introduction for the site that you decided you would plan out in advance, or were you asked to do this?

    Can't wait for more!:goodvibes
    On the disneyworldmoms.com website, the Panelists all have a bio you can read and a video you can watch. These help you get to know a little more about them...and perhaps choose who to ask a question of based on their area of expertise. I had hoped to basically have down what I wanted to say on my video. Honestly though, it all went *poof* and I could barely remember my name come video time :rotfl: Oh well...it helped pass the time on the plane ride anyway ;)
     

    5fromabove

    A dream is a wish your heart makes...
    Joined
    Feb 9, 2007
    When I last left off, it was time to jump in the shower. Normally, only an hour and a half of sleep would leave me cross eyed, delirious and irritable...not today!

    You see, this dream had been several years in the making. I originally applied for the Walt Disney World Moms Panel in '08, then again in '09. I came painfully close last year...but it was not to be. I have always believed that, "If I can dream it, I can do it" (Walt Disney). Another quote I live by is: "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams" (Eleanor Roosevelt). I always tell my children to never give up on their dreams, and to just keep believing. My very beautiful dream had finally come true...and I was incredibly excited to see what the weekend had in store for me :)

    I quickly got ready, blew kisses to my kids and at 2:50am I was off to the bus station. Steve told me how proud he was of me for sticking to my dream, and it brought tears to my eyes. His support meant the world to me.

    I boarded the 3:30am bus, bound for Boston. My stomach was full of butterflies and I was a bundle of mixed emotions. I updated Facebook, sent texts and a Tweet or two to fellow Panelists while on the ride...and the bus pulled into Logan Airport at 4:45am. My bag was 8 pounds too heavy, so I was grateful I had thought to grab a zippered beach bag on the way out the door. I proceeded to empty 8 pounds worth of shoes and clothes into that bag...no way was I paying an extra $90!! Schlepping my bag full of things, I was off to the gate. I was the first one to arrive ...



    Soon a couple joined me and I learned they were off on their first trip to WDW in 15 years. I was more than happy to fill them in on all the "must do's". I met '09 Panelist Jodi at the gate, and was so excited that she would be flying with me. Her seat was directly behind mine, and it was fun to hear little tidbits along the way. :) I tried to sleep a little on the plane, but was quite unsuccessful in that endeavor.

    Fellow Panelist Kathie and I had planned to meet at the gates in Orlando. She and I were "fellow rejects" from previous years, and had really bonded over the past several months. I believe that everything happens for a reason, and all in due time. After having the amazing experiences that I did, and forming the friendships that I have...I know this timing was all meant to be! 2010 is without a doubt the year that I am supposed to be serving!

    Here is a snapshot of Kathie and I at the gate:



    On the way to baggage claim, Kathie, Jodi and I ran into Alumni Mom Jennifer. At baggage claim, we found Amy and Allison. At the Magical Express area, we also located Alumni Moms Karen, Whitney and Jackie. This was all SO exciting and finally starting to sink in!! This really was happening...WOW!! Words can't begin to describe what I was feeling at this point!

    When we arrived in Orlando, it was pouring rain. However, nothing could dampen our spirits. Here is Kathie as we peeked out the window to see the Contemporary Resort. :)



    My Dad lives in Florida, and unfortunately I don't get to see him very often. Prior to leaving New England, I had learned that we would have several hours before our first scheduled event. I called Dad and arranged for him to meet me for lunch. :) Upon arrival, Panelists were presented with THE Itinerary in an envelope!! We had been (impatiently) waiting and were SO anxious to read all about what exciting, magical moments waited ahead for us!! Dad met me in the lobby and after checking in, he helped me locate my room. We spent a few moments looking at the view from my window, and reading through the itinerary together. I was giddy...ecstatic...on top of the world!! We headed through the lobby towards lunch where I ran into Diane L and several other Panelists. Dad and I had a wonderful visit and enjoyed lunch at The Wave in the Contemporary. Time flew much too quickly and he was soon on his way back home.
    I love this photo of us in the lobby:



    I headed back to my room where I unpacked my things and quickly got settled in. It was a gorgeous room:



    The view was lovely, even though it was still raining (and would continue to do so for much of the weekend).



    Inside my packet, I discovered THIS...and I squealed with delight. That was MY name!! I can't count the times during the weekend that I had to remind myself that this wasn't all a dream...



    After unpacking, it was time to change my clothes and head down to the Welcome Cocktail Reception. I was SO excited to meet the rest of the Moms and Dads!!!

    ...to be continued...
     

    5fromabove

    A dream is a wish your heart makes...
    Joined
    Feb 9, 2007
    Sorry for the lapse in posting, celebrating Christmas with my family has captured my attention for the past week and a half or so. I'm anxious to get back to my Trip Report now though.

    Back to where I left off...I was ready to head down to the Welcome Reception to meet the rest of my new family :) It was originally supposed to be held outside at the Contemporary Marina. However, due to the relentless rain, it was moved indoors to Grand Republic Room A.

    I walked in and immediately saw this beautiful table filled with appetizers, but I was too excited to eat.



    Thanks to Facebook, we had already "met" each other online, so I recognized Suzannah, Joel, Portia, Amanda, Amy and Dannee right away. Joel was chatting with Laura...I couldn't believe I was finally going to meet one of the ladies who had made my dream come true :cloud9:



    Here's Kathie chatting with Amanda P, Diane and Maribel.



    Dannee, Amanda A and Dorothy chatting with more friends.



    I stopped by the "guy table" where Diane L had stopped to chat with Jonas, Terry and Chris.



    Marc :)



    We were originally supposed to head to Disney's Hollywood Studios to view the Spectacle of Lights, a private dinner and Fantasmic viewing. However, the rain did not let up :( and both of those events were cancelled. Magically, we had a new itinerary and were off to something else exciting. I stopped by my room quickly to drop off a few things before heading to the shuttle at 5:45. This was my view looking over the railing outside my room. I was above Chef Mickey's with a great view of the monorail going by.



    We were whisked off to DHS and our wonderful shuttle driver gave us all Mickey rain ponchos when we arrived. We were told that before dinner, we'd be heading to Toy Story Mania for a quick ride. :) How fun!! Here's Amanda A, Marc, Allison, Dannee and Amy waiting in line.



    Kathie looking adorable in her hat :)



    Two of our wonderful Alumni Moms, Kay and Diane L



    Me with my cool 3D shades :)



    Our group getting on the ride



    It was a lot of fun riding this without the kids...as bad as that sounds. :( Usually I have one of them in my lap and I spend the time helping THEM play the arcade games. This time, it was MY turn...and it was VERY cool. :)



    Kathie won...and she was quite proud of herself, lol :)



    Most of our group stopped on the way out of the ride for a quick photo op.



    Next, we were off to a Private Dinner at Disney's Hollywood Studios Prop Shop!!
     
  • ladybugmom

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 27, 2008
    I just found your TR and I'm subscribing!! How exciting to be on the Moms Panel!! Congrats!! :goodvibes
     

    5fromabove

    A dream is a wish your heart makes...
    Joined
    Feb 9, 2007
    Our first dinner together was held in Disney's Hollywood Studios Prop Shop. It was an absolutely amazing room, filled with numerous pieces of Disney's history. The building was formerly part of the Backstage Tour. We walked in and immediately dispersed to gaze at the captivating props. At the back of the room was a display from The Nightmare Before Christmas--with Jack Skellington.




    I saw this sign from Star Wars Weekends and knew my boys would have loved to have seen it.



    and there was this beautiful Mickey flag.



    Diane L (partyof5) and I had become friends a last year on the DIS boards, and her dream had come true for the 2009 Moms Panel. Now, here she was to help train me on my trip!! I could hardly believe this was all really happening!!



    Kathie and I



    This photo is special to me, because all 4 of us had been "former rejects". We'd each made it to the Final round in previous years...but had not been selected. Diane and Karen ended up on the '09 Panel, and Kathie and I were finally realizing our dream together too. :)



    There were numerous options for dinner, including delicious salmon and a pasta bar. At our table, were Kathie, Diane, Andi and Tina. It was so fun getting to know each other while soaking in the incredible atmosphere.











    A few of the fun props around the room...





    This giant Simba from the old Lion King show was VERY cool. As a side note, I sent this photo below to Steve on my phone so he could show the kids. He told me the next day that Kasi had insisted on sleeping WITH his phone in her hand so she could sleep with Mommy and Simba. :lovestruc :(





    At one point, I asked a sweet gentleman where the restroom was, and he led Kathie and I into another room chock full of treasures. It was like opening a surprise present!



    It was in that room that I was shown the very old Mickey Mouse marionette...I was awe-struck!!



    After a sampling of wonderful desserts, we learned that Hollywood Studios had already closed for the evening. We wouldn't be able to see the Festival of Lights...so I am saving that to experience with my family on a future trip. :)

    We headed back to the Contemporary where I was greeted with a surprise!!
     

    WebmasterJackie

    Senior Editor for The DIS
    Staff member
    Administrator
    Joined
    Dec 19, 2008
    I absolutely LOVE reading all about your adventures! It won't be long now until you're answering questions live!!! :yay:
     
  • princess.chell

    <font color=blue>ǝɯ oʇ uǝddɐɥ sıɥʇ pɐɥ ʇsnɾ ı<br><
    Joined
    Jul 24, 2008
    I love reading your updates so far. May I ask, what's the moms panel? XD
     

    IATink

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Mar 4, 2007
    Congratulations on the Mom's Panel! How exciting! Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us. I am glad you were finally able to reach your goal after being so close so many times!:goodvibes Can't wait to read more!
     

    5fromabove

    A dream is a wish your heart makes...
    Joined
    Feb 9, 2007
    We arrived back at the Contemporary after dinner and stopped by The Wave where the '09 Moms were celebrating Cathy's birthday. We said hello, and then Kathie, Maria and I decided to take the monorail over to the Grand Floridian to see the gingerbread house. First though, we stopped by our rooms for a moment, and that was where I saw THIS sitting on my counter (photo by Kathie):



    It was a beautiful, very PINK Moms Panel basket...overflowing with goodies!! I was SO anxious to open it...but we all wanted to get to the Grand Floridian before we changed our minds and collapsed into bed. :) SO I left the basket unopened on my bed...and rushed out the door.



    While waiting for the monorail, we saw the Electrical Water Pageant going by outside:



    Kathie, Maria and I chatted on the ride over to the Grand Floridian, and spent some time getting to know each other more. While Kathie and I had the chance to have several conversations already, it was one of the first opportunities I had to visit with Maria. Like Kathie, Maria is SUCH a sweetheart :)



    We looked over the railing and gazed at the gorgeous Christmas tree below. It was magnificent and stunning.



    In the back corner behind the tree, we saw THE gingerbread house. It truly was a work of art, breathtaking and captivating. We couldn't wait to go down stairs and check it out!



    As you can see from this photo, the gingerbread house was enormous! I could have spent hours admiring all the little details, if I wasn't so tired. ;)



    The windows looked like "stained glass" with Mickey and other characters on them...





    and there were SO many intricate details.



    Another angle which shows how TALL the house is!



    The recipe for masterpiece:)



    Kathie :)



    We popped outside for a moment, just in time to catch the last few Wishes fireworks.



    Then we headed back to our hotel to get some rest. My basket was still waiting for me ;) , but I couldn't bring myself to open it yet. It looked too pretty...





    I put my rose in water, set it on the counter,





    and called Steve to say goodnight. I told him about my basket and that I planned to open it in the morning. Having only had an hour and a half sleep the night before, on top of this incredibly exciting day...I was completely exhausted and needed to get some rest. You see, we had a VERY Magical day ahead tomorrow!!
     

    ladybugmom

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 27, 2008
    Oh wow!! I LOVE your pics of the GF!! We're planning on going to WDW for Christmas next year! The gingerbread house looks AMAZING!! And your goodie basket looks VERY nice!! :goodvibes
     

    5fromabove

    A dream is a wish your heart makes...
    Joined
    Feb 9, 2007
    Saturday, December 5th started out bright and early. After showering, I opened my gift basket and was incredibly excited and grateful for everything that I discovered inside: a pink quilted jacket, pink polo, mousepad, watch, blue messenger bag, pink hat, pads of paper and pen...all with the Moms Panel logo on them! In addition there was a smaller travel bag. I was SO giddy and excited!

    The time was on my watch read:


    and we were due to meet in the lobby at 7:30 to head to the Boardwalk. We'd be enjoying breakfast at Disney's newest Restaurant Kouzzina. They feature celebrity chef Cat Cora's Mediterranean family recipes. Here's our group waiting for the shuttle:







    Kouzzina had delicious food, and we enjoyed the chance to get to know each other.

    Photo below by Brenna


    Joel, Amy and Jonas


    Joel and Amy


    Lots of excited smiles all around the tables...








    Dannee and I


    Portia and Diane L


    Amanda A and I


    A Hidden Mickey in the lobby.


    After breakfast, we headed back to the Contemporary where it was time for our video shoot at the California Grill. It was supposed to be outside in the sunshine, but the weather wasn't cooperating with that plan. Here's Amy and Andi getting all dolled up.


    My turn for make-up and hair...(photos of me by Kathie)




    Andi describing her video shoot experience to Jonas and Kathie :)


    All I will say about my video shoot is that I ended up being much more nervous than I expected to be. I recall walking out of the room and immediately wanting a retake (but I think I had already been given several, LOL). I learned that I do better when I know what to expect. Now that I've done this once and have survived the "deer in the headlights" experience, I'm ready for future cameras and plan to sparkle and shine. Note to friends and family: You can feel free to skip my video online, really...I won't be offended...oy.

    Here I am with Disney Dads Terry and Chris after my video shoot.


    The view out the windows, yes...it's still raining...


    Dannee waiting for her turn...


    After we all finished our video shoots, we were off for a VERY exciting field trip! The Utilidors Tour!! The Utilidor is a utility corridor built beneath the Magic Kingdom. It is part of Disney's "backstage" area, and is used by Cast Members. I will only say that it was incredibly exciting, and a true honor to be able to experience it. I will remember it forever, as I will with every single moment of this trip.

    Afterwards, we were all presented with these pins:


    It says, "Guest Service Star" and is a symbol for the Service that the Moms Panelists will be providing to Guests in helping them plan their vacations to the most Magical place on earth. I became teary eyed...it was all such a dream come true to me and I still could hardly believe this was all really happening!!

    After the Utilidor Tour, we were led out the the Castle Forecourt. Here, we would experience our next event!!
     


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