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Dreaming of the Disney Parks Moms Panel...for Five Years Now....

Back before the craze of Facebook and Twitter, I followed a Disney group on Yahoo and met many people who shared my love for everything to do with Disney. They understood me, didn't chide me or think I was fanatic. They got it!

It was there that one of my friends made the Disney Parks Moms Panel, and I was like...oh neat! She began posting her photos of her training experience and what her responsibilities were and all of this helping people plan Disney vacations stuff, began to roll in my mind.

So off I went to the website and became more and more interested in what it was all about. I joined Facebook and a few other social media outlets and gradually began to make life long friends who shared my passion and all of a sudden my 'fun' and 'helpful' life became centred around sharing my love for Disney and Disney Cruise Line. So I began applying yearly to the Disney Parks Moms Panel, with the hope of earning a spot which would then help me spread the joy of vacationing to all people, especially those who have special needs family members.

The whole process is fun, like riding the wildest thrill ride with dips and turns along the way. Applicants if successful, proceed through various rounds with different requirements based on one's knowledge of their Disney specialty. At the beginning for the first couple of years, I picked Walt Disney World because we travelled there annually with an autistic child. One year I applied for the Disneyland Resort specialty.  After my third attempt I switched specialties to Disney Cruise Line as we became loyal Disney Cruise Line Castaway Club members. Sailing with my son in the comfort of Disney Cruise Line allowed us to feel normal again because my son would always have such a wonderful and make such huge strides. That was the main lure back year after year.

As a result of us being able to experience Disney with an autistic child, I began to share the memories of these vacations with fellow mother's of autistic children at my community groups, which spurred them onto vacationing at Disney and/or with Disney Cruise Line. Once I began to talk at these community meetings about sailing with Disney, people perked up and listened. This was their chance to leave everyday stressors behind and feel 'typical' for a change because I made it clear that Disney accommodates people from every walk of life. That's basically all my fellow moms and dads needed to hear, but one had to plan carefully, and that's where the Disney Parks Moms Panel fits in beautifully.

Now, I continuously want to spread the word about how easy it is to travel with Disney Cruise Line, at the Disney Parks, with Adventures by Disney, owning a Disney Vacation Club membership, participating in runDisney marathon events and so much more. I want to share this wonderful way to travel with special needs family members who might feel this type of travel is difficult and stressful. It's definitely not stressful or difficult if you're equipped with the accurate tips and information from people with first hand experience, not those who've simply read about it and blog. It's not the same thing. If a person has not experienced something first hand, their text book style responses are transparent. I am quite emphatic about first hand experience and the sharing of information there after.

Travelling Disney style has healed our family, as we've seen the most developmental and social changes with our son. He loves visiting the Disney Parks and cruising with Disney Cruise Line. We've taken him to Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts a total of twenty-six times, we've sailed Disney Cruise Line nine times on all four ships in the fleet, having just completed a Mediterranean itinerary on the Disney Magic with our son! We've visited Aulani-A Disney Resort and Spa in Hawai'i and my son was fascinated by the texture and detailing of the coconut shelled wall at Makahiki.  At Aulani, he felt at ease because everything feels familiar and he picked up on that.

What more can I say?

On our Mediterranean Disney Cruise Line sailing, we booked all of our port adventures with Disney and while on tour, many of the guides made our son feel valued and important by giving him the opportunity to lead the tour group by holding the Mickey Ears sign. Now who else would do that?

Words cannot express how that made us feel as a family, watching our son's confidence blossoming right on the spot, where? Atop the Athens Acropolis, through Rhodes, Mykonos, touring the ancient sites of Ephesus and racing through the ancient stadium at Olympia. Never in a million years did we ever imagine our son would develop so far. Disney made it all possible and for that we are eternally grateful! All of these improvements made by a child who ten years ago could not sit on a chair and could be found flailing on the floor in the most heated tantrum ever.

I have a strong desire to spread the wonderment of travelling with Disney to as many people, from as many walks of life as possible. Disney instills hope in people, Disney makes people realize that it's okay to reach your inner child, to believe, to dream and to be happy. Everyone should be able to experience the magic of Disney at least once in their lives. If you ask me, they'll be hooked for life and they should be.

The Disney Parks Moms Panel will help me spread this joy and change the lives of many people in my situation!

For updates about the Disney Parks Moms Panel application process follow Mr. Gary Buchanan, PR Manager and Social Media Managing Editor at The Walt Disney Company, on Twitter @Gary_Jerry following #DisneyMP.

Mr. Buchanan has active Twitter #DisneyMP communication and answers all questions and concerns promptly, with spurts of fun along the way making the process exciting and as free of anxiety as possible. #GaryMakesThingsFun


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