July 2, 2015

Ten Easy to Follow Steps to Reach the Final Round of the Disney Parks Moms Panel

Last year by late June, the #DisneyMP twitter tag enjoyed a workout as all of the #2015Hopefuls proceeded to begin the annual process of waiting and hoping for pixie dust emails know as the Disney Parks Moms Panel Search. The aura of mystery around the selection process keeps us hopefuls coming back each year to wish on a star for this year to be "our year" on the panel.

Just keep writing. Just keep writing. What do we do?

Somehow last year, I *did* manage to make the final round(s) so I feel well equipped to tell you roughly the proper process to make it through to the finals.

1.) Notice round 1 dates are announced on the Disney Parks Blog, Twitter and/or other forms of social media. (Approximately end of August) 

2.) Apply as soon as applications open. (Around Labor Day week.)

3.) Read over your essays. Spellcheck. More than once. Be mindful of proper nomenclature. (I'm embarrassed to say that this takes me an hour or two depending how much "assistance" I get from my two kiddos.)

On your mark.
Get set.
4.) Develop patience. (They review the applications for a month to a month and a half.)
     a.) Swear off social media because it isn't helping with patience.
     b.) Tell your husband, BFF and dental hygienist about your commitment to/hatred of the

          Oxford comma.
     c.) Reread essays. They're perfect.
     d.) Wake husband/BFF/etc. in dead of night because you had a nightmare about spelling

          and nomenclature.
     e.) Over breakfast husband/roommate/pet hamster insists you rejoin social media as a support

     f.) Rejoin social media.

5.) Announcement Day! (16 hours) 

Refresh. Refresh. Refresh.

6.) Find out if you make the next round (five minutes). You feel (pick one):
     a.) Elated
     b.) Gassy
     c.) Somewhere in that zone.

7.) Repeat steps 1-5 for round 2 going into the final round. (About one month.) If you did not make the second round, you still stick around to be a ch-EAR-leader for all of your friends!

8.) Last round is just before Thanksgiving with a very, very quick turn around. (One week or so, but it feels MUCH longer!)
     a.) Re-read your essays from round 1 and round 2. You still like your answers, but wish you
          could tweak them.
     b.) Make lifelong friends with other mouseketeers.
     c.) Phone interview and maybe a little something for a surprise. (Fastest 15 minutes of your life.)
     d.) Re-read your essays. It's a bad idea at this point, but you can't resist going back over it again.
    e.) Know that whoever makes it, you will end up crying. Each one of the other hopefuls is an
          amazing person and you feel blessed to hang out together online.

9.) Ten minutes of internet silence as all of the final emails go out. Wish a hearty, "Congratulations!" to the new panelists. Reset the countdown to next year's applications for the other finalists. (Eight months until it starts all over again!)

10.) Plan a consolation/celebration trip to Walt Disney World. If it's not your year, use this trip as your "qualifying trip" for the following year!

How do you actually make the panel?
I haven't the foggiest.
I'd imagine it involves the right combination of research, nomenclature and just a pinch of magic.

Are you planning to apply to the Disney Parks Moms Panel this year?

For what not to do see:

July 1, 2015

Wordless Wednesday | July Calendar

Welcome Wordless Wednesday Blog Hoppers!
Can I just stop for a moment and say how shocked I am it's July? Deb, am I right that this year is going super fast?

Magic Kingdom train station.
Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom swapping cards before rope drop.
Do you have any Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom fans among your mousekateers?
Thank you to Focused on the Magic for hosting!
Focused on the Magic

June 29, 2015

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration "On The Road" Austin

Early Friday morning, I tried to avoid all of the controversy on Facebook. In case you hadn't heard, they banned the selfie stick from  all of the Disney Parks locations and the Disney discussion was running rampant. Just before I shut off my phone, I checked my email.

#DisneySMMC #KeepAustinGoofy
I love pixie dusted email!
I squealed.
I jumped up and down.
I hopped onto Twitter and tweeted my disbelief.
Then I hopped back onto Facebook and discovered my Disney BFF, Casey who blogs at Mommy to All Girls got in as well!
We'll do our best to #KeepAustinGoofy and report back after the #DisneySMMC conference in August!


How do you get invited?
Please visit www.disneysmmoms.com and add your email to their email list! You'll get notified when it's time to apply for future "On The Road" events. No one really knows how the selection process works, but you can never g wrong following Genie's advice to, "Just BEE yourself!" The Disney Social Media Moms Celebration is a magical conference that happens in early May and is also invitation only.

Congratulations! Is this that Disney Moms thing you applied for last fall?
This is not the same as the Disney Parks Moms Panel. Disney Social Media Moms is a really cool group of ladies (and a few select gentlemen) who love sharing online through Pinterest, blogs, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or any form of social media and love the magic of Disney! Read more here.

Oh. Well are you still going to try for the Disney Parks Moms Panel?
I'm still planning on throwing my mouse ears into the ring again when applications for Disney Parks Moms Panel open up in August or September. The panel selection is generally completed right before Thanksgiving. Send pixie dust!

June 28, 2015

The Three Mousekateers | Squirrel!

After ending the day Saturday with twenty Wilderness Explorer badges, the kids voted unanimously to head back to Animal Kingdom for more. The badge stations opened a little bit later than park opening, so we ducked into the Tree of life to warm up while we waited.
Guess who was coming out just a we left the world of the bugs?

Wilderness Explorers Club House Meet and Greet
Our fellow Wilderness Explorers, Russell and Dug greeted Christ and Kylee. The kids told them all about their mission to become Senior Wilderness Explorers. Russell wished them well and signed their Wilderness Explorer Handbooks.
We hiked off to the Maharajah Jungle trek through the quiet of the morning.

Split Day | Wilderness Explorer Badges
Beautiful and fun.
The tigers weren't out yet, but the badge guides were.

Split Day | Senior Wilderness Explorers
Talking tiger with their badge guide.
We hopped one of the first trains out to Rafiki's Planet Watch and the kids faced their biggest fear...the petting zoo. The badge guide insisted that the kids had to go into "Affection Section" (aka the petting zoo) in order to wash their hands and earn their badge. With much squealing and careful avoidance of the goats and sheep, Kylee made her way through. Nothing would stop her from getting her badge, because she's got grit, gumption or plain old stubbornness depending on your point of view. All the same, I'm sure she'd rather have ridden Expedition Everest again instead.
Thirty badges in hand, we stopped by Tamu Tamu Refreshments for a lunch of Dole Whip number four another pineapple soft serve and vegetable curry lunch.

Senior Wilderness Explorers!
Caw! Caw! Roar!
We headed back to the bridge to Discovery Island for the kid's final badge.

Split Day | Animal Kingdom
A wilderness explorer is a friend to all, be a plant or fish or tiny mole!
The wilderness must be explored!

This is Part 14 of an Ongoing Trip Report "The Three Mousekateers."
Additional sections will be found on the Trip Reports page after they are posted!  

June 25, 2015

Hibernating and Other Summer Fun | Homeschool Diaries

Sonlight is having a monthly blog linkup this year, in honor of their 25th anniversary. Find out how we decided to homeschool in the February hop and my best advice for new homeschoolers in March and in April shared a day in the life of my homeschool. Last month, I admitted complete ignorance to the whole convention scene and instead blogged about our summer reading list (so far).
Now for June's prompt:
Share your favorite summer reading and learning activities.
Ah, the lazy days of summer...

Three consecutive weeks of swim lessons may induce napping.
or not as much, in our case.
One of the many perks of homeschool is that when it is center of the sun hot (which in Texas, can stretch from June well into September) we hibernate.
Now since we don't live in a cave (or under a rock) hibernating is quite pleasant and even dare I say fun in it's on way. What do we do to hibernate?

Read. Lots.

Which means our library card gets quite the workout (as can be seen in my previous post on our summer reading list). This year we dusted off Narnia and read through The Magician's Nephew. We'll probably keep going and read through the rest as well. Chris and Kylee eagerly squirreled away their summer reader sets the minute they saw the Sonlight box on our stoop. Chris is finishing up Jake Drake while Kylee is part way through The Elevator Family. I'm busy reading Unoffendable by Brant Hansen, myself and working through Angie Smith's Seamless with the ladies Bible study group I help run. I've got my eye on a reread of The Giver series by Lois Lowry later this summer for myself, but we'll see if I prioritize that or not.

The Classics

My Gameboy
During the summer we spend a fair amount of time letting the kids study the classics, which in this case means listening to Beethoven, reading Peanuts and Calvin and Hobbes comics and even playing their way through the SNES Classic: Link to the Past.

He's starting to really learned a lot of gumption sticking to this one game and trying again and again. Watching his face light up over retrieving the Master Sword? He runs straight to me and has to reenact the whole thing in great detail. When Ben comes home from work he gets the same enthusiastic retelling.

I think the comic books provided a big hook for the Legend of Zelda games this year, Chris read and re-read and re-re-read these nine manga despite them being with the original unflipped artwork. So he can read in either right to left or left to right as it is indicated by the work. I think discussing the Japanese order of reading was the first time he really understood how big the difference is between languages.   

Boredom. Lots.

Necessity is the mother of invention, or so the saying goes. Therefore I let the children get bored. They can figure out what to do and often come up with the most creative ways to amuse themselves. Chris spent a fairly large amount of time the other day writing out a rules and instruction guide for his very own new board game.

Board game creation in progress.
Today he was cutting out and designing the cards and pieces. I'd say it's a win-win situation. If they figure out something they want to do they've learned to self amuse. If they say they're board, they can come help me with chores or we can curl up and read.

Movies. Some.

We're keeping up with our homeschool as we ease our way past the one third mark of Core C. With large portions of our early morning devoted to school and large amounts of swimming, our movie nights offer a welcome respite from the heat and activity. I've slipped in a few of my favorite films set in or around the middle ages, since that's what we're studying. Sword in the Stone is a classic pick, but there are many more family friendly options to pick from including Robin Hood (Disney or many other versions), Sleeping Beauty, The Black Cauldron, Merlin, Camelot and The Princess Bride. (Some of the movies in that list are PG, so parental discretion is, of course, advised. Netflix came to our rescue when I ran out of family friendly films about Vikings after the "How to Train Your Dragon" series. They currently run the VeggieTales classic Lyle the Kindly Viking as well as several different documentaries on Vikings (one about whether and when they could have reached North America.)

Stay Active

The Father Daughter Sock Hop kicked off our summer season.

It seems that we never really slowed down that much during this summer! I go for a run, the kids swim in the indoor pool or they attend Kid's Zumba while I take a BodyFlow class at the Y. The kids love to visit the local indoor trampoline park, skating rink and rock wall but we save those for once in a while to reduce expenses. We spent almost all of April under torrential thunderstorms or flood warnings, so we played a ton of time playing Just Dance! as a family. The kids play at the indoor climbing structure with the nursery workers during my Bible study. I already survived my third year volunteering at VBS, but we still have several other upcoming church camps.

Learn a Foreign Language

Both kids cajoled and wheedled about learning Spanish. We finally bit the bullet and bought a Rosetta Stone online subscription. I am playing it and so are the kids. Since it's summer we have plenty of time for me to brush up my (sadly rusty) Spanish and Chris and Kylee love that they are allowed thirty minutes of time playing on my Surface anytime they want. Since we homeschool we can let them visit and revisit subjects as they show interest, so for now it's Spanish.

School during the summer gives us ample time to run around vacationing, visiting the zoo, meeting up with friends at the park and just enjoying the weather in October and November when it is a lovely, cool high of 80.

If you need me, I'll be hibernating!


 For more homeschoolers (and their favorite summer reading and learning activities), visit the June blog party!

To join up next month, check out the link below.

Sonlight Blog Party


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