Top Ten {Tuesday}: How To Use the Disney World Mom’s Panel

*this giveaway is closed but keep reading because the info is great!*

I’ve been answering questions on the Disney World’s Mom’s Panel for several weeks and let me tell you: IT IS HARD! Between newbies and those who have been ten billion times, the questions range from so general (“what should i do?”) to completely specific (“i’m leaving at 7:14am and want to get a mickey ice cream bar, meet mary poppins and get front row seats at fantasmic and get discount tickets while sleeping at cindrella’s castle. how can i do that?”).  But that’s really how it works, anyone can submit a question and then the Moms search through the questions, find one that suits their expertise and answers it!

So, after a few weeks of scrolling through the 1000′s of questions we get every day, I’ve compiled a very helpful (if I do say so myself) list on how to get the most out of the Disney World’s Mom’s Panel.

1. Use the Search.

disney moms panel

There is a search feature on the front page of the panel. Before you ask your question try searching. If you are asking about static things—”Where can I meet Cinderella?”, “Which park has the castle?” or “Can I bring coolers into the park?”, you’ll probably find your answer by simply searching. This also works well for opinion questions such as, “What’s the best character meal?” or “What’s your favorite water park?”

2. Read the Bios.

Every Mom and Dad has a bio with lots of vital information inside. Some of our moms have experience traveling with large families, preschoolers, teenagers. Some are Florida residents or Disney Vacation Club members. If you read a bio that sounds similar to your own family, then keep reading–all the questions they’ve answered are below their bio. You’ll find lots of good info within their answers!

3. Pick a Mom.

disney moms panel

To go along with the bios–once you find a mom or dad that is an expert on your particular need then ask them a question! At the bottom of every bio page is a link to ask that mom a specific question. On mine, you can click “Ask Amanda a Question” and it will send it directly to my queue. The plus of this is that I usually answer those questions first! So, you’ll get your answer sooner than by adding it to the general pool!

4. Check Your Email.

When you ask a question, you will receive an email that says, “Hey, we got your question!” Then when your question is answered you’ll get another email that says, “Hey! They answered your question!” So, don’t worry about having to search through the bajillion answers to find yours—they’ll let you know!

We work hard at answering the oldest questions first, so even if it takes a week or more, keep checking that inbox! We’re trying!

5. KISS.

I know true love’s kiss is an important one to Disney, but I’m talking about the “keep it simple” kinda kiss. If you can narrow down your question to uh…ONE question, it makes it easier for us to answer. When a question asks four or five questions in one, especially questions that are not remotely related, we tend to skip over those for “easier” answers.

So, instead of asking, “What attractions are best for my 1 and 4 year old? Will there be 2% milk at my resort? Oh, and where is the best place to catch the bus to get to Downtown Disney?” Try asking a few separate questions—they’ll probably get picked up quicker! Plus, we have character limits on our answers, too. If there are too many questions in one, we won’t be able to get all our answers in!

6. Use the Site.

Admittedly, the Disney World website is not the most user friendly. It’s because there is so much information it’s hard to put into a logical and orderly fashion. But if you do a little research first and then ask a question, it will help us answer your questions better.

For example, ask “I saw on the Disney site that September 30th is considered value season but October 1 is not. Why?” as opposed to, “When is value season?” We’ll be able to understand your question better and give you a fuller and more detailed answer.

7. ReAsk.

I know, that’s not really a word. But the idea is good. If you ask a question and get an answer that you don’t understand, feel free to ask that Mom or Dad specifically what they  mean. Or if you just find an answer to a question while searching and want to know more, ask that Mom or Dad to clarify!

I’d be honored if someone saw one of my answers and wanted to know more! Then it starts to be a real conversation–how fun!

8. Wish Upon a Star!

disney world moms panel

OK. Not really. But did you see the little ratings button? Go ahead and click 5 stars. We know it doesn’t really mean anything and it doesn’t up our pay (we don’t get any) but it does make us feel better to see that someone likes our answers! Well, they did away with our star ratings. But maybe you could SHARE it on facebook? We would LOVE that!

9. Videos.

There are several great videos about planning, special tips and cool events all done by the Moms Panel! You can actually see an in-room celebration, how the Pirate’s League works, the Baby Care centers and how to do the baby swap on an attraction! These videos are full of awesome tips from real moms (and dads!).

10.  ASK ME A QUESTION.

What can I say? I’d love to answer your question!

{Special thanks to fellow Disney Mom, Suzannah of Zannaland.com and Disney Dads Joel and Jonas for helping me compile this list!}

:: :: ::

disney world planning tips

In honor of the Mom’s Panel I contacted a fellow Disney Mom…er, Dad to help me out today. Enter Doug Ingersoll. Not only is he a member of the Mom’s Panel, he is also an author! He wrote The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Walt Disney World and now has an amazing Walt Disney World Complete Travel Guide iPod App! It’s only $4.99 which is a steal for all the cool stuff it’s got on it!

Just like his book there are maps, reviews of parks, attractions, restaurants and resorts. It’s amazingly detailed and really easy to read and use!

disney world app

Doug is generously giving away a copy of his new app to TWO readers today! Just think, next time you go to Disney not only can you ask little old me a question, you have all of the Mom’s Panel at your fingertips AND you’ll have this handy dandy app right on your phone!

If you’d like to win this iPhone app all you have to do is leave me a comment about your favorite Disney memory, the first time you went to Disney or when you are planning your next Disney trip.  That’s it!

:: :: ::

OK, gotta Top Ten list to share? WRITE a fun one on your blog, LINK to me in your post, cut and PASTE your link below, then LOVE the rest of the folks on the linky–tweet with the #toptentues hashtag, LIKE the posts on facebook, stumble the truly great ones and otherwise leave some comment love! If you need more info, please read my Top Ten {Tuesday} page!

I am not a Disney employee. The opinions of this post are my own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Disney company.

Comments

  1. You know what? we haven’t been yet with our kids and I have said SEVERAL times to Jason that when we do go, I’m just going to call you. HA! How ’bout that for a panel question: Amanda, please tell me everything you know about disney.
    GO.

    Seriously, I will read and search first. then I’ll call you. And I’ll take the app, too, so I won’t bug you to death while we ARE there!
    And my favorite memory is eating at Epcot with my cousin and grandmother thinking I was cool speaking in French at the French cafe. Because I had just learned restaurant terms in French class. That are Loo-hooo-hoooong since gone in my brain now, but I loved it then!
    .-= Hillary @ The Other Mama´s last blog ..Third Time’s a “Charm” =-.

  2. I think it’s so awesome that you are on the panel! My family went again (third time since Nov/Dec) last weekend. My baby isn’t even a year old and he’s been three times! Thank you for your tips.
    .-= Holly at Tropic of Mom´s last blog ..Kite =-.

  3. Wow, there is really quite an art to maximizing your time at Disney. I’ve been once but I’m waiting until B is 4 or 5 to go again.

    Who knows what kind of apps there will be by then:)
    .-= Janna @ The Adventure of Motherhood´s last blog ..Second Hand Smoke: Should You Say Something? =-.

  4. I love #2 and I am stoked about #3! I didn’t realize we could ask just YOU a question! I was thinking it was all random – that’s what I get for thinking!

    I’ve been eyeing that app since you ‘liked’ it on FB…justification is difficult with more than a page of Disney apps!

    My next Disney trip is planned for October 12-17 and I am super excited as I have never been in the true fall! MNSSHP, here we come!

    (I am really giddy – I’m thinking a Diet Mountain Dew after 11 was not such a great idea. *sigh*)
    .-= Janna´s last blog ..My Boy Is ELEVEN =-.

  5. One of the best memories was our very first family trip to WDW. Our daughters were 4 and 10months. We trekked down so I could attend a national collectors convention. We didn’t do alot at the parks as my time was consumed by convention activities. But we did spend a crowded hot day at MK. We ate lunch at CP. DH had just taken DD4 up to get food as I stayed at our table with the baby. It was after the lunch rush and it wasn’t busy. All of the sudden Pooh appears and I became nervous that our baby was going to scream and cry. Boy was I wrong! Pooh came up and our lil one almost jumped out of the highchair to grab Pooh! It was love at first sight- she smiled and kept reaching out to him! And Pooh became her favorite character. That was 7yrs ago!

  6. I always enjoy your lists. It’s great to know that info is out there if/when we go to Disney.
    .-= Sarah´s last blog ..Ten Jobs =-.

  7. I like #10 the best. I think I’ll skip straight to that one. :)
    .-= vanessa´s last blog ..father’s day books: best children’s book about daddies =-.

  8. We at the House of Hills love Disney and we love apps. SO, what a fabulous combination.

    Favorite memory…
    Mags second visit. 15 months. We’re in the Playhouse Disney show. She is standing and singing at the top of her lungs while watching her favorite characters “come to life” on the stage – this is when Bear and the Big Blue House was still there. Her face was filled with such joy and excitement that I literally started crying. And, I’m tearing up as I type this. That was her first real “Disney joy” and I did capture it on film.

    I’ve captured many moments since. (I only really take pictures of her now when we’re down there. We’ve got plenty of pictures of the attractions.) However, I will never forget that moment. It was AMAZING!

    Thanks for sharing your tips. This will be saved and linked to for sure!
    .-= Kathy Hill´s last blog ..Top Ten Tuesday: Summer Plans =-.

  9. Confession: I hate Disneyland. We usually went to Great America every summer. Went there for the first time when I was 14 and was ticked that it wasn’t Great America. I did see Captain EO though.
    .-= Betsy (Eco-novice)´s last blog ..Top 10 Things I Wish I’d Known Before I Had Kids =-.

  10. Please don’t un-friend me for this … I’m not really into Disney & didn’t realize all the you do as part of the Disney Mom’s Panel. That said, this is really cool! My sis lives in Tampa & I’m sure we’ll have a vacation down there at some point that will include WDW. This is an awesome resource to know about!

    Are we still friends?
    .-= Heather @ Not a DIY Life´s last blog ..Ten Questions the Lost Finale Didn’t Answer (And I’m Okay with That) =-.

  11. Great list! I WISH I had a need to ask questions on the Disney site but sadly I’m not headed there anytime soon :(
    .-= Alicia´s last blog ..Top 10 Favorite Places Online =-.

  12. It will be a couple years before I can afford a trip to Disney, but when I do? You can bet I’ll be asking plenty o questions.
    .-= amber´s last blog ..Top Ten Signs You Have Baby Fever. =-.

  13. I have been going to Disney (Land and World) since I was 6 months old and I have TONS of memories…Like the whole family traveling to Disneyland to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Park and my grandparents 50th wedding anniversary.. Thats right they went to Disneyland just 4 weeks after it opened.

    But my favorite memory so far has been last September, when I took my son for the first time. I am sure it is special for every parent to take their kids, but for me it was a little different. I found out my wife was pregnant a week before we went to Disney World for a business conference. The whole time we were there we talked about bringing our kids and what memories we would make. Six months later my son was born! (That is 4 months early) He was 1lb 10 oz and there many days we were not sure he would make it. I kept telling him all about Disney and how much he would love it, it helped me through the bad days. 18 months later we were able to take a happy health boy to Disney World and the look on his face when he saw Pooh as he screamed for joy is one I will not soon forget.

  14. OK – I don’t have an iPhone and I’m not going to Disney so don’t enter me, I just wanted to leave a comment that if I were going to Disney, I would be really happy to have read this post.
    .-= Jen @ BigBinder´s last blog ..Well, Michigan Week Isn’t Going To Celebrate Itself, So… =-.

  15. You got mentioned in my top-ten! :) Don’t worry, I linked back to ya…:D

  16. Love your top ten, great advice on how to use the Mom’s Panel! I love Disney and as many times as you can go, there is always something new to learn! Thanks for hosting the Top Ten!!

  17. Tracey Rodrigue says:

    One of my favorite memories is taking my skeptical non character oriented son to Minnie and Friends breakfast at DL, really just because I loved it. We we packing up and getting ready to leave as they were getting ready to switch over to lunch. After gathering up backpacks and coats and checking the floor, I turned around and my little guy was having a serious dancing session, just him and Minnie. At the end of the song, he ran and gave her a huge hug. Talk about melting my heart! Thank gosh I had the presence of mind to grab my little camera with a video function and capture the moment.

  18. I love that you do a Top 10 Tuesday! Thanks for visiting mine. I actually used to do it as a carnival, but my readers didn’t really take an interest. But I love doing it so I continue it just for fun. I’ll be sure to link up with you next week!
    .-= WifeontheRollerCoaster´s last blog ..Blue Star Families =-.

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