Thursday, November 27, 2008

WDW Moms Panel

How I got here...

In September, I saw that Disney was continuing its hugely successful Moms Panel. There were three questions, 100 words max. Anyone who knows me knows that capping my words is a feat unto itself. I had submitted last year and didn't make it past the first round. This year I just went for it - no analysis, second guessing, or re-writes. I answered from my heart, and the only corrections I made were ensuring I was within the word limit.

Then, I got the email - I was thrilled to hear I made it to round two. Three more questions, all of which I answered within seconds. But this was getting serious. so this time I answered, reviewed and then checked again. Then I hit send. Then I waited. And waited. Well, actually, there wasn't much of a wait, but it sure felt like it!

On October 23, I received an email from the WDW Moms Panel saying I was selected for the final interview phase! Suddenly it was real. I'm an avid follower, sometimes poster, to the DIS Boards, and had read about so SO many extremely qualified moms and dads who were anxiously awaiting such an email. I must say the support on that board was awesome.

Thankfully, work was crazy in the days that followed, so the wait flew by. Until it was about an hour before my scheduled time, and then the minutes ticked by ever so slowly. Then the phone rang and I was SO nervous. The interviewers were all so friendly, and I fell into that "comfortable" trap I do in these situations, talking a little (alot) too much. All in all, I felt it went well. I even managed to get myself teary at one point when they asked me my favourite part of Walt Disney World.

It was all going quite well, until they asked me about my on-line activities. I seriously gave the lamest answer ever. That being said, I immediately realized I needed to get out of the stone age, regardless of the outcome of the interview. Twitter was my first step. I desperately wanted to call the Disney interviewers back and show them how tech savvy I was bow that I was on Twitter, but (thankfully) thought better of it.

Soon after, I received an email, saying I would get the news the next day. Oh my goodness, the wait would soon be over. Nicole and I had a chat that evening - I explained to her how I did my best and how she shouldn't be disappointed if I didn't get it. Then my 8 year-old says to me, "Mommy, you told them that it was important to stay positive (in response to a question about a motto I live by) and you're not being very positive right now." Yikes! Good point baby!

That day I was in an all-day meeting at a downtown hotel. In a basement! Seriously! Cell service coming in and out. Blackberries are frowned upon, but I left mine right in front of me. At 3:15, it vibrated. I might've knocked out a few chairs as I ran out of the room. Leanne says hi, and I interrupt, explaining I'm in a basement and we might get cut off. She says not to worry, it won't take long.

Yikes, that can't be good. Then she congratulates me. I'm shocked. I may have screamed a wee bit (apologies Leanne and Laura). Then the meeting chair comes out and tells me they can hear me and I'm disturbing the meeting. And then it happens - I lose cell service. Great.

I ran up the stairs and manage to reconnect. They were most understanding, and I wanted to chat with them forever. And then I wanted to tell people, in addition of course to all the people in the hotel lobby who overheard me!

Nicole was crazy excited, although when I told her she was so calm, and simply said, "you believed, and I believed in you." I hope I can be that smart when I'm 8!

More to come...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


I'm most excited to start blogging. Given that being one of the lucky ones selected for the Walt Disney World Mom's Panel was my reason for getting this blog started, I assumed that would be the subject of my first blog. That is, until this afternoon. I checked my Twitter account (which again, I started because of the Mom's Panel) and a CNN post said 10 people were killed by gunmen in Mumbai, India.

For many of us, India seems so far away, and we are constantly hearing the increasing death tolls from the wars around the world. I refreshed 15 minutes later, and the toll had increased to 18. Came out of a meeting, and the death toll was in the 40s. The number continues to rise to over 80. Hostages have been taken.

I'm scheduled to go to Mumbai in March to present at the International Conference on Tobacco, and two of the conference hotels are under seige. At this point, they aren't sure of the reason, but Westerners appear to have been targeted. I am so careful to shelter Nicole from the news. She'll have plenty of time for this reality when she's older. She heard me mention the situation in Mumbai, and my poor girl was devastated. Nicole is not a crier, and she immediately burst into tears, begging me not to go. I promised her I wouldn't go. For the first time in a long time, I laid in bed with her until she fell asleep.

To all of you with family and friends in Mumbai, you're in my thoughts.