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Moms Panel Monday: A Summer to Remember at Disney Parks!

posted on May 14th, 2012 by Laura Spencer, Social Media Manager, Walt Disney World Resort

A few days ago, Disney Moms Amanda, Ari, Jodie and I spent a whirlwind weekend at a special event showcasing to media the magical “summer to remember” we have planned all over the world at Disney Parks!

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Make Magical Memories on Mother’s Day With Tips From The Walt Disney World Moms Panel

posted on May 8th, 2012 by Jean Volante, Manager of Dream Making, Disney Floral & Gifts/DEG

Last week’s post on our Magical Wish gift got an amazing response, so here’s another – the Disney Family Treats Tote for Mother’s Day, which was created with help from our “First Lady” Minnie Mouse and the Walt Disney World Moms Panel!

The Disney Family Treats Tote Created by Minnie Mouse for Mother's Day at Disney Parks

Minnie Mouse created this gift which includes some of mom’s favorite things: An apron, treats and goodies, Mickey Mouse’s favorite cookie recipe and cookies, and to top it all off, a Mother’s Day card from Minnie Mouse that features free memory-making ideas for Walt Disney World Resort vacations, courtesy of the Walt Disney World Mom’s Panel!

This week, I spoke with panelist Stacy Cacciatore for some insight on moms and Mother’s Day gifts. Click here for the interview!

For more updates on a Disney Parks Mother’s Day, check out the posts below:

  • Moms Panel Monday: A Dad’s Tips for a Disney Parks Mother’s Day
  • New Duffy the Disney Bear Items Celebrate Moms and More at Walt Disney World Resort
  • Get Mom Out of the Kitchen for Mother’s Day, Special Dining May 13 at Disneyland Resort
  • Moms Panel Monday: A Dad’s Tips for a Disney Parks Mother’s Day

    posted on May 7th, 2012 by Laura Spencer, Social Media Manager, Walt Disney World Resort

    Mother’s Day is right around the corner and that means it’s time for moms everywhere to sit back, relax and enjoy a day where it’s all about us! My perfect day would involve waking up late, spending some time at a spa, taking a nap, then having a light lunch, watching episodes of my favorite shows, taking a nap and then going to dinner, where I clink glasses of pink bubbly with my own mom.

    If you’re a dad looking for ways you and your children can make Mom feel extra queen-like this Mother’s Day, Walt Disney World Moms Panelist, husband, and dad of two princesses Doug Ingersoll is here to share a few of his tips for celebrating Mom at Disney Parks and at home.

    Q: What are some things dads and kids can do to make Mother’s Day extra special for Mom — either at Disney Parks or at home?

    A: We always try to think of what she would want, not what we would want. So for a special “Mom day” we start with giving her some alone time to catch up on some reading, or just to relax. Then when she rejoins us, we make a point of having some activity ready to go, so that she does not have to plan everything as usual. The real key is to give her time for herself, but also time with the family.

    Another fun thing we do is when Mom wants a little treat on the weekend, we go “get the newspaper” for her, which is code for us getting her a special drink from Starbucks. Now that there are going to be Starbucks at Walt Disney World Resort, we can incorporate that special tradition into our family vacations!

    Q: Can you share some examples of things your family has done for Mother’s Day at Walt Disney World Resort that were a hit with Mom?

    A: On one of our Walt Disney World Resort trips, we planned a special afternoon for my wife to thank her for being so great. At lunch in Magic Kingdom Park, I brought back a tray with only sandwiches for myself and the girls. For Mom there was card telling her to go to our room at Disney’s Polynesian Resort for an afternoon of relaxation. Waiting for her were some of her favorite magazines to read by the pool, lunch and a massage appointment. While she enjoyed herself, I took the girls to the pool, and later got them cleaned up for a nice dinner out. When she was done she met us at the California Grill (her favorite!) and we had a framed PhotoPass picture of us in front of Cinderella Castle for a present.

    You can even re-create part of this later at home by going to a local craft store and creating a shadowbox just for Mom with memories and photos from a vacation.

    Q: Since Mother’s Day is only one day to celebrate just how awesome moms are, what can you do to make her feel special all year round?

    A: Once a month we have a themed dinner. Dad cooks, one daughter is the theme master in charge of decoration, and the other daughter is the server. While Mom relaxes in another room, we create a dinner themed to a Disney movie. We create a custom menu on the computer, decorate the room, and play the movie soundtrack during dinner. A recent hit was our “Mulan” meal, complete with ginger sesame pork chops, paper lanterns lighting the dining room and a menu from “Mushu’s Diner.” The hardest part is picking the next theme!

    Watch some more ways to pamper Mom (or yourself) here. How are you adding Disney touches to your Mother’s Day? Let me know!

    Read more of the latest posts about the Walt Disney World Moms Panel:

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    Family Entertainment on a Disney Cruise

    posted on May 4th, 2012 by Jonathan Frontado, Disney Cruise Line

    From stage shows to game shows and deck parties to pirate parties, Disney Cruise Line Mom, Andi, gives us a mom’s point of view on entertainment your whole family can enjoy on a Disney cruise.

    What is your family’s favorite Disney Cruise Line entertainment?

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    Moms Panel Monday: Staying Fit and Healthy at Disney Parks and Resorts

    posted on April 30th, 2012 by Laura Spencer, Social Media Manager, Walt Disney World Resort

    If you’re trying to slim down for swimsuit season or need help thinking of new ways to get the kids excited about exercise, Walt Disney World Moms Panelist Carrie Burrows is just the one to ask.


    As the owner of a health and fitness company in her hometown of Georgetown, Ontario, Carrie helps men and women reach their dreams every day. But while Carrie is away at her favorite vacation destination, Walt Disney World Resort, she makes sure that her family doesn’t forget that good health is important even while on vacation!

    Here are Carrie’s top five tips for staying fit and healthy on your next Disney Parks vacation:

    • Make time to play at the resort pools or Typhoon Lagoon. “My kids love swimming and it’s a total body exercise,” Carrie says.
    • Rent a tandem bike at Disney’s BoardWalk Inn. “Canadian winters make biking tough, so it’s always a treat for us to take a bike ride in March when we typically visit.”
    • Stroll or run along the walking paths at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside. “The pathway there is such a great thing. My family will race the boat as it goes along the water near the path and see who can get there first!”
    • Opt for veggies instead of French fries. “There are so many healthy options at Disney; you’re not going to blow your diet. Most meals at Disney come with great fruit or veggie options, so eating healthy here doesn’t have to be bland or boring.”
    • Sneak fitness in wherever you can. “It may sound funny, but we’ll run from pavilions on one side of Epcot to the other, or play a round of mini golf at Fantasia Gardens, and that is burning calories while you’re not even thinking about working out.”

    Want to trade health and fitness tips with our Moms? Visit

    Read on for more posts about the Walt Disney World Moms Panel:

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    Moms Panel Monday: Go Green with New Panelist Stacy Cacciatore

    posted on April 23rd, 2012 by Laura Spencer, Social Media Manager, Walt Disney World Resort

    As you probably know by now, pink is my favorite color. But, yesterday I let go of the fabulous fuchsia colors I normally wear and went with a beautiful green frock in honor of Earth Day. Besides simply changing my clothing choice, I became a vegan two years ago and although my carnivorous family doesn’t exactly love my food choices (and like clockwork, they head for the closest steakhouse when I travel for business), we make sure to turn off lights when we leave a room and turn off the water while we brush our teeth. It’s not a lot, but we feel that every little bit helps.


    There are lots of ways to help teach our kids about conservation and protecting our Mama Earth, and one of our Walt Disney World Moms Panel Moms loves to think of new and innovative ways to celebrate Earth Day every day. Stacy Cacciatore has a few tips from her family about how they became more Earth-friendly after being inspired at Disney Parks.

    “When my family took the Behind the Seeds at Epcot tour, it was amazing to learn about some of the ways that Disney is eco-friendly,” Stacy says. “I thought it was really impressive that the foods grown at the Living with the Land attraction are actually used in the Sunshine Seasons restaurant there.”


    Stacy says the tour helped introduce her kids (aged nine and five) to new things, like eating more veggies. “They saw the cucumber shaped like Mickey Mouse and now that’s all they want to eat!”

    “I am always trying to teach my kids where food comes from and keep them healthy,” Stacy says. “We grow tomatoes, basil and onion—all ingredients for pizza! It’s a hands-on approach and teaches them so many things about gardening, measuring, and science in the process.”

    Planting these plants in container gardens—where plants grow in small containers instead of the ground—is a low-maintenance approach for busy moms and dads, and it’s really easy for kids to put together, Stacy says.

    Another project Stacy likes to do with her kids is recycling, and specifically upcycling.

    “Upcycling is when you take something like a Gatorade bottle and transform it into something useful, like a hummingbird feeder,” Stacy says. “We save cardboard paper towel rolls and then use them to do crafts. The kids get really into it, and we’re doing something to help recycle items in a fun way.”

    Ask other Moms and Dads how they celebrated Earth Day at

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    Moms Panel Monday: Celebrate Special Events at Walt Disney World Resort with Panelist Jodie Hilson

    posted on April 16th, 2012 by Laura Spencer, Social Media Manager, Walt Disney World Resort

    Spring is in the air and that means it’s time for me to break out my fuchsia, tangerine and teal stilettos. I also dust off my cinnamon buns wig and lightsabers. You read that right–lightsabers! In about a month, Star Wars Weekends, an annual special event, returns to Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park. You can join Star Wars celebrities and characters for special shows and autograph signings, and even party with some stormtroopers!

    The force is especially strong with one of our new Walt Disney World Moms Panelists, Jodie Hilson, who loves to visit Disney Parks with her husband and their four children during annual special events like Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party or the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. Jodie says that whatever time of year you plan to visit Walt Disney World Resort, you will find something special going on and something for every member of the family to enjoy.

    Walt Disney World Moms Panelist, Jodie Hilson’s Family at Star Wars Weekend Seen Here with Darth Vader

    “My sons are huge Star Wars fans so we surprised them a few years ago by planning a day just for Star Wars Weekends. They took photos with Darth Vader, got special posters and ended the day dancing at the Hyperspace Hoopla,” Jodie says. “There are so many fun elements to special events, from the limited edition merchandise to the rare-character encounters, these events have really been our favorite as a family.”

    Jodie’s tip for making the most of your trip: plan ahead of time by looking at what events are taking place during your visit and make sure you experience all the special shows, parades and character meet and greets.

    Walt Disney World Moms Panelist Jodie Hilson with her Family and Minnie Mouse at the Walt Disney World Resort

    “These events are great for families who want to see special things and meet unique characters that you don’t always see in the parks,” she says. “During Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party for example, you can go Trick-or-Treating in costume and still go on the classic rides you know and love.”

    Ask Jodie more about her favorite special events at

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    Moms Panel Monday: Hola! Meet Malanie Rivera, Who Can Help You Plan a Walt Disney World Resort Stay in English and Español

    posted on April 9th, 2012 by Laura Spencer, Social Media Manager, Walt Disney World Resort

    When we rang in the New Year and brought our 15 new Walt Disney World Moms Panelists onboard in January, we also announced an exciting new feature for 2012 – the panelists can now receive and answer guests’ questions in Spanish! Since then, our newest bilingual mom, Malanie Rivera, has been busy answering your Walt Disney World Resort vacation planning questions on everything from celebrating holidays at Disney Parks to “Is it OK to bring a canoe with me?”


    Malanie told me that she especially enjoys these types of quirky questions and any questions about Disney Resort Hotels. “I have visited a lot of [the resorts] and there are some experiences guests don’t really know they’re missing, like yummy cookies and lemonade that are offered as a free snack when you check-in,” she says. “These little touches can really make their vacations different and special.”

    As a single mom of two children and an occupational therapist for special needs children, Malanie always has her hands full. So, when this New Yorker likes to get away from the hustle and bustle of the big city, her favorite retreat is Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort.

    “I love the colonial, Spanish feel there and I have two ‘tweens,’ so I’m always looking for something special that they would like to do,” Malanie says. “This resort hosts Movies Under the Stars at the pool and my kids were adamant about watching the movie every night—they loved it! There’s a lot of pool activities too, not to mention Disney trivia, hula hoop contests, s‘mores around a campfire and more.”

    Malanie enjoys helping others plan magical Disney moments, including her brother’s engagement at Cinderella’s Royal Table.


    “Now that I get to answer other guests’ questions on the Moms Panel, it’s awesome to swap stories of these special memories and help others plan future moments,” Malanie says. “And I’m thrilled to pieces that we can be available for the Spanish community!”

    Ask Malanie a question en Español at

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    Moms Panel Monday: Meet Elisabeth Lackey, Our Newest Adventures by Disney Mom

    posted on April 2nd, 2012 by Laura Spencer, Social Media Manager, Walt Disney World Resort

    Let the adventure begin! Where to, you might ask? Well, I’m hoping somewhere with excellent shoe-shopping options… How about a camel ride excursion in Giza for an up-close view of the Great Pyramids, or a dip in the warm waters of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef?

    If you’re wondering what this has to do with Disney, just ask our new Adventures by Disney Walt Disney World Moms Panelist, Elisabeth Lackey. She’s a wife, preschool teacher and mom of four who loves to travel the world Disney-style.


    She, along with her family, has used Adventures by Disney for China, South Africa and Costa Rica family vacations, and can’t wait to plan her next getaway. I got the chance to pick Elisabeth’s brain a little and get her expert advice on what to do before embarking on my next journey.

    Q: Let me in on the secret—what makes Adventures by Disney vacations so special?

    A: While I love helping people plan their Disney vacations, the great thing about Adventures by Disney is that you don’t have to do any extra planning! There is a set price, an Adventure Guide with you at all times, and everything from the hotels to your meals are included so there are little to no out-of-pocket expenses.

    Q: Are these trips designed for the whole family?

    A: All of the itineraries are family-oriented, but that doesn’t mean you can’t go as a couple on your honeymoon or on a girls trip without the kiddos! It’s really designed to make all ages happy and it’s also very educational. For example, our kids still talk about the different animals they learned about when we visited South Africa.

    Q: You mentioned the Adventure Guides, can you tell me more about what they do?

    A: There are so many special experiences that you simply would not get if you tried to plan a vacation on your own and the Adventure Guides are a huge part of that. The Adventure Guides are in-country guides who are extremely knowledgeable and provide you with so many extra facts and cultural activities throughout your trip—you’ll never want to come home!

    Q: What’s a tip for families who are thinking about taking a trip with Adventures by Disney?

    A: If you’re considering an overseas trip, it’s a big difference from a vacation to Disney Parks but provides the same exceptional service and attention to detail that Disney is famous for. One thing I love about Adventures by Disney trips is meeting other families traveling in your group. You bond with them just as much as you do with your Adventure Guides, and it’s nice to share these incredible experiences as a group.

    Q: What are some of your favorite memories from the trips you’ve taken?

    A: There are so many! Seeing the iconic Chinese landmarks and visiting Hong Kong Disneyland is definitely at the top of my list, but really it is the warmth of the people you meet and the chance to broaden your world that stay with me.

    Do you have a question for Elisabeth? Visit

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    Moms Panel Monday: Meet Scott Houston, a Dad Who Loves Learning and Makes Walt Disney World Resort His Classroom

    posted on March 26th, 2012 by Laura Spencer, Social Media Manager, Walt Disney World Resort

    Spring has sprung here at Walt Disney World Resort! With the 19th annual Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival in full bloom and warm weather all around, it’s the perfect time to take a spring break trip to come and enjoy the sunshine. The flower creations at Epcot literally blow up like a colorful fireworks display of horticulture! For Scott Houston, one of our newest dads on the Walt Disney World Moms Panel, spring vacations are an opportunity for learning.


    As an assistant principal, former math teacher, and dad to an adorable 3-year-old prince named Evan (who calls Spaceship Earth a geodesic sphere!), Scott knows how important it is to keep kids’ brains engaged even when you’re on vacation. “I want my students and my son to be lifelong learners, always growing and experiencing the world around them in new ways,” Scott says. “I think it’s important for parents and children to know that you can still have fun while you’re learning.”

    On a recent trip to Epcot, Scott and his wife Christy took Evan to Innoventions to experience the Storm Struck exhibit for the first time. “After a tornado touched down near our home last year, the storm was all my son could talk about. When we took him to the exhibit, he just lit up with excitement and we realized he wouldn’t have an experience on that scale in a classroom setting.”


    For more edutainment, Scott recommends Conservation Station, which is part of Rafiki’s Planet Watch at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park. He says the hands-on nature of the exhibit allows kids to get close up with unusual animals and teaches them about what it takes to care for the wildlife they see during their visit.

    “When I’m helping people plan their vacations, I think it’s important to let them know about the amount of real-life learning that can happen at Disney. While it’s not necessarily math and reading in the traditional sense, the educational value is unmatched; it’s the practical, real-life experiences that will stick with kids.”

    Need more of Scott’s ideas for sparking your child’s thirst to learn while on vacation at Disney Parks? Visit

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