More Walt Disney World Resort Stories

A Dad is a Mom

Doug Ingersoll

Most people are surprised to learn that you don’t have to actually be a mom to be on the Walt Disney World Moms Panel. You just have to have an incredible vast knowledge about Walt Disney World Resort, a passion for all things Disney and an incurable drive to pass on your knowledge to other people.

There were quite a few men who applied to be on the panel and many made it to the final rounds. Joining the lucky 15 ladies who joined the panel in 2009 was Doug Ingersoll of Indiana. Doug is not just your average mouse fan. He is well-traveled, having grown up around the world – from Madrid to Mexico City. However as a child, the one place the Ingersoll family always spent their summers was at Walt Disney World Resort. Doug’s knowledge and passion is so high that this year, he authored the book “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Walt Disney World.”

“I actually found about the Walt Disney World Moms Panel last year while jogging on the treadmill. I was listening to the 2008 panel members being interviewed on a radio show. It struck me that here was a way to help even more people in a meaningful way. I just HAD to get on that panel!” he said.

Doug loves to joke that he doesn’t mind at all being surrounded by 15 women who also love The Mouse as much as he does. “It has since proven to be even more of a treat than I had anticipated. I have inherited a bunch of wonderful sisters that I simply adore. Just when I get a bit full of myself, thinking I know everything about Walt Disney World, one of them will reveal another little planning gem or some hidden magic from one of the parks that I had never known.”

All joking aside, Doug feels that helping people make their vacations magical is truly the best part of being on the panel. “While I get to field questions on theme parks, attractions, restaurants, money saving tips, and a myriad of other things, I think the questions that have touched me the most came from a pair of twin sisters, Allison and Samantha. Samantha was getting married at Walt Disney World, and Allison wanted the time to be perfect for everyone. By the time we were done, after dozens of questions or so from the two sisters, I knew all about their plans, and helped mold them. I even helped Allison prepare a special day with her Dad, a train enthusiast. I certainly felt like one of the family by the time it was all through.”

But what is it like to provide the alternative guy’s perspective? Well, it seems to come into play far less often than Doug anticipated. “I have discovered that parents the world over, whether they are a Mom, a Dad, or a Grandparent, are all pretty much alike. They want their kids to have a magical time. They want to get to be kids again too. They want every second of the trip to be perfect, because it is not just any other vacation. It is a landmark event, one that will stay in their memory for a lifetime. If I can help a family make that memory just a bit better, then I can feel like I made a difference.”


  • Not yet David!

  • Is there a similar blog for disneyland?

  • Doug, you have been an excellent representative of the Mom’s Panel this past year. It’s wonderful that you have taken a passion for Disney and developed a book for others to learn and enjoy from.
    Unfortunately, I didn’t get in on the first year’s application process either. Applying last year and this year, I have been very disappointed in not making it to the second round yet.
    HOWEVER, I was a part of the Mickey’s Moms Club last year. And I really enjoyed participating in the At-Home Disney Party Pilot that I was selected for. I had so much fun having a Walt Disney Party at home. I just hope that the Mickey’s Mom Club continues to bring opportunities for us “moms/dads” that don’t make it to the panel. We love to share our love for Disney and the parks and also have the “incurable drive” to pass that knowledge along to others. Helping the company with special projects is very satisfying!

  • Thanks Laura – I appreciate the kind words and support!!!! ºOº Oh, I will definitely try again next year… I applied the first year and didn’t make it to Round 2, so when I got further this year I was very excited! Who knows, the third time could be a charm for me. After all, dreams do come true! ºOº Keep up the great work!!!!

  • Doug has helped me tremendously in making choices for our rehersal dinner and planning the reception after the ceremony. I’m so glad he’s been here to help me and my sister!

  • I love working with this dad on the panel…Doug is awesome! He truly is one of the “moms” and a brother to us all!

    Diane L

  • Hey Joseph, I didn’t know about the panel the first year until well after they had been selected, and I wrote a book about WDW! So now sweat on not knowing. But definintely ‘tune in’ next year to make the 2011 panel. It has been one of the best experiences of my life!


  • Great comment by Kim. I took my 15th AND 16th trip to Disney World this October (and coming from Chicago, that’s not exactly a hop skip and a jump away) and tell everyone what a great place Disney is for couples. My husband and I spent our honeymoon and our first two anniversaries at Disney World…and we just booked a week for our 3rd anniversary! This was my first year applying, and I’ll continue to apply and keep my fingers crossed!

  • I wasn’t even aware this panel existed–oh no, I may lose some credit as a Disney enthusiast! How can I go about learning more about this panel, application processes and deadlines, etc. so that I may attempt to follow in Doug’s footsteps?

    I’m a dad AND I’m from Indiana. That’s a good starting point!

  • Thanks Laura – great piece! Loved working with Doug this year 🙂

    • Thx Lauren! We do love The Doug too! And he doesn’t mind wearing Walt Disney World Moms Panel pink!

  • I agree with Jackie; it’s wonderful having a Dad on the panel! My husband is also one who would be on the panel with no hesitation. I especially appreciated Doug’s perspective that Disney is not a vacation, but an escape. We have the same feelings and are heartbroken we will not be able to go again this year. Still, we’re setting our sites on next year and collecting all the great tips we can to add to our own!

  • You don’t have to be a mom, but you do have to be a parent, apparently. I’ve applied every year and my friends and family are floored that I have yet to be chosen. This is NOT sour grapes, I assure you! I plan to keep trying, but I honestly have a vast knowledge of WDW and could easily be on the panel. Everyone I know – even the travel editor of our newspaper – comes to me for advice on all the Disney parks around the world.

    I think it would be valuable to have one perspective from a non-parent on the panel, much as it is helpful to have a dad’s perspective. But apparently Disney doesn’t see the value just yet. I’m going to keep trying to convince them though!

  • I think it’s great to have both Moms and Dads on the Walt Disney World Moms Panel! ºOº I have sent in a number of questions myself to the panel and have always gotten very useful information. I wanted to be a Dad on the 2010 WDW Moms Panel and am thrilled that I made it to Round 2 of the application process! I’m really looking forward to seeing what great Dad(s) make it on to next year’s panel and I will definitely be applying for the 2011 WDW Moms Panel! Keep up the great work WDW Moms and Dads! ºOº

    • Congrats Bob on making it to Round Two! Try again next year! A few of this year’s panel tried out previously too! Keep trying! Good luck!!!!

  • I love having a Dad on the Mom’s Panel! Sometimes us obsessed, over-planning Disney-crazed moms need to have a guy’s perspective too! Now, if we could just figure out a way to entice our husbands & dads to actually log on to the Mom’s Panel & ask some questions!! 🙂

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