Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Getting Insider Tips from Walt Disney World Moms Panelist Andi Sims


Walt Disney World Moms
Panelist, Andi Sims
This summer at a Disney Event sponsored by AAA of Alabama, I met Walt Disney World Moms Panelist and Disney Cruise Line Specialist, Andi Sims.  She shared with a group of Disney fans and travelers about her Disney vacation tips and hints for families as well as her experience serving on the Walt Disney World Moms Panel for the past year and a half.  She gave the latest information for traveling to Walt Disney World and sailing the seas with Disney Cruise Line.  When I met Andi, I felt like I was meeting a rock star!  I would love to have her “job” as a mom on the panel.

So, when I started brainstorming this idea of “Stars Fell on Disney Fans from Alabama,” she was one of the first people to come to mind.  Not all of the states have a member on the Moms Panel, and I wanted to showcase this special mom from Alabama!  When I sent my original email to a group of Disney fans from Alabama, Andi was one of the first to respond, and she was very excited and wanted to do a phone interview with me.

Andi on the Aquaduck
aboard the Disney Dream.
After at least a 15-minute conversation about our lives, our families and what we do in our hometowns in Alabama, we started talking Disney.  Andi immediately started explaining her role and responsibilities as a Walt Disney World Moms Panel member.  All of the moms are required to answer a certain number of questions each week, and when she answers questions for guests, she tries to put herself in guests’ shoes and according to what she would expect from someone representing Disney.  When the answer to the question may not be entirely positive, she gives different options that the guest may not know of or considered. In her answers, she tries to make connections for the readers to think of different perspectives and options, and she answers questions assuming that the guest has never been to a park, resort or on a cruise. Many people who ask questions of the Moms Panel may be planning a trip of a lifetime (or a long while) or are coming from another country for the first time.  Questions that may be obvious to the Disney Nerds (as my husband calls me) are not at all common knowledge to the asker.

Andi at the 2010 Halloween 5K with
her Moms Panel family!
The 2012 Walt Disney World Moms Panel is starting to search for new moms on September 12, 2011 at 8 a.m. CDT, and since Andi will be rolling off the panel this year, she would love to see another Alabama mom (or dad) take her place.  While she has no vote or say in the decision, she still hopes to see this happen and offers some advice to those who are applying:  
  • The folks at Disney are looking for panelists (moms, dads, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc.) with knowledge and experience in planning vacations for their families as well as other families, too.  They do want people who know Disney, but panelists also need to be proficient and experienced in writing -- correct grammar and spelling, well versed with a computer and familiar with basic software operations.  
  • The most obvious “common denominator” with current and past panelists is the intense desire to help people enjoy similar experiences and being able to communicate that passion effectively and efficiently both in written form as well as verbally.
  • The Moms Panel members are not expected to know anything and everything about the parks, resorts, ships, itineraries and experiences Disney offers.  There will always be someone else out there who knows more than you do when it comes to Disney. What they are looking for are those “intangibles” – finding people who can provide a consistent and caring message for guests who are planning a significant event in the life of their family.
  • If you choose to apply for the 2012 WDW Moms Panel, set yourself apart by writing about what you know and focus on your Disney niche. When you answer questions from the application, paint a word picture for those who read your responses by using specific examples from your Disney experiences.  Be descriptive but succinct and tell your story.  Walt Disney was in the business of telling stories.  Carry on his legacy by being a great story teller.  Everyone loves a good story.
  • For the past 5 years, the application process has been a bit different each time.  This year, they are diversifying into different areas trying to segment the panelists into areas where they are most experienced: Disney Vacation Club, Disney Cruise Lines, Disneyland, Walt Disney World, etc. 
Andi shooting a commercial
for Lifetime TV in January 2011.
Andi shared with me how blessed she feels to be a part of the Walt Disney World Moms Panel. When people ask her “How did you get chosen?” -- she always answers with, “For me, I firmly believe it was God’s personal appointment.”  She continues, “I’m nothing more or better than anyone else who has ever applied, and I don’t deserve what I’ve been given.  However, I certainly give God all the credit and thank him for all the blessings that have resulted from being chosen to be on the Disney Moms Panel.”  She explained to me how amazing it is that God has knitted together such a diverse panel of men and women into a family of “Walt Disney World Moms Panel” members.  She says, “I will always call them my friends and will forever be thankful they are a part of my life.”

Andi  is a wife and a mother of four children ranging in age from 7 to 16; she teaches ballet to preschoolers; and she is a freelance public relations consultant in Birmingham, Alabama.  A frequent traveler, she has answered hundreds of guests’ questions online at www.disneyworldmoms.com since January 2010, and she’s currently answering questions exclusively for Disney Cruise Line.  You can keep up with her travels and experiences on the Disney Cruise Line Facebook Page and on Disney Cruise Line’s YouTube Channel. Andi also maintains her blog concerning stories, tips and ideas on everything to do with her first (and hardest) job at www.wifeandmomuniversity.com. You can also find her on Facebook as Disney Moms Panel Andi and on Twitter @wifeandmomuniv.  She’s a sucker for anything chocolate, Mickey Mouse related or having to do with being more organized or efficient, and she runs to keep her sanity and to be able to eat more chocolate.  (All of her opinions here or anywhere else are exclusively hers…not Disney’s.)

6 comments:

  1. Great read! I can't believe it's almost time again. So exciting!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Beth, what a terrific post! Andi is as sweet as she can be, and you did a wonderful job capturing her caring and compassionate nature. Thanks so much!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Best wishes to all applicants, and Lynne...you made me leak...in a good way!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Andi thanks for the wonderful post!! Beth, I really hope you are the next Alabama Moms Panelist!! I can't think of anyone better to take her place!!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks Ladies!! I'm so glad Alabama has had such an awesome representative for the past few years! Andi is amazing. Thanks agian for your contribution.

    Donna Kay- thanks a bunch! love ya!

    ReplyDelete
  6. What a great post and interview Beth! Andi is an amazing person - how does she do it all..and so well?
    Beth, I hope you are on the next Alabama mom on the panel!

    Roll Tide!

    ReplyDelete