At 1:27 p.m. (yes, I remember the time stamp on the e-mail) I was suddenly and unexpectedly THISMUCH closer to realizing my dream.
When I read these words...
We would like to congratulate you on making it to the next phase of the selection process for the 2010 Walt Disney World® Moms Panel!
We truly appreciate you taking the time out of your busy schedule to apply for the Walt Disney World® Moms Panel. It touched our hearts to see how much you do for your loved ones and the role Disney plays in your life! You are among a special group whose knowledge of and passion for the Walt Disney World® Resort made an incredible impression on the judging panel.
...well, let's just say I very nearly passed out because I was almost hyperventilating. I was shaking. And crying. And repeating 'ohmygoshohmygoshohmygosh" over and over and over again.
And, I don't think many people understand WHY I am so excited.
I love Disney. I LOVE IT. I love the theme parks, the movies, the characters, the Disney store, the music, the books. All of it. I'm a 36-year-old Disney fanatic. [Yes, I even had a credit card for the Disney Store. And we have a Disney Visa card. Go ahead, laugh.]
I have always loved Walt Disney World - we used to visit there practically every summer on our vacations in Florida. I wrote a blog post about it here. I have these somewhat fuzzy, grainy memories of those childhood trips - I don't remember the crowds or the weather or what we ate. What I remember is the excitement I felt when the doors of the Monorail opened and we were that much closer to walking into the Magic Kingdom. I remember the magic you could feel in the air as soon as you stepped onto Main Street USA and saw Cinderella's castle. I remember the parades and the characters and how much I loved (and STILL love) the queue for the Pirates of the Caribbean ride.
And now that I'm a mom....that magic is even better when I see it through the eyes of my children. I remember the first time Olivia saw Mickey Mouse - her eyes lit up and she was in AWE. I mean, c'mon .... it's Mickey Mouse! And when she finally met Cinderella and the rest of the princesses - well, you would have thought she just won the lottery. That right there - seeing Disney through your children - that is PURE magic.
Part of my love for Disney is in the details. I love planning trips for my family and friends. I love the research aspect of it - and yes, if you are going to WDW you must do research. I love reading about the hotels and restaurants and special events. Choosing the right character meals - and learning from my mistakes -- it's all magical to me.
This, my friends, is why I am so excited to make it to Round 2 in the Mom's Panel search - because if I am one of the lucky 10 people chosen for the panel, I can help other families plan their own magical trips.
Simply put - I will be helping people make memories.
Now, do I think that I'm going to be one of those 10 people chosen this year? Well, I suppose the right answer is - I have as good a chance as the other 199 people who made it to Round 2 with me.
So for now, we ("we" being the 200 people in the 2nd Round and a few hundred of our closest online friends) are waiting patiently on Twitter and Facebook and on the DIS Boards, chatting and sending each other pixie dust messages and laughing about how the non-Disney fanatics just "don't get it".
And that part (the not getting it) is so true. I can go on and on and on here about why I love Disney and why the Mom's Panel means so much to me ... and you dear reader still might not get it.
But the people I know in the online Disney community -- they GET IT. A few weeks ago I heard someone on a Disney podcast say something like "until I found the Disney community online I felt like I was the only person on Disney Geek Island."
That statement cracked me up - because it is SO TRUE. My family tells me I need a 12-step program for my Disney addiction. (Of course, I blogged about that too). And, I'm quite certain there is no such thing as a 12-step program for those of us who are Disney addicts.
But there is Twitter and Facebook and the DIS Boards and those places are full of wonderful, supportive, funny, and talented people who love Disney as much as I do. Some of these friends made it to Round 2 with me -- which makes it that much more magical! And that's where I go when I want to talk Disney - it's my own online support group.
And, so for next 11 days I am going to enjoy this little bit of magic that I've been given. And if on October 27th I don't get another e-mail with the words 'we would like to congratulate you' in the first sentence, I will be OK because Walt Disney World will still be the most magical place in the world.
And there will always be next year.
But until then....a little extra pixie dust would be wonderful.