Monday, September 5, 2011

Mentoring Mondays - Kaylene Jablecki - Memory Maker Mom/WDW Moms Panelist

Kaylene Jablecki - Memory Maker Mom/WDW Moms Panelist

I cannot tell you how happy I was when Kaylene agreed to participate in Mentoring Mondays.  I know there are a lot of you that dream of owning that famous pink jacket.  Kaylene is giving us the opportunity to look into her world as a Panelist, and she is also giving us some great advice.  

Twitter: @memorymakermom

  1. Introduce yourself and describe your website/blog.
Hi! First, I’d like to thank Donna Kay for inviting me be a mentor! I’m so excited to be joining you today. I’m Kaylene Jablecki from the Walt Disney World Moms Panel, Memory Maker Mom and Chevy Queen of the Road.
My family and friends began calling me "The Memory Maker" years ago because I pour my heart and soul into creating perfectly magical memories for our five precious children. My blog, Memory Maker Mom, originally began in 2008 as a place to capture some of these attempts to, “Make Every Day a Memory”. Since then, it has really evolved and now has different daily features. Many of these revolve around Disney and often the focus is specifically on the Moms Panel in one way or another.
·         Sunday: Disney Movie Lines- Cinema Sunday – Sharing “Life Lessons…One Disney Movie Line at a Time.” I came up with this idea about 7 months ago, and several Panelists contribute to this column. We take a line from a Disney movie and apply it to our lives and our role as parents. Not only do I have a lot of fun writing these, but I love reading the perspectives of my fellow Panelists as well. I often find them very enlightening.  
·         Monday: Disney Moms Panel Monday – “Straight from my heart – A glimpse into what makes my fellow Panelists so very precious to me.” I introduce a different Panelist each week and share a little bit about what they mean to me. This is one of my favorite and most popular columns. Since the Moms Panel Family has had quite a few Members over the past 4 years, I still have a lot of them to write about. In addition, I’m looking forward to getting to know the newest Members who will join our family this winter!
·         Tuesday: Disney Travel Tip Tuesday – “Sharing weekly travel tips that will save guests time, money or simply make life easier on upcoming Disney vacations.”
·         Wednesday: Whatever Wednesday – “Welcome to my World. Posts on Wednesday’s are about whatever I feel like sharing. It may be about my kids, my thoughts, my memories or just a day in my life.”
·         Thursday: Thoughtful Thursday – “Sharing simple motivational quotes that have touched me in some way.”
·         Friday:  Foto Fun Friday – Fellow Panelist, Marc Lorenzo shares a fantastic Disney photo each week. He has a gift for capturing the Disney magic and his photos always speak a thousand words.
·         Saturday: Is currently my one day off from blogging, however, I have an exciting project in the works which will begin soon!

I also am a contributing editor for Chevy’s Queen of the Road blog. This website is a tremendous resource for New England area women. Each Monday I share a Disney article. On alternating weeks, I feature a “Walt Disney World Moms Panel Top Pick”. The Moms Panelists were polled on our “Top Pick” for various Disney Resorts, attractions, restaurants and more. I share a different one every other week. Then, on the weeks in between, I contribute other helpful Disney vacation planning tips and tidbits.

  1. What inspired you to apply to the Disney Moms Panel?
My family has made countless, priceless memories at Walt Disney World. I absolutely love helping others plan their trips. I truly want everyone to have the chance to make similar memories with their families. I’ve traveled to Disney numerous times with my 5 children (who currently range in age from first grade to college). I’ve gone with a newborn, toddlers, preschoolers, ‘tweens, teens, grandparents and more. While I know first-hand how overwhelming it can feel to plan a Disney trip, I also know how magical a well planned vacation can be. I’ve always been the “go-to Disney person” amongst my family and friends. However, having the opportunity to take that to a whole new level and help people all around the world is what I initially found so exciting. Since the Moms Panel first began in 2008, I just *knew* I was meant to be on it. I applied that year and made it to the semi-finals round. Then in 2009, I was a finalist, but soon learned it wasn’t my year. Thankfully 2010 was the pixie-dusted year for me, and I’m in the middle of my second full year at this point. I still love spreading pixie dust as much today as I did when I first began…more than 2,000 questions ago!  

  1. Describe the application process, what is involved, how long does it last, what are the qualification requirements?
For the last 4 years, the application process has involved 3 “phases”. The first one required applicants to answer 3 essay style questions, each in 100 words or less. The second phase included the same, with 3 more questions. For the last couple of years, applicants also needed to submit a personal photo and/or video of themselves as well. The third phase was a phone interview with Walt Disney World! The specifics regarding this year’s process have not yet been released. However, the excitement begins very soon! They will begin accepting applications after 9:00 am EST on September 12, 2011 until September 16, 11:59 pm EST (or whenever 20,000 applications have been received). The entire process, from first applying to being accepted on the Panel, can take several months. The specific qualifications are listed on the official Moms Panel site and can be viewed here.

  1. What is your best advice for the Mom’s panel hopefuls?
Take some time to think about what makes YOU unique. The Moms Panel Family is a very diverse group. We have moms of many, moms of one, grandma’s, single dads, dads of toddlers, dads of teens, International moms, parents of special needs children, vegetarian moms, parents of children with food allergies, fitness moms, parents who drive to Disney, Spanish speaking moms and dads, Disney Cruise Line specialists, DVC moms…you name it. Each of us brings something unique to the table and together we make up a perfect puzzle. What one of us can’t answer, another one can. Also, check and double check your answers for spelling errors. Most importantly, BE YOURSELF and let your Disney passion shine through.

Fellow Panelist Kathie and I were featured on a “Be Our Guest Podcast” prior to last year’s selection process and we shared our tips then. You can listen to that episode here.

  1. What is the biggest mistake most applicants make?
Since Panelists aren’t privy to that information, I can only speak from my own experience. I know that when I was a Finalist for the 2009 Panel, I blew it on the phone call. I wasn’t myself at all! As soon as I saw, “Walt Disney World” on my caller ID, I panicked. I was a nervous wreck and treated the phone call like a business meeting. I was trying too hard to sound professional and I came across as monotone and BORING. I remember hanging up the phone and crying. I just *knew* that I had blown it. I told myself then and there that if I ever was lucky enough to make it this far again…I would just be “Kaylene”. They would either love me or not…but at least I would know that I had spoken from the heart with all of the passion that I’m known for. I think the biggest mistake that you can make it to treat the application like a resume. There are millions of Disney fans out there, and so many of them can rattle off how many resorts they’ve stayed in, what the best restaurants are, etc. etc. etc. Focus instead on portraying your passion for Disney and your desire to help others experience all that Disney has to offer. THAT is what sets the Moms Panelists apart. 

  1. Describe the moment when you found out you had made it on the Mom’s Panel?
It was 12:12pm on November 10, 2009 and I will remember the moment forever. I had come so close to making it the year before, and I was almost afraid to dream. I recall having the hardest time concentrating all morning long. I had just picked up a basket of laundry when the phone rang. I dropped the basket and my heart stopped when the caller ID read, “Celebration, FL”. The rest is a bit of a blur, but I do know Laura and Tina were on the line and they told me they were hoping “to make my day spectacular by offering me a spot on the panel”. I said, “I’m going to cry” and Tina told me “It’s ok we like happy tears.” I was crying and shaking. Could it be?! Was my dream really coming true?!?! My kids all knew that I was expecting the phone call that day. Four of them were still in school, but I ran up the stairs and told my littlest girl through my happy tears that, “Disney called me!” She said, “You won!? You’re going to see Mickey?! Yippee!!”…and she gave me a big hug. I started making phone calls to my husband, my parents, my brothers, my friends…and I impatiently waited for the school buses to come. Then one by one, the kids started coming home. When my oldest daughter walked in the door she asked if I had heard, and when I told her, she gave me a huge hug. It made me teary all over again. Then my oldest son came home and he was very happy for me too. When my last two got off the bus, my then 9 year old son (who is my biggest Disney fan), ran over to me asking, “Have you heard?!??!” I said, “Give me 5″ and put my hand up. He literally JUMPED on me, yelling and screaming.  My 7 year old daughter joined in too! My son was dancing and singing…”Oh yeah, oh yeah, my Mom’s a Disney Mom.” Then he said, “I KNEW you were going to get this all along Mom, you HAD to…you are THE Disney Mom”. Yeah, I got teary all over again. ;)

  1. I get the impression you are a very close knit group. Talk about the bond you have with the other panelists.
Honestly, it is essentially indescribable. I absolutely cherish them all and we are truly a family in every sense of the word. That right there was the most unexpected, yet most precious gift that the Panel has given me. My fellow Panelists are sisters and brothers to me. As a group, we have supported each other through births, deaths of loved ones, illnesses, battles and triumphs over cancer and so much more. We know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that we can reach out to each other anytime and within moments the “pixie dust chain” is activated. Various times throughout the year, whenever possible, different Panelists get together for dinner or other occasions. Given that we are literally spread out all over the world, it’s not always easy to see each other. However, every year during the first weekend in October, as many of us as possible meet at Disney World for a “Moms Panel Reunion”. This year is no exception, as over 40 Panelists will be creating more magical memories together in just a few short weeks. I’m so very grateful for, and truly blessed by, the priceless friendships that the Moms Panel has brought to my life.

  1. Everyone thinks it would be so much fun to be on the panel, but I am sure it is a serious commitment. Talk to us about how much time and travel is involved.
As fun and incredibly exciting as it is, people should be aware that serving on the Moms Panel is definitely a serious time commitment. I currently answer at least 25 guest questions per week. Naturally, some questions take less time than others to answer. For example, a quick explanation about the difference between Base and Park Hopper tickets takes much less time than comparing your top 3 resort choices and what you like best about each one. On average, I spend at least 6-8 hours a week answering questions. Prior to applying, you should examine your schedule and make absolute certain that you can fit this commitment into it. You may need to make adjustments to your priorities. It definitely helps to have a supportive spouse who understands your Disney passion and is willing to help pick up the slack sometimes so you can meet your quota. As far as travel, all new Panelists are required to attend the Training Trip (currently scheduled for December 9-13 this year). In addition, you may be asked to represent the Moms Panel for various PR events throughout the year. Some of these may be close to home and others could be at Walt Disney World. Be aware that these trips are not guaranteed though. You may also be asked to contribute an article to major websites or have other fun PR opportunities that arise.

  1. What is your favorite part of being a panelist?
My favorite part, by far, is knowing that I make a difference for guests and that I play a significant role in helping them to make lifelong memories. I’ve helped plan surprises for birthdays, anniversaries, family reunions, proposals, Grand Gatherings and more. I’ve helped big families on a tight budget find a way to make it work so they can take a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Disney. The list goes on and on. I get to spread pixie dust and magic every single day! It doesn’t get any better than that!!

 Anything you would like to add? 
If you have further questions about my experiences on the Moms Panel, I’m more than happy to answer any questions that I am able to. You can reach me through the “Contact Me” link on my blog. I hope you’ll enjoy reading my blog and I’m wishing you lots and lots of pixie dust as you apply for this magical position! By the way, if you ever see me in the “Happiest Place on Earth”, please be sure to say hello…I love meeting fellow Disney fans! 

Thanks so much Kaylene!! I loved hearing the story of the day you got the call!  I can't imagine what a thrill that must have been!  An the way you describe your children's reaction was fabulous!! OK everybody, it's time to get ready to apply for the 2012 Panel!! Good Luck to all of you who apply!

Have a Magical Day!!


  1. Thanks for sharing such a motivating blog post. I even felt some of my own happy tears reading about 'that' phone call!!

  2. Kaylene, I love your blog, and have seen some of your Mom's Panel answers. It's no surprise that you "made it"!!

    Donna, you have made such great and varied choices for your series; I can't wait for Mondays! :D

  3. Oh goodness Kaylene...the story of the day you got the call gave me happy tears too. What a great day for your entire family!

    Can't wait to find out what you have in store for Saturdays on MMM.

  4. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us! What a wonderful experience!

  5. Kaylene, thanks again! I know you have a full schedule right now. The bond all of the Moms have is amazing to me, I can feel it in your post. OK all my wonderful Disney blogging buddies, I expect to see one of you on the panel this time!!

  6. Awesome!! I'm still wiping away tears from your children's reactions!! Thanks for sharing!! :)

  7. Oh my gosh!!!!! I absolutely LOVE this article, Kaylene and I'm now as giddy as ever about the application process! I've applied every year and I made it past round one last year for the first time! I'm really looking forward to seeing how far I get this year!!! <3

  8. Thanks for stopping by Beth & Jackie!! I think Kaylene is one of the sweetest people ever!! Beth I loved her story of the call too, her kids were as excited as she was.

  9. Great post!! I loved reading about the call. It gave me a happy tear to read about your children's response. They're so proud of their Disney Mom as well they should be!

  10. Wonderful post!! I loved reading about the day the pixie dust phone call came. I love the way the Moms Panelists really do seem like family-I would love to gain some new Disney brothers and sisters. Thanks for sharing your experience with us Kaylene!!!

  11. Hi everyone! Kaylene has been having problems with blogger letting her comment so I am posting this for her.
    "Thanks, everyone!! I'm so happy that you enjoyed the article. I'm wishing you all buckets full of pixie dust next week. Remember, "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams." BELIEVE, my friends!!! <3 Kaylene"

  12. Thank you Kaylene for letting us in on what it was like to be chosen as. Moms Panelist! And yes, I too had tears in my eyes when I read about your phone call!

  13. I enjoyed this post so much and the phone call was amazing. I really felt like I was there too.
    thanks for the inspiration. I know I really appreciated the tips and advice.
    Thanks Donna Kay for having Kaylene on Mentoring Mondays..

  14. I just read this and had a little happy tear of my own. Thanks for an awesome post!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
01 09 10