Are You a Disney Vacation Expert? You Might Want to Apply for planDisney

Are You a Disney Vacation Expert? You Might Want to Apply for planDisney

Do you have a question about your upcoming Disney vacation? Then you might want to ask the panel at planDisney for help. These Disney gurus provide tips and advice based on their personal Disney vacation experiences. And while the service is operated by Disney, panelists are not Disney employees. They are Disney power users who undergo a rigorous selection process to join the panel.

It’s not an easy gig to come by. Each fall, a new class of panelists is selected from among thousands of applicants. The New York Times estimated that 10,000 people applied in 2020. To put that in perspective, 16 applicants were chosen for the panel this year.

I first applied for planDisney in 2020, back when it was called the Mom’s Panel (I was happy with the rebrand). I made it to the final round before receiving a phone call telling me, “Eh, you weren’t that good.” Honestly, the panel admins couldn’t have been friendlier as they crushed my dreams.

I’ve applied every year since and have received similar news each time. So I decided to give up and build this site instead. I’m not bitter.

Does planDisney sound like something you’d like to be a part of? Then read on! If not, why don’t you look at pictures of Cinderella Castle?

Applying for planDisney

Job Requirements

Panelists put in the work. They’re required to answer 15-20 questions every week. Disney estimates each written response will take an average of 30 minutes to complete. Some questions require panelists to do research to verify details. So, yeah, it’s a lot of work.

Panelists may also be asked to take part in planDisney social media campaigns and the official podcast.

Eligibility Requirements

First, you can’t be a travel agent. Or work for Disney. Or be a close relative of anyone who works for Disney.

Next, you’ll need to have gone on a recent Disney vacation. “Recent” usually means within the past year (at the start of the application window). Your qualifying trip will have to coincide with your specialty, so you’ll need to sail on a Disney Cruise if you want to be considered for the Disney Cruise Line specialty, for example. More on these in a bit.

Finally, you’ll need to be available to go to a Disney destination for training in late November or early December. I know. This is a tough one. But you’ll power through if selected. You can’t take anyone with you, unfortunately. But you’ll make some friends who love Disney as much as you do.

The 2024 Panel visited Disney World and sailed on the Disney Dream for their training trip. Yep. Be sure you really want to do something like that before applying.

Disney Wonder and Disney Dream in Nassau

Round 1

After verifying your eligibility, you’ll be asked to select your specialty from among the following:

  • Walt Disney World Resort
  • Disneyland Resort
  • Disney Cruise Line
  • Disney Vacation Club

You can choose a secondary specialty from the same list. The panel is always looking to add panelists fluent in Spanish, French, and Portuguese, as well.

Next, you’ll answer several softball questions. I should clarify, that while the questions are easy, answering them can be brutal. Why? They all have to be 100 words or less. That sounds simple enough until you try it. Then you’ll realize you’ve written 374 words in the first paragraph of your first answer. So maybe practice brevity for the next 9 months?

Here are the round 1 questions (Walt Disney World specialty) from last year:

  • Tell us about you and your family.
  • When was the last time you stayed at a Disney Resorts Collection hotel?
  • What is your favorite planning tip to share with first-time visitors?
  • My tween is a thrill-seeker. Is there anything for them to do at the parks?

Round 2

If you receive a “Congratulations” email, you’ll move on to round 2, which requires more 100-word answers. The questions for this round will be more like those you’ll answer if chosen to be a panelist. It’s nothing you can’t handle if you’re a Disney super fan.

And then there’s the video. You’ll need to film yourself answering a question in one minute or less. The video might give you ulcers. Some people can knock it out in one take. It’s not so easy for the rest of us. Honestly, I’m looking forward to never having to record myself again.

I actually played trombone for a couple of my round-2 videos. I thought it would put me on the panel. It did not.


Round 3

This round is the easiest of all. If you’re among the lucky few, you’ll have a Zoom chat with the planDisney team. Get ready to talk about yourself and your love of Disney. The team will put you at ease. You’ll hang up thinking you have it in the bag. Unless you played trombone on your video.

Panelist Compensation

If selected, you won’t be paid for your work. Well, not in cash, anyway. Instead, Disney will send you and your family and/or friends on a Disney vacation:

Panelists will receive a Walt Disney World Resort, Disneyland Resort, or Disney Cruise Line vacation, dependent on specialty, for panelist and up to three family members and/or park tickets for their participation on the planDisney Panel.

Sounds like a great gig.

Want to connect with other hopefuls?

Facebook has two groups devoted to panel hopefuls:

You’d be hard-pressed to find more positive people anywhere on the internet.

Applying for planDisney can be fun and chaotic and stressful. I never made it to the panel, but I did make a lifelong friend through the process. I count that as a win.

Josh is a web designer and developer who enjoys writing about all things Disney and Universal. In a previous life, he performed in big bands, orchestras, and everything in between as a professional trombonist.