Susan Pazera of Westhampton Beach, a new member of the Disney Parks Moms Panel, says she’s now doing officially what she’s done unofficially for years: Doling out advice about making the most of a mouse-ears vacation.
She answers online vacation planning questions at DisneyParksMomsPanel.com — she’ll give advice on dining at Cinderella’s Royal Table in Magic Kingdom’s Cinderella’s Castle, about the best spot to watch the 3 p.m. Magic Kingdom parade, or what the best activities are for 10-year-olds in Hollywood Studios.
“I was doing it anyway for my friends and family,” says Pazera, who has been to Disney about 20 times and has four kids: Sam, 19, Alexandra, 14, Max, 12, and Mia, 8. She even once chimed in when she overheard people on the Long Island Rail Road discussing their upcoming trip to Orlando.
She’s applied to the Disney Moms Panel six times since it began in 2008, and this year she was accepted and joined the 50-member team as a Walt Disney World Resort specialist. She went through four days of training at Disney in December, and now she logs on to the site every day to address questions she feels she’s an expert on.
“I’ve been there with babies, toddlers, tweens and teens. We’ve stayed at resorts at every budget level,” she says. For some questions, she’ll even get input from her children. “I like to refer to my own little expert panelists. They help me.”
Pazera’s favorite thing is to answer questions for people who have never been to Disney. “The very first time we went we were overwhelmed, too,” she says.
She offered these four of her top tips for Disney visitors:
-- Pick a few must-dos at each amusement park and then go with the flow. “If you’re worried about running here, there and everywhere, you’re not going to enjoy your vacation,” she says.
-- Don’t miss the 3 p.m. parade at Magic Kingdom. “It’s fantastic. It’s called Disney Festival of Fantasy. The floats are stunning. They have a huge ‘Maleficent’ dragon float that breathes fire.” One of her favorite places to view the parade is from Frontierland, where it kicks off. It’s the first area to clear out once the parade passes through, and then families can jump on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and other popular Frontierland rides while others are still watching the parade.
-- Be sure to try Soarin’ in Epcot Center’s Future World. It’s Pazera’s favorite ride. “It gives you the feeling of hang gliding. I am afraid of heights. It’s a way for me to experience them without the fear.”
-- If staying at a Disney property, take an afternoon to enjoy the hotel. “The pools are great,” she says. The resorts also have themed children’s activities; for instance, at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge the activities might include learning about African culture, animals and artwork.
Pazera is a social media consultant and writes her own blog. She isn’t paid to be on the Moms Panel, but she does receive a reward-trip for four to Disney that includes airfare, four nights hotel stay and park admission.