Straight from my heart – A glimpse into what makes my fellow Panelists so very precious to me.
Some people can literally light up a room with their smile. DannÃ©e is one those people. Simply put…she sparkles and shines.
Like all of my fellow Panelists, DannÃ©e is incredibly special to me. She’s vibrant and absolutely beautiful – both inside and out. DannÃ©e is positive and uplifting, with a super outgoing personality. In addition, she’s a brilliant Medical Doctor, devoted wife, mother of three and a passionate Disney fan. I’m so very blessed to call her my friend.
Upon returning home from the training weekend in ’09, I wrote a trip report on my blog. In describing DannÃ©e at the time, I said: “She is SO fun & full of energy and excitement. I’ll never forget how giddy she got when Tiana walked in the room. Her smile sparkles and she is always positive.”
Some of my favorite memories of DannÃ©e were from an early Saturday morning last year. On October 2, 2010 for the Mom’s Panel Reunion, a group of us decided to run Mickey’s Halloween 5K together. This was the first 5K for both DannÃ©e and I and our only goal was to finish in one piece.
As we started out we decided to do intervals. We’d run some, then walk some, then run some…and so on. At one point near the beginning of the race, DannÃ©e told me to go on ahead without her. I quickly said, “No way! No Mom left behind!” We laughed and I told her that I had no desire to run this thing alone…finishing it with a friend was the whole reason I had signed up. I didn’t care how long it took us…what mattered was that we eventually crossed that finish line together. We discovered that a good plan for us as we entered the Magic Kingdom was to run one “land”, then walk the next one. As we entered into Adventureland I told her, “We can do this…then we can walk Frontierland, I promise.” It really worked for us.Â Knowing there was a break coming up kept us going. We ran right past a lot of character greetings without stopping. I think we were afraid that if we took the time to stop, we’d lose momentum and never get going again. However, once we got to Tomorrowland, we saw Buzz Lightyear. At that point, we decided to stop for a quick photo. I told Buzz to, “Give us the energy to get to Infinity and Beyond…or at least the finish line.”
One moment really stands out for me in the race. We had just come out of the Magic Kingdom and we were turning the corner near the Contemporary…ready for the home stretch. I turned to DannÃ©e and said, “Come on, we can do this!”
She said, “I think I can, I think I can…”
As I jogged along beside her I said, “I KNOW you can, I KNOW you can.” She laughed and told me I was insane and that I should be a drill sergeant. We hung in there though, and when we got to the finish line together, we were so very proud of ourselves for not giving up.
This is quite possibly the least flattering photo of me that has ever been taken. However, I love it because DannÃ©e and I DID IT together!! Nothing could have wiped those smiles off our faces at that moment.
Also during the Reunion weekend, we attended Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party with our families. When I first saw her in her costume, I had to catch my breath…she was stunning!
In December, 2010 a group of us went down to Disney to welcome the new Panelists. Chris, Bernie, Amanda, DannÃ©e and I met up at the airport to ride over together in a rental car. When Chris and I located DannÃ©e near baggage claim, she was bending down, offering medical advice to a Mom whose child had gotten sick on the plane. I simply smiled, it was so DannÃ©e to take the time to help someone in need.
DannÃ©e has often shared that her favorite flower is the sunflower. Though I’ve never asked her why, it somehow seems appropriate. Sunflowers naturally turn towards the light and follow the sun. DannÃ©e always chooses to turn towards the light too – focusing on the positive as she “Keeps Moving Forward”. I know that no matter what struggles she faces in life, her beautiful, positive spirit will help her get through it.
You can follow her on Twitter: @DisneySunflower
Love ya, DannÃ©e!
*Want to get to know some more Walt Disney World Moms Panel Moms & Dads? I share a different Panelist with you each Monday! Here’s the link to all of them so far:
Be sure to stop back by next week!