Disney Moms Panel Monday – Maria

Straight from my heart – A glimpse into what makes my fellow Panelists so very precious to me.

In December 2009, during my Training Trip, I first met the other 20 people who would make up the 2010 Walt Disney World Moms Panel. Beautiful Maria was one of them…

Maria with Princess Tiana and Naveen – 12/09

A Mom of 2 incredibly cute boys from Miami, Maria brought her Florida resident knowledge and bilingual skills to the Panel. She loves astronomy, music, travel, photography and all things Disney.

Upon returning home from Training Weekend, in my “Trip Report”, this is how I described Maria: “I will remember our time together at IllumiNations forever. In addition, I’ll cherish the memories of Tower of Terror, Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster, Thunder and Space Mountains with her. The evening when we explored the gingerbread house was very special too.”

If you have read about fellow Panelist Kathie, then you know that she and I made a deal during the application process. When we headed over to Hollywood Studios for her to fulfill her promise and finally experience my favorite attraction, Maria, Joel and Marc joined us.

Here we are waiting to take the elevator to the Twillight Zone…

Joel, Kathie, Maria and Marc – 12/09

We had a BLAST together!

Joel, Marc, me, Kathie and Maria

During Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, we convinced Maria and Terry to ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad for their first time. Between Rock ‘n Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, poor Maria discovered that peer pressure is just as strong in adulthood as it ever was… 😉

Maria and Terry

I referenced our evening at IllumiNations above. Here is Jonas with Maria at that event…

Maria and Jonas

This is how I described the memories of that evening in my Trip Report:

“IllumiNations is one of my very favorite shows. As it started, I headed over to the edge of the Terrace area and leaned against the railing, gazing out towards the World Showcase Lagoon. As always, it was breathtaking from the moment it began. I started thinking about how it was the last night of our Training Trip, and how we were going to have to say goodbye in the morning. I knew that while we’d definitely see each other at different times in the future, the likelihood of us ALL being together again was very slim. It’s a big world, and we all come from different backgrounds and families. Yet our deep love for Disney World and the fact that we all love to share it with our own families, and have strong desires to help other families experience the same Magic brought us together. In 4 short days, we had bonded, shared memories and developed friendships that will last a lifetime. I looked around at my new family and felt incredibly blessed. Then, I started thinking about my own family back home, and how they too, love IllumiNations. While listening to the beautiful music and watching the stunning show, I was overcome with emotion. It was almost indescribable…a very powerful moment. I leaned against the railing, and tears were streaming down my cheeks. Suddenly, I felt an arm wrap around my shoulder and envelope me in a hug. It was sweet Maria. She and I stood there in silence, with tears streaming down our cheeks, our arms wrapped around each other, completely lost in the moment. After the show, we talked about how much we were going to miss each other, and ALL of our friends. This was twice during the trip that the fireworks had moved me to tears. Once was during Wishes when I equated each one with a Wish-Upon-a-Star about making it to the Moms Panel. This time was different. I explained to Maria how instead, each firework reminded me of a magical memory from our weekend. There were SO many…each one special, each one priceless. Those memories will truly last a lifetime.”

After saying “good-bye”, I didn’t see Maria again until the following October at our Moms Panel Reunion…

Maria and I – 12/10

I absolutely loved meeting her family and we had such a fun weekend together…

Maria, me, Amanda A and Kathie – 10/10

That December, a group of us traveled to Disney World to welcome the newest Members of the Moms Panel Family. We spent the weekend making countless magical memories together. Here are a few favorites:

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party…

From left: Me, Chris, Suzannah, Marc, Maria, Amanda A, Kay, Diane L and Joel

Bernie, Maria, Amanda A and Suzannah


Back row from left: Chris, Bernie, Anna, Bri, Marc
Front row: Suzannah, Amanda A, me, Maria, Kay, Bri’s daughter, Joel and Diane L

Group photo on Main Street

Maria and Suzannah at midnight, blissfully exhausted…

Sleepy ladies

The next day we enjoyed breakfast on the BoardWalk together…

Chris, me, Maria, Joel and Suzannah

Later we made a pit stop at my “Heaven on Earth” - Karamell-Küche

Karamell Kuche – Maria, JL Knopp, Chris, me and Marc

Maria enjoying her caramel covered strawberry…


The next October, during Reunion 2011, Maria was able to break away from her busy college schedule to stay with Kathie, Amanda A and I for a night.

We thoroughly enjoyed our morning at the House of Blues Gospel Brunch…

House of Blues Gospel Brunch gang

and later had a great time together in Epcot…

Maria and Kathie 🙂

Maria and Kathie – 10/11

Maria has visited Walt Disney World countless times in her life. She is extremely passionate about helping others to make magical memories there too. Maria is currently on hiatus from the Panel, but you can still view her answers on the Panel site.  She is spending her days focusing on her college education, where she is majoring in Geology.

Maria is truly one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met. She is like a little sister to me and I wish her all the success in the world as she pursues her career. I simply can not wait to see her again next weekend!

You can follow Maria on Twitter: @OrbitMoM

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: http://www.memorymakermom.com/category/disney-moms-panel-monday/

Love ya, Maria!

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