Monthly Archives: October 2012

Meet the 2013 Moms Panel Hopefuls: Sue Nowicki

Meet Sue Nowicki!

Name: Sue Nowicki
Location (city/state): New Carlisle, Indiana (born and raised in Phippsburg, Maine)
Twitter: @Suzanne033
Who is your favorite Disney character and why?
I know it’s not a ‘traditional’ Disney character but I LOVE Tim Allen’s version of Santa Claus in the ‘Santa Clause‘ trilogy. His portrayal of both the physicality and personality of Santa Claus is exactly how I pictured Santa when I was a child. I am also a huge sucker for the holiday season which makes these movies a must see for my family each year (usually several times LOL).
What is your Team Mom experience?
For the past three season, I have been the team mom for my daughter’s travel volleyball team.  For the past two years, her team has played in AAU Volleyball Nationals at ESPN Wide World of Sports. My duties as Team Mom include taking care of the financial matters of the team, travel arrangements (ie. hotels, team meals, playing schedule, etc.), maintenance of the seeding information, administrator of the team website and overall cheerleader.
What is your favorite Team/Sports event at Disney?
My favorite event during Nationals, beside the play itself of course, is the Opening Ceremonies. Disney really puts amazing touches into the evening with not only ‘official’ speakers but several Disney characters making appearances as well. It truly feels like an Olympic Opening Ceremony as they light a torch, introduce the teams one-by-one, and offically call the games open. It’s a great way to kick-off the event which this year featured over 1,000 teams!!
What got you interested in the Disney Moms Panel?
I honestly knew nothing about the Mom Panel until I received an email from Disney the Friday morning applications were set to close. Since it was addressed to me as ‘Team Mom’ I thought it had something to do with my daughter’s team. After reading it, I was intrigued so I started to do some research. Once I found out what it was all about I knew I had a lot of information I could impart to other team mom’s coming to Disney for their tournaments.
Anything else you want to add?
I am so excited and honored to be a part of this amazing group of Round 2 hopefuls. Their excitement and passion for Disney astounds me.
I am so very excited to feature you on the blog today, Sue! This year is the first application season for the new “Team Mom” specialty and from the looks of your application, you definitely have what it takes to rock the panel with your experience 🙂

Meet the 2013 Moms Panel Hopefuls: Erin Williams

Meet Erin Williams!

Name: Erin Williams
Location (city/state): Providence, RI
Twitter: @LoveDisneyRun
Who is you favorite Disney character and why?
Tinker Bell – She is free to be herself!  Plus I love found things.  I love picking up running treasure while I am out on the road.  Interestingly enough money and tools are my most frequent finds.  Of course the money is usually just pocket change and the tools are almost always wrenches!
How long have you been a runner?
I started running in high school to stay in shape between fall and spring rowing seasons.  I have been running ever since then to varying degrees.  I started racing after the my older daughter was born in 2000.  She often raced with me in her jogger.  It is great to have your support crew with you and a place to put your bottle.  Races were very baby jogger friendly then.  So I have been running for about 25 years and racing for about 12.

Erin as Tink at the Princess Half Marathon, 2012.

What is your favorite runDisney event?
Princess as of right now, but I am going Dopey at WDW Marathon weekend so that might change.  I know you are asking about events, but my best personal runDisney running moment actually happened this July when I flew to Disney World for an overnight and planned an amazing runners trip – DisneyRunFest2012!  I guess you could say it was my own runDisney event.  Several other runDisney social media pals joined me for an evening run around Seven Seas Lagoon.  It was amazing!  I had always wanted to run around the Monorail resorts and see MK from every vantage point.  We capped the evening off with fireworks and desserts at the Polynesian!  But the best moment for me as a runner came the next morning when I got to go for a run with Bob Hitchcock from Disney PR at POR.  It was amazing to get to run and chat about our running experiences before heading to rope drop at MK.  Although this is a highlight of my runDinsey experience as an athlete, it is not the moment I chose for my Moms Panel application.  That moment is even more special to me as a runner and a mother!  (You can find my posts about DisneyRunFest2012 on my blog…just look in my July posts.)

Erin, Bob and Marcia.

What is your favorite non-runDisney event?
It is a tie between the last race that I ran and the one that is coming up! By that I mean I am a runner who lives in the moment.  As an athlete you are as good as you are on any given day.  Sure some races may be more exciting or have a better expo, but it is very much about how well I am able to compete.  Did I get my pacing right?  How about my fueling?  Did I have fun?  If I can answer yes to all of these I had a great race…whatever the clock says!  I am running my 3rd marathon next weekend at the Marine Corps Marathon.  People tell me it is better than Disney.  We will have to see!  It could very well be my next favorite non-Disney race!
 What got you interested in the Disney Moms Panel?
I love talking about Disney, runDisney racing, gear, fuel, you name it!  Sharing my experiences and helping others plan theirs is amazing.  runDisney has encouraged so many folks to get out there and be active, but they have lots of questions.  Being able to help them out so that they will have a great experience is critical if they are going to stay active beyond race day and runDisney again!
Anything else you want to add?
If anyone want to chat about runDisney they can also find me at my athlete page on Facebook “for the love of Disney running”.  We are logging our miles as runDisney race weekend training e-teams.  Here is where the upcoming race weekend teams stand as of Oct 20th. (We started logging miles Memorial Day Weekend…so we have come a long way baby!) Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend (W&D) – 2939.45; Walt Disney World® Marathon Weekend (WDW) – 4831.7; Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend (Tink) – 686.25; Disney’s Princess Half Marathon Weekend (Princess) – 3533.65; Expedition Everest Challenge   (EEC) – 3.1; Dreaming of runDisney – 358.4 (No one is left out!  If your race is farther away than Expedition Everest you can log your miles with the Dreaming of runDisney e-team!)
Wow! Wishing you lots of luck at the Marine Corps Marathon this weekend, Erin – and cannot wait to see you at WDW Marathon Weekend 🙂

Meet the 2013 Moms Panel Hopefuls: Rachel Wright

Meet Rachel Wright, seen here with current WDW runDisney Mom, Lori L.!

Name: Rachel Wright
Location (city/state): Tampa, Florida
Blog/website: Runner’s Tales (
Twitter: @RunnersTales
Who is you favorite Disney character and why?
Dopey is my favorite Disney character. I think I fell in love with him when I first saw Snow White and the Dwarfs. I couldn’t pronounce dwarfs properly so I called them doors for the longest time. My dad still teases me about it. Out of all the dwarfs, he is my favorite because of his silliness and heart-warming sincerity. Besides, he is the only one that doesn’t say a word and has no beard!
How long have you been a runner?
1.5 year (almost 2). I started running on February 1, 2011. That was the day that I decided to do something about my fitness level. A few weeks before that, I decided to lose weight and had been working on my eating habits. On that day, I finally felt like I was ready to start an exercising habit. Not every run is great and I am certainly not the fastest runner out there but I truly enjoy all of the things that running has brought me.
What is your favorite runDisney event?
My favorite runDisney event is probably the Walt Disney World Half Marathon in January. There is just something magical about running through Cinderella’s Castle that brings back all of my childhood memories spent at Walt Disney World. I have also run the Wine and Dine Half as well as the Tower of Terror 10 Miler, which are great races as well.
What is your favorite non-runDisney event?
My favorite race (outside of runDisney) was the Inaugural Rock ‘n’ Roll St. Petersburg race. The course literally ran through my hometown and right past several of my favorite places. The race was very well organized and the course was fantastic!
What got you interested in the Disney Moms Panel?

I first found out about the Disney Moms Panel at the Meet Up and Eat Up event during last year’s Wine and Dine Race Weekend. Several of the other people participating were going to a special event later that day. I became interested in their conversation and had to know more. When I checked out the website, I fell in love with the concept of everyday people giving travel advice, recommendations and suggestions about Disney. That is something that I do all the time to friends and family who don’t visit Walt Disney World nearly as much as I do. Last year, I was too late to apply and didn’t think I would have been eligible because I am not married or a mother. When I realized that I didn’t have to be either, I knew I was going to apply this year!

Thanks for sharing, Rachel – you are another shining example of my definition of MOMs 🙂 Good luck in all your running, Disney and Moms Panel ventures!

Meet the 2013 Moms Panel Hopefuls: Matt Mehaffey

Meet Matt Mehaffey!

Name: Matt Mehaffey
Location: Orlando, FL
Twitter: @mattmehaffey
Who is you favorite Disney character and why?
My favorite Disney/Pixar character is the worrisome and protective Marlin the clownfish from Finding Nemo. As a father of two boys, I completely relate to Marlin and his struggle to balance being a dad who is protective and empowering. There is absolutely nothing I wouldn’t do for Chase (4) and Jackson (3). When I watch the scene where Nemo hears from Nigel the pelican that his dad is crossing the ocean to rescue him it still give me chills!
How long have you been a runner?
I have run in spurts ever since I was a teenager but I wouldn’t consider myself a runner until June 2011. It was then I went to the doctor for a physical and he basically said, “You are a 35 year old man with a wife and two young boys and you are overweight and your cholesterol is out of control.” When I was a kid I used to get ice cream after a trip to the doctor. This time I went to the running store and got fitted for a pair of Saucony Rides. I went home and signed up for the 15th Anniversary of the RunDisney Half Marathon so I had a goal to shoot for. Since then I have lost 30 pounds and my health is where it should be. You can read my trip report from the 1/2 here.
What is your favorite runDisney event?
I have run two runDisney events so far. By far, my favorite was the 15th Anniversary Half Marathon. I also just ran the Tower of Terror 10-Miler or perhaps more accurately I swam through the humidity. I am currently training for the 20th Anniversary of the Marathon in January! I am so excited about my first 26.2!

Matt and his boys 🙂

What got you interested in the Disney Moms Panel?

In 2010, I heard a podcast on WDWRadio where Lou Mongello interviewed several members of the Disney Moms Panel and I knew I had to apply. These were my kind of people! I applied in 2010 and made it to the second round. In 2011, I made it all the way to the phone interview. This year I am hoping the third time is the charm! By the way, I am applying to be on the WDW Panel – Not the RunDisney specialist. I love RunDisney but there are others – ahem –  *Krissy Murphy* – ahem – who are far more qualified for that title!

The Mehaffey Family

Anything else you want to add?
As adoptive parents we have connected with families like ours all over the country through social media. Last year, I dreamt up a special weekend at Walt Disney World where adoptive families could come and celebrate together. We called it Magical Families ( What started out with me, my wife and one other couple quickly grew and we ended up with families coming from all over the country. Magical Families outgrew what we could handle but a national adoption group found out about it and is now leading the whole event and we’re expecting even more families this November! If you are, or know, an adoptive family send them to the Magical Families website or to the Facebook page ( We would love to celebrate with you!

Also good luck to all the other 2013 Disney Moms Panel hopefuls! I hope we will be meeting each other this December!

Awww shucks, Matt! Thanks for the many kind words! 🙂 So glad to have you featured and much luck to you on your Moms Panel Journey!

Meet the 2013 Moms Panel Hopefuls: Beth Pretti

Meet Beth Pretti!

Name:  Beth Pretti
Location: Bethlehem, PA
Twitter: @bethp262
Who is your favorite Disney character and why?
This is a tough question, but I would have to say Goofy.  I always thought he was funny and cute, but ever since I ran the Goofy Challenge in 2008  he has held a special place in my heart!  Runner up is Daisy–I mean, she has to put up with Donald and everything, that’s gotta count for something! 😉
How long have you been a runner?
 I have been a  runner probably for about 20 years.  For the first 10 years, I was more of a casual runner.  I’d run in the spring and fall when the weather was nice, maybe for 2-4 miles.  I did a couple of 5k’s here and there but that was about It.  After my son was born (he is now 15!), I began running more regularly as it was an easy way to exercise and I didn’t have time to go to a gym anymore.  In 2002 I started thinking that I might be able to run a marathon and set my sights on The WDW marathon as my goal.  The 2004 WDW marathon was my first marathon!  I was hooked!
What is your favorite runDisney event?
 Goofy’s Challenge, of course!  Running 13.1 one day and 26.2 the next–what a sense of accomplishment!!  I have run one Goofy but plan to run it again in 2014.  I would also love to do the Princess Half one of these days.
What is your favorite non-runDisney event?
The Boston Marathon.  I qualified for Boston in 2009 and ran it in 2010. The history of the race plus the fans that line the streets the whole course are what make Boston so special.
What got you interested in the Disney Moms Panel?
In a nutshell, because I love Disney!  We have been Disney Vacation Club members since 2001 and have taken many trips to WDW.  I love helping people plan their Disney trips, too.  I also think Disney races are so much fun and very well-organized.  I always recommend runDisney races to friends.

Beth and her family at Cape May Cafe! Go Beth and your marathon bling! 😀

Anything else you want to add?
  I ran the inaugural Minnie Marathon 15k in 2006.  Not many people know about that race because I believe it was only around for three years.
Thank you for sharing your awesome running accomplishments and Disney passion, Beth! I wish all the luck to you in your Moms Panel Journey  🙂

Meet the 2013 Moms Panel Hopefuls!

It is my pleasure to announce a brand new LIMITED TIME feature to Outrunning the Monorail: profiles of some very promising 2013 Moms Panel Hopefuls!

Although each application is done individually, the big draw (to me, at least) of becoming a member of this elite team is the fact that you automatically gain a whole new crew of friends to become part of your Disney family!

Over the next few days, you will learn all about some really special applicants. I hope you enjoy reading their profiles as much as I did!

If you were interviewing Walt Disney World Moms Panel applicants, what would YOU ask them?

Why I want to be a Disney “MOM.”

Me and my mom on the “Around the World” Segway Tour, 2009 – part of my 2012 applicant video!

Since I created this blog, I’ve received so many wonderful and positive notes of support and encouragement from dozens of people that I have not yet met.It really has been an honor sharing my adventures – from sharing the anxiety, to offering a sneak peek into the process and even learning a little bit more about the Walt Disney Company itself!

But there’s only ONE question from people I already know that keeps getting asked:

Don’t you have to be a mom?”

To this, I’ve offered many explanations – from explaining the overall objective of the Moms Panel, to putting my own story into perspective – but the more I thought about it, the more I realized it would be a fantastic subject to blog about.

So here it goes…

  • While it is INDEED called the Disney MOMS Panel, this talented group of individuals is comprised of many different kinds of people – from moms, to dads, aunts – anyone with a passion for Disney and the drive to help others.
  • I like to think of MOM as not only the title of some pretty cool ladies (my mom definitely topping the list) I also think of it as an acronym for Maker of Magic! Whether you’re helping guests plan an awesome vacation or suggesting a tip to preserve family memories, being a MOM is all about sharing your love!!
  • Although I currently do not have any little ones to call my own (not even furry ones) – ETA: this has changed, as of 2013, we adopted DUG! – that does not mean I never will – in fact, I am incredibly excited at the idea of planning our first vacation as a family larger than two one day – and the connections made now with the many MOMs from all walks of life now will surely prove priceless in years to come.

In a nutshell, I truly believe that my unique perspective as a Disney fan, daughter, wife, friend, runner and former cast member all complement my definition of MOM! As we move forward through the application process, I am as proud as ever to be participating in it all – with or without kids of my own 🙂

Tell me about your family!

Follow Outrunning the Monorail

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“Like” Outrunning the Monorail today 🙂

Not only can you read the blog here, but you can check out updates and network with other runDisney and Moms Panel fans on Facebook here: Outrunning the Monorail 🙂

Twitter is also an option! Follow here – I will definitely follow back!

What is your favorite form of social media…and why?

The Waiting Game.

Perhaps the most challenging part about applying for the WDW Moms Panel is the Waiting Game.

In 2011, I applied on September 12 – then waited until October 8 to hear that I had made it to Round 2.

The 2012 Moms Panel Application Round 2 Notification Email

This year was very similar. I submitted the first Round application on September 10 and received my Round 2 email on October 12.

The 2013 Moms Panel Application Round 2 Notification Email

Both years, advancing to Round 2 proved to be a very exciting experience! But along with that, meant the next step…which I will share in an upcoming post!

Are you a patient person? How do you keep your mind off of waiting?