2017 Disney Parks Moms Panel includes first openly gay mom

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The Walt Disney Company has unveiled its 2017 Disney Parks Moms Panel, and among the new members is the panel’s first openly gay mother. The Disney Parks Moms Panel, which answers online readers’ questions about planning Disney vacations, has included a gay dad, but the lesbian mother is a step forward in terms of diversity — and one that Disney is willing to tout in its press release and on the panel website.

“This year’s Panel promises to deliver an impressive roster of trusted Disney advisors from all walks of life and experiences. With parents of twins and those with special needs children to single working moms, bilingual mavens and members of the LGBT community, the 2017 Panel is inclusive of every type of parent or guardian looking to plan a magical Disney getaway,” an official release states. This is the first time in 10 years of the Disney Parks Moms Panel that a press release has highlighted the LGBT community.

The lesbian mom is Jan K., whose specialty is Walt Disney World Resort. She writes in her bio, “I am a mother of three and live with my beautiful wife in New Jersey! I am proud to be the first openly lesbian Disney Parks Moms Panelist and I am thankful that Disney sees diversity of all types as one of its main strengths.”

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Jan K. is one of 12 new and 19 returning members of the Disney Parks Moms Panel for this year. Here are the other freshman members and their specialties:

** Trish A.; Halifax, N.S., Canada (Disney Vacation Club)
** Jennifer C.; Ottawa, Ont., Canada (Walt Disney World Resort)
** Emille C.; Orlando, Fla. (Walt Disney World Resort)
** Todd D.; Pickering, Ont., Canada (Walt Disney World Resort)
** Anabel M.; North Hills, Calif. (Disneyland Resort)
** Linda M.; Denver, Colo. (Disneyland Resort)
** Lindsey M.; Houston, TX (runDisney)
** Lindsey P.; Kennesaw, Ga. (Walt Disney World Resort)
** Donyell L. R.; Wilmington, N.C. (Walt Disney World Resort)
** Thiana S.; Novo Hamburgo, Brazil (Walt Disney World Resort)
** Beth S.; Vernon Hills, Ill. (Disney Cruise Line)

Competition for a spot on the Disney Parks Moms Panel is intense — thousands apply in the fall each year — and the panelists are chosen after three very different rounds of interviews. The new panelists have diverse careers, and among the group are a litigation lawyer, high school English teacher, engineer, registered nurse and university professor. Two of the new panelists also speak Spanish and will be able to assist Spanish-speaking guests with questions, too. In addition, one of the new panelists speaks fluent French and another speaks fluent Portuguese.

The Disney Parks Moms Panel has evolved from its inception in 2008, but its goal remains the same: to provide vacation-planning advice from adults in families that are interested in and knowledgeable about the Disney properties. The Disney Parks Moms Panelists not only help plan magical vacations for guests heading to Walt Disney World, but they also answer questions about Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, Disney Vacation Club, Adventures by Disney, runDisney and the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Despite the name, however, panelists are not just limited to those who are mothers — dads and grandparents have been chosen, as well.

During the past decade, more than 150 moms, dads, and grandparents have served on the Disney Parks Moms Panel. Users of the panel website have access more than 300,000 questions asked by previous visitors and answered by the panelists.

To learn more about the Disney Parks Moms Panel and meet the panelists, visit http://disneyparksmomspanel.disney.go.com


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2 Replies to “2017 Disney Parks Moms Panel includes first openly gay mom”

  1. Hi Kristin!

    Thanks so much for this story on our new class of Disney Parks Moms Panelists! I am super excited to be a part of it, and you are right that I introduced myself that way simply because I want other LGBT moms, dads, and other family members out there to know that I am here! Visibility is so important when you might feel like there’s no one out there who represents you, and I am happy to be that person! 🙂

    Of course, I am answering questions from ALL different types of families and I am thrilled to do so! I believe that Disney truly believes in their model for diversity of all different types and I am proud to be a part of that! Thanks again for featuring us!

    Best,
    Jan K., 2017 Disney Parks Moms Panelist

  2. Why do you need to point out she is gay. Can’t you just introduce her as the newest member of the panel? Why the need to point this out?

    KRISTIN: She introduced herself as “the first openly gay” member of the panel on the web site, and Disney promoted its inclusiveness of the LGBT community in the official press release for the 2017 panel for the first time. That makes it newsworthy.