There must be some kind of Disney spell taking hold in Pasco County, because the Tampa Bay area now has three Disney-savvy moms — all from Pasco County — who have landed a coveted spot on the Disney Moms Panel, an online board of helpers that dispense advice in exchange for a free vacation and other perks.
Deborah Bowen of Land O'Lakes and Leslie Krzan of Holiday beat out more than 10,000 other rabid Mouse fans to be among the 15 newest members of the moms panel, joining last year's panelist Suzannah DiMarzio of Wesley Chapel, who is staying on as an "alumni panelist."
In an ingenious use of social media, Disney is in its third year of using a volunteer corps of customer service moms to dish out advice on a range of questions, from restaurants to age-appropriate rides to advice on stroller rentals. In its first year, the cap of 10,000 applications for the two dozen spots was filled in a matter of days.
Disney won't release the exact number, but did say the company received more applications than ever. This year, the Mouse expanded the board to 45 parents, including the 15 newbies announced Friday, who receive vacation packages and other perks for their efforts.
Bowen is known as the "go-to planner" among her friends, a Disney news release said. She also teaches literature, film and popular arts at the University of South Florida.
Krzan, a stay-at-home mom, is an expert baker and even had her wedding at Epcot.
DiMarzio, one of the bloggers on Whoa, Momma!, the tampabay.com parenting blog of the St. Petersburg Times, is among the 30 alumni panelists who will continue offering their park-savvy smarts to families planning Disney vacations.
"I was so impressed meeting all the new moms and honored to be 'dishing on Disney' alongside them," said DiMarzio.