Culture
2:10 pm
Wed February 20, 2013

St. Pete Mom Lands Disney Dream Job

Wilma Norton has lost count of how many times she's visited the House of Mouse.
Wilma Norton has lost count of how many times she's visited the House of Mouse.
Credit Courtesy of Coyne Public Relations

Helping vacationers decide between Space Mountain and Splash Mountain. Sharing the pros and cons of a Disney cruise. Offering tips for running a Disney Marathon.

Nice work if you can get it... and St. Petersburg resident Wilma Norton did get it, beating out thousands of hopefuls to become part of the 2013 Disney Parks Moms Panel.

The group of 19 moms -- and a few dads -- answer questions in an online forum to help folks from around the world plan their Disney vacation.

Norton, who is married with two daughters, has lost count of how many times the family has visited Walt Disney World, so she's well versed in all things magical. The only compensation she gets is a Disney getaway for her family. But as Norton told WUSF, for her, the experience of helping others plan their trip is priceless.

On why so many people are clamoring for a job that doesn't pay: "No one tells us what to say. We're not employees of Disney. We're just people who are interested in sharing what we know. ... For me, it's a fun and relaxing thing that I can do on the weekend for a little while, or at night while we're watching TV..."

Time-saving tip: "If you arrive at the Magic Kingdom as soon as the gate opens, don't stop to see the characters on Main Street. You will see characters other places. Head straight for Dumbo, or head straight for Space Mountain or Big Thunder Mountain or whatever your top ride or attraction is."

Money-saving tip: "You need to watch the website. They offer specials frequently."

On taking babies to Disney: "I know a lot of people say, 'Oh, they're so young to take. They won't remember it.' But some of my best memories are when (my now 14-year-old daughter, Emma) was a year old or 2 years old, when she was barely walking, and she'd go running up to hug Pooh or Eeyore. ... I remember it, if she doesn't!"