By Zach Itzkovitz
Dunwoody orthodontist Jason Kaplan has taken his place this year on the Disney Parks Moms Panel, a collective of parents with tailored expertise assembled to help moms and dads plan trips to Disney theme parks or resorts.
“It was my wife’s idea,” Kaplan said. “She knows that I enjoy helping people and love sharing my knowledge of the magic of Walt Disney World Resort.”
Of the 50 panelists, Kaplan is one of two dads, impressing his two sons.
“My 11- and 8-year-old sons are so proud of me,” Kaplan said. “They knew how competitive it was to be selected from thousands and thousands of applicants and that I was chosen because of my expertise gained after planning fantastic Walt Disney World Resort trips for our family. They are experts themselves.”
Kaplan’s presence on the Moms Panel is a sign of the fading distinctions between the roles of fathers and mothers. Kaplan said his father’s presence on a Moms Panel was unimaginable in his youth. “My dad was interested in baseball.”
He added that being a Moms Panelist is not at all emasculating. “It’s actually exhilarating to watch my sons experience the attractions.”
Matthew, 11, and Pace, 8, each have a developed sophisticated taste in Disney rides as children of a Moms Panel member.
“Matthew likes Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Rock ’n’ Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith and Space Mountain,” Kaplan said. “Pace likes the Rock ’n’ Roller Coaster, Splash Mountain and Kali River Rapids.”
Being a panelist has some perks. “My family of four receives an all-expenses-covered trip to Walt Disney World Resort,” Kaplan said, “but I’m not compensated financially.”
Kaplan prides himself on his ability to help fellow Jews plan their Disney vacations.
“I understand their specific needs,” he said, “and can help them find kosher food, as well as which attractions would be exciting and appropriate.”
Kaplan has a quick tip for finding kosher food at Disney properties.
“There is at least one restaurant in each theme park that serves walk-in and order-counter-service kosher food,” he said. “If you want to have a nicer meal with table-service reservations, then you will need to call 407-WDW-DINE, or 407-939-3463, to reserve a table and order your meal in advance. Snacks in the parks are aplenty, including delicious ice cream.”
For more help planning a Disney vacation, visit www.disneyparksmomspanel.com.