It’s officially summer in Orlando and it’s a great time to start thinking about a trip to Disney World. Who am I kidding? It’s always a great time to think about a trip to Disney World! I’m going to share something with you that even I – an Orlando native – didn’t know about: there are free Disney travel agents. Seriously! I’ve always thought that if you used a travel planner for a trip to a place like Disney you had to pay an extra cost. Well, you don’t. And they have the answers for all your questions. Can I bring a stroller? Is the meal plan really worth it? Are there any good deals for resort stays going on right now? To tell you more about it, I’ve asked my friend Amber Wilkerson from Middle of the Magic Travel to share about her Tips and Tricks for a Disney Trip.
Falling in Love with Disney
When Olivia asked me to write a guest blog on tips and tricks for a Disney trip, I just didn’t know where to begin! I could easily spend all day talking all things Disney. So, I decided to just give you a little bit of my Disney background, why I love Disney, and why it is so useful to use a travel planner to plan your next trip to the Disney destination of your choice!
My first Disney World experience was when I was five years old. I can remember walking into the Magic Kingdom and being in absolute awe of the sights. The teacups! Dumbo! Mickey! Minnie! Everything was coming alive right in front of me. Epcot seemed to be the coolest place in the world! And the water parks…so much more fun than the one in Atlanta I grew up going to. I will cherish those memories forever.
I was able to experience Disneyland at an early age, too. I can remember on this trip learning more about Walt himself. This trip really opened my eyes to the dream of one man and what all can be accomplished. Even now, I like to remind myself that everything I see while at a Disney park was a dream and it all came true! As the saying goes, “dreams come true!”
As I got older, I continued to appreciate all that Disney had to offer. Every vacation was different. In high school, it was fun to explore the parks with friends, ride the “fast rides” late into the night, and experience different special events and concerts. And not to mention, seeing where the “new” Mickey Mouse Club was filmed! A 90’s girls dream come true! In college, it was all of a sudden “cool” again to hang out with my parents. It was so much fun to have a grown up Disney experience, stay in a really nice resort, eat great food, stay out late, and to enjoy all the firework shows.
After college, I had the opportunity to participate in the Disney Institute with my colleagues from Lipscomb University. This was such a fun team-building experience and one of the best memories of Disney that I have. Our classroom experience was in an upstairs room in one of the countries at Epcot. Our group broke into teams and had to complete a scavenger hunt throughout Epcot before the park opened. It was absolutely one of the best memories to run around Epcot on a wild goose chase with no one around! It was also during this trip that I had my first backstage tour of the parks. This is where I really began to have a deep appreciation of all the work that goes in to making every day magical for every visitor! The costumes, the floats, the decorations! It was truly eye opening.
And now…as a mom. It is truly remarkable. I will never forget the feeling of being with my husband and daughter early one morning waiting to enter the Magic Kingdom. We arrived early just in time for “The Welcome Show”. As we were riding on the monorail, out the window we saw the train with the characters waiting to go just sitting on the train tracks. They sat on the train waving and smiling and I sat on the monorail doing the same. Then once we went through security, the show started. I was so overcome with emotion that I began bawling! My daughter’s face lit up and I kept thinking “this is what it’s all about”. It was pure joy to see Disney through the eyes of a child! It was also a lot of fun to follow the road down Main Street USA all the way through the Castle and then to an open park. All-time best memory!
Over the years I have become more and more passionate about all things Disney and I look forward to continuing to make memories for my family. My family has lived in Orlando for a little over 3 years and the best thing we have ever purchased is our annual passes to Walt Disney World. This is what has lead me to become a travel planner, specializing in Disney destinations. Disney destinations include Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, and Adventures by Disney. There will always be something new to do throughout the years and I can’t wait to see what all Disney has up their sleeve. I want others to have the memories and to feel the excitement that I have had over the years and not to be overwhelmed by all the options in front of them. There is always something new to see, somewhere new to explore, and somewhere new to eat!
Tips and Tricks for a Disney Trip
Planning your vacation to a Disney destination can be extremely overwhelming. Where do you stay? Where do you eat? What do you ride? What is the best way to see my favorite character? Is my child too old/young? The questions go on and on. This is where I come in as your travel planner and become your Disney best friend…all at no cost to you! You see, anyone can plan and book a vacation to Disney, it costs exactly the same to book the trip yourself or to use a travel planner. But, by using a travel planner, you get your very own personalized concierge service and the expertise of someone who spends time to stay up-to-date on all of the special offers and the latest happenings that Disney has going on. Here are some great reasons to use a (me) travel planner:
- I specialize in Disney destinations. This is my first love and the first love of my agency. You see, I go to the parks regularly and the owner of my agency lives here, too (she can actually see The Magic Kingdom fireworks from her upstairs window!). We literally LIVE Disney!
- Don’t like comparing prices and spending hours looking for a good deal? I do that for you. You simply tell me your budget, what you would like to experience during your trip, your travel dates and voila! I’ll put together a customized quote for your family so that you can see the different prices and offers and you simply pick what you like the best!
- As your travel planner, I will get up early for you and book your advance dining reservations and FastPass+ selections for rides and attractions. I’ll consult with you beforehand to get an idea of what you would like to do on your trip (and make suggestions and offer my expertise) so that you can get the most out of your vacation. The booking windows open very early so let someone else do the work for you!
- As part of my services, I will prepare a personalized itinerary for your trip. I include all of your reservations and confirmations but also helpful tips like how to get from point A to point B, where to grab a quick bite, what to bring with you in the parks, and all the “little” things that you might not think about. Every vacation is different so this is something special that is put together just for you!
- When Disney announces a new special offer or promotion, I will always check to see if your trip qualifies and if it does (and saves you money), I will apply that offer or promotion to your trip. No need for you to have to worry about this!
- And…you know what the best part of using a travel planner is? My services are completely free to you! Yep, that’s right. You will not pay a dime for my services. That’s a pretty good deal!
So, what are you waiting for? Have you always dreamed about going to a Disney park or saying bon voyage as you set sail on the open seas? What about a European vacation with a tour company that is known for their excellent customer service? Or, are you itching to get back to a place where your dreams came true and all your cares seemed to float away? Now is the time to for the planning to begin! I would love to help you plan the vacation you have dreamed of and would love to hear from you, soon!
Amber Wilkerson is a Travel Planner, Specializing in Disney Destinations but most importantly a wife and mama to two young kiddos. She and her family have lived in the Orlando area for over 3 years and as Platinum Plus Annual Pass holders they try to get out to one of the parks at Walt Disney World at least once a week…sometimes more. She is affiliated with Middle of the Magic Travel, An Authorized Disney Vacation Planner located right in Mickey’s backyard. You can contact her to book your next vacation by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. And, be sure to like her Facebook to stay updated on the latest happenings, offers, and special tips that she has to offer!