In this week’s post, we get a chance to meet Mullica Hill mom, Jennifer Elsworth. Jennifer may just have the greatest job on earth, helping families book their dream vacations at the “Happiest Place on Earth”.
What I love about this week’s post is that it is about a woman who took her passion of Disney and turned it into a job. In her business, she shares her love for the Magic Kingdom and helps others plan their memory-making vacations. I love Disney, I love to travel, and I love women who turn their dreams into a career.
I asked Jennifer a few questions about what she does. It was fun to take a peek behind the curtain of Disney vacation planning. It was also interesting to hear that Disney isn’t the only place Jen can help you make memories with your family.
Read about Jen’s World of Wishes and how she can help you at no cost.
Can you explain what you do as Disney vacation planner?
I’m actually a Travel Agent so I can book many different vacations and destinations. My specialty is Disney Destinations.
I can make FastPass reservations, Dining Reservations, apply payments, and give guidance, tips, and knowledge. When you work with me, I become your advocate and am there to help through booking, during the trip, and after. If any problems arise, I am there to help. I monitor for discounts that Disney may release and try to get them applied. This way the client doesn’t have to be on hold for 4+hours (yes I have done that!).
I get to know my clients, which helps me direct them to the right resort and package for their family. Once a client books with me, they become part of my family and so I will take care of them as one of my own.
Is there a cost?
Working with me doesn’t cost my client anything. There are no hidden fees. I get paid a commission by Disney after my client has traveled. Most people don’t know that Disney already builds these fees into the prices.
If you choose not to work with a Travel Agent, you are not utilizing a service that you are already paying for. Disney keeps it. When you work with a Travel Agent, you are supporting a small business, and so instead of Disney keeping the commission, the Travel Agent receives it for his or her hard work.
Sometimes people think that being a Travel Agent is a hobby, because it seems like such a great job. The truth is that for me, as much as it is a hobby, it is a job. And so as much as I would love to talk Disney and give out advice/help, I can only do this for booking clients.
I’m sure many people are wondering – how did you get into this line of work?
I have been a Stay at Home Mom for 20 years. My kids are older now and I decided I wanted to go back to work but didn’t want to waste my time with something I wouldn’t like.
It was very scary because I kept thinking – Who was going to hire me? What skills do I still have 20 years later? Also, I still wanted a flexible job because my kids need me.
I decided to figure out what I was good at. I am awesome at research and figuring out the right answers. I also really love to help people. The job kind of fell in my lap and luckily it was a perfect fit for me!
What is the benefit of working with you —and not just booking on my own?
I can be as much or as little involved in the planning process as the client needs. If the client doesn’t have time to wait on hold for long periods of time or get up early to make those reservations, that’s what I am here for.
Disney takes planning. It isn’t like it used to be where you can just show up at a restaurant. You will need reservations. You also get my knowledge. I can create an itinerary that works for you and your family, and I might just suggest things you didn’t know or think about.
Sure, you can book on your own. But if there are any problems, Expedia probably won’t be there to help you. They won’t care.
I do. I am there to help. I am like your personal concierge. I also work for An Authorized Disney Vacation Planner Agency. This is a designation that my agency is very proud of!
In addition, I can also help with other destinations as well such as Universal Studios, Cruise, SeaWorld, All Inclusives or just a hotel in general.
You book cruises too, right? When is the best time to cruise with Mickey?
Yes I do! For Disney Cruises, anytime is a great time to cruise with Mickey! They even have some cruises out of New York! Disney cruises all year long and even has themed cruises.
How cool is that? Are you a Star Wars Fan?
Now, they have Star Wars Day at Sea! Do you also love Marvel? Well, Disney has a Marvel Day At Sea, too! Disney even has special sailings like Halloween on the High Seas, Thanksgiving at Sea, Very Merrytime Cruises and a New Year’s Eve Special sailing.
That sounds amazing. Do you have any tips for those looking to cruise?
I definitely recommend booking as soon as prices are released! The longer you wait, the more you pay. Disney Cruises never sail empty, so the special itineraries tend to sell out quickly.
I also book Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian!
As a Disney lover, what’s your favorite thing to do in Disney World?
Ahhh there is so much! I could live in Disney haha. I think my favorite thing to do was when we recently went in December. All the Christmas decorations were up and it was so magical.
We stayed at The Beach Club, and we could walk to Epcot from our resort through the back entrance in World Showcase. It was such a peaceful, non-crowded and lovely walk, too. It was a blast visiting every country and trying a different drink in each. We ended the day perfectly, watching Illuminations in the England pavilion having the best fish and chips. It was so fun!
So, what’s the best character dinner?
That depends on the person! I personally love Stitch! For me, breakfast at ‘Ohana is the best character meal!
What’s new in 2018? (shows, rides, etc.)
Disney always is adding new events, rides and experiences! Pandora – World of Avatar is currently open, and if you haven’t been able to ride Flight of Passage, you’re missing out! It is the coolest ride.
Also, we are all excited for the opening of Toy Story Land on June 30, 2018 in Hollywood Studios. With the new Incredibles movie being released this summer, Disney is announcing their “Incredible Summer”. This will include a lot of dance parties and other surprises in Tomorrowland area of Magic Kingdom. You can also expect Guardians of the Galaxy -Awesome Mix Live! Concert series with Star- Lord and Gamora.
Animal Kingdom started a brand new bird show that is replacing Flights of Wonder called “UP! A Great Bird Adventure”.
For me, 2019 is the year I am so excited about!! Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will open. Stay tuned to my page for further details!
Some people say that the wait to take their kids to Disney until they are old enough to remember their visit. Is that true? From your experience, what ages are the best for kids to visit?
You know, I get asked this question a lot. Kids may not remember going to Disney as an infant but, you know what? You will. It is the same reason we celebrate our child’s first birthday. He/She won’t remember it. But, it provides wonderful memories for the parents and the family.
Don’t forget this is also one of the more economical ages to take young children, since kids under 3 are free!
So then, what’s the best thing to do at Disney with young kids? With teens?
Luckily, there is something for everyone in Disney! There are many different rides for all ages.
Young kids love the Disney Character Dining. They get to have a meal with their favorite characters. Disney also has the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique where girls and boys can get a makeover to become their favorite princess or knight. Also, all throughout the parks, they can meet their favorite characters and even get their autographs.
Disney also has many shows that people of all ages would love. Teens may be more into the fireworks and the roller coasters! My teens tend to be most interested in the food and pools at the resorts. Most of Disney’s Resorts have fantastic pools!
What’s the best thing to do in Disney for adults?
There are the thrill rides like Expedition Everest and Tower of Terror that adults can enjoy. Disney also has some signature restaurants with really good food that adults could slip away to and enjoy. I personally enjoy World Showcase in Epcot. I love visiting the countries and trying a snack and drink in each one. It is so much fun, especially during the evening.
As an adult, I feel like a child when I am there. I see how much fun my children are having and I feel that magic that Disney has. You can probably catch me with tears at certain shows and fireworks. I love the way I feel in Disney.
Okay, so – Best resort? Best restaurant?
This is a tough one! It depends on the person and what their needs are. People feel strongly about their favorite resorts and restaurants. Both are a very personal choice.
All the resorts are designed in different themes so there is something for everyone! I love the beach so my favorite right now (I change my mind a lot) is The Beach Club. I loved the muted colors and the beachy theme.
There are so many different restaurants to try in Walt Disney World! My kids favorite seems to still be T-Rex after all these years. It became a tradition and I love that they love traditions! My favorite right now is Boma. The coconut rice was awesome!
Can you share any tips about the parks that I may not know about?
My tip is to definitely work with a Travel Agent!
Ok, ok. I can give one little tip you may not know about. You know the Magic Bands that you receive with your reservation? You can take off the outer gray band to make a band that will fit smaller wrists!
What are your most asked questions?
I often get asked if I can help explain how to make FastPass reservations and Dining reservations.
I am also asked about discounts. I work directly with Disney which means you are eligible for the same discounts that Disney releases at different times during the year. I have the same prices as Disney does.
I will tell you that when a big discount comes out (For free dining, it really is a plus if you have a Travel Agent. People do not realize how limited those rooms are. People sometimes think it is just a discount that can be applied whenever. It can be very limited, and when the rooms that Disney has allowed for the discount are filled… that’s it.
If I am your Travel Agent, I am on the phone first thing in the morning to try and get that applied, usually why you are still sleeping! Our agency is up by 3:30 am to be prepared. Last year I was on hold for 5 and a half hours waiting to get the discounts applied to my clients reservations!
On other destinations, I may be able to get more of a discount depending on my supplier.
Are there any difficult parts of the job?
People come to me and ask me for help, but then they want to book the trip themselves. This is tough because in my heart, I want to help everyone. But this is my job. This is how I contribute to my family. It’s one of the toughest points to get across to people. I don’t do this for fun (although I have fun doing it).
What’s the strangest request that you’ve been asked?
Luckily I haven’t had too many strange requests! I did have one request asking me if fish were allowed on property because the person wanted to bring their fish with them.
I also have many requests asking to go to Harry Potter World. I have to explain that The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is in Universal Studios. BUT! I can book that too!!
I think Jennifer might have the best job in the world. You can reach Jennifer at her phone number and email listed below. I have a trip coming up in September and I already sent her an email asking to help plan my getaway to the “happiest place on earth.”
World of Wishes Travel, An Authorized Disney Vacation Planner
Wondering what else we love about Mullica Hill? We’ve shared Our 7 Favorite Restaurants in Mullica Hill to help make choosing your next meal a little easier when you’re in town!