Mouse World Vacations — Rediscovering the magic | TravelResearchOnline


Mouse World Vacations — Rediscovering the magic

As a travel agent, one of our jobs is to inspect and know the hotels and destinations we sell.  I have stayed in and inspected hundreds of hotel rooms and I promise I didn’t shed a tear in any of them–although there was this hotel in Mexico … but that’s a whole other story.

Being a Disney specialist, I recently took advantage of a FAM  to Walt Disney World. The facilitators, Rita Lewis and Tommy Keesling were terrific. Props to them both. The two of them made the entire experience lots of fun. Their knowledge in unending and they ran a great informative program. If you ever get an opportunity to travel with these two—jump on it.

While planning our family’s first ever trip to the Walt Disney World Resort in 2003, I looked at all the published photos at the time, read all the reviews, compared all the costs and even visited some of the Disney fan sites (something I’ve learned to stay away from). I chose Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, thanks in part to seeing it on “Great Hotels” with Samantha Brown. So to have the opportunity to return as a professional was a no brainer for me.

The Wilderness Lodge is a super-sized, modern-ized Disney-ized version of the Old Faithful Inn at Yellowstone National Park with a few bits of inspiration from other National Parks lodges tossed in.

When I walked into that magnificent lobby, and looked around, my head and heart flooded with memories, and yes, I started to tear up. Here I am, an almost 50-year-old man standing in the lobby of a hotel with tears rolling down my face. Why? Allergies?  A stubbed toe? No, I was having an emotional reaction to a hotel!  And to a flood of memories of my first experience with Walt Disney World.

So what does this have to do with my travel business? As I was wiping the tears off my face, and trying to hide in a corner so no other agents or guests would see me blubbering like a fool, it reminded me of why I love being a travel agent. I love the thrill of bringing these types of emotional reactions to all my clients when they visit a special place for them. It might not be Disney; but I’ll bet there are places in Hawaii, Europe, and many others that get evoke visceral reactions such as mine. Throughout our business lives, we have all used the term “selling memories.” Perhaps you always considered it a trite buzz phrase. But it truly is what makes travel so special. Few people get teary-eyed over purchasing a blender; but how many do when they return to their homeland? To the roots of their faith? Or to The Wilderness Lodge?

I would love to hear about emotional responses you have had especially if they are a Disney hotel (I am always on the lookout for fresh stuff!)

Graig Wilkins (odd spelling and all) is a home based travel agent specializing in Disney destinations worldwide. He is the Owner /Manger of Mouse World Vacations and can be reached at or

  3 thoughts on “Mouse World Vacations — Rediscovering the magic

  1. Lee Alberga says:

    Don’t get me started! I’m right there with you, Graig. I have to have Kleenex every time I watch Illumnations at Epcot! But my favorite is the end of the Disney Dreams show on a Disney Cruise – when Tinkerbell does her thing and they play “When you wish upon a star”. One time I was sitting next to a man in a wheelchair who was pretty sick. When that song came on, he lifted his head and sang! Bring on the waterworks! I love those memories. Thanks for reminding me of why I love what I do!

  2. Lisa Thomsen says:

    Thanks for reminding me that our profession is such a kick! A few years ago we took 38 of our friends with us to Alaska on a Princess ship. We had been there before, but none of them had been lucky enough to experience the wonders and majesty of Alaksa. Needless to say they are still talking about that trip and it will be a fond memory for me watching them fall in love with such a beautiful place.

  3. Erin says:

    Just finished up a AEP trip in Disney World and Rita & Tommy were our tour guides. They are unbelievably knowledgeable and full of positive energy. Loved every minute with them!

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