Agent Shannon Seibert strategically planned her first Disney trip in 1998 when her husband completed his second year of medical school. “The first two years of our marriage, he was in med school,” Shannon says. “We wanted to celebrate two long years of not seeing much of each other!” Six adults and no children went on that first trip. Shannon researched everything she could find and planned every moment and restaurant reservation.
Twenty years ago, the internet was pretty new to most people. Shannon scoured the web and discovered “secret” message boards to learn Disney tips and get special codes to save money on hotels. A local travel agency found out about the detailed and colorful notebook Shannon created for the trip and hired her to help plan trips for their clients.
Shannon and Cindy Minor, owner of Small World Big Fun, worked at the same large corporate agencies before Cindy began SWBF. “When Cindy started her own agency, I jumped at the chance to join her!” Shannon says.
The Best Part of Being a Disney Travel Agent
Disney is the ultimate provider of customer service and creating dreams. Walt Disney famously said, “You can design and create and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality.” So, although Shannon isn’t officially employed by the Disney company, she is part of that team that creates and designs dreams for families. “I was a mental health counselor before I became a Disney travel agent,” Shannon says. “It was noble work, but very sad at times. Planning Disney trips was my escape from the sadness; it’s ‘happy work.’ Creating opportunities for families to build memories and experience the magic of Disney is the best part of my job,” Shannon says.
Shannon says she loves working with clients who want to invest in their family with the gift of time and experiences: People who value creating memories more than collecting stuff. She says clients who can trust in her expertise and want to eliminate the burden of planning are a great match.
“I love quotes, and here is one of my favorites, ‘Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.’ Folks who believe that are my kind of people!” Shannon says.
Shannon’s Top Three Tips for Disney Travelers
- Have a plan.
- Don’t be a slave to your plan.
- Slow down and soak it up.
Shannon’s Top Three Disney Attractions
- Rock & Roll Roller Coaster (Aerosmith! Come on, I’m an 80s girl!)
- Lion King Show (It might be true that I watched it four times in one day.)
A Story of Paying it Forward
Shannon shared a heart-warming story about one of her fondest memories in planning a Disney vacation.
“I had a client once, Mr J, who had a neighbor with three young children whose father had suddenly passed away. Mr. J contacted me because he and his wife had decided to take the mother and children on a Disney World vacation. He said, ‘I just want to give them a few moments of happiness because they have so much sadness in their life right now.’ These people weren’t his family members, they were his neighbors. They were ‘salt of the earth’ kind of people, not wealthy, and I was very moved by his generosity.
“We planned a wonderful five-night stay, including princess meals and plans each day in the parks. Mr. J told me the mother and children cried when he told them about the trip. I cried, too. I have some inside connections (wink, wink) and let the cast members at their resort know that this family was very special.
“Sometimes Disney will give the kids an autographed photo of Mickey or some cookies at check-in. But sometimes I believe God uses Disney to help heal. My client relayed this story back to me: When they checked in, the desk clerk had a funny look on his face. Then he presented the kids with autograph books and offered to escort them to their room. My client thought, ‘This must be that great customer service Shannon told me about.’ Of course, I knew immediately that being escorted to your room was not the norm. Mr. J and everyone else were then led to the Old Key West Grand Villa: A two-story, 2000+ square feet, 3-bedroom property! The cast member said something to the effect of, ‘We know we can’t take away all the sadness in your heart but we want you to feel special.’ And that is the Magic of Disney and this job.”
Working with Shannon
With more than 20 years of knowledge, Shannon is a Disney expert. Her vision is for families to come home with more than just Mickey ears. She says, “I want them to come home with more connection to each other (grumpy teens will revert to their sweet younger selves!); remember what is most important (each other); and, have something that they won’t ever outgrow or wish they had less of (memories).” And, remember: Shannon can book destinations and cruises worldwide!
If you’d like Shannon to plan a memorable vacation for you, send her an email or call her at 615-594-2820.