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I grew up in Little Rock, Ark., and graduated from Little Rock Central High School. I earned a Bachelor of Arts in history from Hendrix College and a Masters Degree in Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development from the Imperial College at Wye, University of London.
After graduation, I worked for 21 years in the non-profit world, which was amazing and fulfilling, but I needed something more family-friendly, so left full-time work when being my kids’ taxi driver became more important. The universe operates in mysterious ways, and Small World Big Fun crossed my path at just the right time.
I’ve known agency owner, Cindy Minor, since we were kids, and I came to understand the incredible reputation that Small World Big Fun has as an adult. After deciding to leave full-time work, I was open to all kinds of possibilities, but I didn’t have anything specific in mind.
On a trip home from Walt Disney World® Resort with my family, I said to my husband, “I loved everything about our trip. In fact, I’m such a detail nerd that I loved planning it almost as much as I loved experiencing it. Maybe I’ll just call Cindy and ask her for a job!” I was totally kidding, of course, but the response I received from my family and from friends as I re-told that story prompted me to reach out to Cindy. Because I had served as director of a travel education program at an international non-profit and had personally traveled quite extensively, Cindy thought I would be a good fit. More than two years later, I still agree!
What’s the Best Part of Your Job?
Two things stand out for me as being the best parts of this job. The first is the clients and hearing about their experiences during and after they’ve traveled. It makes my heart full to know they’ve had a great time making memories that will last a lifetime.
The second part is the camaraderie among the Small World Big Fun agents. This level of mutual support is not true of all agencies, and I feel truly lucky to consider many of my fellow agent friends. They are generous with their knowledge, loving in their support, hardworking, and LOTS of fun!
My Ideal Customer
I’m happy to work with anyone who has an open heart for travel! A little to my surprise, I have discovered that I’m good at working with large and/or multi-generational family groups. I think that talent is a result of my being very detail-oriented and having a background in group facilitation. On several occasions, I’ve planned trips for grandparents, adult children, and grandchildren who live in several different households in different cities (and even states). It has been fun to take what the family members think are dissimilar desires and put form to them so that there is a plan that everyone ends up happy with. I love the joy these families have experienced — as well as their surprise that it all came together!
Having said that, I also greatly enjoyed planning a trip for a friend (who had worked at Walt Disney World in college) and her husband. Since she knew the ropes, they needed very little in terms of advice, but it was fun planning their adults-only trip! Honestly, anyone who is interested in traveling is my kind of person and client.
I love seeing photos and hearing stories about clients’ vacations. It’s so gratifying to look at the notes I took from our first conversation and then think about how it all evolved and came to fruition.
My Top 3 Travel Tips
- Plan like crazy and then go with the flow. Better yet, let me plan like crazy for you and then you’ll be completely set up to go with the flow!
- Pay attention. Be cognizant so that you are a smart and safe traveler.
- Be present. Whether you are soaking it all in with a friend or spouse or with a great big family group, this is your chance to really experience something new, fun and memorable with them. Be there for them and for yourself.
My Top 3 Disney Attractions
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train — This ride has the nostalgia of the original Walt Disney film combined with amazing new ride technology. It’s sweet, clever, and it makes me squeal.
- Any Magic Kingdom® evening spectacular — It has music, it has laser projections, it has Tinker Bell flying, it has fireworks … need I say more?
- Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party — With its special stage show, parade, fireworks, fantastic people watching, and smaller crowds, this is a super fun event!
One thing that has surprised me is how Disney is continually changing and updating things. It makes sense, because they want guests to be able to come back again and again and not get bored (as if!), but it is a lot to stay on top of and can quickly get overwhelming, especially if you’re trying to plan a vacation on your own. I rely very heavily on the sharing of information within our agency to make sure I always have current information for my clients. When a client books through me (or any of us at Small World Big Fun), what they don’t realize is that they have hired one agent, but that one agent has 30 more standing behind her or him to support and help out.
As I explain to potential clients, you can book your trip yourself or you can book through me and you will pay the same price. The difference is that by booking through me, you get all of my expertise, planning and organization skills, and willingness to book dining and FastPasses at early o’clock while you are still comfortably still sleeping! Wouldn’t you rather have an expert do the hard work for free? For those who actually like to be a little more hands on, I am happy to let clients do as much or as little work as they want.
Three Magical Stories
I have three favorite client stories; there’s no way I could pick just one!
The first is how I now explain to people what FastPasses are. The son of a client ran up to me after his trip and gave me a big hug and enthusiastically exclaimed, “Thank you for the cut-in-line passes!” I can’t explain what FastPasses are any better than that.
The second story involves a trip I planned for a multi-generational family group of 15. They contacted me in October to schedule a trip right after Christmas, which I thought would be a huge challenge because of the extremely tight timeline. This trip was meant to be though, because I reserved the resort, the dining and the FastPasses they wanted. The vacation was a Christmas gift from the grandfather of the group to his three adult children, their spouses and his eight granddaughters, including three sets of twins! The moms in the group were so gracious to text me updates and photos throughout their trip. It was almost as good as being there with them!
My third story started with a local businessman reaching out to me, because he wanted to plan a trip for himself, his adult son, and his granddaughter for her 5th birthday. He wanted the vacation to be super special and all about her. He clearly expressed to me that it was to be her trip and that he and his son were just along for the ride and had no expectation of actually having any fun themselves. I took that as a personal challenge! I made sure they had dining reservations at Cinderella’s Royal Table, Be Our Guest, and Akershus Royal Banquet Hall, as well as an appointment at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and tickets to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. They also stayed in a club-level room at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, had dining reservations at Cítricos and the Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show, and they had a VIP tour guide. When they returned and told me all about their trip, the grandfather told me how much fun he had, and we talked about what he wanted to do on his next trip to Walt Disney World! Mission accomplished!
Work with Me!
Let’s talk! I can explain more about how the process works and answer any questions you have. We can discuss the multitude of options for you and figure out just the right fit, so that you can make the best memories on your vacation! You can reach me at [email protected] or 501.912.9241. I can’t wait to hear from you!