Small World Big Fun agent, Ashley Russell is a North Little Rock, Ark. native and a CPA by trade, working in both public and private accounting. As her children left home, Ashley decided it was time to change her career path.
“A friend of mine who was in a sorority with Cindy [Minor, owner of Small World Big Fun] knew I wanted to do something different as I transitioned into being an empty nester,” Ashley said. “She knew I had planned many family trips and that I loved Disney, so she suggested that I contact her.”
As an accountant, Ashley is naturally very detail oriented, which is an essential skill to have when planning travel. She loves working with all types of customers, but she finds those people who have never been to a Disney property and have no real expectations are extra fun to plan for.
“I love Disney and Universal, getting lost in a story,” she said. “I also love international travel and discovering new places so don’t restrict yourself to Disney if you want me to plan your vacation!”
Ashley’s Top Three Disney Tips
- Enjoy the moment and don’t stress! You can’t do everything in a day, don’t try!
- Take a screenshot of your daily itinerary on the My Disney Experience (MDE) and make it your screen on your phone. You can easily see what’s next at a glance and not run down your battery.
- Wear comfy shoes!
Ashley’s Top 3 favorite Disney attractions
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is a really fun roller coaster ride.
- Any of the fireworks shows are “don’t miss” attractions.
- Kilimanjaro Safari where you can see real African animals in their natural habitats!
All Disney Pros Are Not Alike
Ashley warns that potential vacationers will find many self-proclaimed “experts” on the Disney DIY pages and blogs who are not giving accurate information about the theme parks and the overall experience.
“I used to be guilty of listening to them,” she says. “It makes it difficult for some people to reconcile the realities when they come to us with these unrealistic expectations that have been set by someone who really doesn’t have the Disney knowledge that our agents do.”
Walt Disney World has a nearly infinite amount of combinations of options for resorts, dining, tickets, and Fast Passes, and trying to plan an agenda can be time-consuming and overwhelming to work through.
“I can help you sort through all of the options and find the best combination for your family, which will be different from another family’s experience,” Ashley said. “Also, no matter how many times your friend or favorite blogger has been to Disney, it cannot possibly be as many times as the SWBF team has been.”
Helping families make memories
Ashley tells the story of one of her favorite vacations she planned for a client:
“A mom, who has a daughter with special needs, wanted to take her son to Walt Disney World. She likes to take a vacation with just the two of them every once in a while,” she said. “With two kids, one a special needs child, she has a lot to deal with on a daily basis. I think I helped take some of that stress and pressure off of her so she could relax and enjoy time with her son.”
Working with Ashley
“There is no longer a ‘slow’ season at Walt Disney World, but we can make any time work with good planning (It does help if you have your dates narrowed down). Just call or email me!”
You can reach Ashley at 501-580-0618 or [email protected].