The ‘massive’ Disney fan and former Blue Bay Travel agent shares her highlights of the trip with Samantha Mayling
Q. What was the highlight of the trip?
A. The highlight was my photoshoot and being one of the few people in Hollywood Studios at 6am – where I saw the new Toy Story Land. The VIP treatment and insider knowledge from our VIP guides were amazing – as was meeting the characters.
Q. What was your favourite attraction?
A. It was Avatar Flight of Passage – wow! I’ve never experienced a ride where you want to cry at the end. You are fully immersed in the land of Pandora. It is a must-do. Pandora looks so pretty during the daytime, and it is even prettier at night when it’s glowing with lights.
They took us for afternoon tea at The Grand Floridian Resort & Spa; it had been my dream to visit since I first went to the theme park
Q. What was the VIP treatment like?
A. Our VIP guides were so knowledgeable and let us in on some Disney secrets. They took us for afternoon tea at The Grand Floridian Resort & Spa; it had been my dream to visit since I first went to the theme park. My other favourite VIP experience was the full body massage at Saratoga Springs. That was the best massage I’ve ever had – it was definitely needed after walking 20,000-plus steps a day. I’d never thought about spa treatments before, but when I go back, I will book another massage.
Q. What did you think of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge® attraction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios?
A. I’m not a fan of the Star Wars movies, but the attraction was something else. The Stormtroopers are funny, and you can have strange, smoking cocktails in Oga’s Cantina.
Q. Tell us about Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
A. Expedition Everest ride remains a firm favourite. I loved meeting the characters, especially the ones from Up, and getting their autographs. The Lion King show was super entertaining and one not to miss. The night-time River of Light show was incredible and quite emotional.
I love the parades with characters celebrating and dancing along Main Street U.S.A, and there is no better firework display than Magic Kingdom’s
Q. What was the best thing about EPCOT?
A. It’s quite a challenge to eat a delicacy from each country. We had VIP treatment at the China Pavilion and met Anna and Elsa from Frozen in the Norway Pavilion, which was brilliant. I recorded messages from the princesses for my niece, to give to her on her birthday.
Q. What did you think of Magic Kingdom Park?
A. When you see the castle, no matter if it’s the first or 10th time, it takes your breath away. It is home of the magic. I love the parades with characters celebrating and dancing along Main Street U.S.A, and there is no better firework display than Magic Kingdom’s. For Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, I dressed up as Sully from Monsters Inc, one of my favourite Disney/Pixar films and Sully was there, so I danced with him.
For Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, I dressed up as Sully from Monsters Inc, one of my favourite Disney/Pixar films
Q. Why did you enter the Cover Stars competition?
A. I’d only been in travel for 12 months but colleagues said it was the one for me. I thought others would win, not me. I actually wrote my entry at about 10pm, just two hours before the deadline. I thought I couldn’t miss this trip. Then I tried to get as many votes as possible: in the office, with customers and on social media.
Q. Where did you stay?
A. We stayed in the new Gran Destino Tower. This place is amazing. The rooms are spacious, with the comfiest beds. There were great views and I could see Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge® from my room.
Q. What did you think of the food and restaurants?
A. We ate in the best restaurants: Tiffins in Animal Kingdom, California Grill in the Disney’s Contemporary Resort with an incredible view across to Magic Kingdom Park, afternoon tea at Grand Floridian, and exclusive use of China Pavilion at EPCOT. It opened my eyes to how much more there is beyond the fast-food kiosks.
We stayed in the new Gran Destino Tower. This place is amazing. The rooms are spacious, with the comfiest beds
Q. Do you have any sales tips?
A. Staying on Disney property costs more but the benefits are 100% worth it. Pre-book the busy attractions and if customers have time, book a massage. Book at least one nice meal and definitely a character breakfast.
Hayley on… her career
I worked in hospitality and bridal shops, but I always wanted to get into travel because I had studied travel and tourism at college. In 2018, I became a Personal Travel Agent at Blue Bay Travel, an office-based role in Stoke-on-Trent. I loved my time there; it was like a little family. I was so sad to leave in 2021. One of the first girls I spoke to will be my bridesmaid at my wedding. There was lots of training and fam trips.
In 2018, I became a Personal Travel Agent at Blue Bay Travel, an office-based role in Stoke-on-Trent. I loved my time there; it was like a little family
Unfortunately, I moved on in 2021 after we’d had to work from home in the lockdowns. Afterwards, it was hard to adjust to the new travel rules and regulations, and I am now working with my partner in our own courier business. One day I hope to return to travel, as it is a passion.
A return to Disney World Resort is on the cards for 2024. I am heading off to Disneyland Paris® in early May for my hen do and then getting married two weeks later.