Former sales consultant Kerry Mead recalls her experience on board Disney Dream and at the Florida theme parks on the trip of a lifetime. She spoke to Juliet Dennis
Q. Why did you enter Cover Stars?
A. It was my 40th birthday and I was aware it was the last Cover Stars trip. I knew people who had been on previous trips so I thought ‘why not?’ It was an absolute pleasure to get together with the other Cover Stars. We got on so well and most of us are still in contact. If someone needs some information on travel we help each other – another benefit of the trip!
Q. What was the trip highlight?
A. My biggest highlight was watching the fireworks from the top of Disney’s Contemporary Resort, it was magical. I’d never been to Walt Disney World Resort Florida before and I knew I’d never get to experience it in the same way. We were lucky to have VIP guides that put us in great viewing spots with no one in front of us, like at the parade. We experienced it in the best possible way.
I have been on a cruise before, but having done this trip, I would love to take my kids on a Disney cruise
Q. You had your photoshoot on a Disney cruise ship. What was it like?
A. The photoshoot was great and Disney Dream was just amazing. I don’t know how they keep everything looking so spick and span; the whole ship was immaculate. I was on deck to start off with and then it started raining, so the photographer took some of the photos inside. The ship was beautiful. We did a tour and spent most of the day on board. I have been on a cruise before, but having done this trip, I would love to take my kids on a Disney cruise. We ate lunch at Animator’s Palate and the food was wonderful.
Q. What was your favourite attraction?
A. Avatar Flight of Passage. I went on it twice! It’s like you are flying; you can feel the air on your face. The special effects are amazing. You don’t see anybody, even though there are rows of people behind you.
I think you can be any age to go to Disney, from three to 90, and it’s magical for everyone in different ways
Q. What was your favourite theme park?
A. Magic Kingdom Park. Seeing the castle for the first time as you walk in, for me that was Disney and meant we were there. I think you can be any age to go to Disney, from three to 90, and it’s magical for everyone in different ways.
Q. What did you think of EPCOT?
A. We went to Epcot for a food and drink festival; it was all to die for. There were all these little huts selling food from around the world. And the festival was small enough that you could get round to all the different countries to try out the food.
The park seems to change in the click of a finger and it closes later on those days. One night we were there after midnight
Q. What was the Mickey Not So Scary Halloween Party like?
A. I can’t believe how much effort everyone makes to dress up. Everyone was in fancy dress: adults, kids, grannies, grandads. The park seems to change in the click of a finger and it closes later on those days. One night we were there after midnight.
Q. Tell us about the hotel you stayed in?
A. Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort & Gran Destino Tower was an ideal, stunning location. There were courtesy buses running to and from the park and the property has large grounds with a massive lake and swimming pool. I’d recommend it to anyone going to Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. One day, we relaxed by the pool. It was so serene and peaceful; you wouldn’t think you were at Disney.
Tell clients to plan their trips and what they want to do each day as it’s easy to miss so much
Q. How did the trip help you with making bookings? Do you have any sales tips?
A. I made bookings after the trip and was able to help colleagues if they had questions about park tickets. My tips for other agents would be to stay in a hotel with shuttle buses instead of paying for car parking, and to tell clients to plan their trips and what they want to do each day as it’s easy to miss so much. For example, we went to The Grand Floridian Resort & Spa for afternoon tea and Grand Floridian Spa – not something you’d think to do on a Disney trip.
Kerry on… her career
Since April last year I’ve been a Jet2holidays customer services executive. I work from home and go to Leeds once every other month. Before that, from 2008 to 2020, I was a Travel Republic sales consultant. I loved that job, but I was made redundant because of the pandemic. It was a crazy time: we worked from home from March 2020 and were cancelling and rebooking holidays for July 2020. In September 2020, the whole sales team was made redundant. I started my career at Thomas Cook as a modern apprentice at 16. Within three-and-a- half years I was branch manager – the youngest employed by Cooks at the time.
It was a crazy time: we worked from home from March 2020 and were cancelling and rebooking holidays for July 2020
Not long after, I found out I was expecting. After the birth of my first child, I went back to branch and worked every other Sunday. I fell pregnant again, and went back part-time, and then I had my twins! I had four children under four! Towards the end of my time at Cooks I felt like a number. They wanted anyone on fewer than 16 hours to increase their hours; I decided to take redundancy after 21 years’ service.