Sunderland-based Dawson & Sanderson agent recalls her daybreak photoshoot. Juliet Dennis reports
Q. Had you been to Walt Disney World Resort before?
A. No, before this trip I’d only been to Disneyland® Paris when I was at school. This was my first time to Disney as an adult. Having now been, I feel able to sell it in a way I couldn’t have done before I entered Cover Stars. You can’t sell a destination as well until you have experienced it. Now I can talk and talk about it. I have made bookings since going on the trip and given my colleagues advice.
I went to the park during the early hours of the morning for my photoshoot and that in itself was one of the best experiences of my life
Q. What made the trip so special?
A. The best bit for me was meeting all the other Cover Stars. We’ve all become so close and they helped me to get through the pandemic. There has just been so much support from them and most of us have kept in touch.
Q. What was your favourite part of the park?
A. I loved Pandora – The World of AVATAR within Disney’s Animal Kingdom. I went to the park during the early hours of the morning for my photoshoot and that in itself was one of the best experiences of my life, getting to go to the park when nobody else was there. Pandora is an amazing place, a different world and just breathtaking. My favourite ride was also there, AVATAR Flight of Passage. It’s difficult to describe the ride until you experience it.
Q. How was the photoshoot?
A. I had my photoshoot at Pandora – The World of AVATAR. It was all trees and vines, which was surreal. Animal Kingdom has a special meaning for me now because it’s where I had my photoshoot.
I’m not really a Star Wars fan but I couldn’t believe how amazing this ride was. It made me want to watch the films
Q. What did you think of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge® at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and other attractions at Hollywood Studios?
A. I’m not really a Star Wars fan but I couldn’t believe how amazing this ride was. It made me want to watch the films. I also enjoyed the Toy Story attraction. I’d love to take my son Joshua there when he’s old enough. It makes you feel like a toy because everything is so large.
Q. How was EPCOT?
A. I liked the Soarin’ Around the World flight simulator. I’m terrified of heights but I was OK on this ride because it wasn’t too high up. It makes you feel like you are riding around the world. It was an amazing experience. EPCOT also has a food and wine festival and it was fun to try out the different food places.
Having a spa day was not something I knew you could do at a Disney hotel so it’s something to suggest to clients. It was the best back massage I’ve ever had!
Q. Tell us about your spa and afternoon cream tea.
A. Having a spa day was not something I knew you could do at a Disney hotel so it’s something to suggest to clients. It was the best back massage I’ve ever had! You have to wear sensible footwear at Disney because you walk a lot each day. There’s no better way to relax than going for a spa treatment at one of the hotels. We spent a morning at the spa at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa. I didn’t expect to have a cream tea at Disney, it’s such an English thing. We had tea in the Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. It was such a nice way to spend an afternoon.
Q. What was Mickey Not-So-Scary Halloween Party like?
A. This involved probably the best fireworks display I’ve ever seen! There was a great Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular stage show based on the Disney film. The night‑time parade in the Magic Kingdom park was very different to the one during the day. It was so much fun to watch! All the agents got involved in dressing up for the event. I was a pirate from Pirates of the Caribbean.
I’d definitely do [Typhoon Lagoon] on a day when you want to relax – they have sun loungers and you can just chill
Q. How was your day at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon water park?
A. We went on a day when it was lashing it down with rain. It didn’t matter, it was such a fun day with lots of laughs. We went on a few of the slides and the rides and swam in the water and the Lazy River. I’d definitely do it on a day when you want to relax – they have sun loungers and you can just chill. You put all your stuff in a locker and just relax and enjoy it knowing all your valuables are safe.
Tell us about your career in travel
I started in travel in 2012 as an administrative apprentice for Hays Travel. I then went to work for Thomas Cook as a sales consultant before I joined my current employer Dawson & Sanderson. I was working at the Washington branch when I put in my entry for this Cover Stars trip.
[My son] was born in June 2021; he’s 17 months old now. I came back to work at Dawson & Sanderson in January and am now at the Sunderland branch
During the pandemic, I left the industry after I found out I was pregnant in September 2020. I worked outside of the industry for my brother and sister‑in‑law’s online business called Bath Bomb Bliss. I was retail manager for the business until I went on maternity leave. Joshua was born in June 2021; he’s 17 months old now. I came back to work at Dawson & Sanderson in January this year and am now at the Sunderland branch three days a week.
Walt Disney World Resort in Florida is definitely on the hit‑list to visit again when my little boy is old enough! Even looking through the photos makes me so happy; to have these memories is so valuable.