Former Cumbria Travel agent Demi-Jade McGee looks back on VIP experience and talks of her dreams of returning to the industry she loves. By Harry Kemble.
Q. Why did you enter Cover Stars?
A. I am a huge Disney fan and to go on the Cover Stars trip to Walt Disney World Resort was my ultimate dream. I entered after Travel Weekly said this was going to be the last Cover Stars and it was going to be a VIP trip. I then pestered as many people as possible to vote for me, but I wasn’t sure how I’d get on as I saw so many amazing entries.
One visit in particular stands out; I got engaged in front of the castle at Disneyland in California on December 5, 2017
Q. Had you been to Walt Disney World Resort before?
A. Yes, on a few occasions. I am a Disney freak and am quite happy to admit that. One visit in particular stands out; I got engaged in front of the castle at Disneyland in California on December 5, 2017. Everyone else was interested in going on the rides, but my husband Kieran and I headed to the castle, where he proposed to me. I’ll never forget it.
Q. What did you love most about the Cover Stars trip?
A. Probably the food. Most people who go to Florida expect theme park food, but what we ate on this trip was incredible. Our meal at Tiffins Restaurant in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park was beautiful and we also really enjoyed our visit to California Grill at the Contemporary Resort, where we had a three course meal on the rooftop and watched a fireworks display. Once we’d finished our dinner we went out onto the balcony and watched the display with a big group of people. We were all crying and singing together, it was so emotional.
Q. What was your favourite attraction?
A. It would have to be Avatar Flight of Passage, which had only been open for one year before our visit. It really took my breath away as it was fully immersive. It’s still my all-time favourite ride to this day. There is so much to do in Disney’s theme parks; they’ve got it down to a fine art. Nobody does it like Disney.
There is so much to do in Disney’s theme parks; they’ve got it down to a fine art. Nobody does it like Disney
Q. What was your favourite theme park?
A. My favourite has to be Magic Kingdom Park. It’s called Magic Kingdom for a reason. It doesn’t matter how old you are, you will feel like a kid again when you’re in that place.
Q. What did you think of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios?
A. My husband is a massive Star Wars fan and after visiting Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge without him, I thought he might have second thoughts about the marriage. I thought it was absolutely phenomenal; you genuinely feel as though you’re on another planet. It’s a completely different world and I loved every second of it. We had the best time on the Millennium Falcon – Smugglers Run ride. I went on the ride with [fellow Cover Star] Ryan [Sowney]. He was my best friend from the trip. We were told to give it everything we had on the ride and we certainly did that. It was like we were in the film ourselves, we fully believed we were part of the Star Wars universe. We both still talk about it to this day.
Q. Tell us about Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park.
A. It makes me laugh every time I think back to our day at Typhoon Lagoon. We spent an hour-and-a half waiting to get our taxi and then the heavens opened as soon as we arrived at the water park. We joked that it was Disney taking it to the next level by making it as immersive as possible. We were fully soaked but we loved it, there are so many incredible rides to go on.
The heavens opened as soon as we arrived at the water park; we joked that it was Disney taking it to the next level by making it as immersive as possible
Q. What was your photoshoot like?
A. It was a dream come true. I felt like a real-life princess. It took place in front of Cinderella Castle, where they had cornered off the entrance so no one could go there. I didn’t get any sleep the night before and I had to be up at 4am, but it was so worth it. People thought I was a celebrity and I was given about 20 balloons to hold. I genuinely thought I was living my own fairytale!
Demi-Jade on… Leaving travel
I left travel after the pandemic hit. I was working for Cumbria Travel and I absolutely loved it. However, it was an independent agency, so the furlough scheme did not really work for them because they needed us working and helping customers.
I absolutely loved being there for customers, trying to help them and fix everything that I possibly could. Cumbria Travel tried their best, but our hours started to get reduced and before long we were working from home.
I love travel and helping customers so much, so it was tough for me to take and I miss the industry
My husband is self-employed so it was a very difficult time for us, although we did also get married and move to a new house that year. Eventually I had to make the heartbreaking decision to leave Cumbria Travel.
I love travel and helping customers so much, so it was tough for me to take and I miss the industry. I now work as a manager at the Civil Nuclear Constabulary and it’s a completely different job.
I really want to get back into travel, it’s still my passion. If it weren’t for Covid, I would definitely still be in the industry.