Cover Stars: Holly Wood returns to Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom where she got engaged


Holly Wood, customer experience manager at Tui Gatwick and former Lunn Poly travel agent talks to Josie Klein about what made the Cover Stars photoshoot special

Q. Why did you enter Cover Stars?
A. I’d helped other colleagues with their applications a few years prior, but it was my 20-year work anniversary in 2020 and I thought it would be an amazing way to celebrate the milestone. The destination was a huge draw as I love all things Disney. I knew it would be a moneycan’t- buy experience so I was over the moon when I won.

Q. Had you been to Walt Disney World Resort before?
A. I had been in 2017, and it will always hold a special place in my heart as it’s where my husband proposed. He popped the question in front of the iconic Cinderella Castle, so Disney will always be the place where my dreams came true. Last time I went I had my three kids with me, so to go with other Cover Stars was a different and incredible experience.

Q. What was the highlight of the trip?
A. The best part was the relationships I made with the other Cover Stars. We all created a special bond and felt like a family, which I didn’t expect. I was really nervous before I left, but as soon as we met we all clicked. We keep in touch now through a WhatsApp group and have experienced so much together, especially going through the pandemic. It has been amazing to have that level of support from such a lovely group of people.

Q. What was your favourite attraction?
A. Avatar Flight of Passage in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park was amazing – even the surroundings from the entrance to attraction felt magical. Every detail has been thought about and the ride draws you in with its special effects. You feel like you’re part of the Avatar world.

I would never have thought about factoring in spa time, but it gave us some much-needed downtime and let us recharge during the busy trip

Q. What else stood out for you?
A. We went for a spa day at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa and I had the best massage I have ever had. It was a lightbulb moment for me as I would never have thought about factoring in spa time, but it gave us some much-needed downtime and let us recharge during the busy trip. I would definitely recommend it to anyone planning on going. For us Brits, Florida is five hours behind so you’re always awake early, which gives you ample time to fit it in early in the day.

Holly Wood Tui Gatwick cover stars 2

Q. How was your afternoon tea at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa?
A. Exquisite is the only word for it – it was such a special experience. The food was delicious and the atmosphere was brilliant. The waiters had such great personalities and worked really hard to make us feel as special as possible, which we most certainly did.

Q. What did you think of Disney Springs?
A. It was amazing. My favourite bit was the Christmas shop that’s there year-round, and I couldn’t help but buy some Disney Princess figurines for my tree. I would recommend going to Disney Springs for a couple of hours in the morning or evening.

Holly Wood Tui Gatwick cover stars 3

Q. What was your photoshoot like?
A. I was incredibly nervous but the team was fantastic and made me feel confident. I was thrilled when I found out my photoshoot was in Magic Kingdom Park as it’s obviously my favourite park after I got engaged there. The shoot took place at the Walt Disney World Railroad, which was great, and it had an amazing view of the Cinderella Castle behind me. I’ve never done anything like that before and I felt so special.

Q. Any sales tips?
A. Don’t cut any corners when helping customers plan their trip – time, effort and genuine interest will really pay off. Although the planning may take more time than booking a standard holiday, the client will appreciate it and might become a customer for life. I would also recommend personalising the trip for each customer. Don’t treat them like they are next in line, act as if they are a one-off.

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Holly on… moving from sales to Gatwick

I started as an apprentice aged 15 at Lunn Poly in Littlehampton and worked my way up to become retail manager.

I stayed in the business for 20 years, working at several different shops but ultimately coming back to Littlehampton. In June 2020 I found out that my shop was closing, which was a bitter pill to swallow. I then moved to Tui Airways as part of the Gatwick base team and have spent the past two years working as a customer experience manager.

I enjoy my role but I do miss sales and I really miss my customers, many of whom I’d had for a number of years

It was strange going from being the expert to being the new person, but I love a challenge and I always give 100% to everything I do, so I picked up my new job and ran with it.

I enjoy my role but I do miss sales and I really miss my customers, many of whom I’d had for a number of years. However, I know they are being looked after by some wonderful people in retail.

Would I go back into sales? Never say never…


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