Last week, I spent 4 very full days training onsite at Walt Disney World.
I joined 100 of my fellow agents and toured 23 Resorts, spent hours in classroom trainings and experienced my first VIP tour.
People who know me often ask why I need to “train” in Walt Disney World. After all, I do visit rather frequently. The thing is, Disney World (and all Disney destinations for that matter) changes frequently. My recommendation or plan of attack for Disney in February will most likely be different by summer. New rides, attractions, rules, dining and accommodations are constantly in the works. So No, I don’t know if all.
My training kicked off at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. We gathered in a conference room, connected with our fellow agents and had a session regarding Travel Insurance. Afterwards, we were broken into teams for a Scavenger Hunt. This was such a fun activity and I actually saw a few things at the Monorail resorts that I had never seen.
That night I experienced another first. We enjoyed dinner and a show at the Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue at Fort Wilderness Campground. This was quite an experience! It’s a lively, silly show accompanied by an all-you-can eat down home dinner.
We started out bright and early the next day to tour Official Disney World hotels located at Disney Springs. This was a great opportunity to see first hand some of the options visitors have outside of the park resorts. Some offer larger rooms and they all offer a few of the onsite perks of Disney Resorts, such as Extra Magic Hours, character breakfasts, and shuttle service.
That evening we attended one of my favorite special events, Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. This year’s party had brand new fireworks and they did not disappoint! If you have never attended the party, be sure to add it to your bucket list when in Disney! The event features great character interaction, special shows and trick or treating in the Magic Kingdom!
A full day of classroom training with Disney representatives followed and we were even treated to a visit from 2 very special guests!
The next day of training was my favorite! We toured Disney’s onsite resorts! We learned some of the backstory of several resorts, as well as which resorts have been renovated and when to expect it for other resorts.
Here are just a few things I learned that will allow me to serve you better!
Which resorts have refurbished rooms and where they are located within a building?
Coffee maker type is not uniform throughout the property, but I now know how to find out whether you have a Keurig or Cuisinart Pod coffee maker in your room?
Did you know that with refurbishments, resorts have only a limited number of rooms with bathtubs. I do and I know how to make sure you get one!
Are you a beer aficionado? I can tell you the only resort whose Club Level has a lounge that offers speciality beers on Tap!
I can tell you which resorts have connecting rooms, the size of the resort, extra Magical experiences that can be customized for you, which building within the resort fits your needs and so much more.
Our tour guide shared information about a character experience at a brand new resort that she herself had only learned within the last day. And she gave us a heads up to a major room occupancy change that could happen at any time.
During my training, I split my stay between Disney’s Coronado Springs and Disney’s Contemporary Resort.
Coronado Springs is a moderate resort, but it certainly has a Deluxe resort feel, especially if staying in the brand new Gran Destino Tower. This newly renovated resort is the only moderate property offering Club level rooms. In fact, this resort has more room categories than the other moderate resorts. Adults can enjoy stunning views from the Dahlia Lounge or Toledo signature dining. Coronado Springs is definitely a great choice for your next Disney stay.
I spent my last two nights at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. The Contemporary is a deluxe resort located directly on the Monorail line, making it quick and easy to get to and from the Magic Kingdom and Epcot.
Contemporary is home to some great dining options such as Chef Mickey’s and the California Grill, which offers beautiful views of the Magic Kingdom. Time your reservation just right and catch the nightly fireworks.
I really enjoyed the split stay. My luggage was delivered from Coronado Springs to the Contemporary and it gave me the opportunity to experience two resorts that I had never stayed in before. Disney makes it very convenient to do this.
Finally, the big day arrived! My very first VIP tour! Our group met at Hollywood Studios. We were greeted by our VIP guide and headed straight to Galaxy’s Edge to ride Smuggler’s Run. We entered an area that I can only assume will eventually be the FastPass Line and were led directly to our ride. It was incredible.
After Galaxy’s Edge we took a quick walk and entered Toy Story Land for Quick rides on Slinky Dog Dash and Toy Story Mania. Next up, we moved to the front of the line for Rockin’ Roller Coaster and the Tower of Terror.
Once we ended our time at Hollywood Studios we were taken through a back door and loaded into our private van. We drove to Animal Kingdom and entered the park at a back entrance to Pandora. We literally walked up a set of stairs to Flights of Passage and hopped right on! Then we rode Expedition Everest – twice!
After we conquered Everest it was back to our private transport for a quick ride to Epcot for our final ride of the day, Soarin’. In between rides and during our transfers, the guides shared stories and tips. It was an experience I would recommend to all Disney fans. It comes with a price tag, but it is so worth it. You can design the tour to meet your personal needs. No two tours are the same.
I had some free time for the evening and made sure to make my way to the Magic Kingdom for fireworks.
Overall, I had a lot of fun, but more importantly I learned so much! I saw things at the resorts I had never seen. I gained insight in to additional qualifying questions I can ask potential clients to be sure they end up at the best resort for them and I learned even more about the extra experiences I can plan.
Have you ever taken a VIP or Behind the Scenes tour at Disney World?