This week marks the third year of my tenure with the DVC Rental Store. Now, granted, that’s not a super long time to have worked somewhere, so I don’t expect you to be impressed. Still, it’s been such a fun and exciting journey for me, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to share it with you.
Three years ago, I was five months pregnant with our first child, Calvin. I was scared, as all new moms are (if they are willing to admit it), about a number of things. In June, at the top of my list of concerns was the fact that the small, local non-profit I currently worked for was relocating to another state, taking with it my job security, health insurance, maternity leave, etc. I am so thankful that at that time, some family friends offered me the opportunity to earn a living doing something I love.
I’ll admit, the first time I met the auspicious Paul Little, I really wasn’t sure what to think about this new (to me) business venture. Paul, if you have had the pleasure of meeting him, is a delightful human being. He’s a pleasure to be around and yes – he knows everything there is to know about Disney. But (sorry Paul) his website at the time was pretty sad looking, and I still couldn’t wrap my head around exactly what it was that the DVC Rental Store actually did. Over the next weeks and months, Paul and I got to know each other, and I became the Padawan to his Jedi, learning the ins and outs of DVC Rentals, while simultaneously getting to quench my thirst for learning all things Disney without feeling guilty about whiling away countless hours on every reputable blog I could find. Plus, beginning this new line of employment has given me every needed reason to take a few Disney trips for “research” purposes. What better way to be versed in my product?
I can remember booking my first Guest after “graduating” from the more hands-on portions of my training, and wondering how I would remember all the steps in the process, or if I could really be successful as someone who plans and books vacations. It just seemed far too fun to be a real job… you know?
Flash forward three years, and I can honestly say that I do not love every minute of my job, but most of them are just really great. I have had the privilege of working with Guests from all over the world – the United States, Canada, China, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Philippines, United Kingdom, Switzerland, South Africa, and Mexico to name a few. It’s a joy to see families vacationing in different ways, but ending up equally as pleased. I’ve worked with families in all stages of life, celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, honeymoons, family reunions, health milestones, engagement, retirement, or just simply the chance to be together.
Early on, I booked a very special trip for a woman and her husband, who had just suffered from a Traumatic Brain Injury. She and I communicated often about the different facets of their vacation, and all the planning it would take to ensure that they both had a safe and enjoyable time away. I remember pacing out how long it would take them to walk from Bay Lake Tower to the Contemporary’s monorail station, being sure not to walk too quickly and give her an overly optimistic estimate. The love she showed for her husband by taking care in every little detail was inspirational and wonderful to behold. I still read her blog to this day to keep up on how they’re both doing, and it’s been an absolute pleasure to get to know her. Of course, I don’t have a lasting friendship with every Guest, but there are several I’m so fortunate to have met through the DVC Rental Store, who I continue to keep in touch with.
I once booked a family reunion for a family from New Jersey who reserved close to a dozen rooms at the BoardWalk. I had so much fun working with them, I stopped just short of asking to join their family. They’ve since returned several times, though not all together. There’s another family in Georgia I’m particularly fond of, who have booked numerous trips to WDW and a couple of cruises. I can already tell that their little princess, like me, will grow up with a love of all things Disney. Maybe she’ll even tell people, as I do, “I grew up at Disney World.” That may be a bit of an embellishment, but so many of my treasured memories from growing up happened at the Most Magical Place on Earth. That’s why, as a parent now, we make vacationing with our kids a priority; and why I so appreciate the opportunity to help you do the same.
I’ve felt the simultaneous joy and pain as your kids grow another year older (those 3- and 10- year birthdays sure are painful for a number of reasons, aren’t they?), and the excitement as we discover that, yes, your youngest is now tall enough to ride Splash Mountain! You’ve been kind enough to share wedding pictures, family videos, and your genuine vacation excitement with me time and again. So, even though it’s “only” been three years, it’s been thousands of vacations, millions of memories, and enough shared joy to last a lifetime. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of some of the most important days of your lives. Here’s wishing you many, many more!