Disney travel concierge: Clients are both wary, eager to visit the parks

Business News

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) ─ They say a dream is a wish your heart makes, and for Disney lovers, that means walking down Main Street again.

It may be time to pack your mouse ears and dream about churros again. Disney World is re-opening two of it’s parks on July 11.

Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom will be the first parks to open as the resort welcomes customers back. Epcot and Hollywood studios will open a few days later on July 15.

Some Rhode Islanders may have missed their Disney trips due to the closures caused by COVID 19, and according to travel concierge Melissa Chalek, it’s about that time where families begin thinking about traveling to the most magical place on earth.

But it won’t be the same experience visitors are used to.

“It’s definitely going to look a lot different if you’re familiar with Disney and have been a lot,” Chalek said. “There’s going to be certain things that you expect, you’re going to have to wear a mask.”

Chalek said other people she works with aren’t sure they want to make the trip due to the many new restrictions in place.

On its website, Disney said restaurants at the parks may be modified or even closed. The same goes for events, including firework displays.

“It may be different from the last time you visited. But together, we can find new ways to create magical moments—and memories to treasure,” the website states.

Chalek, who lives in Woonsocket, is an independent consultant for the company Ears of Experience, which specializes in theme park travel.

As a travel concierge, she not only helps her clients get to Orlando, she also helps them plan their days at each park too.

Chalek said she’s been told there will no longer be any fast passes distributed and visitors must make a reservation for the park they want to go to ahead of time.

She also said travelers won’t be able to meet-and-greet with their favorite characters to ensure social distancing. These changes make some of Chalek’s clients hesitant to re-book their trips anytime soon.

“Some of these families, this is their big trip, they save for years sometimes to go, so they don’t want to spend the money to go when the parks only going to be a quarter open,” Chalek explained. “So now they are completely losing out and looking at 2021 for rescheduling.”

Even though some of her clients are wary, she said many Rhode Islanders are eager to visit the parks no matter what.

Chalek herself said she is going to the park in August and is excited to see how they operate, but she also understands her clients’ concerns.

She said people who already have trips already booked are still undecided.

“The people who are booked in the fall are more hesitant like ‘hmm..I don’t know,'” Chalek said. ” The families I have who are more booked during the holiday time, they’re still holding out, they want to see what happens.”

Chalek expects Disney to adjust their restrictions as they go to ensure the experience is enjoyable.

Now more than ever, she’s encouraging people to book with a travel service.

“With everything changing now due to COVID, you’re not going to be able to go on the internet and research and find the answer, because there’s very little that’s been released,” she said. “Agents who specialize in these destinations they get special training from Disney. We know what’s happening and can give you the best information.”

Dr. Pam Hymel, Disney’s chief medical officer, recently wrote a blog post about the parks’ reopening, which includes details on what to expect and important information visitors should know.

“We will do some things differently when we return, but what has not changed is the special Disney magic that awaits you at each of our destinations around the world,” she wrote.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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