It all started innocently enough, about a year ago, over pizza. My wife and I had been invited to go on vacation, to Walt Disney World and on a cruise, with two friends….another tour guide and his wife, a meeting planner. For the purposes of this article I’ll call them Jim and Jane, because those are their names. My wife Kyra, an ITMI trained Tour Guide and Tour Director, is an excellent planner. Jim, another ITMI graduate, adds to the planning pedigree; and Jane brings it to an entirely new level, in triplicate, with annotations.
To begin with, we had to schedule our travel dates, the days in the parks vs. on the ship. This was easily accomplished by Kyra, in concert with Jane. Their phone calls, and or e-mails generally happened in the early morning hours. While I was dreaming of a nice vacation, they were drafting calendars. Before I had my morning coffee I was scheduled to be at the Magic Kingdom at the 8am rope drop one year hence. I hadn’t even showered yet and already I had a blind date with Daisy Duck. Then it was on to airfare-again accomplished while I was asleep. I had an aisle seat and a comfy bed all at once.
Several weeks later a conference call between the four of us highlighted the various excursions we wanted to take while on the cruise. My two cents: “how much does that one cost?” The other three: “How long is the excursion and what time will we get back to the ship and have time to change clothes and be able to make (a) this movie, (b) that show, (c) that dinner reservation, (d) or that mixology class?” My reply: “Yum…Mixology”. Then another pizza outing to firm up plans, at which point Jane shows us her spreadsheet(s), planning book and various computer programs and mobile apps. I had the pepperoni.
We all have timeshares, so room reservations in two different resorts, one before and one after the cruise, are arranged, double checked and locked in. I leave this to Kyra, the scheduler. Jim rents a car and takes on driving duty. I am assured that they will all point me in the right direction at the appropriate time so I won’t get lost. At this point I am content to nod, say “yes dear” and distractedly chew my food.
So the day finally comes and we are set to travel, Kyra having arranged a taxi to the airport. We arrive, a couple of days early, check in, eat, and visit Epcot. Jim and Jane arrive a couple of days later, and I am astounded to find that we all have reservations at various restaurants, all arranged with a Disney I Phone app and a meeting planning app provided by Jane. We all know when we are going to the parks, meeting friends and finally embarking on the cruise. They arranged all of this in a spectacularly organized fashion. The fact that I know which one is the salad fork is surprising enough, but I made it wherever we were going, holding my wife’s hand as we crossed the street.
When we finally made it to the cruise ship, we were equally well planned and had a glorious time, and I enjoyed it immensely! The food was wonderful, the drinks plentiful, the service excellent, and the schedule remarkably relaxing. While I may describe a frenetic trip, in actuality the planning powers allowed time for much needed rest and relaxation (between the hours of 3:00 and 3:15pm).
So I vacationed with two tour guides and a meeting planner….and I didn’t get lost once!