Monday, February 18, 2019

Meet Colleen!

Incredible Memories is growing!!  Please help us welcome Colleen to the family!

To help you get to know her, we've asked her some questions.  So pull up a chair, grab a cup of coffee (or cocoa), and meet Colleen!

Where do you call home?

Buffalo NY

Tell us about your family:
I am a single mom and school teacher with two adopted sons from India. Elliott came home and 2014 and Rajan joined our family in 2018. Both boys are six years old and definitely keep me on my toes. We also have a dog named Happy.

Where have you traveled?
The most unique place I’ve ever traveled has been India. Their culture is unlike anything I have ever seen and it is amazing.  I live about 15 minutes away from Niagara Falls so very lucky. I have been to the Bahamas and several islands in the Caribbean.  These tropical destinations were made possible due to amazing cruise lines such as the Disney Cruise line, Royal Caribbean and Carnival. Several years ago I took a cruise to Bermuda and not only was that location tropical but the people were so welcoming and accommodating. Growing up our vacation was always to Walt Disney World. We did once or twice venture to Cape Cod.

What is your favorite vacation destination?
Without a doubt my favorite vacation destination is Walt Disney World. I first experienced it when I was five years old and though it is been through many changes I still see the magic in every little detail.

Why did you become a travel agent?
I decided to become a travel agent after my most recent trip to Disney World in 2018. Actually, this was something I have thought about for several years I finally felt the need to take the leap. I planned every little detail for my family and loved seeing the joy on their faces. I think showing passion in small detail is important and I want all of my clients to experience that passion when booking a vacation through me.

What is your travel specialty?
Walt Disney World

What is your favorite Walt Disney World Resort?
This is tough for me because I’ve stated so many and have never had a bad experience. I had to choose I would choose the Polynesian Village resort. I have amazing memories growing up and staying there. I think the theming is so immersive. And you really cannot beat that location.

Favorite Walt Disney World attraction?
Haunted Mansion

Favorite Disney restaurant?
'Ohana for table service... Quick service would be anywhere that could give me a Mickey pretzel.

Favorite vacation memory?
Walking into Main Street USA this past son Rajan had only been in the United States for six months. I ran ahead of him so I could catch his first glimpse as he saw the castle for the first time. The look on his face is everything that Disney is all about. The magic came alive right before him. And of course his brother Elliott was also equally amazed though he has seen it once before.

What makes you passionate about being a travel agent?
I love making people happy. I love looking into little details that can make a difference. I’ve seen the way Kristy Durso books a vacation. She was with me from the initial consult until after the trip and even then we kept in touch. She had every detail of the itinerary set up for us so the only thing left for us to do was make memories. I want to be the person who can help families plan once in a lifetime or yearly trips and make memories that will last a lifetime. I also love finding great deals and I can’t wait to share these great deals with my clients. 

Monday, February 11, 2019

I love London!

As my family plans and anticipates our trip to England this summer, and I've been working on a client trip for the spring, I'm feeling rather nostalgic for England this week. Therefore, I have decided to write about London and reminisce about many of the wonderful things I've seen and done there.  And to fully reminisce the true experience that is England, I have a pot of tea in my Royal Albert china to sip on as I type.

My family loves theater!  Its "our thing."  We enjoy making an evening or day of it.  London's West End is an amazing place to experience theater.  We had the privilege of seeing many shows there, including Wicked (dare I confess I saw that one 3 times!), Les Miserables, Lion King, Matilda, Sound of Music, and Top Hat.

Waiting for Lion King to start
The London Eye , one of London's (and the world's) most iconic landmarks, is a giant Ferris wheel in London.  Its 32 capsules can each carry 25 people who can move around and enjoy a 360 degree view of the city during its approximately 30 minute rotation.  On a clear day passengers can see as far away as Windsor Castle - about 25 miles.

 This view of the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben was taken from our capsule on the London Eye.

This reconstruction of Shakespeare's Globe theater can be found along the south bank of the River Thames. Guests can learn more about Shakespeare and Elizabethan theatre during one of the tours and can also experience live productions.

Just as in Elizabethan times, seating is limited and audiences stand for the performances.

This spectacular costume for Queen Elizabeth is just one of many on display.  1400 pearls are hand sewn onto it. It took 90 minutes to put on the actor

Many of the museums in London are free and house some terrific collections.  Two of our favorites are The Victoria and Albert Museum and The British Museum

The Victoria and Albert Museum is the largest museum of decorate arts and design, and houses a permanent collection of over 2 million objects..

Because no visit to a museum with 5 children can not NOT include a stop at the museum restaurant, we indulged in this
 The British Museum is even larger and houses a permanent collection of over 8 million works. Its focus is human history, culture and art.  I couldn't begin to include photos of all the amazing artifacts it houses so I'll just limit it to these two which impressed us.
Samurai Warrior armor

The Rosette Stone

No visit to London is complete without visiting the Tower of London and getting a photo with the famed "Beefeaters".  Apparently its a family tradition for us!
In addition to the awesome photo op, the Tower of London is truly a fascinating history lesson with much to learn and see!


Have you really been to London if you haven't seen the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace? I can not put my hands on photos from the whole service which includes a band and marching,  but trust me, its worth seeing!

This is a blog not a novel, so I can only scratch the surface of things to see and do in London!  Definitely worth a trip!!

Friday, February 1, 2019

Incredible News!

Hey everybody!!!

It's not a Monday.  But there's a blog post.  


Because we've got big... no... INCREDIBLE news!!!!!

Incredible Memories Travel is OFFICIALLY open for business!!!

When I decided to start my own company, I brought two people with me.  Both these ladies are former military wives, and both area also adoptive mamas like me.  I brought both of them into the travel industry.  Melissa lived in Europe when her husband was active duty, and they traveled everywhere.  She LOVES to plan anything European.  Becca is fellow Disney lover, and has been planning her friends’ vacations for years.  What made these women special enough to bring into my business?  Compassion.  They both love travel, but even more, they care about the people they’re planning for.  They know that it may be a person’s once in a lifetime trip, so they want to make sure every detail is correct.  They know how hard it is for a family with special needs to travel, so they want to make sure there are as few bumps as possible.  They both love serving others, and have such amazing integrity in all they do.  They were exactly the people I wanted standing by my side when I opened my new business.  Amazingly, my little company is already growing!  In the coming weeks, each of them will be introducing themselves here, so be sure come back!

I am really, truly thankful to both my previous companies.  For Kingdom Konsulants.  Pam VanSyckle gave me a chance in the travel industry.  I had no experience.  I had just experienced the trip of a lifetime at Disney World.  Disney made magic happen by surprising my kids onstage at the Indiana Jones show with my husband, who returned a month early from a year long deployment.  Everywhere we went that trip, people knew who we were, and we were treated like royalty.  They made the trip so special for us, that when we returned home, I told my husband that I wanted to be a part of a company that did that, and I wanted to help other families experience what we had experienced.  Pam listened to my story, saw that I had dedicated myself to learning everything I could about Disney World, and took me in under her wing, and taught me how to plan amazing trips for others.  I fell in love with planning travel.

Soon, though, it became clear to me that I wanted more.  I didn’t want to just focus on Disney.  I wanted to be able to reach the special needs community.  A world that I was part of that not many people understand.  Planning a vacation can be complicated.  Planning a vacation with children  can be overwhelming.  Planning a vacation for people with special needs takes everything to a whole other level.  Disney, of course, is amazing with special needs and allergies.  It’s one of the reasons I love Disney so much!  But I began to realize that there had to be other companies out there that could also makeaccommodations.  My eyes were opened to a whole new world.

When I decided it was time to move on in my Journey, Stacie at Dreams Come True Travel, LLC  offered to bring me on and teach me how to eventually run own my own company.  With Stacie's full blessing, I brought Melissa on with me, and we launched our blog here, knowing that one day, we would open Incredible Memories Travel.  With Stacie's confidence in me, I learned the ins and outs of building relationships with great vendors, how to train up a team to have outstanding customer service, and the importance of standing up for my agents.  Less than two years later, here I am.  Moving forward with my own company, and my own team. 

Over the last year, I’ve had more and more limits put on my by my health.  I used to run half marathons.  Now, I have trouble making it down the hallway.  I can't really go anywhere alone.  I can’t last the day at a theme park (and we only live an hour away from Disney).  It’s been hard, and a bit scary. 

But there is still one thing that makes me feel like I’m soaring.  It’s making people’s vacation dreams a reality. 

I love talking to a client for the first time, and hearing their hesitation as they wonder if what they want is even possible.

I love the wonder in their voice when they find out that YES, in fact, we CAN do that!

I love when I get a text in the middle of the night from a panicked client, because they trust that I will do what I can to fix what’s wrong, no matter the time. 

I love when my clients simply say, “I trust you.”  They know that I am dialed in to their needs, and I have listened to what they want. 

I love when I get calls from the same clients the next year, asking if I can help them again. 

Most of all, I love when a client with special needs calls me, and tells me that they heard I was the right person to help them plan their trip, because I have special needs, too. 

At Incredible Memories, I am building a team of compassionate, knowledgable agents who are just as focused as I am on making sure you get the trip you want.  I am so excited to see where this journey will take us, and I hope you will let us take you on a journey of your own, so you can build your own Incredible Memories.