Tuesday, April 1, 2014

A Paper Chain, Lead Me To An Internet Trail, Which Led Me to A Travel Agent!!!

It's so funny how something simple, such as a paper chain "pin", on pinterest, could lead to something so much greater!  Let me explain...

As I began planning my Disney trip, I started to realize that it was beginning to take over me.  For those of you who know me and know me WELL, you understand exactly what I mean.  Recall Lilah and Jax's 1st birthday party? I was a mother to an almost 5 year old, rambunctious boy and (2) 10 month old twins. I started planning the twins' 1st birthday party on December 31st... their birthday is March 25th. As the weeks progressed, I was staying up until 3 a.m., most nights, and waking back up at 5 a.m. to workout. Closer to the party date, my body was failing me, and I broke out in hives.  E-V-E-R-Y-W-H-E-R-E.  The doctor said it was stress related. Uh- yea!!! Let's see, a mother of 3 only getting 2 hours of sleep nightly? Hives are so ITCHY, I must add. My girlfriend/sister in Christ, Jill, decided to rebuke me and remind me that my treasure should be Christ. She was right.  I have still been able to maintain my stupendous party throwing image :), but I have definitely kept things in perspective. I am very thankful for bold, loving friends who can use God's word and hold me accountable. So refreshing. Thanks again Jill, if you're reading.

Anyway, it's NOT that I desired my Disney planning to be an idol, but I almost could tell it was heading that way.  The way Disney vacations are now-a-days is intense.  Typically, you need over 180 days, in advance, to book your resort room and dining reservations, if you have specific places and times you cannot live without.  At the time Darren and I decided to go to Disney, I was less than 100 days out, so basically, I was already 80 days behind schedule (not good for my personality).  As I began planning our trip, I was spending my late night hours, staring at the computer, trying to design our eating agenda. It just wasn't simple. And reading reviews of each restaurant only made matters worse.  I decided to shut my computer down for a few days.  I just needed a break and Darren was getting slightly upset with me.  Out of respect to him and GOD (of course), I changed courses.  I decided to look up a few, fun ways to get the kids excited about our Disney trip.  

It was THEN that I came across THIS PIN  "a paper chain, which lead me to an internet trail".  I contacted the originally pinner.  Her name is Bethany.  She had mentioned, on her blog, that if anyone desired to receive the pdf file, for the Disney paper chain, all we had to do was ask. So I did!  Within hours, I received the documents. Sadly, I have YET to make the paper chain, but I did buy the items needed. Bethany was super sweet.  She took my request a bit further.  Bethany began offering many amazing suggestions for Disney, some of which I will be sharing in later posts, for example, renting a stroller from an "OFF SITE" stroller company. 
It was Bethany's final "offer" that lead me to something much GREATER.  She mentioned that she had used a travel agent, for her Disney trip.  She went further to explain that her travel agent made all of her reservations and even gave her a free, Disney gift card, for booking her trip through her.
I am NOT one to let someone else take control of my plans.  I am a HUGE planner and I guess, at times, a control freak, so the idea of a travel agent scared me a bit.  However, if I didn't want my Disney planning to be an idol and become my treasure, I had to at least test the waters.  Bethany aka "the internet trail, lead me to a travel agent", named Tabitha Woodard.

I contacted Tabitha, via email, and within a matter of seconds, she contacted me back.  It was like 9:30 p.m., at that point, and we immediately got on the phone with each other and spoke for over 20 minutes.  Tabitha's personality is contagious. She's friendly, personable, and loves, loves, loves to talk Disney. Her laugh is contagious too. My gut instinct was to use her. I asked what I needed to do in order to be able to accept her help and she said, 
"Well, you will need to turn all of your Disney accounts over to me and I will need a $200 deposit!"  
That's when I started to panic.  AHHHHH! I asked her where she lived and she said in Raleigh.  I asked her for references.  I spoke to her references.  I continued to press in on her and learn more about her and her family. I am not easily duped. After multiple phone calls with past clients, as well as multiple phone calls with her, I decided to trust her and the Lord's sovereign hand in leading me to her. My biggest fear, was sending my final payments, to her home address, and never hearing from her again. We all know that would NOT have been the first time something like that has happened. You hear those types of stories on Dateline ALL THE TIME.

What REALLLLLLY sold me was her love for the Lord.  We hadn't even been on the phone for 10 minutes and both Tabitha and I were sharing our faith in Jesus.  I did say to her though, "Well, don't take this the wrong way, but half the world "believes" in Jesus, so I still plan to do my due diligence."  LOL!  She was perfectly fine with that and wouldn't expect me to do anything less.  

Once I gave her my deposit and she began producing the results, I felt like the greatest gift I have received through this entire process, even aside from this trip to Disney, was a new sister in Christ and hopefully a friend for life.  

Tabitha is EXPEDIENT in her services.  She is a home schooling mom, yet she is always at your service whenever you need her.  I have spoken to her as early as 7:00 a.m. and as late as 11:30 p.m.  She has the UPMOST patience.  At one point I had TWO different rooms reserved, at two different resorts.  I had her cancel ONE reservation and then eventually rebook me at the same location.  She has given me suggestions and advice on things that do NOT relate to the actual booking, ie. What type of autograph books should I order?  ie. What is your opinion of the disney pin trading that takes place? Tabitha has offered suggestions that have saved me literally hundreds of dollars.  For instance, one day she said, 
"I was in the shower and almost screamed thinking about something that could save you hundreds of dollars. Do you have a target red card?  IF so, you can go to target, buy DISNEY gift cards, at target, and save 5% on your entire trip!"
While taking a relaxing shower, she was thinking about how I could save hundreds?  FYI, I took her advice and saved over $800 with my target red card.  

Since conversing with her, I have passed off her information to my sister, Ashley, who is traveling to Disney World, in November. Tabitha is now Ashley's travel agent too. Tabitha gifted, to me, a $75 gift card, for booking with her, as well as a $25 gift card for referring my sister to her.  I received a total of $100 from Tabitha to date.  SO... if you book with Tabitha, and you have learned about her through ME, please be sure to mention my name.  

Again, who would ever think that a simple paper chain pin would lead me to something so much greater.  Tabitha has rescued me from idolizing my Disney trip.  Tabitha has allowed me to sleep peacefully at night, in my husband's arms, and not contract hives.  Tabitha has made ALL of my reservations (dining and fast passes), with my final approval :) 

And aside from the best news of all, her being a believer in Jesus Christ, she is completely and totally FREE!!!!!!!! Can't beat it.  Tabitha, I truly am thankful for your help and I know I have NOT said it enough.  The gift card saga that we went through was enough to make you run far away from me.  HAHA.  I will be making that a separate post for anyone who is dying to know that story.  Because of you, planning my Disney trip has been a breeze and very pleasant.  Maybe you should turn into a wedding planner too!  Any bride would LOVE for their wedding plans to be memorable rather than stressful.  Love ya!!!

2 side notes: 

1. Can you believe that birthday party, which caused me hives, was a Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse party?  How ironic that Tabitha is resolving those past issues for me by planning my Disney trip.

2. Tabitha has been to Disney over 10 times.  She knows all the ins and outs about the parks, the rides, the restaurants, and the resorts.  She has shared a ton of must DOs, might not want to do, and definite don'ts.

2 comments:

  1. Tabitha is top notch! Friendly, knowledgable and the real deal. She really wants the best for you and family's vacation. Great post!

    ReplyDelete

I welcome and enjoy all comments by those who read my blog!! So please dont just withdraw... deposit a little something too :)