Disney Authors Charm Travel Agents

Publisher Kelly Monaghan donned his mouse ears to lead a panel of Intrepid Traveler authors at the "Loving Disney, Living Disney, Selling Disney" session.

Publisher Kelly Monaghan donned his mouse ears to lead a panel of Intrepid Traveler authors at the popular “Loving Disney, Living Disney, Selling Disney” session.

Five of The Intrepid Traveler’s authors shared their Walt Disney World expertise with an overflow crowd of home-based travel agents at a recent convention held at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort.

The authors participating were Steven M. Barrett (the Hidden Mickeys series), Lou Mongello (the WDW Trivia Books), Meredith Lyn Pierce (the Lots To Do In Line series), Bart Scott (Ears of Steel), and Aaron Wallace (The Thinking Fan’s Guide to WDW). Intrepid Traveler publisher Kelly Monaghan served as moderator.

The panel discussion, titled “Loving Disney, Living Disney, Selling Disney,” was the most popular session at the three-day Home-Based Travel Agent Forum, presented by the Outside Sales Support Network (OSSN).

Steve Barrett and Meredith Pierce spoke about how families can forge life-long memories by interacting with each other in activities such as Hidden Mickeys hunts and by turning waiting time into games that everyone in the family can enjoy.

After the session, Steve led a Hidden Mickeys hunt in Epcot during which one of the travel agents, Rick Simard of The Travel Connection, discovered a new Hidden Mickey.

Lou Mongello, whose WDW Radio show is regularly voted the Web’s most popular travel podcast, helped dispel the misconception that WDW has to be a money pit for visiting families. He enumerated just a few of the many free attractions and activities that Disney continues to add to the Resort experience.

Aaron Wallace got the audience a little choked up with his defense of “it’s a small world,” perhaps WDW’s most polarizing attraction. Aaron noted that the ride’s celebration of our common humanity opened during the height of the civil rights struggles and that it presents a vision of an ideal world we are still struggling to achieve.

At one point, Aaron and Lou, both “recovering lawyers” in Lou’s phrase, got into a spirited debate over the merits of the forthcoming Avatar area at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Their disagreement (Lou pro, Aaron con) was mirrored in the audience, which seemed about evenly split on the issue.

Bart Scott brought the debate to an end when he he said, “We’re missing the larger issue here: Think about the margaritas! They’re going to glow in the dark.”

Bart regularly reduced the audience to gales of laughter, not surprising considering that Ears of Steel may be the funniest guidebook ever written. But he also revealed his tender side when he settled a discussion about whether it makes sense to bring children under five to WDW.

“It’s not about the kids,” he said. “It’s about you. We brought our son here when he was one. Will he remember it? No. But those are memories I’ll have for the rest of my life.”

Books by our Disney authors have become popular gifts for travel agents to give to their Disney-bound clients.

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