My name is Cheryl Koren, and I am a Magic Maker® with Off to Neverland Travel®. What is a Magic Maker® you ask? Let me tell you…it is part travel consultant, part concierge, part Disney aficionado, part globe-trotter, and part Disney fan – all wrapped up with a little bit of Pixie Dust! I took my first trip to the Walt Disney World® Resort in 1986, and I was hooked! There is just something so special about the feeling you get when you step into the Magic Kingdom® Park … the castle, the music, the characters, that popcorn smell…it is like you are transported into a different world that instantly feels like home. As an Annual Pass holder, I have experienced all of the Walt Disney World® Theme Parks, most of the restaurants, many of the resort accommodations. My husband and I vacationed at the Parks before we had children, and now I am lucky enough to get to experience it through my son’s eyes as well. It’s a toss up to see which one of us gets more excited to see the characters and ride the rides – him or me!
A family vacation is all about creating lifelong memories, and I believe every family deserves an amazing vacation experience, created especially for them. As a Disney College of Knowledge graduate, I will help you create the perfect magical experience for you and your family with the same special care and attention I have given my own. There are so many options available – accommodations, dining, tours, activities – and I will work with you to tailor each to fit your family’s needs and desires. I can handle every detail, from dining reservations to day-to-day itineraries, and take the stress out of planning so you can just enjoy your vacation!
Travel is my passion. I have traveled extensively in the United States, South America, Europe, and the Caribbean; spent an unforgettable week in Dubai, UAE; and even lived in Brazil for a year. I chose to specialize in Disney travel because I believe Disney provides a level of service and entertainment that no other destination can provide. And while Disney is my specialty, Off to Neverland Travel® is a full-service travel agency, so whether your personal Neverland is a beach in the Caribbean, a city in Europe, a cruise to Hawaii, or a ski-lodge is South America, I can help make any of your vacation fantasies come true. And remember, my planning services are included in the cost of your vacation – no hidden or extra fees!!
My goal is to help you to create a one of a kind trip, full of magical memories and tons of family fun. So, contact me today and let’s start planning your dream vacation!
Tell us your favorite…
Resort: There are so many wonderful resort options at Walt Disney World, it is hard to pick just one! For a deluxe Resort, I love the Polynesian. It is just so relaxing, I love the tropical feel, and you can’t beat the view of the fireworks from the beach! For a moderate, I would say Port Orleans – Riverside. It is very romantic, and the pool is amazing! For a value, I would pick Art of Animation. Great pool, and the detailing on the characters is amazing!!
Month to visit WDW: Is anytime an appropriate answer?!? I love it in early December, before the crowds hit, but after the resort has been transformed into a Christmas wonderland.
Ride/Attraction: My favorite ride is Kali River Rapids, my favorite attraction is Mickey’s Philharmagic, but if I could just hang out on Main Street, meet the characters, and watch the parades and Wishes over the Castle, I would be just as happy…because it isn’t a trip to Disney without the fireworks!
Character: My favorite character is definitely Eeyore. There is just something about him that wants to make me want to give him a hug. I collect Eeyore plushes, and probably have one in every room of my house!!
Shop: I love the Emporium on Main Street for all of your Disney Gear, Pin Traders at Downtown Disney, and the Souk in Morocco. I usually don’t end up buying anything in Morocco, but I just love the authentic look, feel and smell of the stores!
Restaurant: It isn’t a trip to Disney World without a breakfast at the Kona Café, at the Polynesian Resort. I love, love, love the Tonga Toast, and have since my first trip to Disney World in 1986! I know you can get it at Captain Cooks as well, but there is just something about the strawberry compote they only serve at the Kona that puts it over the top! I also try to eat at Le Cellier; their filet with mushroom risotto is amazing. For a quick service meal, Sunshine Seasons, in Epcot’s The Land, has lots of healthy options and a ton of variety. And finally, the strawberry soup at 1900 Park Fare is probably one of the best things that I have ever tasted!!
What lesser-known fact (or hint!) about WDW do you enjoy telling others? There are tons of fun free and cheap things to do at Disney World that don’t require an admission ticket – from fireside movies with characters, to hidden mickey scavenger hunts, to hayrides and monorail rides – spending a “free day” can be tons of fun for the whole family (and the wallet!). One of my favorite things to do is head over to the beach at the Polynesian and watch the fireworks and the Electrical Water Pageant Parade. It is quiet, relaxing, and is a nice way to unwind away from the crowds.
How long have you been a Disney Vacation Planner? I have officially worked for Off to Neverland Travel® as a Magic Maker® since July of 2012. However, I have been planning Disney vacations for friends, family and myself for many years. I love every aspect of the planning process – from looking at the resort options, securing dining reservations, to making the touring plans, and I honestly get as excited talking to clients about their trips as I do planning my own vacation. It is by far the best job I have ever had!!
What “Disney trip traditions” do you and your family have that are “must do’s”? My family does an Epcot Hat Tour on every Walt Disney World vacation. We visit each pavilion in the World Showcase, and try to find the craziest, silliest, or most memorable hat we can find and take a picture of ourselves wearing it. My husband and I did this on our first trip to Disney World when we were still engaged, and have done it every vacation since! It is a great way to get to see all of the countries, and is also fun to see how my son has grown up over the years! We are also huge character fans – we have four large Mickey Vinylmation dolls that we have had all of the characters sign – we are up to over 70 signatures!
If you had just one day, a hopper ticket, and a magical FASTPASS, what would your touring plan be? I would start my day at Captain Cooks at Disney’s Polynesian Resort for a Tonga Toast and a diet soda (gotta get my caffeine!) and head over to rope drop at the Magic Kingdom. I would ride Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, Journey of the Little Mermaid, and see Enchanted Tales with Belle and Mickey’s Philharmagic, before heading down Main Street. I would then jump on the monorail and head over to Epcot, where I would ride on Spaceship Earth, Test Track, The Seas with Nemo, and Soarin’ before grabbing a quick lunch at Sunshine Seasons. I would then grab a bus to Disney’s Animal Kingdom to see the Nemo show, and ride on Expedition Everest, and Kali River Rapids. Next, I would hop on a bus to Disney’s Hollywood Studios and ride Toy Story Mania, Rock Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, and Tower of Terror before seeing Fantasmic. I would then immediately head back to the Magic Kingdom grab a popcorn from the vendor at the entrance and ride on Haunted Mansion, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Splash Mountain before settling down on Main Street with an ice cream sundae to watch the Electrical Parade and Wishes over the castle.
If you had one park-day free at Disney World, how would you spend it? I would start my day by sleeping in, and then head over to 1900 Park Fare for breakfast. After breakfast I would send my husband and son on a Hidden Mickey scavenger hunt while I got a massage at Grand Floridian Spa (a girl can dream, right?!?) We would then head to the resort pool for the afternoon, and head to Downtown Disney that night for dinner at the TRex Café (my son’s favorite), some shopping, and a sundae at Ghirardelli (my husband’s favorite). Depending on the time of year, we might then head over to Disney’s Polynesian to watch the fireworks from the beach.
Is there anything special memento you can’t leave Disney World without getting? Every time I travel, whether it be Disney World or not, I buy a Christmas ornament. I have them from all over the world, and each year when we decorate for the holidays I am able to relive all of my travels! From Disney specifically, I also get a pin or two to commemorate a special event, memory, or new resort that we stayed in, and, if there are any cute pajama pants, they usually end up in my bag as well!