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Andrea in the Land of Disney

By Andrea Ross

I’m scared of Disney World. There, I said it.

When my dad announced THIS was where he wanted to celebrate his 70th birthday this year I was nervous… I asked if he wouldn’t rather head to Costa Rica or Alaska or possibly anywhere else. Nope. Disney World!

Because of my nerves and because I know the value of a good travel expert, I immediately contacted Susan Kelly of Travel Magic. Susan is on the Wendy Perrin WOW List and I’ve been lucky enough to know her for years. Her company, Travel Magic, knows all things Disney. It was wonderful to chat with her, hear the options, feel like I was in good hands and start to really get excited about going to the happiest place on earth!


Disney World is complicated. There are multiple lands, hundreds of hotel rooms and don’t get me started on dining and fast passes… The truth is, it was overwhelming and I didn’t know where to start.Lightbulb! This is how my guests feel when thinking about Southeast Asia. I mean how many times has a guest told me, “There are just so many options; I don’t know how to best use my time. I want to keep everyone in the group happy.”This was exactly how I felt, looking at the myriad of options within Disney World.
I think over the last 15 years my comfort level with Southeast Asia has become fairly high, to say the least… I get it, I know the local customs, I speak the languages well enough to understand them, I have seen the weather in each given month, and I win at Southeast Asia Jeopardy!

However, this isn’t how my guests feel. For them, Southeast Asia is my Disney World… big, confusing, complicated and in a whole other language.

When the information packet arrived I dove right in. It’s what I tell my guests to do – read what I send you and it will all become clear. It helped – I know I have a schedule to follow, and I appreciate that Susan and her team have literally answered every question I sent and have booked the best experiences and really made sure that what we have planned is going to keep everyone happy – but, I’m still nervous.

So when I reviewed an itinerary I was sending out recently, I added additional explanation on one of the days. When a guest called with some last minute questions, I answered and gave as much insight as I could because I get it. These trips are scary and while I know I’m in good hands, just like my guests are, travel to a new place – whether it’s the happiest place on earth or where I’m happiest on earth – is still scary! So, I’ll leave you with a quote from Walt Disney himself…

“All of our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”

Andrea makes Wendy Perrin’s WOW List

Websites and apps are great, but for those people who love a human approach to travel planning, Wendy Perrin has released her own list of go-to experts.  A guru in all things travel and a writer on the subject for more than 20 years,  Perrin has included Andrea as a top planner for all things Southeast Asia on her recently released WOW List…

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There are experiences can’t be found online or in travel books, something we here at Journeys Within know. With her Wow List — a listing of top travel experts by region — Wendy Perrin is tipping her hat to those who help others plan a dream vacation with their firsthand knowledge. After a decade working in Cambodia, and having travelled the surrounding countries extensively, we aren’t surprise, but we are honoured, that Andrea has made this list.  Across six countries, the Journeys Within team is so proud to stand behind Andrea’s vision of individualized trips that make that enrich both the guests lives and the communities visited.

In Perrin’s words:

During the ten years she lived in Cambodia, Andrea founded Journeys Within and traveled extensively throughout Southeast Asia, opening additional offices in Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and Myanmar. Her network keeps her up-to-date on the newest and best hotels, restaurants, and experiences, and her close relationships with the region’s hotels ensure that her clients get the best rates and the best care, regardless of their travel budget. She specializes in family, experiential, and philanthropic travel, and founded the nonprofit organization Journeys Within Our Community, which operates education and poverty relief initiatives in Laos, Myanmar, and Cambodia. Andrea meets with each of her guides every two years to ensure that they offer the highest caliber of service, and is proud of the philanthropic opportunities that Journeys Within offers to travelers who want to make a difference to the communities that they get to know when they travel. Contact Andrea to plan an extraordinary trip, and read her Insider’s Guide to Angkor Wat and Siem Reap.

A big thanks to Wendy for recognize the good work that Andrea does and an even bigger thanks to Andrea for leading a team we are all proud to be part of!