{child_flags:spotlight}He’s got the answers

on Disney vacations

{child_byline}MAXWELL REIL Staff Writer

{/child_byline}

Jerry MacLean vividly remembers riding Space Mountain with his dad at Walt Disney World in 1975, four years after it opened.

He remembers the first time he and his wife, Amy, went to the Florida resort as a married couple in 1996.

And he remembers seeing the look on his 10-month-old son Ian’s face when they first took him the park in 2000.

All of those memories and many more made MacLean, of Stone Harbor, a qualified Disney vacation adviser. And now, the theme park fanatic is officially part of the team.

MacLean has been awarded a spot on the Disney Parks Moms Panel, which provides vacation tips for families looking to stay at Disney resorts. He is among 11 new members of the 40-person panel.

According to the Disney Parks Moms Panel website, the panelists are independent contractors who receive a trip to a Disney destination for themselves and up to three family members and/or park tickets for their participation. The panelists have taken a combined 1,250 Disney trips and spent a total of 77,394 hours at Disney parks.

MacLean, who said he works for a major tech firm, has gone on different forms of Disney vacations about 40 times, he estimated. He and his family have visited Walt Disney World Resort, Disneyland Resort, Disney Cruise Line, Disney’s Hilton Head Resort and Disney’s Vero Beach Resort.

“We always try to find something new,” MacLean said. “We always try to make each vacation a timely vacation — every time it can feel completely different.”

MacLean applied for the position in September and was accepted in October.

Since he has traveled to Disney both alone with his wife and son since Ian’s infancy, he said, he can provide insight for any type of family planning a trip.

“I’m hoping all of my times and vacations can blend together to help other people to have a more enjoyable vacation for themselves,” he said.

MacLean said his family vacations almost exclusively at Disney.

Some trips were geared toward rides. Space Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad are a must-ride.

Others were focused on food and festivals.

Whether it’s Disney or anywhere else, MacLean is an advocate for family vacations.

“The whole concept is really essential for general well-being regardless of where you go to revive yourself,” MacLean said.

But if you’re thinking of heading to Disney this year or in the near future, he has some tips. The first is to plan but not to overplan.

“There’s so much to see and do, you definitely want to show up with a plan, whether it’s a character meet or ride attractions, but you also want to give yourself free time and just take it all in. If a parade goes by, you can stop and watch it or stop and greet characters,” he said. “You don’t want to feel rushed or pressured.”

In terms of packing for a Disney trip, MacLean said, he is a light packer, but the park is very accommodating to all.

And MacLean said in a time when families, especially children, are focused on technology, even a “gadget freak” such as himself must put away the smartphone.

“There is so much going on that’s wonderfully immersive that you’re almost cheating yourself if you don’t look up and take it all in,” he said.

For more information about the panel, head to www.DisneyParksMomsPanel.com 

{child_tagline}

{/child_tagline}

Contact: 609-272-7258 MReil@pressofac.com Twitter @ACPressMaxReil

I’ve written for multiple publications including Levittown Now, Passyunk Post, Philadelphia Neighborhoods,Temple News and JUMP Magazine. I’ve covered arts, entertainment, business, music, sports and local government. Experienced in videography.

Recommended for you

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.

PLEASE BE ADVISED: Soon we will no longer integrate with Facebook for story comments. The commenting option is not going away, however, readers will need to register for a FREE site account to continue sharing their thoughts and feedback on stories. If you already have an account (i.e. current subscribers, posting in obituary guestbooks, for submitting community events), you may use that login, otherwise, you will be prompted to create a new account.