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ConciEARS on Location!

by | May 2, 2023

Get enough travel planners in one place and you’re bound to have a great time! Last week, we gathered nearly all of our planners and support crew in one place for the very first time. Disneyland was the destination and team bonding was our goal. 

I’d say we succeeded. Read on for my impressions and those of our ConciEARS team!

It’s really hard to narrow my top moments. I loved it all! But my favorite was definitely just being in the parks with my husband in the exact same place where we first said I love you to each other 10 years ago to the month! And second, I really enjoyed the character interactions, from Tigger goofing off with several people during breakfast, to the photo bomb by Genie and Aladdin, to finally meeting Ariel for the first time.


Most of us arrived on Sunday, April 23rd. Everyone checked in to their rooms at the recently-upgraded Howard Johnson’s on Harbor Boulevard. With or without a theme park view, we all had clean and refreshing rooms as our home base for the week.

I love the retro theming of the hotel. It accomplishes everything it intends, taking a classic Anaheim hotel and updating it. The rooms were fairly large with plenty of furniture for entertaining. The colors around the room fit the aesthetic, as did the art in the rooms and hallways. Even if you can’t stay in their ultra-hip House of the Retro Future Suite, the 1960’s theme is sprinkled throughout!

After spending three days at my favorite place with this team, I am more thrilled than ever to be a ConciEAR! Getting to do what we do best in the place we love best created some wonderful friendships. I’m looking forward to collaborating with my coworkers to better assist our clients with making magical memories. 


Sunday night featured a team session where we played a few games, met all of each other face-to-face, and learned about company history. Most of us have never been in the same room with each other, practicing our trades across the country. A few groups had met up in the parks from time to time, but seeing most of the team in the same room was cathartic.

Corporate retreats do have to have some sort of conference room component, right?

Putting the retreat together involved months of preparation by the planning team and we knew the event would be a success if everyone enjoyed each other’s company. Flexible work from home virtual businesses are fantastic, but there are connections you can only make in person and ConciEARS is stronger for this time together. 


We traded stories of the company’s history. Over five years, ConciEARS has been connecting families with Disney vacations across the globe. We went from one man, Mike Renfrow, to a team of fifteen planners and additional folks. We honored everybody for their contributions to the company over the last year and applauded our upgrade to our Gold Earmarked status. 

As a new visitor, I learned so much! But my favorite things were just seeing everything for the first time and enjoying the “familiar but odd” sensation between Disneyland Park and Magic Kingdom in WDW, walking through Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, and riding my favorite childhood ride, Mr. Toad!


I loved checking out the new Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway with my fellow ConciEARS! The ride was so fun and creative. And, since the queue is full of Easter eggs and Mickey momentos, it was so fun to walk through with my fellow Disney experts and learn new trivia from each other. 


After all the self-congratulations, we got to work. 

Monday saw park time at Disneyland with a breakfast at the Plaza Inn. We learned about each other and fueled up for the day. We also met a bevy of Disney characters! As character breakfasts go, the Plaza Inn had everything you could ask for: a full buffet with more than enough options and classic Disney characters who fully interact with your family.

But you’ll never guess which of our ConciEARS is not spoken

There are so many favorite moments during this retreat that it’s hard to pick a few. One that does stand out is being challenged to look for certain items in our scavenger hunt put together by our very own planner, Michelle. Also, I enjoyed tours we did with a few Good Neighbor Hotels seeing the difference the rooms and learning some tricks to provide the best place for our clients. The final thing was seeing how worth it to get the Early Access to Super Nintendo World because as Universal opens it becomes quite the hotspot.


Training came next. We broke up into teams and visited Disneyland Park icons, working on our poses and back catalogue of amusing pictures. I have a lot of sorting to do, but we had a great time rolling through the most popular locations for shots. We took pics by mountains, fancy walls, trash cans, whatever we thought was interesting. We even got a fun photo bomb by the Genie himself!

I had my doubts going in. If you follow my sporadic posting, I tend to show off interesting views and odd details on my account. No me, though. I think I found a good groove over time, realizing I didn’t always need to pose. I can have some fun and point out details, too!

My favorite things about the retreat was being inspired by the others in our group who have a passion for helping clients create memorable vacations. Makes me want to work harder to succeed in creating the best for our clients. 


My family won’t ride Guardian’s of the Galaxy- Mission: Breakout! with me so I was super excited to experience this one with people I know for once. I’ll cherish that attraction photo forever! 


Anyway, we had more training time with each other, learning about Disney’s history and how the company makes decisions about its parks. There are so many nuances behind Disney’s every decision. Major media companies have to predict the future while reacting to the present. Disney also has an obligation to respect its past as well. No small feat, but this leads to the amazing Parks experiences we all love.

We toured all of the Disneyland Resort hotels, explaining the amenities at each and giving our planners a chance to see them all in person. We ventured to some Good Neighbor hotels as well. The three Disney hotels do not always work with everybody’s vacation plans, and we love to offer every possible option. We had a blast on our tour, and our planners are even better equipped for your next trip request.

Nothing to see here. Just an extra visit from Genie and Aladdin.

“I’m beyond thankful for this fantastic group of people! I had the best time capturing pictures of everyone in my favorite spots and stopping to soak in the little things like watching the Disney ducks.”


The team caught some spectaculars. We enjoyed delicious meals. We embarked on a scavenger hunt that ignited the competitive spirit in all of us. Above all, we talked. Just talked. Most of us have never had the time to relax with each other, sharing our Disney stories, our family histories, our other jobs. And our fears of certain rides that take you 150 feet into the air in a gondola that rolls and swings. 

Just saying.

“The best part of the ConciEARS training trip to Disneyland was being able to experience the parks with my fellow Disney enthusiasts. It was great to be surrounded by a group of people who appreciate the attention to detail and the magic that goes into creating these amazing experiences for guests. Plus, getting to ride all the classic attractions like Pirates of the Caribbean and Space Mountain without having to worry about FastPasses or wait times was definitely a highlight for me.”

ChatGPT for Jimmy
Also in this picture: Marie’s hair.

I had a feeling that this would be a great week. Our retreat may have been a funny punchline to friends, family, and coworkers, but we met as a company at Disneyland and did the hard work we needed to do. We forged new friendships. We found new stories. We had fun.

Now it’s back to work! With renewed vigor and maybe some sunburn, your ConciEARS travel planners are here to help you on your next trip. Reach out to us today! We would love to bring our passion for Disney vacations to your next trip. 



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