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Introducing Erik Johnson, Communications ConciEAR!

by | Jun 2, 2019

Hi, everybody! I’m Erik, the newest member of the ConciEARS team and my role is to help coordinate all of the content we bring you. Outside our great services as travel planners, that is! ConciEARS aims to provide you with superior quality information as well. That means news, tips, and reviews of the Parks and the many things you can do on and around your vacation.

Some of you may be wondering who I am and what I’m doing here if I am not one of those ultra-talented travel planners. So am I, really! Let me tell you a story of a life-long Disney obsession, even during the dark times….

As is the story with so many from my generation, the Disney classics were part of my upbringing. I distinctly remember seeing Bambi in theaters and my mom and aunt crying. Even though I didn’t get what was happening exactly, there was a cool part at the end with a forest fire and two deer duking it out like they were on a nature documentary. The silver age of Disney movies began when I saw The Little Mermaid and Aladdin at the tiny theater in my grandparents’ town in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It should be no surprise that our video collection was mostly those thick clamshell VHS casettes and movies taped off the Disney Channel during free periods.

My family visited Walt Disney World a few times in the eighties and nineties. I remember my first airplane trip ever on a Delta (Dream) flight to Orlando. We got tiny pilot wing pins that I probably still have somewhere. I also remember long car rides, sleeping in the van, Dad driving all through the night so we didn’t have to stop at a hotel. It was only 20 hours or so, and what did it matter if I slept underneath the bench seat in the back of the van? Except when my sister rolled off said bench seat onto me as we weaved through the mountains of Tennessee, that is.

We stayed a few times on International Drive. I remember the venerable Grosvenor and the Holiday Inn and hours playing in Buena Vista shopping center. Or was it Downtown Disney? The dark wood on the buildings sticks with me and I love remembering that place and time when I see the remaining buildings.

Oh, and the Parks! Who couldn’t love Disney in the late eighties? We had that Magic Kingdom with its fantastic voyages over London and in a real submarine that somehow went underwater even though it couldn’t possibly, but of course it did. Speaking of underwater, the Hydrolators of Seabase Alpha were equally convincing and totally worth the wait of watching a terrifying movie about Earth and its oceans (terrific storms, loud noises, and the Deluge).

Epcot was the big draw in my memory. The untapped potential of energy, the seas, and the land were made so obvious to my generation. Add a dash of Imagination with a cool, purple dragon that stole my hat and tossed it on the ground, and you have a recipe that promised amazing things to come. Sorry, folks, but try as I might, I don’t really remember Horizons or World of Motion!

My first love!

The opening of Disney MGM Studios Park was a huge moment. Wait, they have three parks now? An hours-long studio tour was just what my adolescent mind needed. The park didn’t have much content then other than the tour, but we didn’t need any more than that! A trip to Typhoon Lagoon rounded out that trip with what was surely the biggest wave ever produced by human ingenuity.

Let’s skip forward, past trips where we spent more time in Downtown Disney than we did in any paid park, past the high school trips with their weird promise of glimpses backstage as we gathered to perform on stages I thought were only for the pros. My honeymoon spent at the opulent Grand Floridian was my first foray into Resort living and it was amazing. Dining plan overspending was justified at the time, as was the tantalizing Park Hopper. My new wife and I lived it up in appropriately grand style, but we had no idea what was in store.

Sure enough, a few years and a move later, we were in our first ever runDisney event, the Tower of Terror Ten Miler. What began as a chance to run at Disney World with family and friends became an obsession. Coast-to-Coast medals followed. Multiple trips to Disneyland made the west coast park as familiar as the Magic Kingdom and my wife and I realized we were hooked beyond redemption.

A distinct advantage of runDisney events? Running
through the castle!

Thanks to sponsorship of the Sweep Spot, I started booking trips through ConciEARS. I had discovered several years before that using travel agencies led to the potential of savings as Disney announced deals on dining plans and room rates, but ConciEARS truly became my travel partner. The planners there worked with me to change plans and suggest things I never considered before. Our life was clearly improved with VIP experiences like dessert parties and exclusive dinners.

Appearances on podcasts only stoked the flames of Disney fandom. I am by no means the most experienced runDisney or Disney proper fanatic but I am comitted to experiencing as much of this contained world as I can. Whether this is your first or fourteenth visit to a Disney resort, there is always more to discover. I am excited to join the team of talented ConciEARS planners! Please allow us to help you plan your family’s future memories in the Disney Parks. I firmly believe that we are on the cusp of another amazing age of Disney, as the company expands its offerings to the faithful and the newcomers.

I may not be one of the dedicated planners who will make your vacation dreams come true, but I certainly hope I can hook you up with the right person. There is so much to explore! I hope you can keep returning to this blog or one of our other groups to find the inspiration you need for your next vacation. Even if you just need a quick fix of Disney magic between trips, we aim to please! Thanks for reading and see ya real soon!