Ringgold resident Katina Williams graduated in 2014 at the age of 42 with a degree in Disney Knowledge. It was a dream come true for her, and keeping with the dream theme, she applied her degree to a business of her own: Chasing Down Daydreams Travel, LLC.
“Before that,” says Williams, “my job was volunteering — with Scouts, band, my kids’ school.”
Williams is a true Disney fan. She and her family have visited Disney World in Florida many times and she’s been to Disneyland in California. But Williams’ business does not limit itself to arranging Disney vacations for clients. “I’ve booked trips all over the world, but I specialize in Disney and Caribbean vacations.”
One of the most surprising things about Williams’ service is that it costs clients no more to book through her than to do it on their own. The resorts she books for give up part of their profit to pay her, so Williams’ clients do not incur extra charges by using a travel agent.
Why use a travel agent? Having traveled extensively herself, especially to high-demand places like Disney, Williams says she has accumulated valuable experience she uses to plan the best possible vacations for clients.
But she’s also had a lot of training. In addition to her time with The College of Disney Knowledge, she says, “I’ve gone to training in Florida, California, on Disney cruises and in the Caribbean. I also travel to many of the places I recommend to clients so I’ll know exactly what they’ll deal with when they get there.” Williams says training includes tours of resorts and a lot of classroom work learning about travel packages, dining plans and other details.
“People often don’t realize,” says Williams, “how complicated things can be. There are hotel reservations to make and you need to know what you want. Do you want to wake up beside the beach or be able to step onto your balcony and see giraffes and zebras? Which hotels accommodate families best? Which ones can manage larger groups? Where do you want to eat and where can you afford to eat? Do you want to reserve space in line for rides? Do you want a package that includes other attractions, like Universal Studios? Maybe you’d enjoy going on a cruise.”
One trip Williams especially enjoyed arranging was for two women who were Disney fans and best friends. One of the women had recently lost her husband and the other thought a trip to Disney World would help take her friend’s mind off her troubles. “I had the trip planned out and someone called me to say they wanted to pay for the whole thing. They sent payment and a note that said to consider it a gift from Heaven.”
But maybe the best trip Williams ever planned was one she and her husband took this past March to renew their wedding vows for their 25th anniversary. “When we got married we honeymooned in Gatlinburg. I wanted something nicer for our anniversary,” she says. That meant heading for Sandals Montego Bay in Jamaica, two friends in tow, including the maid of honor from their original wedding.
“It was the most relaxing and romantic vacation I’ve ever taken,” says Williams. And that’s what she loves planning for other people — vacations that are refreshing and memorable.
Williams’ business has grown since 2014 and she now has a number of agents in several states working for her, including three locally: Chris Lusk, Melissa Butler and Jason Newsome.
Williams says folks can purchase anything from tickets to whole vacation packages from her agency at the same prices they’d pay doing it online themselves. “We can help with fashioning a package based on my client’s budget and dreams. There’s a long list of considerations and every person or family has different needs or desires.”
To learn more about Chasing Down Daydreams Travel, LLC, visit cddtravel.com or call 423-316-5403.