Disney has many fans, some are in the military just like today’s interviewer. Steve Bell was a complete Disney planning expert, and his friends kept asking him for his help planning their Disney vacations so, so he started MilitaryDisneyTips.com. This interview is the first in a series of interviews with Disney fans, and aficionados. Would you like to be interviewed, contact us?
Q: What is the first involvement with Disney?
A: In general, or the theme parks?
A: In general, I may be dating myself, but I remember watching the original
Mickey Mouse Club and later the Wonderful World of Disney.
Of the theme parks, my family made yearly trips to central Florida when I
was in grade school. After WDW opened we would spend a day there each
year. But the first time was actually before the park opened. In the
spring of 1971 we went to the Walt Disney World Welcome Center, a building
in Lake Buena Vista with info and souvenirs on the soon to open theme
Q:How did your experience in the military lead to working with Disney?
A:Well, as I mentioned my history with WDW started in 1971. After my first
four years of active duty with the Air Force I switched to part-time
reserve status. My parents had moved to the Orlando area so I moved there
too. While searching for a full-time job I interviewed with WDW and wound
up working there three years, ordering food for one of the restaurants. My
military career then led me back to full time duty in other areas of the
country. But I was always the “Disney Expert” in whatever unit I belonged
Q:What is your favorite attraction or experience at a Disney park, and what
is your favorite Disney Park?
A:My favorite experience and park go hand in hand. I just love the Epcot
International Food and Wine Festival! I love slowing down the theme park
experience and just strolling around the World Showcase Lagoon trying all
the great food and wines/drinks. And Epcot is my favorite park especially
the World Showcase, which reminds me of many of the countries that I’ve
visited during my military travels.
Q:Where did the idea for MilitaryDisneyTips.com come from?
A:Since I had all this Disney knowledge that my coworkers were always
quizzing me on, I’d always had in the back of my mind the thought to start
a website to share my insights with a wider military audience. So in the
spring of 2008 I did just that. My goal with militarydisneytips.com is to
help my military brethren navigate the sometimes very confusing topic of
Disney Military discounts and plan for their vacations.
Q:What is your favorite Disney souvenir that you have?
A: Wow, tough one… I do have a lot! I guess I’d have to say my nametag from
when I worked in the Magic Kingdom.
Q:Do you have one tip that everyone should know before visiting the Disney
Parks and Disney World in particular?
A:Research, Research, Research. That’s three tips isn’t it? There are so
many tips and “secrets” it’s hard to pick one. But the more you know
before you go, the better off you’ll be. You’ll have more fun while and
OK – here is one of my big ones: in the hot summer months, take a mid-day
break. Leave the parks around noon go back to your room, hit the pool,
have a nap, and then return refreshed (in dry clothes) for an evening in
Q:In conclusion, what does Disney and the theme parks mean to you?
A:The Disney parks bring me back to my childhood. Stepping into “The World”,
as I call it, lets all the stress and issues of daily life melt away.
That’s great for our country’s military members who have so much on their
plates these days.