with Sandra Pappas Halket

Open Jaw

Where were you born? In Toronto.

What was your first job? Straight out of visual communications at Ryerson, I was hired as a graphics operator at Much Music. How cool is that?

How long have you been in the business? 15 years. My neighbour worked for TPI and as he wasn’t familiar with Disney – my passion – he asked me to work with him.  

When did you fall in love with Disney? When I was 5 or 6 my parents drove us down to Orlando and I’ve never looked back! I’ve been on the cruises, Walt Disney World, and Disneyland, I lost count after the 40 th visit. We now own a second home in Orlando so close to Disney you can see the fireworks at night.

What is it about Disney that makes you so passionate? There’s something about the feelings you get when you go there…you can forget your troubles. I also volunteer with Dreams Take Flight and we take deserving kids there for one day. It’s a wonderful escape.     

If you could have any job in the business what would it be? I have it right now.  Honestly. I love being an owner/manager – it’s a lot of work, a lot of responsibility. Our staff numbers 24 now, but I still front line counsel and love it. I’d say 95 per cent of our business is Disney.

What was your best fam? I did a Universal Orlando fam last year and it was just fantastic. They treated us like royalty!

Who do you most admire in the industry? The guy who encouraged me to go out on my own, John Crowe, owner of Metracon Travel Group. He is sunshine in my career.

Do you have a magic sentence to close the sale?  The vast majority of our bookings are online, so I usually sign off emails with “fantasmic regards".  Fantasmic is a Disney word, and I use as much of the language as I can when I speak to clients.

Are your clients only in Canada? They are across Canada plus Spain, Australia, Brazil, you name it. One of our agents speaks Mandarin and Cantonese to deal with our clients in China.  

How do you build your business?  We have a lot of repeat clients, many who go yearly. I get told by a lot of people that they read our reviews. I even read them when I’m having a down day because they just give me a boost!

You often see the “Disney family” as mom and dad and two kids.  Would you say that’s your typical clientele? We actually have a lot of extended families, special needs families, and now even millennials. Nice to see millennials using agents!

If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing? (laughs) That’s hard! I probably would be working at the Disney store. Something to do with Disney!

If you or someone you know is a front line travel agent in Canada would like to be featured in Biting Questions, please contact us.

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