If there’s one thing Claire Morris will remember about Travel Weekly’s Cover Stars trip to Orlando, it’s the fact she came home with 11 new travel industry “best friends”.
“I have made the best friends, and I never imagined that would happen. You just don’t think you will instantly get on that well with people in such a small space of time,” said Claire, who regularly meets up with agents she met on the trip.
Claire, 24, was so enthused by the experience she has been one of the key organisers of a 2013 Cover Stars reunion in Manchester next month.
“We’re organising a day out and staying over at a hotel. We’re all travel agents after all!” said Claire, who recently left travel agency Kanoo to work for Corporate & Sporting Events Management, where she organises travel for athletes to sporting events.
From the minute the group stepped on the Virgin Atlantic flight and were able to text each other in the air to the moment they arrived in their hotel rooms and enjoyed the “best breakfast ever” the next morning, Claire said everyone was on a high, full of excitement about being in Orlando and having a professional makeover.
“We were treated like VIPs,” she recalled. Claire soon got into the spirit of things when she found out she was going to feature on a Halloween-themed front cover of Travel Weekly.
“I knew I had to find something dark and girly to wear and I loved every minute of it,” said Claire, whose photo shoot was held at Universal Resort Orlando, which is renowned for its Halloween Horror Nights.
One of Claire’s highlights was seeing the Blue Man Group’s interactive show, and she has already recommended it as an add-on to other agents booking Orlando trips.
Her perception of Orlando as a purely family-focused destination was also challenged after she discoverd the bars and restaurants on Universal’s City Walk and enjoying shopping at the Orlando Premium Outlets malls.
“I thought it was just for kids but there’s restaurants and karaoke bars, as well as the park rides and the shopping malls,” she said.
Needless to say when it was time to go home – with a new Michael Kors bag and purse and Ralph Lauren jumper – the tears were flowing. “We all cried when we had to say goodbye and it was the same again when we all met up at the Travel Weekly Globe Awards,” admitted Claire.
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