Both Adventures by Disney and National Geographic Expeditions recently announced exciting new itineraries for 2024. Have you ever wondered who shapes the exclusive and in-depth itineraries? It’s none other than the dedicated cast bringing these trips to life!
Yandra Pulido, currently a marketing strategy associate for Disney Cruise Line, has touched several areas of Disney Signature Experiences throughout her career including Adventures by Disney, Disney Vacation Club and National Geographic Expeditions. “The culture at Disney Signature Experiences is very collaborative,” Yandra said. “All of the businesses want to help each other, support each other and integrate where they can.”
Yandra grew up with a curious mind that loved to explore. Craving adventures, she set out to find a career that would connect the joy she has interacting with people with her need to grow. Being part of the Adventures by Disney team allowed her to do just that!
During the trip development process for Adventures by Disney’s newly announced Colombia itinerary, the team reached out to Yandra, who is from Colombia. They asked Yandra to bring an authentic lens and can’t-miss experiences for the trip.
She shared her fondest childhood memories and traditions, some of which made their way into the itinerary, like hot chocolate and cheese! Hot chocolate and cheese are a traditional Colombian food and beverage pairing, and one of Yandra’s favorites. “Hot chocolate transports me back to my childhood and being surrounded by warmth and family,” she shared.
Yandra expressed her excitement for guests to experience her culture. “I love to travel and part of the reason is to be able to see things I’ve never seen before, or to see those same things with a different lens. That’s what I feel this trip brings to people. It allows guests to see the world with a different lens – with a Colombian lens,” Yandra said.
Abbi Armstrong, Edward Yan, Gabriel Limonta and Landon Nickerson also worked behind the scenes to bring these destinations to life. They recently shared their stories with Disney Signature Experiences cast during a panel, which was followed by activities, delicious treats and giveaways reflective of the new destinations!
The Trip Development team is responsible for proposing destinations, building itineraries, attending site inspection trips and conducting research or “hitting the books,” as Edward shared, to build the Adventures by Disney and National Geographic Expeditions itineraries guests know and love.
It wouldn’t be a Disney experience without magical moments sprinkled in, many of which are created by this amazing team! These moments can be anything from surprise gelato stops and snacks (who doesn’t love snacks?) to the perfect family photo opportunity or a special activity that connects guests to the local culture. It’s about little unexpected moments not included on the planned itinerary that turn out to be lifelong memories.
The team pulls inspiration in a variety of ways to create these experiences for the guests. Gabriel drew inspiration from Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Academy Award-winning film, “Encanto” for the Colombia itinerary. During this trip, guests have the opportunity to explore and experience the same things their favorite “Encanto” characters enjoy – including food! Did someone say arepas?
Abbi’s inspiration comes from the amazing National Geographic Society Experts and Explorers as well as their research. “All of these connections really breathe life and energy into the destinations,” Abbi shared.
Landon understands first-hand what resonates with guests from his previous role as an Adventure Guide and uses that experience to create magical moments. “We are working to develop the stories and bring that destination to life as well as enable our Adventure Guides and operations team to be stewards for that story,” he shared.
The heart of everything this team creates is rooted in the rich culture and storytelling of these itinerary destinations.
The Adventures by Disney and National Geographic Expeditions cast are constantly finding new ways to immerse guests and even create magical moments along the way. I know I’m ready to travel and experience it for myself! Which destination is at the top of your list?