It is Monday! And Mondays are for Meet a Mom and this week we are happy to share Sarah Grasshoff. Sarah is a DeWitt mom of 2 and Agent with Magical Moments Vacations.
Not only does Sarah have some solid mom-advice, she is a specialist of all things Disney and Disney properties inside and out. Learn more about Sarah, kids like to go around Disney, her family’s go-tos locally and so much more! She also shares some encouragement for tough days when kids are a bit older. #sohelpful
Welcome to Greater Lansing Area Moms, Sarah!
Please introduce yourself, where are you from, where do you reside now, where you went to school, etc? Please give us an overview of all things Sarah 🙂
I grew up in a really small town in Northern Michigan. My graduating class had 22 students! I was a cheerleader for 8 years and played volleyball for 6 years. After high school I attended MSU, before becoming a stay at home Mom for over 10 years. We built our home in DeWitt 11 years ago and absolutely love it here. I love the location, the people, the schools, everything!
I like to say we have our own zoo. We have 2 shih tzu’s (Max and Sophie) a cat (Taffy) Cockatiel (Archie) Green Cheek Conure (Charlie) Parakeet (Rio) Leopard Gecko (Meeko) Crested Gecko (Monty) and my daughter has frogs. We didn’t really become a zoo until quarantine, when we first acquired Rio and Meeko. It quickly grew from there! I never imagined myself being a “bird lady” but here I am and loving it!
How old are your children?
My daughter just turned 18 and my son is 14
What do you think is one of the best parts about being a mom?
Watching them become their own and knowing you had a small part in it and being proud of who they have become.
What is a piece of advice for new moms you wish you would have known when your kids were even younger?
Don’t fret the small stuff. Seriously! I know everyone says it goes so fast, and it really does. Make those memories. The messes can be cleaned later.
Please tell us more about being a Disney Travel agent!
When my kids were both in school full-time I wanted something to do in my free time. My husband was actually the one who put the idea of travel planning into my head, and I ran with it. I’ve been a Travel Advisor specializing in Disney vacations since October 2013.
I grew up going to Walt Disney World often, my husband proposed to me in the Magic Kingdom, we honeymooned at the Polynesian Village Resort and have taken our kids countless times, so Disney has always been a big part of my life.
I absolutely love my job. I work more hours, and harder, than I have ever worked in my life. I have always been 100% responsible for gaining my own clients and I am so proud of myself for building a successful business from the ground up, by myself!
This isn’t simply a hobby – this is my career and I take it very seriously. I keep up on the latest news and updates, am constantly updating my documents for clients, have attended on-site trainings, have been in the parks as often as I can be, toured Disney Cruise Line, and oftentimes have made the “Top 25” list with Magical Moments Vacations, an Authorized Disney Vacation Planning agency which is home to over 400 agents!
Did you work during COVID?
COVID was tough for my business. Everyone was closing their doors temporarily, and when clients don’t travel, I don’t get paid. It was devastating having to cancel countless reservations and it wasn’t just about me not getting paid. I was sad for all of those families that weren’t going to get to go on their vacation that we had spent so much time planning and making perfect.
How has your work been affected since March 2020?
I used my time wisely while the parks were closed and updated my email templates, and documents that I share with clients, while trying to stay informed for my clients. It was also a lot of work getting through the cancellations and making sure everyone was getting refunded and rescheduled, if they wanted. I was so grateful that we were fortunate enough to still have my husband’s job.
And how does it continue to affect Disney travel?
In the theme parks today, you wouldn’t really know that Covid exists, other than guests wearing face coverings while indoors and some experiences not-yet available again. They have done a phenomenal job at continually disinfecting high-touch areas, having hand sanitizer readily available to guests, and increased cleaning throughout.
Guests are booking and traveling again! 2022 is looking to be my best year ever, by a lot!
How many times have you visited Disney properties and is there a park you prefer?
I don’t even know how many times I’ve visited Disney. LoL It’s been a LOT! I have stayed in nearly every resort.
I absolutely LOVE the Magic Kingdom, but I also love them all. I think each park has something for everyone.
Do you have a few favorite things from each Disney park?
At the Magic Kingdom, I will never get tired of watching the nighttime fireworks, no matter how many times I’ve watched them. I still get goosebumps every single time, especially when Tinkerbell flies!
Animal Kingdom: I love Kilimanjaro Safari, especially first thing in the morning! Walking around Pandora at night is so cool!
EPCOT: Soarin’ is my favorite! I also really enjoy the festivals they offer throughout the year. And the food – oh the food!! Take me to the France pavilion to Boulangerie Patisserie les Halles anyday!
Hollywood Studios, I love Toy Story Land! The breakfast Totcho’s at Woody’s Lunchbox are one of my favorite breakfast items on property!
Where are some Disney must-see attractions your children would share?
My daughter has always liked the classics – Peter Pan, It’s a Small World, Teacups, and of course the shopping. My son really enjoys Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and has gained quite the collection of lightsabers!
Both of my kids have always loved EPCOT, and most clients are surprised when I tell them that even when they were little, they loved the park! EPCOT has a lot to offer kids!
What did school look like last year for your children?
My kids went virtual in March of 2020. My son went back to school for the first time in August of 2021. My daughter had gone back to in-person in the spring of 2021.
My son had COVID and was dealing with some lingering issues due to it, so we felt it best to keep him virtual. He actually liked it, so it worked out in the end.
What are you looking forward to in 2022?
I’m hopeful that we will turn a corner with the pandemic and begin moving forward. Currently, 2022 is looking to be my most successful year for work, and although I’m super excited about it, a part of me is hesitant, because 2020 was also supposed to be the best year ever.
I’ve learned to appreciate what is, and not dwell on the “what could have been…” I’ll get there eventually!
I’m looking forward to traveling a lot this year, my daughter graduating high school, and celebrating 20 years of marriage!
How do you balance being a mom and planning travel fun for other families?
In the beginning it was tough! I wasn’t sure how to manage it because my kids were used to me being available 24/7. I have spent many late nights and early mornings working! Now with them in school full-time I try to do the majority of my work during the daytime and I try to keep weekends open for family time.
I’ve learned over the years that I have to value my time as well, and have set office hours. I try to keep all non-urgent messages to my office hours only. With that being said, I am available to clients while traveling, should anything arise so I’m essentially always on call, but luckily emergencies don’t happen all the time!
✨ Now a couple questions to get to know Sarah better ✨
What gets you up in the morning?
Most days I’m a slow riser. I hate hearing my alarm and having to get up right away. If we have plans that day to go somewhere, I’m a little quicker getting up. Except at Disney – I’m always up early and ready to go before everyone else! LOL
And how do you take your coffee?
I like my coffee with monk fruit sweetener and usually Starbucks caramel macchiato creamer. During Christmas time I love Peppermint Mocha!
Last book you read –
“The ride of a Lifetime” by Robert Iger
If you watch television, what is your favorite show?
I have so many favorites! I’m a sucker for The Bachelor, Real Housewives, This Is Us, Handmaid’s Tale, and documentaries
Strangest item carry on when you travel?
I always take a gallon-size ziploc bag of portable chargers. When we’re in the parks I’m usually posting on social media and taking tons of photos, so my phone battery dies quickly.
Where is your absolute favorite spot to sit and savor the moment when you visit any of the Disney Properties?
I think I would have to say the Wilderness Lodge Resort’s club level lounge overlooking the lobby. It’s gorgeous and grand, and there’s nothing like sitting in the comfortable chairs looking down at the lobby while listening to the music.
A close second would be sitting in the hub grass in the Magic Kingdom, or perhaps the Japan pavilion in Epcot watching the Koi!
The children’s book you most enjoy reading –
“Guess How Much I Love You” by Sam McBratney was always a favorite! I can still recite it today!
Does a travel agent check luggage or do you have it down to a carry on? 🙂 Ha! I’ve done it both ways, but if I’m being honest, the time(s) I did do carry-on only, I had to check it coming home because I can’t control myself when it comes to souvenirs! Thank goodness for Delta Skyclub and free checked bags! LOL
If you’re not traveling to Disney, what is another favorite family vacation spot?
I love, love, love going up to Northern Michigan. Not only to see family, but to the sand dunes, beaches, and all the fun summer touristy stuff. It’s so relaxing to sit on the beach and watch and listen to the waves.
We’re so lucky to have Lake Michigan! Mackinac Island is another fav!
Where are some of your favorite places locally to spend time with your family/family favorites – restaurants, attractions, events, etc?
We have always enjoyed going to Horrocks – that place has added something new everytime we go!
Before COVID, we used to go to AI Fusion for sushi every Sunday. I can’t wait for them to reopen for inside dining!
Preuss Pets is a fantastic local business that we visit at least twice a month! With our crazy zoo, we’re always needing something for one of the pets and they always have what we need.
We also really enjoy going to MSU campus and riding the electric scooters. This is something we discovered last summer and it quickly became a fun activity that we enjoyed doing together!
Favorite events – the DeWitt Ox Roast is a yearly favorite! The family helps me participate in the parade, and it’s always a great time seeing other local businesses showcased and seeing everyone have fun during the event.
Silver Bells in the City is great too!
Is there something you would like to see added to the Greater Lansing area landscape?
I cannot wait for the Trader Joe’s to come to the area!! I think the Lansing area has a lot to offer for a variety of activities.
Mind sharing a mom trick another mom will be happy to learn?
When your kids are teenagers, it’s really important to remind yourself that you are doing a good job, you are a good mom, and this too shall pass. Hormones are no joke, and they’re trying to navigate this crazy world, too. Chances are the next day they won’t even know why they were upset and all will be calm again. Be kind to yourself. 🥰💚
Last question… Is a Spring Break Disney vacation still doable?
Absolutely! Availability is getting limited, though!
Thank you so much Sarah, it was so much fun getting to know you better and we think we need to plan a trip to Disney!
On Sarah’s website you will find many blog entries about specific Disney announcements, plans and other must-reads as you learn more about Disney properties – link HERE.
Disney is still celebrating the 50th Anniversary through March 2023!