I’m goin’ to Disney World

From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. Luke 12:48 NIV

When I was a senior in college, I never would have imagined that a couple of 10-year-old kids would grow up to be two of my dearest friends. At the time, that would have just been weird. But let 35 or so years go by – during which time those kids get married and have a family and do all sorts of wonderful stuff – and now it doesn’t seem weird at all.

The “kids” I have in mind are Monday and Darin Cleghorn, dear friends from North Alabama and members of the church where I grew up. Prior to being the responsible grown people they are now, though, they were just like any other kids – well, sort of. When Monday was a youngster, she wrote and illustrated a story for me about a poisonous “snak.” (You know, silent “e” is such a waste of crayon when you’re 8…) And although I was not a witness to this, I understand that Darin stole a tractor once and took it for a joy ride. (Since he was just 2 at the time and wasn’t wearing anything but a diaper, no arrests were made.)

Although it’s kind of fun to still think of Monday as the little girl who couldn’t be bothered with a silent “e” and Darin as the kid who committed Grand Theft Tractor, that’s not who they are anymore. Today she’s President and he’s Vice President of Magic of Mickey Travel, a bajillion dollar travel agency that books travel to a number of Disney destinations, including one of my favorite places on the planet – the Walt Disney World Resort. (We mutually decided not to talk actual dollar amounts, ‘cause that’s not really important, so you can interpret the numerical value of “bajillion” any way you’d like.)

Monday started Magic of Mickey Travel as a one-woman show five years ago. By the end of the year, though, her business had grown so much she needed some help – so she hired a few stay-at-home moms as agents. To help manage the rapidly growing agency, Darin (who has a background in business) eventually joined the team. Today, Magic of Mickey has a total of 58 agents, including 6 managers – and growing. (And Monday assures me she’s learned how to spell “snake.”)

In addition to, and actually more significant than, being successful business owners, they both have a dynamic relationship with Jesus, a relationship that takes front and center of their lives – including the way they manage that business. And while I’m sure they would gladly book you a trip anywhere you wanted to go, Magic of Mickey Travel is primarily a Disney-focused agency with more than 90% of its sales made through the Walt Disney Travel Co. (Why would you want to go anywhere else?)

Disney invited the agency to officially become an “Authorized Disney Vacation Planner” after an impressive two-year growth period (that included a whole bunch of zeros) – and that growth has shown no signs of letting up. Today, they are a “Gold Level” agency, a status awarded to agencies that reach or exceed sales of… ummm… let’s just say a whole bunch more zeroes.

But even better than their financial success is the fact that the two don’t hide the spiritual foundation of their business. When visiting their website at MagicofMickey.com, the first thing you read is: “Magic of Mickey Travel is a Christian-based company…” Not a company whose owners just happen to be Christians, but a Christian company. Monday knows exactly who the “CEO” of Magic of Mickey Travel is – and you can’t be around her for long without picking up on that.

“I don’t understand or even pretend to understand why the Lord has chosen to bless me and my family the way He has,” she says. “But I can say this: nothing – absolutely nothing – in me did anything at all to make Magic of Mickey Travel what it is today. This business is His and I am so incredibly thankful He’s given me the joy and pleasure of being just a very small part of it!”

In other words, she freely acknowledges that she and Darin are merely the stewards of God’s business. (His bajillion dollar business…)

In Luke’s Gospel (chapter 12) Jesus talks a lot about the importance of our being good stewards of the things God has given us and His expectations due to His blessing. In verse 48 He says:

From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. Luke 12:48 NIV

So as Christians, it is totally within “company policy” for Him to demand as much from us as He wants. In the corporate world, if an employee is given a nice raise and a corner office, then it’s not at all unreasonable for the company to expect her to give her best in return – in fact, she should want to do that as a way to show her gratitude for those perks.

The same holds true for Christians. BUT…

…I don’t want us to get stuck on the “much will be demanded” part of the verse and miss the part about being “given much.” Just think of the blessings that are ours as adopted sons and daughters of the creator of the universe, starting with our salvation! And even if God’s blessing started and stopped with salvation (I know – totally a moot point), it would still be “immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine.”

But His blessing didn’t stop there – certainly not for me. He has definitely given me “much”: musical talent, writing ability, a bank account that always seems to have a positive balance (which I cannot explain), good hair (What? He has…).

So I do what every Christian should do: tithe, give to support missions and other ministries, and serve Him with the gifts He’s given me, like writing in this blog and being involved in church – and, to the best of my ability, I do so gladly, freely, and joyfully.

But how ‘bout somebody else, like, say, Monday and Darin? They also tithe, give to special offerings, and serve in church. (Darin actually teaches my dad in Sunday School.) But, as evidenced by their website, their stewardship goes way beyond those base-level standards: they live their stewardship in every aspect of their lives – including their business.

And although the name of their business is meant to assure their clients of the “magical” vacation experience they’ll have with Disney, running that business in a way that honors the Lord isn’t magic – it can only be attributed to the guidance of His Holy Spirit.

Monday (beautifully illustrating two other Bible verses) says, “We run our business with integrity and honesty and treat others how we want to be treated. When I book a trip, I treat that trip just like it were my own. I make sure my clients feel as though they can trust me, both as their Travel Professional and their friend.”

Not only do those God-honoring principles play out with their clients, but also with their team. Darin says, “Our agents are like family to us and we love each one of them. We’ve prayed for them and with them, cried with them, shared special moments with them. Our team members aren’t ashamed to say, ‘I’ll pray for – fill in the blank – with you’ or share scripture from God’s Word or just some encouraging words.”

Of course, there’s also a Disney connection: “There’s a phrase used by Stitch in the Disney movie Lilo and Stitch,” Monday adds. “Stitch says, ‘Ohana means family. Family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten.’ This is our internal motto. We care so much about one another and feel so much like a family that we refer to one another as Ohana.”

This isn’t just folks being nice to each other – as members of God’s Ohana this is exactly what we’re called to do:

Encourage one another and build each other up… 1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV

So let’s see if Monday and Darin actually do make good examples of Luke 12:48:

  • Good stewards of the financial blessings God has given them? Check.
  • Good stewards of the opportunity to honor the Lord in their relationship with their clients? Check.
  • Good stewards in encouraging and building up their Ohana? Check.

Check, check, check. Works for me.

When I first pitched the idea of using these two and their business as an illustration of Luke 12:48, we all got really excited at the possibilities of working together. Later, Monday told me, “When you asked me if you could interview me, I recall thinking, ‘Why in the world, would he want to interview me? There’s nothing at all interesting in what I have to say.’ But then I remembered that my prayer for a long time has been that God would use our business for His honor and glory, and He was just answering my prayer. He was answering it in a way I never would have dreamed, but He was answering it!”

(That’s giving a lot of credit to this little blog, but hey – I have readers from as far away as Pakistan and Brazil. Seriously – huge Disney fans.)

Of course, getting to the point of giving God all the glory can sometimes be a journey. Monday recounts a story about her own trip to that truth:

“About three years ago, I had really gotten the word out that I booked Disney vacations; as a result, Magic of Mickey Travel was really beginning to take off. One particular day, I had been so busy that I remember leaning back in my office chair and saying to myself, ‘Finally! I’ve done it! When people think of me, they think of Disney!’ Immediately the Lord spoke to me and said, ‘Shouldn’t they think of me when they think of you?’

“I was tearfully humbled at that very moment. I knew that, from then on, things had to change. No matter what happened with the business, I had to put my focus on Him and not on me. I knew that my life had to be committed and submitted to God, in everything.”

And that, mes amis, is how we’re to respond to being “given much.” It has nothing to do with how much money we have and everything to do with our total commitment and submission to God. In fact, although God can – and does – certainly dole out financial blessings, nowhere in His word is that given to us as a promise. John’s gospel does tell us, though, that:

From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. John 1:16 NIV

So no matter what blessings or gifts God has given us, our charge as followers of Jesus is to honor Him by being a good steward of those things. Paul the Apostle lists some possibilities and what our response to them should be:

We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully. Romans 12:6-8 NIV

Prophesying, serving, teaching, encouraging, giving, leading, being merciful – I’d say that about covers it (and, of course, having good hair). If you can’t find yourself somewhere on that list… (Don’t make me say it…)

Prophesying is definitely not one of my blessings (I can’t even predict what I’m going to have for dinner tonight), but I can venture a look into the future of Magic of Mickey Travel…

…I see castles and cruises, memories and magic, business and blessings, and sweet fellowship amongst an ever-growing Ohana

and I see faithful Christian friends being given more – much, much more…

• • •

So, was this whole post some kind of shameless plug for my friends’ business? No – it’s a shameless plug for the goodness and blessing of Almighty God; a God who has used Monday and Darin as an object lesson in how He takes care of those who honor Him in every part of their lives; a God who makes this promise if we will be faithful stewards of the things He’s entrusted to us:

“Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.” Malachi 3:10 NIV

However… if, when planning your next trip to Disney, you need amazing white glove treatment that the mouse himself would be proud of, then Hakuna Matata – leave the worries to Magic of Mickey Travel. They’ll help you plan the perfect Disney vacation with enough memories to last for – well, until your next trip.

Visit their website; find them on Facebook; send an email; check out team member, Sid Gray’s “3-Minute Travel Tips;” or give them a call at 256-221-3488.

I know for a fact they hope to “See you real soon!”

17 thoughts on “I’m goin’ to Disney World

  1. LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE!!!!! You are awesome!!! Thank you so much!!!! What an honor to be able to honor the Lord this way!!! 🙂

  2. This is why I am glad to be apart of this wonderful company. She has made my dreams come true by following hers. They run the business as you have put it, as a family, but with God involved in every measure. We are O’Hana and that means alot to me. Thank You Monday and Darin for allowing God to use you and be his vessel. It means the world to me.

  3. We love Monday and Magic of Mickey travel. We book all our Disney World trips with her. We went a little overboard last year and went three times. Trying to not go this year but I don’t know if we can hold out till Spring 2016. Lol. What a lovely tribute to God and two wonderful Christian people.

  4. Enjoyed reading this Dusty, you have a way with words, but I know it’s easy when you have great people like Monday & Darin to write about. Love ya

  5. Dusty, this is a great article and a very truthful look into this company. They have helped us on a family cruise and it was fantastic!! God bless the future!!

  6. Pingback: Walking on Bare Concrete | clay

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