What started as a love for travel and a knack for planning has now become more than a hobby for one dad.
With a history working in the travel industry in hotel management and event planning, Keith Voets has always had a passion for travel — especially to Disney. After visiting almost every Disney Park on the planet, enjoying Disney Cruises, and traveling all over the world, he became the go-to person in his circle to help book trips.
But it wasn’t until Keith and his husband, Kevin, tried to plan their first trip with their son, Robbie, that Voets considered making helping people plan more than just a hobby.
“With a 6 month old, I just needed more access to tools as we were planning the vacation—it changed everything,” Voets explained. “That’s when I started to consider getting trained as a travel agent.
“We wanted other people to have more tools at their disposal to plan their vacation and have a good time,” he added. “Travel is necessary, it shouldn’t be a luxury. It’s one way that we engage with the world.”
That’s why Voets launched his travel agency, Magical Dad Vacations, where he is trained and certified with all of the major cruise lines, countless resorts and tour operators around the world, Universal Orlando Resort and Disney. Voets’ services are completely free if you book your vacation through his agency, and he is able to help plan your entire vacation with his top recommendations and expertise. He can even make your dining and activity reservations for you.
“When someone comes to me looking to plan a vacation, I try to match up what their interests are,” he explained of his process. “If it’s a group of adults, we’ll look at some adults-only options. If the group has kids, we’ll look at how to plan each day so your kids can be managed and still have a good time.
“For a Disney trip, we’ll plan an entire itinerary around seeing the characters they want to see, the rides they would most enjoy and the theming that would bring the biggest smiles to their faces,” he continued. “If your kids are big into Donald Duck, we’ll get you plenty of time with Donald Duck.”
Voets is also training to get his certification in planning for families with developmental disabilities so he can assist with providing those accommodations.
Regardless of the group you’re with, if you’re planning a trip to Disney or on a major cruise line, Voets said planning is key.
“When people show up to a trip and get mad or they don’t have a good time, it’s because they haven’t done the right kind of planning,” he explained. “There are plenty of trips where you can play it by ear, but you can’t plan a Disneyland or Disney World vacation by ear because there’s just so many people and so much to do. It’s not a small thing, and it helps to have somebody to help. That’s why I do what I do.”
And with Voets, you’re more than just a number.
“I don’t work for a corporation, I work for myself,” he said. “I get to build that relationship with you—you’re not just a number on a credit card. We will talk all the time to answer your questions because I need to get to know you so you have the best possible travel experience.
“I helped someone book a short trip to Disney in May, and next thing I know her sister and three friends all called me and asked me to help book and plan a trip for their families in June,” he continued. “Those are the kinds of relationships I like to build.”
Voets is expecting an uptick of Disney trips planned as the park rolls back policies put in place during the pandemic. In 2024, theme park reservations will no longer be required for date-based tickets, and Disney will be bringing back its popular dining plan where guests can pre-pay for meals.
But the Long Island resident has also seen more calls for planning cruises now that almost every cruise line leaves out of New York City.
“Cruises are almost becoming more like floating amusement parks,” Voets laughed. “You have old Transatlantic ocean liners, new cruise lines—there’s so many kinds out there, and I can help tailor which is right for you based on your specific needs and wants.”
Looking to find some savings on your trip?
“Time of the year is key when it comes to budget,” Voets said. “Most of the travel industry is not one set price. You have times within the year where it’s more affordable to travel, but you have to focus on your off times, which is usually when kids are in school, at least that’s when the least expensive trips to Disney are. The most expensive are always spring break, Christmas and Thanksgiving time. But if you’re willing to go in early May, Labor Day week, those times are really affordable.”