Doug Ingersoll never visits the Magic Kingdom without spending some time in the Enchanted Tiki Room. There, he feels the presence of his long-departed Aunt Dorothy.
Originally from Indiana, Ingersoll spent much of his youth living and attending school around the world. His father’s work abroad forced Ingersoll to live away from his hometown, his friends and his extended family throughout most of the year. Returning to the Unites States to visit family each summer, he would stop first in Tampa to spend some time with Aunt Dorothy, his “spiritual grandmother.” During each annual visit, Aunt Dorothy would take Ingersoll to Disney World.
“It was the closest thing I had to home,” Ingersoll says about his trips with Aunt Dorothy.
It is not surprising, then, that Walt Disney World has become such a central part of Ingersoll’s adult life. By day, Ingersoll is a marketing professional in the publishing industry. His real passion, however, is serving as an expert Walt Disney World travel guide.
Ingersoll has been giving advice about Disney World in one form or another since 2005 when he authored the now out of print, Plan Your Walt Disney World Vacation In No Time. Since 2008, he has been the sole writer of the Complete Idiot’s Guide to Walt Disney World (2012 Edition, Alpha Books, 2011, 432 pp.)
As if that wasn’t enough, Ingersoll was selected to be a member of the 2009 Walt Disney World Moms Panel. Oh, by the way, he also is a Neurotic Disney Dad, sporting the chic handle of NDD #50.
Now, with the development of the Walt Disney World Complete Travel Guide (Ver. 2.0, 2011, iTunes), Ingersoll has ventured into the world of iPhone apps.
Again, considering his strong emotional connection with the Walt Disney World property, it is easy to see why Ingersoll seems to spend every non-working moment on Disney-related projects. “I was actually there in the first year of operation,” he boasts. “I’m pretty sure it was spring 1972 when we were there.”
So how does Ingersoll’s wife, Tracy, fit in with his decidedly Disney-themed life?
“I actually proposed on the Boardwalk at the Atlantic Dance Hall.” Ingersoll explained.
Tracy, who was not originally a Disney fan, is becoming a convert. “I’m still in the process of getting her to full conversion,” Now with two young daughters, Doug has been cultivating their Disney obsession since birth. And in doing so, his Disney passion has been renewed. “You go with kids and it reopens your eyes,” Ingersoll said.
First-time visitors to Walt Disney World are Ingersoll’s target audience for the Idiot’s Guide. “Enthusiasts buy The Unofficial Guide. I buy The Unofficial Guide,” explains Ingersoll. “But [Idiot’s Guide] is intended for first-timers…who don’t care to know which attractions Walt actually conceived himself and which ones he didn’t. They don’t care. They’re just taking their kids to Disney World.”
Idiot’s Guide contains all of the elements you would expect from a Walt Disney World vacation planning book. Included are sections dealing with budgeting, choice of resort, dining options, entertainment choices and non-park activities. The information is detailed, but in a non-intimidating manner. Guests unfamiliar with many Walt Disney World vacation options will find this a functional, yet manageable, planning tool.
Ingersoll designed the Complete Travel Guide app to be an in-park version of the book, again with the first-time or novice visitor in mind. “I always said you shouldn’t ever carry the book into the park with you,” Ingersoll explained.
As in the Idiot’s Guide, extras such as hidden Mickey locations, attraction back stories and references to Disney Imagineers are omitted. “It’s not meant to be exhaustively detailed. I find that stuff very intriguing, but with first time vacationers, they don’t really care, they just want to have a good time and to get to the heart of the matter. And that’s what the app is all about.”
For Ingersoll, being a member of the Walt Disney World Moms Panel has been a natural extension of his previous Disney-related work. It has provided him with an opportunity to give vacation planning advice on a more personal level. The best part of being a panelist, however, has been meeting and interacting with others in the Disney community. “If I told you all the people I was thrilled to meet because of being on the Moms Panel, we would be here an hour,” Ingersoll said.
Somewhere on a bench, in the quiet darkness of the Enchanted Tiki Room, Aunt Dorothy is smiling.
Contributed by: John Marchese (NDD#172) John is the DDL Media Relations Contributor.