Kathleen Short has always loved traveling and making travel plans. Kathleen and her husband, Jarrett, both attended Jenks High School and are high-school sweethearts. After graduation, Kathleen attended Baylor University and Oklahoma State where she got her degree in Elementary and Early Childhood Education. She taught for several years before becoming a stay-at-home mom. Kathleen and Jarrett have been married for 25 years and have two children, Nathan (21) and Madelyn (19). The family moved to Owasso in 2001 and have lived in Stone Canyon for the last four years. Jarrett is the IT Director for the world's largest Dental Supply Manufacturer along with being co-owner of Dreaming About The Mouse Travel.
In 2007, Jarrett’s parents took the entire family on an incredible two-week Disney Cruise to the Mediterranean, which really set the stage for Kathleen’s career. She shares, “They were gracious enough to let me plan out all of our private tours for each port and put together the perfect itinerary — making sure we made the most of our time spent in each port.” Kathleen remembers, “My family laughed at the laminated spiral-bound booklets I made for each family outlining the plans for the day and jokingly said I should do this as a job. Once that trip was over, I immediately started planning our first, and what was intended to be our only, Disney World vacation. I wasn't exactly a Disney lover, but the Disney Cruise BLEW me away, so I thought, 'Why not? We will give Disney World a shot.' I spent an entire year planning this trip and making sure I understood the ins and outs of resorts, parks, and the dining plan, and how to get from point A to point B."
Word got out to Kathleen’s family and friends that she was a "Disney expert," so they started coming to her for help. In 2013, she decided to turn her love of planning and helping others into a job. That’s when she started as an independent contractor with a Disney-focused travel agency out of Texas. Kathleen started with a bang and within two years had to choose between continuing to teach or becoming a full-time travel agent that specialized in Disney vacations. Her business took off when she chose full-time, and she quickly realized she needed help. Kathleen explains, “Many weeks I was working 60 to 80 hours. Jarrett encouraged me to start my own company so we could afford to hire help and possibly make this a 'family' business. So, in April of 2016, Dreaming About The Mouse Travel LLC was born.”
Today, she has 26 amazing independent contractors throughout the country and an assistant. Within a year of opening, Dreaming About The Mouse Travel’s knowledge and sales of Disney products earned them the distinction of being named a Gold Level Authorized Disney Vacation Planner. They are also an award-winning Preferred Sandals Agency and Gold Level Universal agency.
Kathleen started a second brand called "Dreaming About Vacations" several years ago that focuses on non-Disney destinations like Hawaii, Europe, Universal, all-inclusive resorts, and all cruise lines. Kathleen says, “I love that we can now help our clients no matter where they want to go. We provide concierge-level planning for our clients and make their vacation planning experience simple and FUN. We have advisors that specialize in different destinations so we can help you with whatever vacation destination you are dreaming about!”
In March of 2020, they lost their entire multi-million-dollar book of business in a matter of a few days when the entire world shut down. Kathleen shares, "We were devastated for our clients that had been dreaming about their special vacations, and our advisors were devastated that they lost their entire income basically overnight. The next several months, we worked for free as we had to cancel, rebook, fight for refunds and work with vendors as the COVID policies changed day to day. In fact, we are still dealing with future cruise credits from that time. We pulled together as a team and came up with creative ways to stay engaged with our clients during the shutdown, and then we pivoted our business in the summer of 2020. We started focusing more on domestic vacations like National Parks and Florida beach vacations. Then in July 2020, Disney World opened back up with a lot of restrictions. We had our advisors in the park each week showing how fun it was with low crowds and how safe it was. Our business started coming back, and before we knew it, we knew we were doing even better than before the pandemic. Disney even recognized our exceptional growth in late 2020 and 2021 with a special invitation to the 50th-anniversary media event. This was an incredible honor! We had to hire more advisors to keep up with the demand we were seeing."
Kathleen manages the day-to-day operations of the business and works with her clients planning dream vacations. She and her advisors travel a lot throughout the year to keep up their knowledge on the ever-changing world of travel so they can always offer clients the best advice, which is more important now more than ever. Just since January 2022, Kathleen has personally traveled to Disney World, Universal, gone on a Royal Caribbean cruise, stayed at Unico — an all-inclusive resort in Mexico, spent six days at Disneyland, gone to Nashville for a conference, traveled to Alaska for a cruise tour, and to Sandals Barbados.
She says, “We are passionate about serving our clients and making their vacations a truly magical experience. Our clients become like family to us, and we enjoy getting to help make their vacation dreams a reality!”
When asked what else Stone Canyon residents should know about her business, Kathleen answered, “Post pandemic, people are really seeing the value of working with a professional travel advisor as we assist them with navigating the new and ever-changing protocols. We know how to handle travel hiccups, last-minute changes and are able to advocate for our clients when issues arise before, during, and after travel. Our team would love to assist you with your vacation planning needs, and in most situations, we do not charge a fee for our services.”