We are The Park Planners

Our Story

The Park Planners was started in 2018 from Colleen’s couch in their tiny Chicago apartment. This came after a family trip to Walt Disney World where she noticed people just showing up to the parks and spending their days waiting in crazy lines. Not so magical. There had to be a way to help families experience Disney how their family did!

Colleen worked on this unique idea for a planning service after her day job was done and spent most nights up late listening to park music while she brainstormed. Eventually the concept of a Concierge Service developed and the business was official. Her first year of business brought in only eight clients, and then with a little magic and hard work, that number skyrocketed into the hundreds – even through the challenges of 2020. 

Colleen went full time with the business that year and an incredible team was hired in 2021 to help make the magic for all of these clients. The Park Planners team continues to grow with Disney experts as they serve hundreds of families each year. Colleen opened their first office in downtown Clarendon Hills in March of 2023!

 

Meet The Team

These are the Disney experts who make the magic happen for your family.

Colleen Bentley

Owner & Founder

Hi friends! My name is Colleen, and I’m the owner and founder of The Park Planners. My husband Ben and I have been Clarendon Hills residents for a few years and absolutely love it here. When I wanted to open an office, I knew it had to be in CH! It’s a dream come true having an office in a town that we love, and an incredible team of Concierge Planners to fill it! 

A little bit about me…I grew up as the family trip planner and many of my ideas for the Concierge Service came from the planning I did for our Disney trips growing up. Now I get to plan trips with our daughter, Molly - future Intern of The Park Planners! We are Disney Vacation Club Members and Annual Passholders at Walt Disney World, but we also travel often to Disneyland in California, Disney’s Aulani Resort & Spa in Hawaii, and love sailing aboard Disney Cruise Line. Molly is a well traveled girl already!

The Disney destinations bring me so much joy, and I love being able to share that with our clients. Starting this business was a huge leap of faith and a ton of hard work and sacrifice. I am so grateful for all of the love and support I’ve received over the last few years to get to this point. As Cinderella says, “Have courage and be kind.”



Colleen Bentley

Hannah Franchetti

Business Manager

Hiya Pals! My name is Hannah and working with The Park Planners is a dream come true! I live in the suburbs of Chicago with my husband, our son and our dog Winnie (Yes, Winnie the Pooh)

I have LOVED all things Disney since I was a little girl, when I used to sing Beauty and the Beast in my yellow Belle dress with my Beast doll and pretend I didn’t have legs like Ariel when I didn’t want to do my chores. The Disney Parks are unlike any other place I’ve ever been; the pure joy and excitement I feel there is truly unmatched.

Coast to Coast, the Disney parks are my home away from home. There is no better feeling than seeing those castles, giving Mickey Mouse a hug and of course eating your favorite Disney snacks. I am so excited to help families share in that same joy and experience the Disney Magic!annah Franchetti, Business Manager



Hannah Franchetti

Kim Collins

Travel Agent

My name is Kim Collins and I am the co-owner (with Colleen!) of Magical Park Vacations, a travel agency specializing in Disney destinations. I have been a Travel Agent who specializes in Disney for over 5 years.

I live in Rochester, NY (think Canada lol) with my husband Dan and our dogs Sammy and Finley. I am a lover of life and try to live every day to the fullest. Here are just a few of my favorite things; my family, Dole Whips, Mickey Beignets, glitter, hockey, Notre Dame (Go Irish), our cottage, traveling and of course Disney! Walt Disney World holds a special place in my heart, and I fall in more in love every time I go.

Being able to plan Disney vacations for clients is truly a dream come true! I love that I get to help create amazing memories that will last a lifetime.



Kim Collins

Mary Balash

Concierge Planner

Hi! My name is Mary Balash. I live in Western Springs, IL with my husband Steve, our little girl Ellie, and our Mini Golden Doodle, Lottie.

I taught first grade for the last decade before deciding to stay home with my daughter. Teaching has always been a passion of mine, but I also have always loved all things Disney! I am excited to mix my love of planning and making kiddos happy by working for WDW Park Planners.

Here are some Disney memories that make me smile: running the Disney Princess Half Marathon, riding Tower of Terror 5 times in a row thanks to a generous cast member, surprising my then two year old niece during her first Disney vacation and any night that ends with the ‘Kiss Goodnight’ at MK!



Mary Balash

Brianna Welbourn

Concierge Planner

Hi! My name is Bri Welbourn. I currently live in downtown Chicago with my fiance, Nick, and our 2 dogs, Jax & Hawk. 

I grew up going on many Disney vacations as a child to Disneyland, Disney World, cruises, and Vero Beach with my parents. I also have continued to share the Disney magic with many of my friends and family through various trips as an adult. I would spend hours planning our family vacations and send out hour by hour itineraries for each trip. My most favorite memories have happened at Disney, including riding Splash Mountain over and over until park close with my dad,  watching fireworks with my mom on Main Street USA, experiencing the 24 hour day celebration with my best friend, running the Wine & Dine half-marathon, playing softball at the Wide World of Sports, and sharing back to back Disney trips to Disneyland and Disney World with my fiance.

In my free time, you can find me researching all the latest foodie spots at Disney World & Disneyland. Disney has brought so much joy to my life, and I am so excited for the opportunity to share my knowledge and experience to provide lifelong memories.

Brianna Welbourn

Amanda Discipio

Concierge Planner

Hi! My name is Amanda Discipio. I live in Geneva, IL with my husband, Nick, our three year old son Jack, our one year old daughter Shea, and our dog Addison!

I have been lucky to have gone to Disney many times as a kid growing up as well as going as an adult! Disney has always had a special place in my heart as well as my family’s. I am so excited to be able to use my love for Disney to help plan trips for other families to make their own magical memories!

I love so many things about Disney, but making memories with my husband and kids and my family over the years has been my favorite! I have loved seeing Disney through my kid's eyes, it's so magical!

In my spare time, I love to run, read, and spend time with my family and friends!



Amanda Discipio

Shannon Jenkinson

Travel Agent & Concierge Planner

Hi Everyone! My name is Shannon Jenkinson and I live in Orlando, FL with my boyfriend Clint. 

Originally from Indianapolis, IN, my family moved to Orlando when I was five and the love of Disney began. We are Disney Vacation Club Members and Annual Passholders. In addition to being lucky enough to have Disney World in my backyard, I have also traveled to Disneyland, Disney’s Aulani and Disneyland Paris, and sailed aboard many Disney Cruises. 

In my spare time if I am not at Disney, you can find me riding my Peloton, watching a sporting event or traveling. 

While my full time job is in Marketing, I am excited to bring my love of Disney (and planning things) to the team and create awesome memories for families!



Shannon Jenkinson

Hannah Lewis

Concierge Planner

Hi everyone! My name is Hannah Lewis. I live in Highland Park, IL with my husband Josh, our daughter Scarlett and our twins, Jack and Audrey. Before my twins came along I worked in corporate finance, but then decided to make the transition to a stay-at-home mom. 

Now that my littles are in preschool I suddenly have some extra time on my hands. When I thought about going back to work and what would make me happy, Disney was the obvious choice! Growing up, my favorite vacations always involved going to Disney World and/or Universal Studios. Every time we went I claimed that one day I would work at Disney. So, you could say that this is my dream job! I can’t wait to help make your Disney experiences just as magical as mine!

When I’m not planning your Disney vacations or running my three kids around, you can find me riding my Peloton, researching new restaurants to try, or cooking yummy meals at home



Hannah Lewis

Michelle St. Laurent

Concierge Planner

Hi everyone! My name is Michelle St. Laurent. I love being a part of The Park Planners Team!

 

I absolutely love anything Disney and especially, Disney Parks related. I have been to Disney World over 30 times and stayed at most of the resorts. I grew up going to Disney World with my mom, dad and sister once a year since I was three years old! To this day, I still love going with my mom, dad and sister and now my husband and son, Tommy! We are also Disney Vacation Club members. 

Memories are made there that I will never forget and I love bringing my son there now to enjoy all the magic as well. I look forward to planning your next Disney trip with you and your family and making it unforgettable!



Michelle St. Laurent

Staci Meyer

Concierge Planner

Hi! My name is Staci Meyer and I live in Orlando, FL with my husband, Adam, and our two sweet Goldendoodles, Zoe and Marigold. I am so excited to be a part of The Park Planners Team! 

A bit about me… The first time I visited all 4 Disney World parks was in 2017 on a trip with my older sisters and my nieces and nephew. I immediately fell in love with the parks and began quickly researching everything I could about Disney, the parks, and planning my next trip. I became an out of state annual passholder making many trips down to Florida before I made the leap of moving to Orlando in 2021.

Being a “Disney local” was a long time dream of mine that I am now living and loving! I love being able to just swing over to the parks for a few hours to ride a favorite ride, watch the fireworks, or grab dinner. My husband and I traveled to Disneyland in California for our honeymoon and we have an upcoming trip planned to visit Disneyland Paris!

I’ve spent several years as an elementary teacher teaching both Kindergarten and second grade. It has always been a dream of mine to find a way to make my love for Disney into a job and I’m just so excited to be a part of this incredible team and get to help plan the magic for other families! 

Staci Meyer

Lisa Auriemme

Concierge Planner

Hi there, I'm Lisa Auriemme! My love of Disney began at an early age, with my first trip to Disney world at age 3. Lucky for me my parents took me almost yearly!

I remember feeling so magical each time we would step into a park, and the young romantic in me would dream of coming to Disney with my future husband. Matt and I met when we were just 17 years old (babies), and lucky for me he grew up going to Disney with his family as well.

When we got engaged and it became time to plan our wedding, what better place than the most Magical place on Earth? We got married at Disney's Wedding Pavilion in 2009, and had our reception at the Grand Floridian and it was truly the most magical experience ever.

Our dreams have further come true as we now take our kids Jonathan (8) and Aria (4) to Disney. Seeing them experience the characters, rides, and magic is something wonderful. Planning our family trips always brings me so much joy , and having followed The Park Planners journey from afar, I knew this would be a dream job to help other families make the most out of their Disney vacations.

Lisa Auriemme

Emily Hansen

Concierge Planner

My name is Emily and I grew up a Disney kid, and not really much has changed! Despite having loved Disney all my life, I didn’t go to Disney World until I was a junior in high school and then not again until 2017! After my 2017 trip I realized how much Disney has to offer and it made me love Disney even more. My mom and I go on a Mother-Daughter Flower and Garden trip every spring! 
 
When I am not at Disney, I love to read, catch up on shows or you can find me on my Peloton or marathon training! I will be running the Chicago Marathon 2024 and rundisney Dopey 2025! 
 
I am so excited to join the Park Planners team to help make magic and share my love for Disney!



Emily Hansen

A thank you to our incredible families for sharing about their magical experiences with our Concierge Service. Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo!

Plan Your Next Trip Today!