In a world full of apps dedicated to make scheduling simple and seamless there is still something timeless about putting pen to paper. Miranda Lee wanted to jump in and differentiate herself in the planner market by putting a magical spin on it. And did she ever, as she sold out of her first production run in only three hours.
When did you discover your love for Disney?
Miranda: I’ve always loved Disney. I grew up coming to Walt Disney World with my grandparents and it really just stemmed from there. I was always a very theatrical and outspoken person growing up so I was pretty well known as the girl who loves Disney. The collection of The Lion King plushes in my 6th grade locker also helped give it away.
When was your first trip to the parks?
I have pretty vivid memories of a trip when I was 3-years-old staying at the Polynesian Resort with my family. I’m pretty sure that was my first trip!
Tell us about your background and what led you to starting Plan The Magic?
I studied theater and communications in college, so really nothing having to do with design or business or anything like that. But I’ve been known to be very passionate about a lot of things. One of those things is paper goods. I LOVE them. I always had at least two planners including digital planners. My life has always been so crazy and I always keep myself really busy, so I developed a true love of the paper planner. Coming into this social media world where I saw so many fun small businesses that were so clever and involved Disney, I wanted to be a part of that. I’ve always wanted to be my own boss and truly create something great but I wanted to make sure I found my niche in the market. I knew it had to be a planner and paper goods business!
When did you launch your first planner? Anything help you take the leap?
The 2019 Plan the Magic Planner launched in January 2019. Yep. A little late in planner world. I typically like to have my planners for the next year in July, haha! We had a few bumps in the road with our manufacturer which delayed the release... three times. It was one point in 2017 where I was like, why don’t I stop doodling and just do this? My husband was the one who asked me why I was just sitting around. I just needed someone else to be like, hey I believe in you and I think people will love it.
Did you look up to or were inspired by anyone when starting out?
Like I said, there are so many amazing small business owners out there! A lot of them I'm blessed to call very good friends. They were the ones who really inspired me - and still inspire me to this day.
Did you have any experience in designing, sourcing and manufacturing stationary products?
Absolutely not. I’ve learned so much as this process and it’s really incredibly how much you can learn with a little hard work and research!
Beyond impressive, your very first release sold out in less than three hours! What has stuck with you from day one that still drives your focus and success today?
Ha, thanks! Honestly the thing that sticks with me is the amazing humans who have supported me from Day 1. They all helped spread the word and get people excited and I don’t think I could have done it without them.
While it is fantastic for trip planning, it’s a great everyday planner for when you’re not at the parks or on vacation but still want a dose of magic. How did you map out which sections to include when you were designing it?
I knew I wanted a product that could be used by anyone, but had definite magical touches. I love the specialty pages in the pack and even though they are definitely targeted to those who spend their time in the Parks, it's easy to use them or they're small enough to skip if that's not your favorite. I will say the most difficult thing was to decide what "specialty holidays" I wanted to include. Will people celebrate National Waffle Day, International Waffle Day or just Waffle Day?! What movies' anniversaries do people care about? It's really interesting now that the planner has come out to see what sticks and what doesn't.
In the digital focused world we live in, what is it about an analog planner that you just can’t get from an app or website?
Creativity and personalizing! I specifically designed the weekly layouts so it can be as structured or as free as you would want it to be. Want to map out a specific hourly schedule in a day? Cool. Want to use it as a bullet journal and doodle with some fun colors? Great! Plan the Magic is whatever you want it to be with a few magical touches that hopefully make our customers smile!
What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve faced and overcame with Plan The Magic?
Definitely trying to research the best people to work with and in a timely manner. It was really challenging realizing not everything can be in our control and you have to trust those you selected to work with.
What is your favorite part of running a brand that's entirely yours?
I create something because I want to and not because I have to.
What do you want people to think of when they think of Plan The Magic?
I want them to think of Plan the Magic as something that brings joy to their every day life and something they would be lost without!
What’s next for the brand? What do you want people to know?
We are knee-deep in designing for 2020! We found a lot of great additions, especially for the specialty pages, that I think everyone will be excited about! We also have some other paper products in production that will launch very soon!
Favorite Walt quote?
“All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.”
What do you think Walt would think of the parks today?
Honestly, it depends on the park! I think one thing he will be impressed with is how everyone is committed to continue to grow each and every park, just as he wished.
Mickey Bar or Mickey Pretzel?
Dole Whip or Citrus Swirl?
Favorite Disney restaurant?
Wow. It's like Sophie's Choice. Uhm. 'Ohana? California Grill Brunch?!
Favorite park and attraction?
Magic Kingdom, mainly for nostalgic reasons. I've always been a Soarin' girl, and Soarin' Around the World thankfully kept true to its core so it's stayed my favorite.
Best parks tip?
I'd like to think I am filled with tips! I share a lot of them on my YouTube, but my favorite one is GET TO THE PARK EARLY! You can sleep when you're home.
Favorite holiday in the parks?
All time favorite fireworks show?
WISHES, may she rest in peace.
Most magical experience you’ve had on property?
I'm lucky to have had a lot of magical moments (getting engaged, cast member encounters, etc), but my favorite is on my 23rd birthday when I walked up Main Street U.S.A. with this elderly CM and talked about life. After about 15 minutes of chatting, he asked to speak to the rest of my family and asked if we wanted to be grand marshals of the Share a Dream Come True Parade. Best. Day. Ever.
Who do you want to see interviewed next?
There are SO many amazing businesses who have truly come so far and paved the way. You should ask Parkbound Buttons aka Casey and the Bear!! She's one of my good friends who I met through here and I just think her story is one so many people want to know! I mean, she travels with Lolly the Bear!!! LEGEND.