Are you thinking about planning a Disney vacation soon? If so, you should check out the pros and cons of using a Disney Travel Planner to find out if using a vacation planner that specializes in everything Disney is right for you!
Using A Disney Travel Planner
One big source of confusion or speculation when planning a Disney vacation is whether or not you should use a Disney travel agent (or a “Disney travel planner.”)
To write this post, I had some help from a friend who used to be a Disney travel planner to ensure accuracy and get a bit of an inside scoop. She gave me the good and the bad – and I added some of my own points in based on my own personal experiences.
As a note, a Disney travel agent should be a “Disney College of Knowledge Graduate.” These agents have been trained by Disney. Ideally, they should work for an Authorized Disney Travel Agency which is a special “Earmarked” status that Disney bestows to agencies that have met Disney’s high expectations of customer service.
Let’s start off with the potential negatives of working with a Disney travel planner.
Cons of Using a Disney Travel Planner
- If you like having complete control of every aspect of your vacation planning, a Disney Vacation Planner may not be right for you. You can have your planner do as little or as much of your vacation planning as you’d like, but if it stresses you out to give up control, don’t do it!
- All changes go through your Disney Vacation Planner. You will not be able to call Disney personally to make any major changes to your trip – like payments, resort reservations, ticket packages, etc. You can make your own dining, Lightning Lane, etc, reservations, if desired.
- Disney Vacation Planners do have access to your credit card. If you are not comfortable with anyone making payments with your credit card on your behalf, using a Disney Vacation Planner is not right for you.
- They have to use Disney systems. So, if you are hoping to rent some DVC points for a resort reservation or plan to take advantage of discounted ticket offerings from services like Undercover Tourist – then a Disney travel planner cannot assist you.
- Not all Disney travel agents are equal. Yes, they’ve all attended the Disney College of Knowledge, but some have more experience than others and some specialize just in Disney vacations while for others, Disney vacation planning only makes up a fraction of their business and they may not have the same breadth of knowledge. Beyond that, as with any industry, you have some people who are detail-oriented and will go the extra mile while others… not so much.
To further elaborate on the final point, be sure to get personal recommendations, read Google and Facebook reviews of the agency and ask questions before signing on to have a Disney travel agent handle your vacation.
Pros of Using a Disney Travel Planner
- A Disney Vacation Planner’s service is FREE! Disney pays the travel agent for their services – there is no upcharge or fee charged to you for using a Disney travel agent. (However, keep in mind that if you use your travel agent for non-Disney bookings or add-on services, like booking flights, that there may be fees involved – ensure that you ask them to disclose when those occur.)
- They are well-versed in all current packages, promotions, events, etc. Disney’s offerings change often and there are also important details (like knowing which resorts are undergoing renovations) that a Disney Travel Planner would be well-versed in so you don’t have to do all of the research yourself. They also usually have a good idea of any promotions or specials that may come out before the general public is even aware of them
- Trip planning is less overwhelming! Honestly, there is so much to know about Disney – especially if it’s your first time to the parks – that it can be very overwhelming planning all of the details of your trip. Allowing your TA to take over some of the planning will make things less overwhelming.
- They have been personally trained by Disney to plan your magical Disney vacation.
- A good Disney Vacation Planner will constantly search for the next promotion or discount to make sure you get the best value for your dollar. If a discount promotion comes out after you have booked, your Disney Vacation Planner will apply it to your vacation as long as Disney’s rules and regulations will allow.
- Disney Vacation Planners sit on the phone during promotion times with Disney! The phones can have wait times for up to several hours. Disney Vacation Planners do it so you don’t have to.
- Your Disney Vacation Planner can make your Disney Dining, Lightning Lane, Special Tours, and Special Events Reservations for you. Just to name a few.
- Some Agencies will provide you with a personal itinerary that fits the needs and wants of each member of your party.
- Many Disney Travel Agents are passionate about Disney and as a result have a lot of personal knowledge that they can pass on to help you in planning your trip.
- If you use a Disney Vacation Planner, you have an advocate in your corner! Even while you are on your magical vacation, they work for you. If problems arise, your Disney Vacation Planner is there to help fix any issues (within reason), so you can go about your day of vacation.
Keep in mind, you can change your mind. If you start booking everything on your own and start to get overwhelmed, a Disney travel planner can take over and allow you to keep your existing plans. When you request a quote from a Disney travel agent, you are under no obligation to continue working with them if you feel like that agent is not a match for you.
I personally would run away from any agent that:
- Is slow to return correspondence.
- Hasn’t personally been to the parks in years
- Tries to upsell you quickly without giving a good explanation of why they are suggesting something different than what you’ve asked. An example of a good upsell is an agent suggesting a moderate hotel instead of a value hotel during free dining promotions – you usually get a better dining package that may end up saving you money in the long-run, especially if you plan on having table service meals. Of course, they will mention add-ons that may be of interest and to ensure they are planning your dream vacation, but it should be pressure-free.
If this is your family’s first trip to Disney and you don’t have hours upon hours to do all of your own research (and sit on the phone with Disney) then I definitely recommend using a Disney travel planner. I personally love doing trip research and enjoy all of the hours spent (except maybe the hours on hold with Disney to book all my reservations), but that’s not for everyone – and that’s okay! If you’ve been looking into a Disney vacation for any length of time, it’s easy to see how overwhelming it can be so handing off a bit of that overwhelm to a reputable Disney travel agent can allow you to just focus on the fun parts of planning your vacation.
I hope that this list of pros and cons helps you determine what is the best fit for your family’s magical vacation.
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Have you used a Disney Vacation Planner? What was your experience? Leave us a comment below or join us at Disney Express Lane Facebook Group to discuss this and many other Disney related topics.
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