Any large travel agency in the world can help to plan a Disney vacation; however; Disney is so popular that a small population of travel agents have arisen that do nothing but plan Disney World vacations morning, noon, and night.
Disney travel agents can book everything from your air travel to your Disney World tickets, and even plan your day by day itinerary to help you get the most out of your visit. If you are considering working with a travel agent, or trying to choose from among a sea of agents and companies, here is a bit of information to help you get started.
Why Choose a Travel Agent?
For Disney World newbies, and sometimes for experienced guests, researching and planning a Disney World vacation can take both energy and time – and usually much more than expected. With many other types of vacations, getting there is most of the work. However, with a Disney World vacation, getting there is just the beginning.
Choosing between an on and offsite hotel can be tricky, as can choosing from among the many options available with either choice. Selecting the right ticket package can also be complicated, with single entry, park hopper, and multi-day passes from which to select. If you don’t have the time or the inclination to dive into cost comparison or consumer satisfaction research, a travel agent can take care of those details for you.
Disney World Travel Agents
Given the enormous range of entertainment, lodging, and dining options at Disney World, working with a travel agent who specializes in Disney World can help to make your visit extra special.
Standard travel agents will be able to help you find the cheapest flight and inexpensive lodging, but they may not be the best resources when it comes to weighing the onsite vs. offsite benefits, or choosing a Disney World resort that is best suited to you or your family. Agents who specialize in Disney World vacations not only offer extensive knowledge about the resort, they also have the benefit of extensive interaction with Disney World guests. They may be able to give you a better perspective on accommodations, dining establishments, or other options than the official Disney World website or even consumer reviews.
Choosing a Travel Agent
Unless your Disney World visit is part of a more extended vacation, travel agents who focus on Disney World are almost always the best option. However, these companies are typically much smaller that other travel companies and it may take time before your vacation research and booking is complete. For this reason, it is best to begin planning for your Disney World vacation many months in advance. If you are planning a last-minute vacation, even a large agency will struggle to complete your booking, and you will probably be more efficient at booking your vacation independently.
Several Disney World travel agents have been around for many years, and have a strong reputation. If possible, read consumer feedback to be sure that an agent can provide you with the services you need. Additionally, reputable agents will always send payments and information to be processed by Disney directly. They should never process your credit card payments themselves or ask that checks be made out to them.
What Does It Cost to Use a Travel Agent?
The cost of using a travel agent depends on what services the agent provides for you. Most services, including hotel booking and ticket purchases, are free. Rather than charging a fee for services while simultaneously hunting down discounts for you, travel agents will usually provide you with the information you need a receive a commission from Disney or other sources upon booking your arrangements.
One exception to this rule comes with booking flights through an agent. Although airlines once gave commissions to travel agents, they no longer do so, and most travel agents now charge a fee for booking flights or decline to book flights at all. Given the large number of travel sites in existence whose only purpose is to track down cheap fares, most people have little trouble finding the lowest fares available on their own.
Because of this “commission upon booking” scenario, do not use a travel agent for Disney World research unless you plan to book your vacation through them. It’s just not fair. They will not receive any income for the work they have done.
Occasionally, travel agents will charge a fee if you need to change or cancel your itinerary. However, many established agents will never charge fees, and you can establish an agent’s policy upfront before you begin to work with them.
Aside from avoiding the work necessary to exhaustively research your Disney World options, vacation discounts are another reason that many people elect to work with a travel agent. While you may not have the time to hunt for the cheapest ticket prices or visit the Disney World website repeatedly in search of special offers, a travel agent makes a living doing just that.
Travel agents can also negotiate to have discounts and special offers applied to your vacation after it has already been booked. This allows vacationers to finalize their booking in a timely manner while still taking advantage of late-season promotions that appear close to their departure date.
Is a Travel Agent Right For You?
Travel agents can help to make your vacation planning smooth and easy, but they are not necessarily the best choice for everybody.
As mentioned earlier, working with a travel agent can take time. If your vacation is less than one month away, you may be better off doing the booking yourself. However, you can always call an agent, let them know your timeline, and find out whether they believe it will be possible to complete your arrangements in time. But keep in mind that they will be eager for your business!
Many other travelers prefer to have control over their own vacation plans, and would rather do the work themselves. After all, learning as much as possible about Disney World before you go can be part of the fun!