Photo Courtesy of Disney Parks Blog
I recently recounted how a Travel Agent saved my Disney vacation, not only inspiring this entire series on working with TAs, but completely changing my views of TAs in the process.
One of the questions we get asked frequently in the SavEars is: “Is it worth it to use a TA for my Disney trip?” Putting your vacation into someone else’s hands is a big step, and people are understandably curious as to whether the advantages are worth the risk. I was on one side of this fence for a long time and, spoiler alert, have come down pretty hard on the other side recently.
So is it worth it to use a TA for a Disney vacation? I think so, and here’s my proof.
Disney Travel Agents are FREE to Use
It costs you nothing to use a Disney travel agent. They are paid by Disney, so you get a helpful, patient, true Disney pro helping to plan your vacation for free. If you are a first timer to the most magical place on Earth, if you’re a Disney World pro who is going on a cruise or to Disneyland for the first time, of if you’re a snooty blogger who thinks she knows everything, a TA can help you navigate the ins and outs of your trip.
Quick tip: not just any TA will do here, folks. You want to make sure, for your Disney trip, that your agent works with a travel agency that is Earmarked, ie Disney certified. A Disney certified agency has agents who are Disney College of Knowledge graduates and have to re-certify EVERY year. Not only are these agents logging their own vacation miles, they are literally schooled in the best way to plan your Disney vacation by the House of Mouse themselves.
I happen to think getting a travel agent with that level of Disney know-how to personalize a vacation for the low, low of price of free is a great deal.
Travel Agents Have Access to Things We Don’t
I cannot place a three day hold on a room, tickets, or package from Disney. Neither can you. But travel agents can! This hold literally saved my vacation. If Elizabeth had not put the hold on my room, I would be paying the peak pricing that comes along with a new land opening.
Travel Agents also benefit from the experience of booking hundreds of vacations. They know the system more intimately than someone who plans one trip a year, and they know the fine print and details of every deal and promotion because they’ve navigated those deals and promos before.
You and I might cry when the Disney website goes down, but a TA who works with a Disney certified agency already has a plan B, plan C, and a team to help them.
Your Travel Agent Comes with a Team
I was super impressed that Elizabeth and her teammate Erin tag teamed my reservation confirmation when the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge dates dropped and everyone lost their minds. Usually, it’s just me trying to make my vacation a success. This time, I had two extra people equally dedicated to getting everything just right.
A person cannot be Disney certified. The entire agency must be. Not only does your TA know what’s up when it comes to Disney, and all their co-workers do, too. On the off chance your TA doesn’t have an immediate answer, they have access to a group of Disney lovers with their own clients, experiences, and wisdom. This is one of those iron sharpening iron situations. Thy work together to make your trip better.
TAs Have Planned More Vacations, in More Circumstances, than You Have
They just have. It’s their job.
Disney vacations also cost a lot of time, energy and effort to plan. If you’ve never planned one before, there is an advanced degree’s worth of information to sort through. Even if you have planned one, Disney is constantly adding new lands, attractions, rides, parades, shows. You might have been a pro in 2016, but 2019 is a whole new ballgame.
Maybe you, like me, are doing an event or party you’ve never done before. It occurred to me that all the times I’ve been to Epcot, we’ve always had breakfast reservations at 8:05. I’ve never done rope drop at Epcot. I’ll be there in five months and I realized I had no idea what to do when entering Epcot at the normal opening hours. But my TA knew. You can scour the internet for answers, or you ask the person who’s literal job it is to make your trip a success.
Travel Agents Want Your Trip to be the Best
Ok, check it, I’m going to drop some truth. Yes, there are travel agents out there who are just in it for the commission. That’s the world. But the best agents, and I count our Dream Team among the best, do it not only to support their families, not only because they love Disney, but because they truly love people. They want to be in your corner, they want to support you, and they want you to have the best. trip. ever. Not just because you’ll book with them again, but because it means they played a small part in your family’s magical time.
So email them with your questions. Ask them their opinions. Tell them your hopes and dreams. They are going to work to make them happen.
Your TA will Be as Involved as You Want Them to Be
If you have no idea what FastPasses are and how to make them, your TA can help with that. If you know exactly what FastPasses you want but don’y feel like getting up at 7am to make them, guess what? Your TA does! If you know what FastPasses you want and you have a plan to book them, that includes four times hitting the snooze button and lots of coffee, your TA will cheer you on.
I like making my own Advanced Dining Reservations, and I told Elizabeth that when I first booked with her. Not only was she completely on board, she sent me reminders about when my reservation window opened, and checked in with me afterwards to see if I had gotten everything I wanted. She celebrated with me that I scored a hard to get Storybook Dining reservation and assured me to let her know if I needed help booking anything else.
Disney Pros tend to think, “why would I book with a TA? I like doing these things myself.” Great! So do them yourself! And support a small business at the same time.
If you are a first timer, a TA can guide you through the process seamlessly. If you are a fortieth timer, a TA will still bring knowledge of the ever changing Disney landscape and genuine enthusiasm for whoever much (or little) you’d like them to do.
Did I miss a great reason to book with a TA? Tell me in the comments!
Kristen B. is wife to the best Prince around, mama to the spunkiest little princesses, and lover of all things Disney. She started her savings journey five years ago and is now dedicated to making her family’s wishes come true one coupon at a time. She is so excited to take her love of saving to the next level and share her journey with you! Click here to catch up on Kristen’s Savings and join in on your own savings adventure!