The amount of research necessary to plan all the details of a Disney vacation can be too time-consuming or even intimidating for some people. If you are feeling overwhelmed by all the options, a great (FREE) solution is to use the services of a travel agent who specializes in Disney travel.
“Disney Specialists” have completed the College of Disney Knowledge, an online course offered by Disney that covers Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Adventures by Disney, Aulani Resort, and Disney Cruise Line. This is a great starting point, but frankly it’s not enough. Believe it or not, a travel agent can easily become a “Disney Specialist” in a few hours, without ever having visited a Disney vacation destination in person!
For that reason, I recommend picking an agency such as Wish Upon A Star Travel that focuses heavily on Disney travel and is an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner, a special designation given by Disney to its top booking agencies. They also have advanced experience with Disney destinations, including in-person, on-site visits.
How Come It’s Free?
Normally the client pays nothing extra for the service provided by a travel agency. Travel agents make their living from a small commission paid by the travel supplier (in this case, Disney) for the resort hotel rooms, theme park passes and vacation packages they book. The agent is compensated by this commission for the time, effort and attention they provide to the client.
Some agencies do charge for making changes or cancellations. The agency we recommend, Wish Upon A Star Travel, does not charge any fees, including cancellation or change fees.
Travel agencies always charge a fee for making air reservations only, because the airlines no longer pay commission. Wish Upon A Star Travel can book plane tickets as part of a vacation package for no fee. If booking airfare alone, a document processing fee may apply.
Because they work on a commission basis, it’s unfair to ask a travel agent to do a lot of research for you, and then book elsewhere. Likewise, a reputable travel agent normally will not take over the booking of a trip from another travel agent, because this is considered “stealing” someone else’s earned commission.
What to Expect
An agent who specializes in Disney travel should be able to provide you with accurate information, including pricing, for Disney resorts, theme park passes and packages. They will book your trip and seek out the best deals for you — even rebooking your trip when better rates come up, if possible. Additionally, the best agents will help you with “extras” like booking your Advanced Dining Reservations.
Once you book with a travel agent, they will become your single point of contact for all changes in your travel plans. You cannot make changes or cancellations directly through Disney if you are working with a travel agent. For most people this feature is convenient, but if you prefer to control everything yourself, booking with a travel agent may not be for you.
Travel agents are generally geared toward long-term planning (one month in advance or more). That’s primarily because it can take 3-4 weeks for them to get the paperwork from Disney once they’ve made your reservations, and then they have to get that paperwork to you. If you’re planning a last-minute trip, it’s usually better to do it yourself. However, often they can find great last minute hotel deals.
When booking a Walt Disney Travel Vacation, a deposit as small as $200 is due upon booking with the balance due 30 days before you travel. You can book a Halloween Time or Holiday Time visit now, and make payments along the way to make your visit as magical as possible. This is valid for Resort Vacation Packages, Good neighbor Vacation Packages, as well as Walt Disney World, Aulani, and Disney Cruise Line.
We recommend Kevin Johnston from Wish Upon A Star Travel. He is a Disney Specialist and College of Disney Knowledge Graduate. In addition, he has completed ongoing education programs on-site at Walt Disney World, Disney Cruise Line, and Disneyland. Wish Upon A Star Travel is an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner, a special designation given by Disney to its top booking agencies. Kevin Johnston, who owns Wish Upon A Star Travel and Disneyland Scoop is known as a Disneyland Expert and often is called on to help other agencies with their Disneyland Resort questions.
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