Booking a Disney vacation can be a little overwhelming. Theres a lot to plan and do and prepare for already, so do you want to try and figure out the best deals on your own, or let someone else do it?
That's the question I ask myself every time we go to Disney. Remember, I am NOT a Disney vacation planner. You can count on me to be unbiased because I'm not trying to sell you a vacation.
Here are four things to take into consideration when trying to figure out why you might, or might not want to use a vacation planner.
Why might I want to use a vacation planner?
Looking for the newest promotions takes time and a little bit of know how. It also takes a little bit of effort to modify your existing reservations to take advantage of those discounts. If you use a travel agent, its part of their job to stay on top of those discounts and make changes for you. If you decide you want to add dining, they add it on for you. Your travel agent should be trying to make everything as easy as possible for you. Ask questions and email until you are satisfied, that's what they are there for.
Isn't it expensive to use a vacation planner?
If you are booking a Disney vacation, and using a Disney vacation planner, you should NOT be charged at all. They make their commission from Disney. If someone is charging you, STOP and go elsewhere.
That sounds pretty easy, right? But why might you NOT want to use a vacation planner?
You can't make changes on your own
That's right. If you call Disney yourself, and ask for a different type of room, a VIP cleaning or something else, they will not make that change for you unless your travel agent has requested it. Anything your planner says is law. That was very frustrating for us on a recent trip when we asked to stay in a particular section overlooking the lake. We had spoken with our travel agent, spoken with the resort and confirmed everything a few days in advance-- however, because there was an additional person traveling with us, the agent, and the resort assumed we would want connecting rooms, which were in an area not overlooking the lake. We wanted our view, and said so, but there was nothing that could be done at that point. The connecting doors were never used and in the end it wasn't a big deal, the bothers at Disney are better than not being there at all, but we were a little upset it was the agent's preference the resort took, not the paying guest.
You might not immediately get in touch with your agent in an emergency
While we have not had a problem where we needed our vacation planner on the trip, there were times leading up to it, for example, when we were trying to pay for our trip and Disney wouldn't let us make the payment over the phone. It had to be made through the travel agent, and we were on a deadline or the reservation would be canceled. As luck would have it, our agent was on a vacation herself, so it took several hours or phone calls to her voice mail and Disney, and many, many cast member conversations before we found one willing to accept our payment. (I thought that was crazy. Really? Just take my darn money!)
There are both good and not so good things about using a vacation planner. It all comes down to what you think you want out of a trip. Do you want everything arranged for you, where you just pack and go, or do you like to have the fun of stalking discounts and making sure you get just what you want? Really, you can't go wrong either way, but if you do go with a planner, you need to be prepared to wait a little if you need to make a change or get hold of them, because it might take a few days to make changes that you'd like and even then, some things are not guaranteed to be just how you wanted.
Have you had any experiences with vacation planners? Are you one yourself? Any advice you want to share?