Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, which help support Return to Disney when you request a free Disney vacation quote from Destinations in Florida. All opinions expressed are my own.

DIY or Call a Disney Travel Agent?

I know how to plan a Disney vacation. I’ve researched all the attractions, shows, and experiences. I watch for the best discounts and promotions, and can tell you when to travel to minimize costs and avoid the crowds. I’m also freakishly busy. With kids, work, deadlines, and all the other stuff that goes into keeping life going, I won’t turn down a little help now and then.

When we went to Walt Disney World in 2010, I planned the whole thing myself. Honestly, it just didn’t occur to me to contact a travel agent. When we started planning our current trip, we really went back and forth over whether to do it ourselves again or bring in a travel agent. In the end, we decided to book our trip with Erin at Destinations in Florida. I’ve been so impressed with their service that I offered them a sponsorship slot here at Return to Disney! Since Destinations in Florida is running a 50/50 Cyber Monday deal today (details at the top of this post!), I thought it would be a good time to talk about why I chose to book through a travel agent instead of on my own.

Convenience

Did I mention that I’m insanely busy? Sure, I could have booked the trip myself, made all the payments, and been on the phone with Disney at 6am when they announced discounts for our travel dates. Or…I could dash off a quick email to Erin and let her handle it.

Savings

One tip from Erin saved us $275 on our vacation package, without compromising anything we wanted. Plus, when we booked with Destinations with Florida, we got a Disney gift card (there’s part of the souvenir budget!) and several other perks we wouldn’t have gotten otherwise.

Ideas

We know what we like to do, and what type of experience we’re looking for in a Disney vacation. But there are so many choices, sometimes it helps to bounce ideas off of someone. When we spoke with Erin about our dining reservations, we weren’t really sure what we wanted to do on our first evening.We would be tired after an 18-hour drive, but excited and ready to launch our vacation. She suggested something absolutely perfect: dinner at ‘Ohana, the a walk on the beach at the Poly to watch the fireworks at the Magic Kingdom. I can’t wait!

Picking the Right Travel Agent

Having done it both ways, I’ll never go back to the old DIY method. But not every travel agent is the same. Erin wasn’t the only travel agent I contacted for a quote on our 2014 Disney vacation. She got my business because she contacted me promptly, and she took the time to chat with me and get to know me and my family and our needs. We’re not your typical family of four, and she didn’t try to shoehorn us into a one-size-fits-all vacation. When you’re looking for a travel agent, here are the things to watch for:

  • Experience. One of the big benefits of booking through a travel agent is having someone who has “been there, done that” to offer ideas and suggestions you might not have thought of. If you’re more experienced at Disney travel than the travel agent, keep looking.
  • Enthusiasm. Your travel agent is your planning partner. They should share your excitement and enthusiasm for Disney parks.
  • Communication. No one works 24/7, but you should get a response from a travel agent within 1 business day, whether you fill out a quote request or email with a question. Look for a travel agent with a phone number also. If you have a problem and need immediate help, it’s good to know how to get in touch with a live person.
  • Personalization. Most importantly, a good travel agent will get to know you so they can recommend resorts, restaurants, and experiences that you will love, not just ones that increase their commission.

What do you look for in a Disney travel agent? Share your tips in the comments!

Before you go – here are the details on Destinations in Florida’s 50/50 Cyber Monday Booking Deal:

Destinations in Florida 50/50 Cyber Monday Deal