Disney Destinations Planning 101 Vacation Planner

What To Expect From Your Travel Agent Booking Your Disney Vacation

February 17, 2020

Disney keeps everyone on their toes with their constant changes. Even if you’re spending your every waking moment reading up on everything, it’s easy to get completely overwhelmed. So, it’s no wonder that so many people think about using a Travel Agent for their upcoming Disney trip.

However, there’s also a lot of questions surrounding what to expect.

While I was doing some research, I found many people talking about the benefits of using a Travel Agent for their Disney trips.

But, what I wasn’t finding was what happens when you do decide to use a Travel Agent. What’s the process? What can Travel Agents do? And more importantly, what can’t we do?

Of course, I can’t speak for every Agent out there. We all have our own processes. But, we all want the same thing…for you to have a magical vacation.

Getting A Quote

The first step is asking for your Free Quote.

To be honest, I’ve had a few concerns from a few Clients about how they received their Free Quote.

Apparently, they weren’t expecting a personalized email from my personal email address. Instead, they were expecting something that looked more official or came directly from the Disney company.

We are not employed by Disney. Instead, we work with Disney to help Guests plan the perfect vacation for their family. So, while all of the information we receive comes directly from them, it’s up to us to decide how we relay that information to you.

If you’re looking to go to Universal Studios, you will receive an email that looks a little more “official.” But, that’s simply because the program we use for Universal Studios does has the ability to send a Quote in a way that Disney does not.

But, I like connecting with you on a personal level to make sure that all of your questions were answered. So, you’re still going to get a personalized email from me.

"Wish You Were Here" photo opportunity at Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort

Customizing Your Quote For Your Family

One of the ways I help you is by recommending certain Resorts, ticket options, or other activities that I think your family would enjoy.

But, since I haven’t gotten to know your family yet, I can only go on what information you have provided. That’s why I ask you to provide as much information as possible on the Free Quote Form.

Of course, knowing your budget is important. But, I also want to get to know you.

Who are your child’s favorite characters? Are there any Resorts you have shown interest in? How many days are you looking to spend in the Parks? And what are you looking forward to doing while on vacation?

If you don’t want to provide your address or the names of your children right away, that’s ok. But, the more information you can provide, the better your chances are at getting a Quote that is truly customized for your family.

Booking Your Magical Vacation

If you’re like me, there will come a time when you’ll want to jump up and down and scream, “I’m going to Disney!” And seeing that first confirmation email with your name and Reservation number is it.

Even if you’ve been planning for years, this is the first time it feels real.

Paying Your Deposit

In order to get that confirmation email from Disney, you need to pay a deposit.

Deposits do vary based on the type of Disney vacation you’re planning.

  • Disney Cruises is typically 20%.
  • Adventures by Disney is 10% – 20%, depending on what you’re booking.
  • Aulani in Hawaii is equal to one night’s room price, plus tax, for room-only reservations. If you add a rental car to your reservation, that changes the deposit to $400.
  • Walt Disney World and Disneyland Packages have a flat $200 deposit. Room only reservation are equal to one night’s room price, plus tax.

If you’ve read, What A Travel Agent Doesn’t Tell You (But Probably Should), you already know that all payments to Disney must be made through your Travel Agent. Unfortunately, there’s no way around this.

But, Disney does accept a wide variety of payments, including Disney Gift Cards.

Confirmation from Disney

Once they’ve received payment, this is when the “official” emails come. But, perhaps it’s still not in the way you expect.

As your Travel Agent, Disney sends me all of your payment receipts and acknowledgements of any changes made to your account. I look it over to make sure everything is correct and I forward it along to you.

Travel Agent hanging out with Prince Eric at Art of Animation

What Happens Next?

Depending on when you booked your vacation, months may pass where nothing happens. And that’s ok.

But, there’s a few things you can do in the meantime…

My Disney Experience / Disneyland App

I can not stress this enough, but Travel Agents don’t have access to your Disney accounts. Disney takes your privacy very seriously. So, everything that you add to your account is off limits to me.

If you’re going to the Parks, I recommend downloading the My Disney Experience App, or Disneyland App. Attempt to familiarize yourself, so it’s not so foreign once you get there.

How will you mobile order? Do you know where to find wait times? Where is the Disney Genie?

Park Reservations

Remember when I said there are things we can not do for you? Making your Park Reservations is one of them.

In order to do this, you’ll need to link your Reservation to your account. Once you do this, you’ll be able to reserve your Park Reservations.

If you need help, feel free to reach out. That’s what I’m here for.

Familiarize Yourself With The Destination You’re Visiting

While researching and planning is encouraged, remember not to get caught up in trying to “do everything”. This will inevitably lead to exhaustion.

Choose a few “must-do’s”, as well as a few extra things you’d like to do, if you have time. Since you finished your list of “must do’s”, consider anything else you get to do as a bonus.

Applying New Promotions

I like to say that nothing is every set in stone at Disney. And that includes their prices. If you booked at rack rate, you can still save money later on.

I will automatically apply any savings that you qualify for.

However, there are times you may not initially qualify. If possible, we can make the necessary changes to get you the best possible price we can. Sometimes qualifying simply means switching to a similarly priced Resort or moving your vacation up or down one day.

On new promotion days, if you don’t hear from me right away, don’t worry…there’s a lot going on behind the scenes…

New promotions can result in hold times that can only be measured in hours. In fact, the longest I’ve ever been on hold to speak to a Cast Member, was 8 hours!

If that’s not a reason to work with a Travel Agent for your Disney vacation, I don’t know what is.

Mickey waffle at Boma, in Disney's Animal Kingdom

Booking Advanced Dining Reservations

One rule that stuck around after the Parks reopened was a new timeline. Advanced Dining Reservations (or ADR’s) can now be booked at 60 day, instead of 180 days.

A few weeks ahead of time, I like to remind you of your “ADR window opening.” If you have any questions about booking or you need some recommendations, I’m happy to give my opinions.

But, as far as how involved I am in this part of the planning is completely up to you. If you prefer doing it all yourself, that’s completely ok.

But, if you’re busy with work or you’re having a hard time finding the Reservation you want, just let me know. I can step in to see if there’s anything I can do.

Incredible Celebration in Hollywood Studios

We Work At No Additional Cost To You

If you’ve been thinking about using a Travel Agent that specialized in Disney, you’ve probably heard that working with an Agent is free. But, is it really?

I’m here to tell you that all those claims are true. You’ll never see a service fee tacked on to your cost. The price that we get from Disney is the price you pay. You’ll never pay more by asking for my help.

That’s just one of the things that I love about being a Travel Agent.

Ready to book your magical vacation?

Planning a trip can be overwhelming. Don’t do it alone. Get a helping hand.

ExploreWithCatherine.com is not authorized or endorsed by, or officially connected with The Walt Disney Company, or any of their affiliates. For official Disney information, visit http://www.disney.com.

Hawaii Destination Specialist

Explore With Catherine is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

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