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View Full Version : How to become a part-time Disney travel agent?


StitchesGr8Fan
05-09-2012, 12:36 PM
I want to use my Disney knowledge, organizing skills, and free time to be a Disney travel agent part time. I have no idea where to start. I want to work from home and be someone's employee, not have a business of my own. Any idea where to start?

evildiva
05-09-2012, 12:57 PM
I'd be interested in this as well. Everyone always tells me I should write a book on trveling to Disney World.

Kimberly Hill
05-09-2012, 04:15 PM
There are a gazillion and a half travel agencies - starting with Dreams Unlimited - that are Disney-focused or deal heavily with Disney. There are all sorts of business models from mega-agencies with several hundred agents to small 1-2 person agencies and each of them handles bookings, clients, and commission differently.

If you're planning to work from home, most likely you're looking at an independent contractor (IC) position, not an employee. You're essentially running your own business, responsible for your own taxes, and receiving commission checks, not paychecks.

Google "disney travel agent" (which only Disney employees are, by the way) or "disney vacation planner" and start reading. Talk to friends who've used agencies. Visit websites and fill out the application form.

One thing to remember - it's a sales job, not a travel job. You have a fabulous product to sell but you have to get out there and sell it. It's very hard to get rich, or even make a living, by selling Disney (or most travel) so keep that in mind while you look.

Best of luck!
- Kimberly

DisneyKevin
05-09-2012, 05:51 PM
The above is some good advice.

Most people think this is an easy job.

Trust me....it's not.

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE MY JOB....but the hours are long, you don't really get a day off and you might not see a dime for 12 - 14 months.

The majority of folks that start doing this, stop very quickly.

Justin Jett
05-09-2012, 07:16 PM
The majority of folks that start doing this, stop very quickly.

So true......I lasted a year.

SugarSpice
05-10-2012, 07:35 AM
The very first thing you have to do is get certified. I'm currently in "Travel School" through a local travel agency. They gave me all of the materials, books, assignments, etc. I have a year to complete it and turn it in to them.

dalt01
05-10-2012, 10:30 AM
if you have a dream, follow it. whats the worst that can happen? i like to think about a scene from the first Transformers when the yellow car rushed up to save them from the bad guy, shia.....Get in the car. Megan.....NO...Shia....listen do you want to be old and grey and think back that you were afraid to get it the car??????? all your life well meaning people will tell you what you cannot do. follow you own heart.

DisneyKevin
05-10-2012, 10:41 AM
if you have a dream, follow it. whats the worst that can happen? i like to think about a scene from the first Transformers when the yellow car rushed up to save them from the bad guy, shia.....Get in the car. Megan.....NO...Shia....listen do you want to be old and grey and think back that you were afraid to get it the car??????? all your life well meaning people will tell you what you cannot do. follow you own heart.

I wasn't suggesting that anyone give up their dream.

I was explaining that this is not the easy job that folks think it is and trying to point out some of the things you might experience along the way.

It's been my experience that people starting a new job / career, are usually doing it as a way of supporting themselves.

As you will see no financial gain until weeks after your guest has completed travel, this can mean working for months and months with no income.

It takes dedication to provide a service for which you will see no financial reward for maybe a year or more.

As I said previously, most folks that start this end up stopping pretty quickly.

DSNYDREAMER
05-10-2012, 10:58 AM
I think you have gotten some good advice here. I would also like to add be careful of any agency that charges a fee to join it. Also beware of agencies charging you to take courses or achieve certification. A legitimate agency will not ask you to pay a fee to join them.

Like any business you will have expenses and operating costs...one of those should not be a fee to a travel agency.

dalt01
05-10-2012, 11:36 AM
if you have a dream, follow it. whats the worst that can happen? i like to think about a scene from the first Transformers when the yellow car rushed up to save them from the bad guy, shia.....Get in the car. Megan.....NO...Shia....listen do you want to be old and grey and think back that you were afraid to get it the car??????? all your life well meaning people will tell you what you cannot do. follow you own heart.

I wasn't suggesting that anyone give up their dream.

I was explaining that this is not the easy job that folks think it is and trying to point out some of the things you might experience along the way.

It's been my experience that people starting a new job / career, are usually doing it as a way of supporting themselves.

As you will see no financial gain until weeks after your guest has completed travel, this can mean working for months and months with no income.

It takes dedication to provide a service for which you will see no financial reward for maybe a year or more.

As I said previously, most folks that start this end up stopping pretty quickly. whats up Kevin, long time no talk? i was not suggesting that you were suggesting anything:duck: i was just putting a positive spin on it because each arguement needs two sides.........and i have always had a go for it style myself.

DisneyKevin
05-10-2012, 11:55 AM
whats up Kevin, long time no talk? i was not suggesting that you were suggesting anything:duck: i was just putting a positive spin on it because each arguement needs two sides.........and i have always had a go for it style myself.

Hey Dalton....I guess the difference is that you saw this as an argument and I saw it as a conversation about something with which i have some experience.

I get a dozen emails a day that begin with some form of "because I plan all my families Disney vacations....people tell me I should become a travel agent" or the other version "I don't like my job and I want to do what you do...travel and have fun".

I think it's good to have a clear picture of what your dream truly entails instead of an "I'm going to run off and join the circus" idea of what comes with being a travel agent.

Most folks find that once they have booked vacations for their family members who can and will agree to travel, there are not a bunch of potential clients knocking on their doors.

As someone pointed out...this is a sales job above all else.

dalt01
05-10-2012, 12:17 PM
...this is a sales job above all else. on that we can agree......and as one salesman to another, most people do not realize what it actually entails. i go through people like you would not believe and on the way out they always say something like "i need to get my life back" and "you are nuts, i am not working 12 hours a day!!"......... not for everyone.

taylor3297
05-11-2012, 06:44 PM
I am lucky enough to help a friend of mine who is a travel agent for MEI-Mouse Fan travel. It is a very busy job, lots of things to keep up with, and works all hours of the day.

One time I received a pin code that could be applied to to my already booked trip. Well, my friend was on a trip at the Bahamas at the time. I sent her email stating I had the pin code, and she called Disney while on vacation in order to apply the pin code for me. Not too many people will do that.

Right now I am helping her file, complete files, write thank cards, make sure documents are correct etc. All of the mundane jobs that take time to do.

As others stated you get paid a commission and you won't be seeing the commission until after the party travels.

If this is something you really want to do, then go for it. Just go into it with your eyes open.

StitchesGr8Fan
05-12-2012, 10:16 PM
Thank you all for the information. I know it isn't an easy job, and I'm fine with not seeing the financial benefits for a while. I guess I'm just looking for a way to make some extra money to pay for some nice-to-haves and I'm trying to figure out a way that I can do that from home and use my Disney knowledge and super organizing skills.

I think I am going to have to try to find something else though. While I'm great at selling once someone approaches me, I'm to shy to go out and cold call/drum up leads.

Kudos to you great travel agents out there!

Spaceace5150
05-16-2012, 12:22 PM
Was there a post deleted from this thread? I just came back to read it and it seems there was a post about host agencies and the commissions involved.

Just wondering!

anonymousegirl
05-16-2012, 01:02 PM
I would think that it would be hard to be a part-time travel agent. This job is 24/7 when you have clients traveling. Of course, being an independant contractor means you can pick and choose your clients and when you work, but once you have the clients, you need to service them on their time frame (or Disney's) rather than yours.

I may go home at 5:30 but I am not "off duty". I need to check my email regularly and be prepared to handle whatever comes up--be it a quick question, or an airline snafu.

We have an agent here that works from home from 6am to 10am, then comes into the office, then leaves at 530pm and is still available to her corporate clients until 11pm or so. Of course, she charges a pretty penny for this kind of service.

I think you are smart to do some research on this. Talk with some local agencies and maybe see if they need a temp to help around the office so you can get a first hand look at what is actually involved. You could even see about a non-paid internship perhaps. People rarely say no to free help!
Good luck!

mjtm610
05-16-2012, 08:19 PM
Just a word of caution. My daughter was approached by a recognized Disney Travel company (not dreams) Her husband is in the military and therefore they have contact with many young families with military discounts etc.
My daughter was very interested!
She had to put out a tidy sum of cash to get her "Mickey credintials" (my term not theirs)
Made and paid for her own cards, etc....new computer because you can't use MAC.....you get the picture.
And guess what the outcome was......all the "promises" were bogus, the little cash she made didn't come close to offsetting her expenses.....and to top it off the Major Firm has started emailing her clients.......and suggesting someone else.......
Just be careful

Leigha
05-21-2012, 08:22 AM
If you're with a reputable company, wouldn't they get the clients for you? The other reasons might stop you but I'm not sure that one should but I don't know.

Jazcat
05-25-2012, 01:02 PM
No one is out there getting clients for you, especially if you are an independent contractor. The whole point of the job is bringing in new clients and generating sales. Sure, the really big agencies with long advertising arms generate sales leads that get distributed to agents. However, that is not where most of your business would come from.

pigletforever
05-30-2012, 09:59 AM
I just got a position as a Disney authorized Travel agent. It was not easy but I know the end result will be easy. I start the Disney school next week. I work for a travel company on the east coast. they do not supply leads - most don't. A lot is word of mouth by friends. but ANY decent company will also offer you the chance to not only book Disney but other travel as well. I looked at lots of companies and many wanted fees upfront for things that you should not be charged for. one company wanted 350.00 to hook me up with the disney online class but if they are authorized disney planners it is free to them from what I was told. Another one insisted I have my house rewired to accommodate an extra fax, phone line, and computer for me to use exclusively.

It is a matter of looking and finding a good fit. If you want more info let me know.

Cathy

lthiesfeld07
05-30-2012, 10:13 PM
I am interested in becoming an agent too. I know there is a lot for me to learn before I can apply for this.
I hope one day I can become a travel agent to help others.
I know it is cliche, but I love talking Disney and planning vacations (like everyone else). :goodvibes

luna99
05-31-2012, 03:25 PM
I just got a position as a Disney authorized Travel agent. It was not easy but I know the end result will be easy. I start the Disney school next week. I work for a travel company on the east coast. they do not supply leads - most don't. A lot is word of mouth by friends. but ANY decent company will also offer you the chance to not only book Disney but other travel as well. I looked at lots of companies and many wanted fees upfront for things that you should not be charged for. one company wanted 350.00 to hook me up with the disney online class but if they are authorized disney planners it is free to them from what I was told. Another one insisted I have my house rewired to accommodate an extra fax, phone line, and computer for me to use exclusively.

It is a matter of looking and finding a good fit. If you want more info let me know.

Cathy

congrats on your new position! I just wanted to chime in here and second what Cathy said and also what Kevin said. Number one, you shouldn't have to pay any money out of your pocket to start working. I'm a TA with a Disney focused online travel agency and work mainly booking trips for family and friends. I didn't have to re-wire my house or pay any money. I'm actually really happy with my agency as well because they do not require me to sell any certain amount of money per month or anything.

and what Kevin said is true.. you can go months and months without getting paid. Thankfully that's not an issue for me but don't think you are going to get in this position and make a ton of money. I'm not saying there isn't POTENTIAL to make money though... like a lot of things.. you get out what you put into it. If you really hit the streets and get your name out there eventually you can get to a place where you have a steady stream of clients, but it would probably take at least 6 months and more like a year or more to get to that point.

Good luck!!! :D

::danielle::
06-24-2012, 01:37 PM
I have been thinking about becoming a licensed travel agent as well. While I realize that it is a low-commission career with 24/7 "office" hours, what I would really like to know is if there are any perks to being a travel agent? Discounts on airfare, rental cars, hotel rooms, etc...

concept5123
07-01-2012, 12:44 PM
I agree, I have never charged any of my agents for their certs. I also will tell you it is hard but very very fun. now working part time i would have no clue what that's like. i kind of jumped head first, but be prepared to have very wacky hours and no money coming in for at least a year. i started my agency when dreams wasn't hiring "believe me i bothered john and pete for months" or any of the other big guys so i made my own path and its worked out. but follow your dream and enjoy the ride. you will be surprised where life takes you when you do something you truly love.:thumbsup2

camsdad
07-10-2012, 01:59 PM
I just got a position as a Disney authorized Travel agent. It was not easy but I know the end result will be easy. I start the Disney school next week. I work for a travel company on the east coast. they do not supply leads - most don't. A lot is word of mouth by friends. but ANY decent company will also offer you the chance to not only book Disney but other travel as well. I looked at lots of companies and many wanted fees upfront for things that you should not be charged for. one company wanted 350.00 to hook me up with the disney online class but if they are authorized disney planners it is free to them from what I was told. Another one insisted I have my house rewired to accommodate an extra fax, phone line, and computer for me to use exclusively.

It is a matter of looking and finding a good fit. If you want more info let me know.

Cathy

Do you have a link for info on the Disney authorization school? DW is curious. Thanks.

baby1disney
07-10-2012, 06:05 PM
I have been thinking about this too!! But if the local TA around my area aren't hiring, are there any good/great online TA that I could go through?? Also, how can I become a certifiable Disney TA?? I want to able to take those classes as well a become a certifiable TA. Anyone who has that information..I'd greatly appreciate it!!

CRSTEPHE
07-21-2012, 06:21 PM
Ditto.

MJonesMBA2001
10-30-2012, 09:21 PM
It seems like a lot of you are discouraging people from looking at becoming a Disney certified travel agent only on the basis of the earnings side, noting that it's a sales job. I know you're being prudent and cautious about setting expectations, but I think most of us know it's a sales job, and that the income will be slow to start, and is 100% commission. That's something that people like me who truly want to do this, maybe part time to start, understand, and want to build a business with that in mind.

I think that many of the questions that I had about doing this, which I would love to do as well, have been answered, except for one, well actually two.

If someone does get on as an Independent Contractor with an agency, and pass all the certifications, does that person qualify for Disney (or other) travel discounts of their own? I'll admit, potential Disney discounts are a big factor in me wanting to do this, in addition to the sales job, Disney, and long term potential.

Second, do most agencies have sales quotas?

Thank you all for these great insights you've given so far!

DisneyKevin
10-30-2012, 11:45 PM
It seems like a lot of you are discouraging people from looking at becoming a Disney certified travel agent only on the basis of the earnings side, noting that it's a sales job. I know you're being prudent and cautious about setting expectations, but I think most of us know it's a sales job, and that the income will be slow to start, and is 100% commission. That's something that people like me who truly want to do this, maybe part time to start, understand, and want to build a business with that in mind.

I think that many of the questions that I had about doing this, which I would love to do as well, have been answered, except for one, well actually two.

If someone does get on as an Independent Contractor with an agency, and pass all the certifications, does that person qualify for Disney (or other) travel discounts of their own? I'll admit, potential Disney discounts are a big factor in me wanting to do this, in addition to the sales job, Disney, and long term potential.

Second, do most agencies have sales quotas?

Thank you all for these great insights you've given so far!

The questions you have would best be answered by your potential employer.

anonymousegirl
10-31-2012, 08:06 PM
It seems like a lot of you are discouraging people from looking at becoming a Disney certified travel agent only on the basis of the earnings side, noting that it's a sales job. I know you're being prudent and cautious about setting expectations, but I think most of us know it's a sales job, and that the income will be slow to start, and is 100% commission. That's something that people like me who truly want to do this, maybe part time to start, understand, and want to build a business with that in mind.

I think that many of the questions that I had about doing this, which I would love to do as well, have been answered, except for one, well actually two.

If someone does get on as an Independent Contractor with an agency, and pass all the certifications, does that person qualify for Disney (or other) travel discounts of their own? I'll admit, potential Disney discounts are a big factor in me wanting to do this, in addition to the sales job, Disney, and long term potential.

Second, do most agencies have sales quotas?

Thank you all for these great insights you've given so far!

I think a lot of the responses were about making sure the OP had reasonable expectations and a clear idea of what the job entails.

So many people I talk with think I am off traveling getting free hotels, cruises and trips to Disney. The reality is if you are busy enough to earn agent perks, you are often too busy to take advantage of them!

airhead991
02-16-2013, 03:00 PM
Hi all! I am new here and I would LOVE for anyone that has info on becoming a Disney TA to message me!! Please! I realize it is a very demanding job, and I have read all the pros and cons... I am still interested... I would appreciate any help! Thank you!

Lilsec3
02-21-2013, 02:24 AM
I am very interested in this as a job as well.

If anyone has any valuable information I would greatly appreciate it!

Rachaelt
03-25-2013, 05:30 AM
I recently left Disney after 3 years in reservations. I've completed the College of Disney Knowledge, and I still have many contacts in the DRC organization. Any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

heffalumpicwoozle
03-26-2013, 03:50 PM
I am a native Floridian who relocated to Texas last year. I have been visiting the Disney World Resort for over 20 years. I would love to become a part time agent. Any ideas?

mickeysgirl17
02-14-2014, 09:44 AM
I haven't read this whole thread, but does anyone know how to work for Disney officially? I don't want to work for a travel company. I want to work for Disney itself. I have an associates degree in hospitality, travel and tourism and I want to be one of those people who answer the phones when you call to book your vacation. Anyone know if these people work from home or if they work in a call center?

I heard there are online courses offered by Disney and then you take a test and if you pass, you could be considered for a Disney job. Not sure where to start tho.

kbelle8995
02-14-2014, 10:48 AM
I haven't read this whole thread, but does anyone know how to work for Disney officially? I don't want to work for a travel company. I want to work for Disney itself. I have an associates degree in hospitality, travel and tourism and I want to be one of those people who answer the phones when you call to book your vacation. Anyone know if these people work from home or if they work in a call center?

I heard there are online courses offered by Disney and then you take a test and if you pass, you could be considered for a Disney job. Not sure where to start tho.

They list job openings online. You might want to check it out. I haven't heard of any online courses. Maybe as part of the applicant process.? It used to be more like just applying for a job anywhere. You apply and then they interview you and see if you are Disney material. I assume it's still the same. Google Disney Jobs.

If anyone has applied recently chime in please

SamSam
02-14-2014, 04:03 PM
I haven't read this whole thread, but does anyone know how to work for Disney officially? I don't want to work for a travel company. I want to work for Disney itself. I have an associates degree in hospitality, travel and tourism and I want to be one of those people who answer the phones when you call to book your vacation. Anyone know if these people work from home or if they work in a call center?

I heard there are online courses offered by Disney and then you take a test and if you pass, you could be considered for a Disney job. Not sure where to start tho.

Dh and I sometimes talk of working part-time/seasonally at WDW when we retire, so I keep Disney Career in my favorite's so I can glance at it occasionally. lol They happen to have an opening for Call Center Representative listed. Good luck!

If I didn't mess it up, here's a link to the official Disney Careers website:
http://wdw.disneycareers.com/en/default/