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Old 06-16-2011, 07:14 PM   #1
MercerMom
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Certified Disney Planner vs. Myself

What do you guys think? Three years ago we went to disney and used a TA, but this time I figured I would do it myself since we aren't flying. Plus I booked all my ADR's myself, that year and they were perfect.
However, saying all of that I have a friend of a friend who is a certified Disney planner, I was wondering if I should use her. We have already booked our resort, but have not done tickets since we aren't going until Feb. 2012. She would keep on top of all the specials and packages we could benefit from or use. What do you guys think? What are the pros and cons of a planner?
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Old 06-16-2011, 07:32 PM   #2
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One of my very good friends is a Certified Disney Planner and fantastic. She handles the whole thing from beginning to end and arranges everything so the busy, working guest planning the trip can relax. I love planning my own trips and she and I talk about what our plans are all the time. I think a TA would be awesome for first timers or folks who only go every few years. DH and I travel yearly to WDW so I look at it as a hobby when I plan our trips. I enjoy pouring over the park hours and ADRs. Some people hate planning vacation and just want to show up. I think the TA is great on that end. Now when it comes to doing a DCL, ABD or Disney in China, France etc. I would let my friend do it.

In fact my MIL and I used her to book our ABD Irleand trip. We ended up cancelling due to issues flying overseas at the time--security and then volcanos. She completely understood.

If I was spending $4000 on a WDW trip thinking I was never going to go back--or giving the kids a once in a lifetime dream trip--absolutely a TA would be the way to go.

I just happen to be a planner. When she and I talked the other night we discussed her plans to attend the D23 Convention in DL in August. Our love for Disney is what got use connected int he first place. We have a small DSI group where I live and she participates with her family and several other Dissers.
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Old 06-16-2011, 07:36 PM   #3
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If you are becoming the yearly Disney family you will get in the habit of knowing your family best and the planning becomes second nature. If you are uncomfortable booking any of the trip on your own I would use her. DH and I have had 11 trips since 2002--so I do it all and you may be seeing that you really enjoy this aspect of planning and there is nothing wrong with that. I have never been on a cruise and think that touring with a group in Europe is the way to go so having a TA then would be the way to go for me.
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Old 06-16-2011, 07:37 PM   #4
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I think a Disney TA is also great even if you ARE the one that loves planning!

I'm definitely an obsessive planner, but it was so great not to have to be the one to make the calls to Disney or have to deal with the Disney website with ADRs and hotel confirmations and DME and requests. All that was done by my TA. I did everything else ie.flights, tickets, insurance.

I still spent (probably) hundreds of hours researching and planning and making up my itinerary and everything, but it's great to have a friend(TA) that can help you with all that too. Think of it as a partnership. Here's someone who is as in love with Disney as you are and also wants you to have a great trip.

It doesn't have to be either/or. You can have both! They're free anyways, so you're not losing anything.
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Old 06-16-2011, 07:55 PM   #5
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How does one become a "Certified" Disney planner? Is that something different than a normal TA?
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Old 06-17-2011, 08:11 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YukiPhnx View Post
I think a Disney TA is also great even if you ARE the one that loves planning!

I'm definitely an obsessive planner, but it was so great not to have to be the one to make the calls to Disney or have to deal with the Disney website with ADRs and hotel confirmations and DME and requests. All that was done by my TA. I did everything else ie.flights, tickets, insurance.

I still spent (probably) hundreds of hours researching and planning and making up my itinerary and everything, but it's great to have a friend(TA) that can help you with all that too. Think of it as a partnership. Here's someone who is as in love with Disney as you are and also wants you to have a great trip.

It doesn't have to be either/or. You can have both! They're free anyways, so you're not losing anything.
I totally agree.

Although I obsess over our park days and what ADRs we will end up with....I leave all the legwork to my TA.

She stays on top of newly released promotions & deals, does all the comparisons for me and she was the one who got up at 6am to make all of our ADRs!

We booked last August for our trip this August. Since booking, five or six deals have come out and we received THREE pin codes. Each time my TA contacted me and told me that our free dining deal was better (darn dd turning 10yo!). It was so liberating to not have to crunch numbers every time a new deal was announced!

So yes...if it is someone you trust and they know that you prefer to do some of the planning yourself, I would definitely use a TA.

That all said, it should definitely be a Disney specialized TA (not just a random AAA TA...did that once...shudder...never again).
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Old 06-17-2011, 12:57 PM   #7
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I really am thinking of using her. My husband was wondering, how can they do it for free? I think I am going to get in touch with her now.
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Old 06-17-2011, 02:54 PM   #8
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I like the planning myself... I would never use a planner or TA. Plus, my services are free...
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Old 06-17-2011, 03:03 PM   #9
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I like the planning myself... I would never use a planner or TA. Plus, my services are free...
My TA is free as well. She is paid through commissions from Disney.

While I COULD do it all myself, I find it a lot less time consuming to do my research, make the decisions, then hand over all the booking and follow-up to my TA.

She is perfectly qualified to do it all (and has for many of my less Disney savvy friends), but gets that I'm a geek and is happy to assist with whatever I need her to!
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Old 06-17-2011, 03:03 PM   #10
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I don't like using a TA for Disney. I know as much as most of them, more than a few--even the specialists. I like the fact that I can do everything myself rather than waiting on someone else too. How do I know where I fall in the queue for adjusting prices and won't lose the deal while waiting for them to get to me? Someone has to be first, and someone has to be last.

It's not that I think TAs are bad; I use them for other trips. And they are really good for those that don't much about Disney. Although, I first recommend getting a copy of The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World.

There is an article HERE about picking Disney TAs.

TAs are free to use because the companies they are booking you through pay them!
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Old 06-17-2011, 03:17 PM   #11
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I really am thinking of using her. My husband was wondering, how can they do it for free? I think I am going to get in touch with her now.
I have a good friend who is a Certified Disney planner. Her services are free. She is paid a cut of the commission. 10% of the sale goes to the company she works for and she gets a cut of that. Basically, she makes play money.

Honestly, I don't use a Certified Disney TA. She doesn't do anything or have access to anything that I don't myself. For first timer it could be a good idea but once you know the ropes I just don't see the point. All Disney specials are released on their website and anyone can adjust their reservation at anytime. I don't know, making reservations and ADRs is part of the fun for me.
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Old 06-17-2011, 03:27 PM   #12
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At the risk of revealing my ignorance, what exactly is a Disney Certified Planner, and what functions can they perform? Is it just another name for your travel agent? If you've already got your accommodations sorted out, can you still use them?

Here's what I would love to be able to do:

"We'd like to go to these 5 restaurants at some point while we're here, and on the night that we go to XXXX, we'd like it to be adult night, so we'll need a sitter. Also, we'd like to see the Cirque show at some point. Finally, when we go to Jiko, we'd prefer to just take a cab rather than messing with the buses. Can you look into all of that and let me know what you find out? Thanks!"

That would be awesome! Is that the sort of thing that they can do?
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Old 06-17-2011, 03:35 PM   #13
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ok I am not sure how I feel on this,, we don't have to contend with air travel so we drive and do it at our leisure, I have access to look at the dates, etc online and figure out how much etc. I also have control over figuring out which parks what days and what ADRs I might want then I can get online to book them AND see maybe what is avail at the same time as what I am trying for etc.
Do they make you a plan per park? ie, go ride SM 1st, Dumbo, PP, pooh, etc.? or are we only talking reservations?
While I believe it saves time I also am pretty much not invested in any of the trip until we leave,, ie I haven't caught the excitement over looking a show times, meal times, parade times and mapping out Monday at MK, Tues at AK, etc.
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Old 06-17-2011, 03:44 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by jrtoastyman View Post
At the risk of revealing my ignorance, what exactly is a Disney Certified Planner, and what functions can they perform? Is it just another name for your travel agent? If you've already got your accommodations sorted out, can you still use them?

Here's what I would love to be able to do:

"We'd like to go to these 5 restaurants at some point while we're here, and on the night that we go to XXXX, we'd like it to be adult night, so we'll need a sitter. Also, we'd like to see the Cirque show at some point. Finally, when we go to Jiko, we'd prefer to just take a cab rather than messing with the buses. Can you look into all of that and let me know what you find out? Thanks!"

That would be awesome! Is that the sort of thing that they can do?
A Certified Disney planner is a specialized travel agent. They can provide a variety of services. They can book your travel from the start, booking rooms, tickets, ADRs, etc and creat personal itineraries for your trip. If you have an existing reservation they can do a "take over" so that they now control your reservation instead of you. I personally think that is annoying since I would now have to go through them to make any changes to my ADRs or reservation instead of easily doing it myself on line.
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Old 06-17-2011, 08:24 PM   #15
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I've been to Disney about 16 times and have never used a TA. I enjoy doing the planning myself.
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