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Old 02-27-2013, 09:02 PM   #1
CaperCris
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First time booking....

I am planning a mid-October trio to Disney for my family of 4. I have consulted with a travel agent who gave me quotes for what i was looking for. When I went online the price for the same package for the same dates is about $50 cheaper to book directly through Disney. Is there any advantage to booking through an agent as opposed to booking online myself? I like the idea of being able to pay online whenever I want and I understand that I cant pay online if I book through an agent. This is our first real vacation and we are on a budget...any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 02-27-2013, 10:32 PM   #2
badgirlgiz
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booking

I would just book myself through disney so I can call and make payments whenever I want but booking with a travel agent can also work because they will let you know when different discounts come out that you could use for your trip. I always book a room only resi. and if room discounts come out I can take advantage of them also I purchase my tickets from under cover tourist and by them ahead of time.
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Old 02-28-2013, 05:00 AM   #3
Ted in Halifax
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Is this a package that includes dining?
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Old 02-28-2013, 05:22 AM   #4
CaperCris
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No, it doesn't include dining but the agent said she is certain there will be free dining and we can put that on when it's announced...Can I make payments online if I book through Disney or do I have to call? I'm all about convenience so even a phone call is somewhat of a pain, if I can't pay online I may just book through the agent. Also, if I book through the agent can I make dinner reservations online or do I have to call? Are Disney tickets much cheaper at undercovertourist?
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Old 02-28-2013, 06:15 AM   #5
Ted in Halifax
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Slow down there. Yes you can book and pay online. Yes. Undercover is the best price. But there are other factors to consider. Also you can book dining reservations online. In October what will be the ages of your kids?
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Old 02-28-2013, 06:37 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CaperCris
No, it doesn't include dining but the agent said she is certain there will be free dining and we can put that on when it's announced...
I'd be careful with this. We went Thanksgiving week (their Columbus Day) and free dining was not offered for our arrival date because of the holiday. There are only certain dates free dining will apply to - if they give it at all. There is speculation on the boards that Disney is done with free dining.

Also, buying tickets separately isn't always cheaper either. We saved on both the room and tickets this spring when we booked them together through Disney.

I would skip using the agent and book direct. There's enough information on these boards and helpful people that you can do it yourself. We used an agent last time, and I was calling to give her deals to have applied. I could have done it faster/easier myself.
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Old 02-28-2013, 06:50 AM   #7
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Slow down? I only asked a couple of simple questions?! I've done enough research and I'm confident that I can book successfully on my own. The first responder to my questions mentioned they call to make payments which made me think I had misread something about paying online. I'd like to get my trip booked in the near future because I am on a budget and paying on it weekly will work best for me. My travel agent takes days to get back to me with any questions. I realize the free dining may not be offered, I asked the agent this as well and she said from every indication they've been given there will be free dining. When I compared tickets direct from disney and undercovertourist it seemed about $25USD in the difference, not enough of a savings to make me purchase them separately. Again, I would rather the convenience of making payments over time. Our dates are flexible, I am waiting on the agent to contact with dates when they believe free dining will be offered.
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Old 02-28-2013, 07:48 AM   #8
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Cris, first off, welcome! You've come to the right place, there are a lot of Canadians here with great experience--very helpful to me the first time around (and since then too!). I think Ted is suggesting that you might be better off looking at the different options one at a time, see what the differences are, inclusions and costs and such, rather than looking at the whole range of possibilities at once. It's easy to pick your dates and go, but if you want to be sure to get what suits your family best, and best bang for your buck, it gets more complicated.

I might be tempted to use a TA the first time, if you get a good one. We used CAA the first time, and got a decent rate, but it quickly became clear that I had more up to date and specific knowledge than the TA did (though she was billed as a "Disney specialist"), and I ended up hounding her to follow up on my requests. Not doing that again. Sounds like you are like most of us here: you want to be an educated traveller, and do the research for yourself. I would recommend Christine at Fairytale Dreams and Destinations (easy to find with google). She's out of somewhere near Toronto, but deals seamlessly with Nova Scotians. As Disney is all she does, she is absolutely current on what's the best deal. I also liked that at least a little bit of my vacation dollar stayed in Canada.

Dealing with Disney directly is handy too, but you get a different agent every time you call, so there's no sense of who you are and what you are interested in. And I understand they can't "volunteer" info about discounts or deals unless you specifically ask. And may I just say it annoys the heck out of me to pay a toll call to talk to them.

Once you have a package reservation number, you can do a lot of stuff on line. Disney will give you the number, as will Christine, but I had to wrestle it out of CAA because I think they didn't trust me with it! You do probably want to do your dining reservations yourself, especially if you get free dining. I'm not sure about paying on line. I know when I worked with Christine she took my credit card number and applied payments when we had agreed that she would, so I never missed a deadline.

If you get the free dining package, I believe you have to buy tickets through Disney, so that answers that question. Otherwise, we use Undercover Tourist for great prices and great service. You can get an additional discount from the Mousesavers newsletter (will come out again in about 2 weeks if you sign up now...again, a google search will get you there). Mousesavers is a great site for figuring out the deals, if you haven't discovered it yet. The woman who runs it knows the Disney deals, as well as car rentals and tickets and things you don't even know you need!

Hope that helps!
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Old 02-28-2013, 08:48 AM   #9
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I would book direct, we used a TA for the first time for our latest trip and we had no problems, but it would have been much easier if I could have contacted WDW directly like I usually could. I didn't realise that my requests had to go via the TA - we basically had a 3rd party involved for no reason!!
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Old 03-03-2013, 07:19 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CaperCris View Post
Slow down? I only asked a couple of simple questions?! I've done enough research and I'm confident that I can book successfully on my own. The first responder to my questions mentioned they call to make payments which made me think I had misread something about paying online. I'd like to get my trip booked in the near future because I am on a budget and paying on it weekly will work best for me. My travel agent takes days to get back to me with any questions. I realize the free dining may not be offered, I asked the agent this as well and she said from every indication they've been given there will be free dining. When I compared tickets direct from disney and undercovertourist it seemed about $25USD in the difference, not enough of a savings to make me purchase them separately. Again, I would rather the convenience of making payments over time. Our dates are flexible, I am waiting on the agent to contact with dates when they believe free dining will be offered.
I'm going to go out on a limb and say that if you're reading here and your trip isn't until October, you should definitely book your trip yourself. IMO, the greatest advantage of using a TA is that they do all the work for you -- if you're really busy that may be the only way you get the booking done. But in general you'll find more up-to-date information here than from a TA. Most aren't Disney specialists, and I've found from talking to the few "Disney specialists" that I've met that they don't really know what they're doing. They want to book everyone on the DDP and usually have you buying far more park days than you need. So in general more expensive than a trip you booked for yourself.

There is never a guarantee that FD will be available for your dates -- there are times when they have never had FD, but there are times when they might (or might not). It all depends on the bookings for that time, I think -- if it's busy without offering any incentives, there won't be any incentives. There has been FD on some holidays, including Pres Day -- but I wouldn't ever count on it and and I wouldn't choose my dates on the chance that they would have it. If you want more ways to keep up to date on Special Offers, make sure you are registered with the Disney website and consider subscribing to others like Mousesavers (both send an email out when a new offer is announced)

I would wait on the tix -- you don't know what kind of packages might be available for your dates yet. But you can book a room only reservation and have any offers added to that as they come out. That way you at least know you have a room and you'll have the advantage of being able to book dining reservations earlier if you want them.
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Old 03-03-2013, 08:08 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CaperCris View Post
No, it doesn't include dining but the agent said she is certain there will be free dining and we can put that on when it's announced...Can I make payments online if I book through Disney or do I have to call? I'm all about convenience so even a phone call is somewhat of a pain, if I can't pay online I may just book through the agent. Also, if I book through the agent can I make dinner reservations online or do I have to call? Are Disney tickets much cheaper at undercovertourist?
With room only reservations, I haven't been able to pay online. We just came back from a trip in January. I had to phone to make payments.
This trip for August I booked with a Disney Specialized TA, and to make payments, I just send her an e-mail telling her how much I want to pay. Easy.

If you have a package booked with WDW you can do online payments, but not room only.

I would only book with a TA who specializes in WDW travel. They are called Authorized Disney Vacation Planners. There are many online agencies. I think Canadian TAs charge $50 for booking anything. The US based TAs are free.

UT is cheaper for tickets, yes! And an additional (small) discount if you use the special link sent out by Mousesavers.com Newsletter. Go sign up on line, and once a month you get a newsletter, with any new WDW news, discounts, and UT link.

I've used them twice and have been very impressed with how fast I've gotten the tickets after ordering, also they send real tickets, not vouchers. No shipping fee, and total price is just what it's listed as & includes tax, so make sure you compare apples with apples. Some sites, incl. Disney don't list ticket with tax until you go to check out. And some offsite sellers add a shipping fee too, and just send you a voucher which you have to redeem for a ticket at a service kiosk.
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Old 03-04-2013, 08:20 AM   #12
NicoleDD73
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CaperCris I'm in the same boat !! We are planning our first trip as well for Oct/Nov 2013 !! And I've been looking at all the info too - kinda overwhelming!!: confused3 We are doing our trip on a budget so for me any money saved is a good thing!! Good Luck!!
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Old 03-04-2013, 08:34 AM   #13
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There are a couple of great Disney specific TA's they will do it all for you if you are "too busy". I will not put names here because of possible advertising conflict but if you can spare the time you can Google for them.

If you book through a Disney specific TA they will be giving you the best price possible and on par with prices from the Disney web site.

Last edited by myzel; 03-04-2013 at 08:36 AM. Reason: Added info
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Old 03-04-2013, 08:35 AM   #14
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I had used a ta for the first few trips we went on but I now prefer to do it on my own as I sometimes like to change things and found that was a pain to have to wait for the ta to make the changes,I prefer to be more in charge of my plans and found it was very easy taking control of it all. I have already booked our flights down for September 26 and returning October 4th and am hopeing to get the free dining for those dates, going on our past trips and have gotten free dining at that point in time, I think it usually ends the end of September but as long as you book even on the last date it would carry over as mine would be for the 4th of October. I know its not a for sure thing but it has been for quite a few years now and really cant see them not offering it. Either way deal or no deal every penny spent is worth the trip to disney! Will be my second trip this year as we leave in 2 days to our spring break vacation! and yes I booked this one on my own as well which included our fantasy cruise!
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Old 03-04-2013, 01:26 PM   #15
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Quote:
They are called Authorized Disney Vacation Planners. There are many online agencies. I think Canadian TAs charge $50 for booking anything. The US based TAs are free.
FYI - Canadian TA's don't charge a fee.

OP, you could support the DIS by using the sponsor of these boards (Dreams Unlimited Travel). I always find it ironic how posters say "I don't need a TA, I've found everything I need right here on the DIS" and don't even realize it's a TA that brought you said information.

Or I suggest spreading the love in Canada and using a Canadian TA that specializes in Disney travel.

Whatever you decide, welcome and have a great time.
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