Travel Agent vs. DIY

Discussion in 'Disney Resorts' started by JustAKid, Apr 7, 2013.

  1. World Showcaser

    World Showcaser DIS Veteran

    Jul 12, 2011
    This is very timely discussion for me. I have a vacation booked with WDW already, that I booked myself. But I got curious the other day if a travel agent could find me a better deal. So, I filled out the form to get a quote from a popular travel agent that specializes in Disney Vacation. It was recommended on a popular Disney information site.

    The first problem I encountered was how slow this process is. It took 24 hours just for someone to get back to me and say that they'd be working with me. It took another day or two to get the quote.

    When the quote came back, it wasn't nearly as good of a deal as I had found for myself. :confused3 I was sure they would at least match what I was paying.

    I asked her if she had heard any rumours of upcoming deals for the time of our trip. She answered saying she would have no way of knowing this. Ummm...if I know that historically deals are offered at my time of travel, she should know that too. She's the so-called Disney expert, after all.

    She also kept trying to change my travel dates even though I told her they weren't really flexible.

    On the quote form, she asked for a range I was looking to pay. She wrote me back and told me it was impossible, even though I had a deal that was just that with Disney. I wouldn't bother with the travel agent. My little experiment proves their uselessness.
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  3. ThreeBeans

    ThreeBeans Now with FOUR Beans

    Jul 10, 2010
    Travel agents are forbidden from offering discounts beyond what is available through DW to the general public.
  4. alc571

    alc571 DIS Veteran

    Sep 9, 2012
    Nope. I actually emailed the TA two PIN codes I received directly from Disney and she had them applied. I could have done that myself. All she really saved me was the long distance telephone charge to call Disney.
  5. clayfolks

    clayfolks Mouseketeer

    Oct 31, 2009
    Our very first trip was through AAA. The TA was not exceptionally knowledgable and did nothing to add value. Ever since, we have handled everything ourselves. There is SO much that they don't know. People on these boards will suggest alternatives that a TA would never dream of mentioning (i.e. renting DVC points, etc.). I am much better at finding good deals and calling to have them applied to my reservation than is a travel agent with 50 clients trying to keep track of all of them.
  6. Cyrano

    Cyrano Moderator Moderator

    Oct 23, 2004
    Moving to Resorts :)
  7. patty57

    patty57 DIS Veteran

    Jun 11, 2009
    I've never had a TA save me any money. When I book trips myself, I get exactly what I want and find all the discounts available. Again, I really enjoy the process. If I didn't, maybe a TA would have more appeal for me.
  8. chartle

    chartle DIS Veteran

    Jul 10, 2008
    Since she is a business she may not be allowed to pass on rumors or speculate when or if discounts may be offered only what is being publicly offered.
  9. Sue M

    Sue M DIS Veteran

    May 27, 2009
    I have done both. If I use a TA I use an Authorized Disney Vacation Planning specialist. They will have this designation on their web site. And have had great success with the ones I've used.
    I know they will be actively watching for promos, doing the Disney Math if there are more then one released, and getting us the best price possible. And to do anything all I have to do is send a e mail. No waiting on hold for long time with Disney when discounts are released, or to add something to my res.
    I find my TAs very knowledgable and helpful.

    I do book my ADRs myself, and my flights.

    Often I book Disney myself. Just depends on what's going on, and if I have the time.
    Since I have a room only booked, I can also send TA an e mail to make a payment for me. Quicker then having to get on the phone and pay long distance for calling Disney and who knows the wait time. Sometimes it's good, sometimes it's 30 min or more.
  10. Skip2MyLou

    Skip2MyLou Mouseketeer

    Feb 21, 2011
    We used a TA for our 1st 2 trips. The first trip we spent a lot of money on and knew nothing of specials. The TA gave us a ton of misinformation. I tried another TA on our 2nd trip and her apply a pincode I received. While there was no misinformation, there was really nothing extra she did that I couldn't do.

    So I have booked every trip after that myself. I have learned so much from the DIS that I see no benefit in using a TA, even a Disney certified one.
  11. World Showcaser

    World Showcaser DIS Veteran

    Jul 12, 2011
    But she could tell me that historically a deal has been offered at the end of August. And she could have also told me about the discount that was publicly offered that she didn't apply to my quote.
  12. goofy78

    goofy78 …sea monkey has my money… …yes, I'm a natural blue

    Jun 25, 2011
    I'm thinking AAA is not considered a "TA" by reading the previous posts. I've previously booked my trips myself but for our upcoming trip I decided to get a quote from AAA. They offered a 15% off room only (Beach Club) so I booked with them. I've since linked my reservation on Disney's website and will be having IPO book my dining reservations. I could do it myself but will let them do it for me. Looking on the Disney website it appears the Beach Club is almost fully booked so if a discount for my dates comes out from Disney, not so sure my room will be included. So I am more than happy I booked with AAA with their discount and I don't one bit feel as though I'm not in control.
  13. danceintherain

    danceintherain DIS Veteran

    Oct 2, 2007
    I think a TA can book on off-site hotel for you, but authorized Disney TAs get paid through a commission from Disney, so I'm not sure if it would make sense for them to do this. Other TA's certainly could...

    We spent probably exactly the same for all our trips. I know there is a Disney TA company out there who can offer deeper discounts by booking large numbers of rooms through Disney, and offering them to clients, but the "extra" discount isn't always available.

    Since I've started actually "planning" my Disney vacations, I've done 2 with a TA and 2 without.
    The first experience was fine, but I felt as if I was pestering my TA too much. Two or three different discounts I qualified for were released from the time I booked 6 months in advance and my trip. To this day, I'm not sure if I chose the right discount. Disney math can be really frustrating sometimes. We still got a really great deal, but that didn't have that much to do with the TA.
    I chose all my ADRs and she booked them for me right at the 180 day mark.
    It saved me from making the phone call myself (this was before the online system).
    Everything went fine. The only minor hiccup was that when we went to check in to our first ADR of the trip, it was under the wrong name. I had all the confirmation numbers with me, so it was fine. I don't know if it was the TA's fault or Disney's.

    The second experience has been better. I have a friend on here who became a TA, and I thought it'd be nice for her to get the commission and to have someone I can refer friends to if/when they want to go to Disney and stay on property. While I'm perfectly happy giving them advice myself, sometimes it's better to get it from someone else.
    This trip wasn't booked until around 3 months out, and I made all my ADRs on my own online before even booking my room through the TA. All the applicable discounts were out at the time, so I knew which one was the best (Armed Forces Salute) for us.
    Recently, she got all our trip documents in the mail and our flights were mixed up (my sister is flying from a different location). She immediately got on the phone and sorted it out, so our new documents were on their way quickly. She also sent a few extra goodies along with the standard stuff.

    Ultimately, I HATE talking on the phone. Disney is better than a lot of places, but it's still easier for me to communicate via the internet. The Armed Forces Salute discount has to booked over the phone, so I figured if I was going to be making a phone call anyways, I might as well make it to someone I already know ok and like (I called her once to give her credit card info).
    If I had done it myself, I may still have run into trouble with Magical Express and had to make a phone call then.

    Ultimately, I know I can do it all myself, but it's nice to know that someone else is getting a little something from me booking through them.
  14. jhryb

    jhryb DIS Veteran

    Jan 13, 2007
    A TA may not be able to get a better deal than an individual could get on their own BUT in many instances a TA may know of a Tour Operator who is offering discounts that their client is unaware of. For instance in the Toronto area we have a supplier (I'm not sure if I can mention their name??) who packages flights with the WDW land portion and in many instances kids fly free etc.... It is definitely worth consulting a TA who knows about these specials
  15. J.C.&ALI'SMOM

    J.C.&ALI'SMOM <font color=darkblue>I really had to bite my tongu

    Jul 12, 2000
    This. I've done both and I know more about booking than most TAs. If I was going to use a TA it would be one that specializes in WDW and will rebook you when the discounts come out.

    I probably won't use a TA again because I like to plan and be in control of my reservations.
  16. pamkat1820

    pamkat1820 Mouseketeer

    May 9, 2011
    I have always booked our trips by myself. I am a total research person. B4 we book anything I have to have all the information I possibly can on every detail!

    This trip In August we are using a travel agent only because of the insane deal they were offering. But I still feel like I am in control. If I felt I was going to need to change where we r staying I would have never booked. But I can see our trip right on disney experience, I booked all our dinning plans myself. And even called disney directly to ask questions so it really only the money that the agency is dealing with .

    I have to say they have been awesome, quick respond too
  17. TwinkleKS

    TwinkleKS Mouseketeer

    Feb 18, 2013
    I've done it both ways. Currently, I have a TA that I like and that's who I use. I work, I travel a lot for work, I have small kids, etc. There are certain ADRs that I want and the "perfect" time that require making at the very first moment on the 180 +10 day. I can't always do that. Enter the TA. I tell mine what all I want and he takes care of it for me. He even checks for cancellations if I didn't plan the trip over 180 days out and usually gets me in when and where I want to be. It saves me a lot of time.
  18. juliebug1997

    juliebug1997 DIS Veteran

    Jan 19, 2011
    I've always booked my own, but I found myself needing a little more help last summer when I was booking a trip to DL for October. I'm sure it has to do with it being smaller, but the DL side of the DIS just didn't have all the help the I was needing, so I booked through her. She was, down to the penny, the same price as if I had booked it myself. I still made my own ADRs, but I had her expertise if I had a question. (Their version of EMHs gave me a headache.)

    I booked our vacation back at the middle of March for this summer at WDWD, but, when the deals for this summer came out last week, I contacted her because I didn't have the time to sit on the computer for a couple of hours to find the better price. In the end, she saved us about $500 and several hours. I still have my own ADRs and we had already booked our own airfare through Southwest.
  19. allthingsmickey

    allthingsmickey Earning My Ears

    Mar 10, 2009
    I've done both as well. I don't mind the research so I thought doing it myself was best. Then a friend of mine became a Disney authorized travel agent. She is on these boards, but TA's aren't allowed to say they are TA's on here. She works for a company that does get exclusive group rates for certain times of year and she is sometimes able to offer a gift card or something extra that I can't get directly from Disney on top of the discounts. She doesn't offer those just to me, they are offered to everyone she books for.

    She stays on top of all the happenings 365 days a year, whereas I just look at this stuff when I'm starting to plan a trip. She is great at giving me the updates in a nutshell without me having to scour the boards for hours searching for what I've missed. She also sends out little weekly tips to her clients about Disney, as well as helps them create an itinerary (picking which day to go to which park) and even offers to do a customized park tour plan for them.

    It's unfortunate, but not all TA's are created equally. If you are lucky enough to find a good one, they are worth it, but a bad one can certainly leave a sour taste in your mouth.
  20. Lita

    Lita DIS Veteran

    Sep 16, 2012
    This is what I did too for my upcoming trip. My TA had a special that we took advantage of. I did my own ADRs because I wanted to have control and make changes myself if needed (already made 2 changes).

    Sent from my iPad using DISBoards
  21. AliceIn

    AliceIn DIS Veteran

    Mar 9, 2012
    I made all my own Disney trip planning and reservations, then I had AAA take over the reservation for me. I like being in control of what's booked, but I really love my AAA perks. AAA does do arrangement for off-site hotels, but not private homes or timeshare rentals, at least in my local club.

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