Travel Agent vs. DIY

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

  1. nkereina

    nkereina Last chance to lose your keys.

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    I would not use any old travel agent for a Disney trip. There's too much involved. Unless you're extraordinarily busy and don't really have time to sit on the phone with Disney, I say do it yourself.

    The only exception to this is AAA. If you are a member, it's worth booking through them for the extra perks. Unless you are the type that changes their resort every 5 minutes, then there's no reason not to.

    As for booking a private home, most travel agents will not. As PPs have said, they are paid by commission so private listings/rentals and some time shares will not pay commission. The only exception to this would be is if they are renting it out through a company but even then, a TA might not want to mess with it. TAs rely on commission, kickbacks, promos, and friends they have with different vendors/brands. If it's something they aren't familiar with, they might not want to get involved.



    AAA is just a much of a travel agent as any other... IATA certified, paid commission, etc.
     
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  3. Hillary12.8.07

    Hillary12.8.07 DIS Veteran

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    I have been planning our Disney trips for years and love it so I have always been one that would never use a TA, I like how someone else said they like to own their trip, and have access. I totally agree.

    However, now I AM a part of an authorized Disney travel agency and I totally see the benefits of using one. If you truly love all the planning and work and having immediate access, than no its probably not for you. However we do get access to discounts and deals quicker than the general public as well as being able to get through to Disney quicker. We also do all the work of waiting on the phone and spending our time to get those coveted ADRs so that you don't have to. And in some cases there may be agency only room blocks which can save you a great deal certain months of the year.

    I do think it all depends on the person. I think the average diser probably wouldn't use one, just because they have a passion for the planning. Most of my clients don't one to be bothered with trying to make multiple reservations and planning things out or they just don't know alot about it and don't care to!
     
  4. Karebear

    Karebear Mouseketeer

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    I agree with the above--we probably got the same deal through the same agency ;) They did the hotel reservation for me, but I did my own flights and dining. I don't mind having the agency book the hotel for me, but I really like to handle my dining reservations in case I want to change something. I have not used an agent before, but took a chance due to the really good deal that they were offering. So far, I have been very happy.
     
  5. tlpbupu

    tlpbupu Mouseketeer

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    I have a TA that I like and I use them but it's not for their knowledge. I know as much, if not more, about what is available. I do like having them make all of the calls for me as I can't always call during the day or be on hold while I am at work. I make my own ADR's though. I want to make sure I get what I want. To be honest the main reason I go through the TA is the free gift they offer. I'm paying the same if they book or if I do, but if I get free stuff I'm all for that even if it's not much. This year my daughter will receive a free autograph book (the one you can buy at the parks) and a $20 gift card. Another TA that I know that a friend uses is currently offering gift cards in denominations of $50 - $100 depending on the total of the package booked.
     
  6. Murray29

    Murray29 Earning My Ears

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    I think I got the same insane deal as well. We had the TA just book the Resort. I still did our flights & ADRs. In the past, i have always booked everything myself, but his was too good of a deal to pass up. The TA has been very quick with her responses & got us our disney confirmation quickly. I've still been able to link everything in My Disney Experience app. This will be our 1st deluxe stay & we are super excited.
     
  7. jw50

    jw50 <font color=purple>I might make it sound more emba

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    It is also important to understand that a TA is just a travel agent, i.e., they are booking reservations, packages, tickets (using your credit card) as your agent. Even a Disney Authorized Vacation Planner (a TA that has completed some online training) is just a TA that may be more familiar with what Disney offers at WDW, DLR, DCL, etc. It does not mean they are an expert on the attractions, rides, etc. at WDW or DLR. Most TA will not book airline flights because the airlines no longer pay commissons. A TA can book your ADRs for you but they get no commission on that work, so they are only doing it to provide you with an additional service, most would be more than happy for you to do the ADRs yourself. The Disney TAs do have a dedicated phone number they can use to book rooms and packages but for ADRs they have to call the same number you would call or book them online just like you.

    There are some highly knowledgeable people that in addition to being an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner will provide you with detailed itinerary planning services to assist you in making the most out of your vacation. They can take care of just about everything for you (except usually airline reservations) and can provide you with detailed touring plans. Of course they provide this service for an additional fee.

    You also need to understand that once your reservations have been made there is actually a disincentive for a TA to save you money since that would result in a smaller commission for them. Many will do whatever they can to save you money since they hope that doing so will result in repeat business or referrals.

    So yes there are advantages and disadvantages to using a TA or itinerary planner and it is really up to you if the services they provide are appropriate for you.
     
  8. vek239

    vek239 Mouseketeer

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    A local travel agency hosted a Disney Cruise Line event and we decided to attend. Having cruised DCL before, we were appalled at how much incorrect information they provided prospective clients. We knew much more than they did.
     
  9. Sue M

    Sue M DIS Veteran

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    I hope you don't feel they are all like that. I've used 2 different agencies, and both TAs were very knowledgable, and knew usually a day before when promos were being released, and were very helpful.
    Sorry you got such poor service.
     
  10. taylor3297

    taylor3297 DIS Veteran

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    I used to book WDW trips myself but decided to try a friend who is Disney TA. Since then I have always booked with her. If a deal comes out, she automatically looks to see if the deal will apply to our current reservation without me having to ask her too. It is so nice getting an email with the new lower price.

    If I want to make my own ADRs that is fine, which I do most of the time. I did have her make a CRT ADR for me one time since I was going to be on an airplane for most of the day.

    When we get our documents, there is always little extras to help out. She will include park times, hand sanitizer, drawstring bag, zippered bag for the documents, autograph books for the kids, coloring sheets and crayons for the kids etc.

    In the end it depends on what you prefer.
     
  11. snorkelyn

    snorkelyn Mouseketeer

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    I used a Disney certified TA for our 1st trip. I knew nothing about planning a Disney vaca, and hadn't found DIS boards yet. She did fine.

    Trip 2 is a MESS, and resulted in 2 families pulling their reservations from the agent and transferring them back to Disney (a new policy, thank goodness for us!)

    I booked with the TA again for our Sept trip, and even recommended her to my cousin who booked through her. She screwed things up for my cousin BIG TIME! This TA has embarrassed me by being terrible! The appeal for my cousin was the TA would book the ADR's. My cousin sent a brief list of her "wants" a day prior to the 180 day mark. This agent took it upon herself to book totally different stuff. (Example- Castle for dinner instead of breakfast, booking Bipitty Boppity instead of Pirate adventure cruise for the kids, told her Raglan Road was a bad choice because "they could see Irish dancers in Michigan" , and skipped it all together (my cousins kids do Irish Dance- thus the reason for wanting Raglan Road), booked Crystal Palace for dinner instead of a pre-park opening breakfast, didn't get BoG, and more). My cousin received the ADR list via email from the TA, and spent the next 3 hours on the phone with Disney getting everything fixed (it all worked out- even got BoG!). My cousin contacted Disney and asked that the reservation be pulled from the TA, and transferred back to Disney due to the headaches and hassles this TA created. Disney did, indeed, pull the res from the TA. Well....the TA called and cancelled all the ADR's my cousin made. These were reservations that the TA didn't even make! My poor cousin has spent HOURS on the phone with Disney fixing all this woman's mistakes.

    As for my reservations: the TA gave me so much bad info- and after seeing her screw up my cousins ADR's- I didn't let her book mine! I was able to transfer my res back to Disney too. This TA tried to book me at a preferred room rate to stay in my requested non-preferred building at CSR. Prior to my changing to CSR, she booked me in a Royal Room and requested a building that does not even have Royal rooms in it! She turns out to NOT be as knowledgeable as she originally claimed. Not only did she add no value- she messed stuff up!

    Now, I am fearful that she will mess with my ADR's! She has just enough info about my reservation to access the ADR's and make changes, like she vengefully did to my cousin!

    Short story long: keep control of your reservations by booking yourself!
    Sorry about the rant...I'm just so upset about this! My story shows that even a recommended TA who once did a good job can still screw stuff up!
     
  12. taylor3297

    taylor3297 DIS Veteran

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    If this TA just works for a company and is not the owner, then you need to file a complaint with the owner.
     
  13. snorkelyn

    snorkelyn Mouseketeer

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    Nope, she's the owner.
     
  14. disney777

    disney777 DIS Veteran

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    I used a TA for the first time for my upcoming Aug/Sept trip. I am using her just for the rate I got at YC. I just couldn't pass it up, no way could I get that rate by any other means. I did everything else myself.
     
  15. Mickeylivesinseattle

    Mickeylivesinseattle Mickey-Lives-In-Seattle

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    If you do book with a TA then use one that specializes in Disney. I have never had any issues with TA's that specialize in Disney. And I have never been charged any fees so I don't know why some people are talking about fees. A Disney specialist can get you the lowest costs at the time of booking. Same cost as I can book myself. But I prefer to give my local TA small business the booking. Of course I know the TA so I want to help their business. As for dining reservations you can still do those yourself if you prefer. If you want as few people as possible involved with your booking then do it yourself.
     
  16. Mickeylivesinseattle

    Mickeylivesinseattle Mickey-Lives-In-Seattle

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    Wow, Sue M, you judge all TA's by your experience with one bad TA? I use a friend TA who is a true Disney expert and they know their stuff. My TA is very useful and I have seen some thank you notes from some of her clients. I am sorry to hear you didn't find the right Disney expert. It is similar to finding the right attorney or CPA, for example. Bottom line it comes down to what works best for you. Most people who respond to these TA questions seem to talk up how they like to book themselves. And some like to diss TA's. My friend tells me that these are not the people they want as clients anyway so it is best that we each find our comfort zone.
     
  17. JustAKid

    JustAKid DIS Veteran

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    Wow! Thank you one and all for your responses and sharing your experiences. I think for us, DIY is the way to go. Planning this thing on my own is stressful due to the plethora of information and research involved, but it doesn't sound like using a TA will alleviate any stress, which was the appeal.

    I'm sorry to those of you who used a TA and had such terrible experiences. Maybe a group of us DISers should start our own TA company. Haha!
     
  18. Sue M

    Sue M DIS Veteran

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    :confused3 um, I think you have me confused with someone else's comment. I posted that I had good experiences with 2 TAs.
     
  19. gjl

    gjl Mouseketeer

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    Removed
     
  20. Marlea98

    Marlea98 DIS Veteran

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    I used a TA once who was adamant that only resort guests could get and use FPs as they are 'linked' to your room key!!!!

    Sent from my iPhone using DISBoards
     
  21. Marlea98

    Marlea98 DIS Veteran

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    I'm sorry that this happened to you and your family. Our TA (who we will never ever use again) sounds like yours :(

    Out TA has only booked our cruise thankfully. If I was to call Disney direct could I transfer it back to Disney? It's paid in full. Could I transfer it to another, better, agent?

    Sent from my iPhone using DISBoards
     

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