The sheer volume of information required to plan a Disney vacation is more than the average traveler can comprehend. Just selecting the best theme park ticket options can be a daunting challenge, not to mention what time of year to travel, should you stay on property or off property, what hotel to pick, what restaurants to avoid – and that's just the start. The entirety of the DIS website, including DISBoards.com is devoted to that pursuit. But what if you don't have the time to do all that research and planning? What if you just want someone to break down all your options and guide you through the process? What if you want someone to watch for any discounts that come out and apply them to your vacation? That's where the benefit of a specialized Disney World travel agent comes in.
Why choose a Travel Agent Specializing in Disney Vacations?
Traditional travel agents aren't always a good fit for a Walt Disney World vacation. It is unique among travel destinations in many ways. Disney World is 47 square miles, consisting of over 20 resorts, 4 theme parks, 2 water parks and hundreds of dining and shopping locations. Unless you've visited the parks religiously for years, you're not going to know the gory details of what's involved in getting the most out of a Disney World or Disneyland vacation. It takes professionals who have visited the parks multiple times over many years to truly understand the nuances of planning the perfect Disney trip.
One of the reasons sites like the DIS have become, and remained, so popular over the years is that people have learned that the more knowledgeable you are about Disney, the more money you can save, and the more value you'll receive for every dollar you spend. When you know where to go, what to do and what to avoid you'll have a much better experience and get more for your hard earned dollar than if you just show up and 'wing it.' However, not everyone has the time and patience to do all that research – that's where a good travel agent can make all the difference.
What to look for in a Travel Agent Specializing in Disney Vacations
A Travel Agent Specializing in Disney Vacations should be someone with an extensive background in planning Disney vacations – not just for their clients, but for themselves as well. They should have personal experience with the destination, not just the marketing material. Your Disney World travel agent should NEVER charge you extra fees of any kind. Travel agents make their money by the commission they are paid from Disney – not from the client. Also, your travel agent should not be charging your credit card. The travel industry has been fraught in recent years with agencies that take the client's money then go bankrupt, taking your money with them. A reputable online agency will securely provide your payment information to Disney, allowing Disney to charge you directly. This way, should something unfortunate happen to the agency, Disney has been paid and your vacation is safe.
One of the most valuable services an agency can provide is to be aware of new discounts and promotions that are released by Disney after you book your vacation. A good travel agent will not only know about these discounts, but will also make sure they get applied to your reservation without you ever having to lift a finger.
Our Recommendations and Full Disclosure
Unlike many other Disney fan sites that recommend travel agents without disclosing that they have a financial relationship with them, we choose to make that clear up front. We recommend Dreams Unlimited Travel because they are part of the WDWInfo.com / DISBoards.com family. The owner of WDWinfo.com and DISBoards.com, Pete Werner, is the founder of and part owner in Dreams Unlimited Travel. Dreams Unlimited Travel was founded in 1999 (two years after the launch of the DIS) to address what Pete saw as a gap in the travel market. Traditional travel agents didn't have much experience with Disney – they based their recommendations solely on Disney's marketing material. That's great for Disney – but not necessarily for the traveler. Disney won't tell you when a restaurant isn't any good, or if there are a high number of complaints with a particular hotel, and for the most part, neither would traditional travel agents.
Dreams Unlimited Travel was the first agency to offer customized daily itineraries, discount checking AFTER you've booked your vacation (something that was rare among travel agencies at the time), and a variety of concierge level services including making your dining and recreation reservations for you, all at no additional charge. Many others have copied the business model established by Dreams Unlimited in 1999, but Dreams remains one of the top agencies selling Disney vacations in the world all these years later.
All of the information found here on WDWInfo.com and on our forums at DISBoards.com is regularly reviewed by our agents and staff and incorporated into the information that Dreams Unlimited Travel provides to their clients. Also, every Dreams Unlimited Travel agent is a graduate of the College of Disney Knowledge and each agent routinely visits Walt Disney World for their own family vacations.
Bottom Line: If you're someone who likes to have complete control over every aspect of your reservation, then working with a travel agent probably isn't the right fit for you. If, on the other hand, you would like the assistance of a well-trained, experienced professional to guide you through the planning process, a Disney specialist is the right way to go.
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