Planning a Magical Walt Disney World Trip - Who can get you the most Magic?

Planning a Magical Walt Disney World Trip - Who can get you the most Magic?

by Christina
(Australia)

He Dad. We are planning a Magical Walt Disney World trip and wondered ...

Are you more likely to get magical upgrades and special magic if you book through Walt Disney World Travel or through a Travel Agent?

I have been wondering if Disney shares the magic around. If so a little Pixie Dust might work. Like many others I do love a bit of magic I wasn't expecting, but I really like the idea of the personalized service a good Walt Disney World Travel Agent offers with complicated bookings and the help for people far away.

Planning a Magical Trip

The China Pavilion at Epcot is part of planning a magical Walt Disney World trip
Photo by Express Monorail

Dad's fair is fair Answer

Hi Christina,

How are things down under this morning? (It's morning where Tina is.) Yes, I do know she goes by Tina. We've conversed a time or two.

First, it might be hard to believe, but Disney doesn't play favorites when it comes to who books your magical Walt Disney World vacation. They can't. As much as they would like too (and they have been trying for years) Disney needs travel agents. Even with the explosion of the internet, a large portion of the population (and growing larger every month) books Disney World trips from someone other than Walt Disney Travel. (Like Dad and Pixie and Pirate Destinations.)

Disney's reservation system doesn't code whether a booking comes from Disney or from another source. So booking a trip through a Travel Agent won't keep you from getting an upgrade or special consideration when you get to Walt Disney World.

Second, Disney doesn't give out many upgrades. Yes, in the slow times you might score an upgraded room, however for a good portion of the year, bookings are at 90% or more capacity and upgrades just don't happen.

That being said, it might actually help to book through a good Disney centered Travel Agent. They know what to ask for and how to ask in a way that gets things done. The Disney Vacation Planners over at Pixie and Pirate Destinations are always looking for ways to get the most value for their customers. They know which room views are worth the extra money. Their specialty is finding the perfect room and hotel for your family.

Dad's Pixie and Pirate Destinations page

I do think personalized service is important especially when booking a Disney World vacation. A Disney Vacation Planner can work with you to develop a magical plan to reduce the time you spend in line. The will gladly spend time on the phone (so you don't have to) making your dining reservations or making all those changes to your package. This will save you time (sometimes lots of time) but even some money since Disney still doesn't have a toll free number.

 

Destinations to Travel Logo - Perfect

Dad's Bottom Line

Christina,

Yes, you can make your own Disney World reservations right on the internet. (Boring.) But you won't get any personalized service complete with announcements when new discounts (like free dining) are available. You might have to spend over an hour on the phone from Australia to Florida (an expensive hour) just to make a simple change. Not with a good Travel Agent. The will be happy to do that all for you.

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Aug 16, 2011
Dad Responds
by: Dad

Tabitha,

Thanks for the note. It really brings home the point that even if you are very experienced with the internet booking a Disney World Vacation is more than just booking an airline ticket (even that could use a good travel agent these days.)

The sad thing is, many, like you, don't know what they are missing. It doesn't cost you anything to book with a good travel agent (like Destinations to Travel) but it can save you hundreds of dollars and hours of frustration.

I hope everything goes perfectly on your trip. I'm sorry it's been such a hassle.

Aug 16, 2011
additional reasons for a travel agent?
by: Tabitha

We're 3 families (total 8) traveling together to Disney Coronado Springs in September. We booked our vacations online through Disney and for the most part it has been seamless. However, telephone confirmations and changes have NOT been painless. I don't know how much more we might have paid for service, but I've started to think a travel agent would have been a good investment.

1) one family booked a mini fridge in room; two families did not. No confirmation appears on the receipt. Online notes seems to say fridges are included in moderate resorts. One Disney phone rep says Yes, one Disney phone rep says No. We'll find out when we get there a) if we have a fridge, and b) if it has cost extra.

2) Although Disney offers Delta booking, the optimal flights (available from Delta) weren't available from Disney. So flight were booked separately. After you've booked your WDW vacation, you can't add your flight information, so it requires a phone call. But, even after a phone call, our Magical Express passes arrived with "no flight information provided". I had to call back a second time to confirm.

3) The memories (free dining) package came out after we'd booked our holidays. Thankfully we were all able to change our reservations. Kudos to the phone agent for her persistence when she had to try multiple codes before she could make the change. OTOH, if I hadn't known my SIL had already made the change, I might have given up earlier. I'm still not sure why her savings were almost 20% higher than mine once the price was adjusted.

4) Disney dining reservations are confusing, and it's disheartening how early they needed to be made. We have dining reservations for two nights. We'll have to have counter service the other nights, as no reservations are available in the parks we plan to be in for those nights. This was confirmed by phone, so its not just our inexperience with the dining site. An experienced travel agent would have helped us to know to navigate the dining earlier, rather than waiting to 'only' 60 days before the trip..

5) I made a change to one of our dining reservations (by phone) and did not receive a confirmation email. Because of the flight phone call, and fridge phone calls, I will have no confidence the change was made until we arrive.


A little bit of the magic has been leaking through the planning process. The phone agents have been cheerful and helpful, but not consistent. We're all still very excited about our trip, but in retrospect I think I would go with a travel agent next time.

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