Has anyone used a professional Disney Vacation Planner? I can’t find any disadvantages. She gets a commission from Disney, free to us. Why would we not do this?
I used Small World Vacation for our upcoming trip and I have nothing negative to say. Being a pretty obsessive planner and reading everything on the internet and relying on people here, I can’t say it was particularly useful but she did get me an extra discount after I made the reservation. I probably would have seen it anyway but it avoided me the the hassle of getting it myself. She also offered to set up Magical Express for me but I’d already done so.
I will most likely use them again next time.
My wife signed us up for a travel agent once she had finally convinced me to agree to the trip, but before I could find the mental energy to do much research. At that point literally all I knew about WDW was “in Florida, crowded, expensive”.
The TA helped us choose a resort, handled the reservations, booked some ADRs for us (including Cindarella’s Royal Table) and set us up with a shipboard credit on the cruise part of our vacation. She also gave us a couple of ride recommendations and did the initial online check-ins and FP+ reservations on our behalf.
Fast forward a month or two and I came up for air from a big project at work and started wondering things like “which park should we do on which day?” and “what are the rides like?” and “how long will the lines actually be?” I started doing a bunch of research which led me to this site. Since then I’ve redone the ADRs and FP+ reservations numerous times and tweaked lots of little details about the vacation, which I’m sure has the TA wondering why the hell I hired her
Long story short, in my brief experience so far, TAs are great if you don’t have the mental energy to wrap your mind around a million little details AND you don’t have the Type-A control-freak need to make every decision yourself.
If you DO have the desire to micromanage everything yourself, a TA might still get you some extra discounts or other conveniences. Just make sure you find one that doesn’t mind you being elbow-deep in the details!
TAs are great! --the only downside is they handle your reservations for the vacation (not necessarily ADRs and FPPs) so they have to be the one to make payment, make any changes to dates/resorts, and change the offer for new discounts. Which is great so you don’t have to call. Many are on top of these offers, but some probably are not or have lots of clients to book the new offer for. We have used one for our trips in the past except one 1/2 work/1/2 vacay trip b/c of the work part that I wasn’t personally booking and have loved it and glad that the TA got a commission.
This upcoming trip is a bit tricky with a combo of rooms/tickets/AP/DDDP/etc. so I am booking it straight through Disney and outside ticket sellers.
I can tell you this much. I did all my WDW planning for many years looking for yearly specials. After joining this forum I looked at other TA’s. Small World Vacation’s was rated highly so I called them. They would book everything for me but at the current prices. Yes, she stated the if other special came up she would TRY to get me the savings. If I did not book right away, she wasn’t going to keep me informed of any specials and because I could not be guaranteed to get any specials if I booked right away, I declined to use them. Now Magical Vacations tours offers discounts upfront. No looking for future discounts from Disney. After booking myself online for many years I thought they may be able to save me a much as $100. In reality she saved me $1000. They had a recent Labor Day Special and I was able to book at Poly for two weeks. They saved me 4500 over rack rates. Now these special are NOT on all dates, so you need to get a quote at MVT for the dates you have in mind. The higher the resort rating the better the savings. This outfit is well known out here and on the up and up. I just completed my second vacation via them and it went without a hitch. I used Darcy, but there are many other agents to choose from.
I’ve used Small World Vacations 4 times now, and every time they have saved us a lot of money by monitoring the deals and getting them slightly before the general public. Plus I like the fact that I can still manage my own ADR and FPP.
YES it is a no brainer. Free to use and they can possibly save you lots of money. And you can always cancel without penalties. (Under WDW guidelines)
I use a DVP through MEI/Mousefan Travel for all of my WDW trips - in fact the same one as @lizzieanne771. I tend to have her find quotes and make reservations for me, and then do the rest of everything myself, and I don’t change much.
I know @lizzieanne771 is far more likely to make changes to her plans - and our TA continues to be good natured about all of the changes.
Our TA is fully willing to do ADRs and FP+ if you want, or to let you do your own if you like.
Hope this helps.
Yep! Jacki is amazing!
And yes - while I’m sure she may groan and roll her eyes when she sees an email from me once things are booked, in her responses to me she is always cheerful and helpful. And she’ll even joke about it. Once I was like “Don’t shoot! But if I could change…” and she had a little animated pic of a lego-like stormtrooper with his little gun going “Pew Pew” to kick off her response.
I do make up for it with cruises though. Pretty much every change I’ve made to those have been an increase in price, so her commission is just increasing there.
I got a surprise bonus I was not expecting and therefore was able to have her book a cabin for me for Feb Break 2020 since it’s Silver Castaway Club opening day today. I’d emailed her Monday (when I knew it was going to be possible) with the cruise and general categories. This morning I was able to look and see what was available and emailed her with specific numbers for 1st and 2nd choices and a block of cabins for 3rd choice. By 9:07 (her office hours start at 9am - though especially if she had anyone wanting Hawaii, I’m pretty sure she was probably working on it ahead of “opening”) she had emailed me saying that she was able to get my first choice cabin and had put a hold on it.
She’s the best. I always make sure to mention her in my trip reports, I’ve passed her name to more than one person, and I ALWAYS tweet and email Beci, the owner of the agency, to compliment Jacki.