Do you normally book through the Disney site or through a travel agent? Do you get a discount going through a travel agent? who do you recommend to use?
I've heard good things about travel agents but if you're like me and a control freak, I handle everything myself. I don't trust my vacation in someone else's hands lol which is slightly ridiculous but true. I just know that I will be watching for discounts and will be up first thing when it's time to book dining and fastpasses.
when you say "watching for discounts", do you mean on the official disney site? or are there other places to book through?
When i went last year, i did all the fast pass and dinning reservations myself, i didnt realize that TA will do it for you...I definitely want the control
There are sites such as DisneyTouristBlog.com that have a news letter and they will email you when discounts are announced but I usually just check the WDW official website every morning when I'm watching for discounts as well. I recommend checking out Disney Tourist Blog and reading up on discounts and the times of year they usually happen. I have heard of people booking in advance and then changing the reservation when the discounts are released but then I feel like you run a chance of the day you arrive being the week before the discounts start.
I booked through a travel agent and they were amazing help. I think if you have a lot of time to do the planning and researching then it can be done, but if you are trying to balance taking care of family or a demanding job it's a huge help. Our travel agent also asked for our input before she did anything for us. She was up at 4 am to set up our free dining discount and to help with dining adrs. Whatever way you decide to go as long as you do your research and prepare you will have a great time.
I typically book myself because I'm neurotic like that, but I have used travel agents. There really isn't a discount using a travel agent as they offer the same prices that Disney offers. You just get to use their services for free as Disney pays them the commission that would be going towards one of Disney's employees. It is beneficial to have a travel agent as you will have one dedicated person working on your account versus a random CM who answers the phone.
I used @DarthDopey to book my last vacation. I was going to be on a cruise on my ADR date so I booked with her so she could schedule my ADRs when I was unable to do so. I just gave her a list of locations and times that I was looking for and she made sure that they were booked. It was so nice not having to worry about it.
Here is a list of Liner travel agents that have been collected. I have met several of them who are very nice, but the only one that I have personally used was @DarthDopey and I would recommend her.http://forum.touringplans.com/t/liner-tas-with-special-permission-if-youre-looking-for-one-you-can-find-one-here/9367?source_topic_id=32744
I'm a control freak too, but I like to compare hotel prices online and look for deals, but also check with a local travel agency before I book. My local travel agency has always found me a slightly better deal than what I've been able to find online. Last time we went, our travel agent found out that through some "Disney magic" we could book our stay in a club level room at Yacht Club for only $100 more (which was $25 per night since we stayed 4 nights) than to stay in a standard room. On all of the online reservation sites I'd checked, it appeared that the club level rooms were booked solid and not an option. Since we are a family of 5, it was a no-brainer to pay $25 extra per night for the club level perks!
However, I book all of my FPs and dining reservations myself, and my husband books our flights with airline miles. So, you can have total control over your travel planning even if you choose to use a travel agent for certain aspects of your trip!
What online reservation sites do you use? or is this just the official disney website?
I checked with a travel agent to see if they could get me a decent price... They charge more than Disney was so I booked direct. We don't have authorised Disney planners in Australia that I'm aware of. I did connect with a couple of them in the US through different blog recommendations, but after the initial email asking for more info about our trip I never heard from them again. I'm not worried though, it means I got to learn so much about booking my first international trip, estas, international licensees, ADRs fast passes etc that I otherwise wouldn't have known.
I did use a ta for our flights as the cheapest flights for us all come out during February's expo and saved us about 4k.
I have to agree that doing it on your own helps you familiarize yourself with the different things Disney has to offer.
I usually book myself then transfer it to @DarthDopey to handle. She keeps track of any sales to get me a better discount. she does giid for me.
I usually book myself but I always check to see if MVT (magical vacations travel) have an exclusive deal before I book on my own.
Edited to add TP blog post on MVT http://blog.touringplans.com/2016/10/17/magical-vacations-travel-parksavers-tickets/
Most of our hotel reservations are actually made via booking.com, although we've never booked through them for Disney. Also, we are AAA members so we check with them, but they've never been the winner for our Disney trips (however, we did book a Universal trip through them and plan to take advantage of their dining discounts). I would also recommend checking mousesavers.com to see what kinds of deals they are promoting.
I've always booked my own in the past but decided to try a TA this time. A FB friend is now a travel agent, so I decided to let her book it. I have as much control as I want. So far, I'm loving having a TA. Yesterday, she emailed me asking if I wanted to book my own ADR's or if I wanted her to do it. I had been worried about this because it means I have to get up at 5AM and HOPE that my extremely slow internet connection will work enough to get what I want. I decided to let her try. I sent her a list of my preferred times along with backup plans. I'm hoping she has good luck but it relieved some of the stress off me.
So I need to confess, we just used MVT (because, Tink unintentionally coerced me into it) and we just saved about $700 on our trip. It was simple and I can do everything else myself. I can book FastPass+ and make dining reservations. Literally, MVT booked out accommodations and the rest is now in my hands which is exactly what someone as neurotic as me needs.
Isn't it great to save money? Yay!
Honestly, could not believe it was that easy. Thank you for your contribution to the board. We essentially got free dining without having to try to wake up at 6 AM to catch it.
I just went and asked for a quote for our November trip. I only need a room, DD and I will have AP's at that point. We shall see! Thanks for the link!
Darcy at MVT was fantastic! We ended up adding a day on to our reservation, and splitting the stay between CBR which I had previously booked with the $75/night GC offer for two nights, and POR for less than I could have thought to pay for a five night stay at a moderate resort. We can keep our Pirate rooms (and I think the discount, which means I've already paid what I need to based on my deposit from before) AND check out POR! Now, in August when DD and I get AP's, I will see if I can add an AP discount onto our CBR res and save MORE money!