I really want to control every aspect of my trip - what can a travel agent do for me that I cannot do for myself?
The point of having a travel agent is so you don’t have to do much. Once you engage a TA, they would be in control of your booking with Disney so it sounds like that would be frustrating for you.
I’m super OCD type a too. I made my own dining ressies and fpp. But she was the one on the phone for BBB and our discount on the day they were released.
She was also the one who took care of arranging an electric cart when I tore my knee up at 7 pm the night before our trip. She had it reserved and delivered to our hotel by the time we got there at 2 pm the next day. There’s no way I could have done that. She also called to make sure all of my dining showed need for handicap accessibility. Of course this is a totally freak happening, but you never know what may come up and they are certainly a help!
I wouldn’t go without one.
I don’t think I could use one… As liners we know and have access to tons of info and i just don’t think I could trust someone else to plan for me. I have changed reservations by calling disney tons of times myself with no problem! No offense to liner TAs out there Plus… Planning is half the fun!!!
I figure going with a TA is free – so basically I use a TA to book the room for me and keep an eye open if the price goes down and to make sure I get whatever special offers are available. Aside from that, I book everything else for myself, but I have the free option in place that if for some reason, I can’t get something done, I pass it to my TA to take care of it.
It’s like going to a restaurant where they bring out a free bread basket and saying “No thanks, even though it’s free, I don’t want it on the table.” Even if it is put there for free, I have the choice whether or not to eat it – but if I don’t have it put on the table, my choice is taken away and I don’t gain anything by restricting my choices.
For bigger trips we use a TA, for weekend type trips we do all the bookings ourselves. When we are out of country it is piece of mind knowing we have someone that has our back just in case something goes wrong. They may have a contact that is not available to us.
For a “straight” WDW and back trip I am more comfortable doing it myself; I have SO much WDW knowledge, I would be worried that the TA might be missing something (if the TA was a Liner, it might be a different story). If I was doing a cruise/WDW combo I would be more likely to use a TA as it has a lot more moving parts.
I have had very bad luck with TAs. I mean no offense to great TAs on Lines, but…
For my upcoming trip, I had originally booked a 7-night DCL cruise for my 40th birthday, during the week between Christmas and NYE, which is super expensive, but I had booked it more than a year out. Or at least, I thought I had. I went to make final payment on it and discovered that the TA had never transmitted my deposit. The cruise fare had gone up substantially and the TA wanted ME to pay the difference to “rebook,” and of course the room that I wanted was gone.
Scrapped the idea of the cruise because fares had gone up on every line, decided to go to WDW for the week of my son’s 5th bday. As the 180 day for ADR booking approached, WDW had still not released 2015 rates, and I could not book myself online (rates didn’t come out until after my 180 day). I called WDW’s phone number at least 3 times, and was told by CMs, variously, that I could not book for 2015 (which was not true), that if I booked my reservation would be automatically canceled when 2015 rates came out (not true), and that my ADRs would disappear when my ressie was automatically canceled (also not true). I got bad info from Disney, for sure.
So, I used a TA. There have been a LOT of miscommunication problems. Initially she booked us with a dining plan, after I specifically said I was not interested in one. Then she had booked in my son as a girl, which is minor, but seriously. Then just lack of communication - no info about my ADR booking date, no heads-up on my Fastpass booking date, no info about online checkin or Magic Bands. Takes days to respond to calls or emails.
The real problems came when the 2015 discounts came out. First she booked us for S/P/D, despite me specifically saying that I did not want the dining plan. Then she booked RO for the first night of our stay (which is outside the discount dates, and fine), but left the tickets attached to days 2-5 of our trip, and cheerily told us that we wouldn’t be able to get into the parks on our first day because the tickets couldn’t be activated that day. I have since learned that this is probably not true, that you can pick up and activate tickets a few days before your package even starts. I have also learned that I didn’t need to book a package, could have booked only 2 room-only reservations, and just bought tickets that aren’t tied to a particular date range. In trying to “strip” the tickets off days 2-5 and put them onto day 1, something seems to have gone awry. I was able to book Fastpasses, but Disney’s system doesn’t show me having tickets at all. When I called in just prior to my FP date, Disney said they showed no tickets and no receipt of my payment in full for those tickets, and suggested that the TA had robbed me.
I spent basically all day at work on Tuesday calling and emailing the TA, the TA’s manager, and Disney, and concerned that I’d been robbed of $1,100. And I’m still not confident that I won’t arrive at WDW in January and be without tickets. I have Fastpasses, so I must have tickets, right? Not sure. She’s still telling me that she “has another client on the same dining plan as you,” and I am not on the dining plan, so she’s not attentive to details.
I would NEVER work with a TA again. Sorry. I have never experienced a helpful TA who made things work smoothly for me, only people who have caused me endless frustration and extra work. In addition to this whole mess with the current trip, I’ve had problems in the past, the key one being lack of responsiveness. Keep in mind that most TAs do this part-time, and only seem to check voicemail and email after normal business hours, if then, and can take a long time to respond.
I don’t even think of myself as “super Type A OCD,” but I just cannot deal with the problems of having my reservation in someone else’s hands. FWIW, I added a quick 3-night DCL cruise onto the end of my WDW trip, booked that myself, booked my own transportation to the cruise port, will be booking a rental car at the end of the cruise for a day of sightseeing, and have had zero problems coordinating that.
In the past, the only reason I have used TAs has been for benefits like onboard credits or Costco cash cards. This time, I wanted the “concierge”-type experience with someone who would take care of me, because WDW seems to have so many more deadlines and issues to keep track of, but I did not get that and would not go the TA route again.
Oy…what a mess. Have you contacted the parent company of the TA that you’re using and filed a complaint with the BBB?