Travel agents advantage/disadvantage for DCL?

The travel agent we used for our RCCL cruise is someone we know from our church, and they have a travel agency business. BUT, years ago I had a conversation with her about Disney stuff. She used to do Disney, but dropped it because she said more and more Disney seemed to be wanting to cut the TAs out, and it wasn’t worth the time for what little commission they paid.

Fast forward now to today. Does this advice seem to be true and apply to DCL trips? Is there any advantage to booking a DCL cruise, either for the guest OR for the TA? Or should one just book direct from Disney these days?

I’ll just say if you are booking on opening day (which for the general public is tomorrow for their summer 2025 cruises), if you’re not using a TA be prepared to wait. For a while. Reports are that those able to get through today on Silver booking day were facing waits of up to 6 hours.

What I know happens with my TA is the agency she works for groups agents into teams and they will all get on the line at opening and remain in communication with each other so if one of them gets through and others in the team are still waiting when they are through with their clients, they will get quotes/place holds/book for clients of other team members who have not yet gotten through.

I use my TA first off because I like supporting a small business, and if it’s a cruise leaving from Port Canaveral, I’m going to want to bundle it with a pre-stay and transportation to and from the port and she makes it super easy. (She also would never discuss anything like the compensation she gets from the cruiseline or how they operate. That’s like discussing salaary IMHO.)


This exactly! We were just adding a pre-cruise stay at the airport Hyatt to our December cruise. It turned out that our daughters (who will both be over 18 and have their own cabin on the cruise) can’t book a hotel room because neither will be 21. (sidenote: What is with the American obsession with turning 21?) Our TA was able to move our booking around (switching who was booked in each cabin) and get it sorted for us. It does mean we’ll have some complications with keys but nothing that should cause us any real problems. And I didn’t have to spend any time on the phone or computer getting it done!

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My TA gives me OBC with DCL (not Royal) and has been invaluable in helping me reprice/rebook for savings. I honestly think his tagline should be: “I stay on the phone, so you don’t have to!” It’s worth it for me for that alone.

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Thanks for your input, folks. We did get OBC when our existing TA booked our RCCL Cruise. But she doesn’t do Disney any longer.

I have a contact for another TA now, so I will follow up with her and see how it goes. We are just in the preliminary stages of investigations.

Absolutely my favourite thing about using a TA. Ours charges a $25 fee now with bookings but the amount of time she spends on the phone getting everything sorted exactly the way we want it is worth way more than that $25!!

The advantage of using a TA is always going to be the personalized attention and access to information that you don’t get by booking direct.

For every vacation you book direct with Disney products you are paying for the service of a TA that you aren’t getting. That’s why when you use a TA you don’t pay more. Disney is paying the TA, and when you book direct Disney keeps that money. And you don’t get tips on choosing a stateroom, information about how to do your online check-in, suggestions on which excursions/shows/extras to participate in (and which to skip!), nor do you get reminders about important milestones and deadlines.

And as others have said, when it’s time to book – or contact DCL for any reason – your TA, and not you waits on the phone to handle that while you go about life blissfully unaware of how long that can take.

Disney is happy to book the trip directly. And they’ll see you on board.

But when you book with a TA you get 1:1 attention and service from the time you start dreaming until you return home after the trip is over.

You can’t put a price on that.


Lots of TAs are moving in this direction because the many hours of work that is put into researching, building, booking, and advising about your trip is not compensated until after you have traveled. Sadly, there are plenty of people out there who put TAs through the paces, and then don’t book. The TA has now worked for free.

I’m not there yet, but I understand why some of my colleagues do it. And I’ve considered it. I’m just more at a place where I can politely decline to handle a trip I am not getting a good feeling about. Or a guest who has reached out 3-4 times and has not yet completed a trip. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

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Very well put! Thanks for that thoughtful response.

One thing I don’t want is to solicit the help of a TA where it isn’t worth their time. I know their time is valuable!

You’re welcome!

If you’re doing it just to get details with no I told booking that’s evil.

If you genuinely intend to travel and plans change that’s different.

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I do always use a TA for booking Disney cruises. She gets paid, and i get onboard credit. She also knows the details of how Disney applies various rules, so has given me good guidance that way. However, I don’t need many tips or much guidance otherwise, and I like planning things myself. I also have seldom, if ever, made many changes, and I don’t think my TA has spent much time on the phone with Disney on my behalf.

Maybe I don’t have the best travel agent, TBH, because each time I question whether it’s worth it to me. I feel like I have to spend a fair amount of time on the phone with the TA (and inevitable phone tag that sometimes takes a couple of days), whereas if I booked directly online I would be in an out in a flash. But I will keep working with her because now she has all my past trip and family info, and I like her otherwise.

I do just want to caution folks against this as a general expectation. If your TA is part of a large agency, it’s quite possible this will be offered (think: DisUnlimited, The Magic For Less Travel). But smaller operations, or agents working in a consultant role under a host agency (like me!) cannot offer this because it would fully negate the commission provided by Disney.

It’s a great perk. But I just want to make sure folks reading understand that not all agencies can offer it.


And some offer it for some lines and not others. My TA didn’t for Royal but did for DCL because his commissions are higher with DCL. So it’s highly variable.

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My main reason for working with a TA is the time spent on the phone with Disney. I used to book for myself online. In 2022, I had to cancel my Alaskan cruise one week before departure because I had COVID. I spent 6 hours on the phone with DCL. I read an entire book while on hold. I do think that was the low point in DCL customer service but it pushed me over the edge. I’m not sure if you can book online now with a placeholder, but it used to be that you had to call to make that reservation which took forever. Time is money.

I appreciate that my TA keeps me on track with payments and booking windows. Your TA has to do any reservation changes and payments. I like to do everything else myself.

AFAIK it’s still the call in to convert it.

I wish they’d go back to having a couple of people on board to handle onboard booking for those who know what they want - they could leave it (and make it clear) that if you want the future certificate you can and should do that on the app as you currently do. Both Royal and Celebrity have future cruise desks and they were always busy whenever I walked by on my last 2 cruises.

I know what I want to book for summer 2025 (not super unique itineraries that are likely to skyrocket) and am waiting until my best friend’s wedding cruise on the Wish in November to book it. I’m hoping against hope they bring back a future cruise desk before then - otherwise I’m going to let my TA know what I want to book so as soon as she gets the notice of the future cruise certificate she can call to convert it.

(My pet peeve is their calling it a “placeholder”. To me, that implies that a room is held for you. And that is not the case. If the cruise you want is sold out before you convert it, you’re SOL. It doesn’t hold a room for you. Call it what it is - a future cruise certificate.)

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