Book Direct or Use a Travel Agent: Which is Better for Your Disney Vacation?

DIY or Travel Agent to book your Disney vacation

Should You Book Direct or Use a Travel Agent when Booking Your Disney Vacation?

In a world where travel booking technology is moving ahead at breakneck speed, it’s getting easier and easier to do your own travel research and book your own trips online.

There really isn’t much that you can’t find out on your own from some website or travel forum. So why would you ever want or need to use a travel agent?

Familiarity with a Destination Can Give You the Confidence to Book Direct

If you have some familiarity with your travel destination (Disney or otherwise) then by all means you’ll probably feel pretty confident booking your own travel.

The challenge comes when you simply don’t have the time or inclination to do it. Or more importantly, you don’t have a very deep knowledge about the destination you’re considering. This is usually where the decision comes into play about whether to go it alone or seek out some expert advice and assistance.

Beast Statue at Be Our Guest Restaurant.

Beast Statue at Be Our Guest Restaurant.

Disney Vacations are a Unique Beast

Disney vacations, in particular, are a unique beast because there are so many moving parts that you could really use the expert input — especially if you have never been there before. This is doubled down if you’re talking about a Walt Disney World vacation or a Disney Cruise, since both of these have a huge myriad of decisions to be made and a significant number of complex choices confronting you. Online research is great, but it can easily confuse the issue even further as you get mired in “advice” and conflicting opinions from Disney travelers eager to share their experiences.

So the question becomes: who can you trust?

With no baseline of knowledge, it’s pretty hard to know which advice is good advice and which advice should be avoided.

The Help of a Knowledgable Disney Travel Expert Can be Beneficial

This is when the assistance of a good Disney travel specialist can be beneficial. The key word here is “good.”

There are a lot of Travel Agents who fancy themselves Disney travel experts, but who really don’t know all that much more than you do from your research. So the important point to keep in mind — as in any other search for a great Advisor, like a financial planner or a lawyer — is to do your homework and get some referrals to someone who not only knows their stuff, but who will provide the level of service that you expect to receive, whatever that is. Here are some things to consider when looking for an experienced Disney travel agent.

Fantasyland Bridge in Disney's Magic Kingdom Park.

Fantasyland Bridge in Disney’s Magic Kingdom Park.

Another very important variable has to do with what happens after you make the initial reservations. Unlike most other travel, this is when most of the work is required for a Walt Disney World vacation in particular.

The post-booking period requires that savvy travelers make a myriad of reservations as early as possible in order to get to do the things that they actually want to do. For example, dining reservations, special event or tours, and Disney FastPass+ reservations can all sell out much more quickly than you think (the most popular of each, for sure). So if you don’t act fast and have a plan for your week, you may be out of luck on something that you really wanted to do.

If you’re unfamiliar with all of the options and how to craft a well conceived Walt Disney World vacation itinerary, you can quickly feel overwhelmed. So having access to Disney itinerary planning services from an experienced Travel Advisor can make a big difference to your vacation.

I created a step-by-step guide to help you plan your Walt Disney World vacation, for those who want to do it themselves.

Sometimes Things Can Go Wrong, Even on a Disney Vacation

We don’t like to think about it, but things can (and do) go wrong on any vacation for any number of reasons. Should something unfortunate happen to you — and if you booked through a Travel Advisor — you’ll have someone to contact when things don’t go as planned. That’s a big plus for many people. Peace of mind is worth something when you’re on vacation.

There are a few potential downfalls to booking through a Travel Advisor. For example, when you book a Disney vacation through a Travel Advisor your vacation file is locked down under their name. So if you wanted to change your room type when you were checking in, you likely wouldn’t be able to do it — not without getting your Travel Agent on the line asap. So if the loss of some control over your reservation is a big issue for you, then it’s something to consider when considering whether to go DIY for your Disney vacation, or use the services of Disney travel professional.

Are You Planning a Disney Vacation?

As a Luxury Travel Blogger and author of The Very Best of Walt Disney World Resort, I blog regularly about Disney vacations of all shapes and sizes.

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Mike Belobradic: The Finer Side of Disney Travel
Luxury Travel Blogger – Deluxe Disney Travel Specialist