Big Box Stores vs Travel Planners Who Specialize in Disney
You are planning a trip for your family to Walt Disney World and are looking for a great deal, but where do you start?
You can do the research yourself and book directly with Disney, book with a Big Box Store like Costco, visit your local AAA office, or book with a travel planner who specializes in Disney destinations.
- If you enjoy planning and know exactly what you want, booking directly with Disney is an easy decision.
- If you have a Costco membership and want to see what they can do for you, Costco Travel can book your vacation for you.
- AAA agents can also help book your family vacation if you are a AAA member.
What next, though?
- Well, if you book with Disney, you will handle all details – researching resorts, getting pricing, watching for promotions, calling when you want to make a modification, payments, keeping tracking of planning dates, booking advanced dining reservations, and planning out your days with your family.
- If you book through Costco, you’re still pretty much on your own when it comes to all the specifics of your visit. Costco agents will be able to answer some of your questions and will direct you back to the Disney website for further information. They will not assist you with booking anything beyond the actual reservation. You will rarely get the same agent twice. They will not be proactive in applying for any newly released promotions.
- AAA agents may suggest you set up an appointment during regular business hours so they can help you sort out how to book certain things, but they will not book it for you. They will not be proactive in applying for any newly released promotions.
“What if I book with a travel planner who specializes in Disney destinations?”
A travel agent who specializes in Disney destinations knows all the ins and outs of your destination. Not only will they be able to recommend a property that fits your family’s requirements, but you have a dedicated planner through the entire planning process all the way until you are enjoying your magical vacation!
From where to eat, what not to miss, quiet spots for little ones to wind down, and even which bathrooms are the best in the theme parks, they can help with every aspect of your Disney vacation.
You can take full control of your details and reservations, or you can tell them what you want and have the specialist handle all the early morning reservations and long phone lines. They will also know when a promotion is released and will try to apply it to your existing reservation without you needing to do a thing!
Think of a travel specialist as your own personal Concierge. This is a person dedicated to answering all your questions and assisting you in planning the perfect vacation for your family.
“Dining reservations open at 6am Eastern and I’d rather sleep in.”
No problem! They can book your dining reservations for you!
What about special requests?
They can help there, too!
In fact, allowing a travel planner to make all your reservations helps ensure your schedule coordinates well with other activities or entertainment schedules.
They can also help arrange other things for you – stroller and scooter rentals, in-room celebrations, party tickets, and so much more!
“What if I book with a travel planner and then a promotion is released?“
You don’t need to worry about watching for promotions as your planner is constantly monitoring prices and any specials that are released. They spend hours on the phone with Disney when a new promotion is released.
“How much do travel planners charge for these amazing services?“
Nothing! All travel planners have access to all of Disney’s packages and promotions and book directly in the Disney system, so pricing is identical whether you book with Disney or with a travel specialist.
“So how do I find a travel planner who specializes in Disney destinations?”
You can find them online by searching, but a friend’s referral is best. Not all travel planners are created equal. It’s important that you lay out your expectations at the start so you are both on the same page.
A travel planner does so much more behind the scenes than simply making payments and booking dining reservations.
For those who LOVE planning and enjoy the whole process,
a travel planner can still be a huge benefit to you – you can be as involved in the planning process as you like, but you can opt to have someone else up before the sun rises to make special reservations for you.
You benefit from a second set of eyes reviewing the details, and you’ll be able to use their expertise to plan the perfect vacation. Your package will be all put together, often with special surprises.
Most travel specialists work only on commission, so they are completely invested in their clients and want to ensure everyone makes amazing new memories.
When you compare the different approaches to planning your family’s Disney vacation, working with a travel specialist who knows every aspect of the destination, and assisting with planning all the details for free, the choice is easy!
Nancy Wideman is a travel specialist for Me and The Mouse Travel. She travels often to Walt Disney World, Disneyland (pre-Covid), Disney cruises (pre-Covid), Universal Studios, and more family destinations to always have the latest information on experiences to best assist all her client families.
Being able to build a personal relationship with the families she works with helps to best make suggestions based on the family’s personalities and requests while building up the excitement together as each piece of the plan falls into place.
This is not an experience you can get with any Big Box store or a generic travel agency. Contact her now for your family’s vacation planning! Nancy@MeAndTheMouse.com