(Article last updated: July 28, 2014)
Although general travel agents aren’t needed as much anymore, destination-specific agents are still invaluable since they provide such detailed guidance on a specific place.
Unless people are willing to spend a lot of time reading and researching (like on this site!), I usually recommend they use a Disney World-focused agent (also called “Authorized Disney Vacation Planner”).
However, there are pros and cons to using a travel agent. Here’s my list to help you evaluate if using a travel agent is right for you.
This seems obvious, right? But when it comes to Disney World (the place that requires more research than any other destination), it can be a huge time and stress savings to rely on an expert to help advise you on your trip plans.
Free to you
It doesn’t cost you any extra to book through an agent vs. booking straight through Disney. Disney pays commission to the agency that books you but at no cost to you.
Saves you money
Not only does it not cost you anything to use an agent, it can actually save you money because agents are aware of all new discount codes and will apply them to your reservation as they become available.
Dining, FastPass+ and other reservations booked for you
Many of the super hard-to-get dining reservations require being online or on the phone at the crack of dawn 180 days in advance of your trip. Disney travel agents will make these reservations for you, allowing you to relax and sleep in. They will also make all of your FastPass+ reservations for your trip and special bookings such as Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique as well.
Control freaks may not be comfortable relying on somebody else to book their trip. You really have to have a lot of trust that the agent will be diligent about making your dining reservations and staying on top of discounts.
Changes must go through the agent
If you want to make changes to your reservation that was booked through an agent, you have to go through the agent to make those changes. You won’t be able to call Disney to make modifications.
Options are restricted
Disney agents use Disney’s systems to book your travel. That eliminates some options that might make more sense for your family – things like renting DVC points.
A word of caution
If you spend an hour reading this site, you’ll know more about Disney World than a general travel agent. Many people use AAA to book their travel because of some extra perks offered to members, but you need to know what you’re talking about to do that. You’re basically just booking through them for the discounts, not for their knowledge.
If you decide to go with an agent, the one I trust the most is named Cheryl Koren. You can fill out the quote form in the right sidebar of the site or on the Get a Quote page and it’ll go right to her.