By Jen Grandmaison
Should I work with an agent to plan my Walt Disney World Vacation?
DID YOU KNOW a $200 deposit is all that is required to secure your reservation at one of Walt Disney World's on-site hotels, payment plans are available and using an agent doesn't cost you a penny more? In fact, you are already paying for our services as the cost of an agent is included in all package pricing and most ticket only purchases. The guest then has someone to work with them on their behalf who has personal experience with extensive knowledge about the planning process including but not limited to the parks, resorts and transportation...all while you are also supporting a small business. It's a WIN - WIN for agent and guest, at no additional cost to you! Some folks don't feel the need to use an agent and prefer to handle all of the planning themselves. For those of you who want to work with someone who knows Disney inside and out, having an agent who you trust and has knowledge to enhance your experience is invaluable. There are a lot of wonderful, knowledgeable agents out there. Do your homework and don't be afraid to ask for references in finding the agent who has not only the expertise, but seems like a good fit for you. I work very closely with my clients over the course of the planning process. Getting to know their family dynamic and what interests those that are traveling have, help me in making recommendations that can make your trip that much more memorable. Thinking about booking a Walt Disney World Resort reservation? If so, let's talk more - not only about what services I provide but also so you can familiarize yourself with the process and decide if working with an agent will be helpful for you.
What's the catch? Are there any hidden fees? How can working with a travel planner be free?
In today's world we find it's more of a Land of the Fee, not Land of the Free type of scenario. There is a cost associated with just about everything. Well, that may be true for most situations but not in terms of using my services for your stay at a Walt Disney World Resort on-site or partner hotel, as long as that reservation has been booked with me. Disney holds a portion of every reservation for an agent commission - just about all travel vendors do this actually so all vacations that I book are handled the same. If you book with Disney direct, Disney keeps 100% of those funds that you paid for your vacation package. When you book with an agent, those funds that were set aside are paid instead to the agency in exchange for assisting the guest. No additional cost is passed on to you and now there is someone to assist with aspects of your planning all for the same price you have already committed to paying for your vacation. In other words, if you book direct with Disney, you are essentially paying for a service that you aren't getting the opportunity to use.
How do I know this isn't a scam?
As a consumer, especially now in the day and age of the internet where there is an increase of online communication and purchases vs traditional in-person business like we had in the past, we all need to be conscious of protecting ourselves from scams, especially when dealing with a vendor or service facilitated online. I never take it personally when someone questions the legitimacy of my business because, after all, I would want to make sure I am working with a person who is indeed who they say they are and are providing the service that they claim they provide. In addition to our company's website where you can see my agent profile, I also have social media platforms that solidify my presence in the industry for the last several years with contributions and testimonials from various clients that I have worked with and certifications from Disney and other vendors that show that I am up to date on my training. I have worked with nearly a thousand families from not only the United States but places like South Africa, Taiwan, Canada and Australia over the last six years and many guests are either referrals from past or current clients or have followed my Disney World planning page on Facebook. Finally, after communicating with prospective clients and presenting them with some options for their Walt Disney World vacation package, I go one step further once they are ready to book. In most cases as time allows, I will make the reservation on the client's behalf and place it on hold. I will forward the held reservation showing all details, complete with confirmation number and terms and conditions to the guest so they can see the live reservation before they provide me with any payment information, which is ultimately done via a secure online form. We can even link that confirmation to your My Disney Experience account so you can see that Disney does indeed recognize that as a legitimate reservation. I want to ensure that my guests are completely comfortable every step of the way and always provide transparency as we move through the planning process.
What are the differences in payment terms, booking and cancellation policies if I book with you?
All policies and terms and conditions are identical to that of the Walt Disney World Travel Company since I book your reservation directly with Disney. Those terms and conditions will all be listed within the reservation that I send for your review prior to the deposit being placed. $200 secures your reservation - due within 3 days of booking in most cases - and payment is due in full 30 days prior to your check-in date. Disney requires no set payment due dates or amounts therefore making a flexible payment plan for the guest. You only must satisfy the deposit and the paid in full date - otherwise, you can make payments at any time. Payments are done with the agent so I will process them on your behalf within Disney's payment system. The Walt Disney Travel Co. will be the one that actually charges you. No funds towards your actual vacation package are paid directly to myself or the agency. The agency does however have a small cancellation fee, which is disclosed in the deposit authorization form, that is charged at the agent's discretion for cancellation of an existing reservation. This is done mainly to compensate me for my time in the event the reservation needs to be cancelled since commission is paid only after the guest travels. I put a lot of thought and time in planning for my guests so this fee helps to absorb the work that I have done up until cancellation. That fee if necessary, would be charged by the agency.
What services do you provide?
Many first time guests, and even repeat guests can be overwhelmed at the amount of information they come across when they start planning. When you work with an agent, we take the guesswork out to help you be more prepared so your trip can be as stress free as possible. In terms of planning, I will assist the client as much as they'd like in regards to the actual Disney portion. I have many clients that have been to Disney several times and can certainly plan for themselves but like having someone handle all of the necessities for them and have a resource in their back pocket for additional information or questions that they may have. They also like knowing that I keep up with all of the changes and watch for discounts that may be released which if applicable and available, I will automatically apply for my clients. For others it is their first visit or they may have been there many years ago so they aren't familiar with Disney in general or the rules and regulations, special events and experiences, transportation, etc...My job is to help you make the most out of your time and money and use my expertise to provide you with information so that you can realistically see and do as much as your time and needs allow. Each client is different so all of my plans are customized. I strive to provide the guest with the information so that ultimately they can make an informed decision as to what will be best for them. I will offer details to help the guest decide on what resort and package fits their needs and budget. I will give recommendations for things to see and do based on what I know about your travel party to help enhance the quality of your vacation. I book all of your dining reservations and previously also handled fast passes (currently, the fast pass system has been temporarily paused until further notice) the day that the booking windows open so that the guest has the best chance at getting all of their desired reservations and fast pass selections. I create a baseline itinerary to help you tour smoothly and logistically around the park so you aren't wasting time unnecessarily. I also provide information in regards to touring and travel including specifics as to when and where you need to be in order to accomplish what you are planning. I want my guests to be able to enjoy themselves and not spend excess amounts of time trying to figure things out once they arrive. My services do vary based on package and ticket only pricing. Guests booking a full package with me at an on-site resort or partner hotel receive my full level of complimentary concierge services listed above while ticket only guests are offered a more limited level of services. As always, there is no additional cost to the guest over and above what Disney is charging. All agents offer different levels of services so be sure to know what is included when booking with your preferred agent. My services are fairly comprehensive with a full package. Customized touring assistance is also available for a fee for guests who have not booked their reservation with me or may be staying elsewhere but would like assistance in coordinating and planning for their visit to WDW. I do offer a discount on my paid planning fee option for those guests if they book a qualifying ticket purchase with me.
So, if you are planning a Walt Disney World vacation, consider planning with an agent if you feel like it could benefit you. If you have any questions about potentially using my services, feel free to reach out to me and I'd be happy to discuss your options and answer your questions. Check out my planning page on Facebook: We're Going to Disney World - Travel Tip and Planning and join us for discussion on our favorite vacation destination, WDW! https://www.facebook.com/groups/568335886610324
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