Hi. I’m Maureen. And I am a control freak. (There. It’s out there. You all know my dirty, little secret.)
I have planned vacations to Walt Disney World since the early ’80s. Oh, who am I kidding? I orchestrated trips earlier than that, dragging my family around from ride to ride because my parents knew I had studied and honed my skills since first visiting the park the year it opened.
My grandparents took my sister and I, just months after the grand opening. And they stood there, befuddled with how to use the ticket books. We were wasting valuable ride time and I vowed, there and then, to learn the ropes as quickly as possible, in order to maximize our visits.
And so, my family and friends have relied on me to create their own magical vacations with my tried and true techniques. Which keep changing. Because Walt Disney World keeps changing. Keeping all of us control freaks on our toes.
And then, about 11 years ago, we decided to take an impromptu trip to my favorite place in the world. There was very little time to plan. And I knew I needed help. A website I loved, Intercot.com, recommended Magical Journeys. I was skeptical that they could do anything more than I could do for myself, but I tried them anyway because I was swamped with details, had an infant and a toddler (my sons are 10 months apart) and I was sleep deprived.
Debbie, swooped in, and made my life a living dream. (I was even able to catch up on my sleep before the trip!) She made all the reservations. She gave us tips for traveling with babies (which I had never done before.) She answered all my questions so timely through email I could have sworn we were texting. Best of all, Debbie did all this for free!
…on top of making our reservations, spending time with me answering questions and giving me advice (did I mention, for free?)…
She saved us a TON of money.
Over the years she has saved us thousands (and I do not lie!) of dollars.
An Authorized Disney Vacation Planner (that’s Disney-speak for Disney travel agent), like Debbie, makes the very same reservation that you can by calling Disney or going to their website. So if you’re a price checker, like me, you’ll get the same quote that you found online. But, and this is a very big “BUT,” your Disney Vacation Planner is in touch with Disney every day. They get the inside skinny on deals minute-by-minute and when they do, they apply them to your reservation.
If you were to have made the reservation yourself, I can guarantee, Disney is NOT going to call you and say, “Hey! A new deal has popped up that will save you money.” But your Authorized Disney Vacation Planner will. If you want the same deals without a Disney Vacation Planner on your side, you’d have to check online each day and every day, until you left for your vacation. Most people plan their vacations 180+ days out. That’s a lot of time spent online, checking prices, that could be better spent packing, counting down, or in my case, catching up on sleep.
That said, not every Authorized Disney Vacation Planner is the same. Without going into too much detail, I will say, I’ve strayed once before and never again.
How To Find A Good Authorized Disney Vacation Planner
- Your agent must be an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner. It will say so on their website. They will have completed Disney’s online course, College of Disney Knowledge. Only then, will they be able to call themselves “authorized” to plan Disney vacations.
- Make sure that they are a service dedicated ONLY to Disney travel. AAA or Joe’s Travel World will not have the same level of expertise or day-to-day contact with Disney. They are stretched too thin planning other around-the-world vacations to be able to keep up with the information that changes at Disney daily.
- An Authorized Disney Vacation Planner deals directly with Disney and only with Disney. Your payment will be accepted by Disney, not your travel agent. Your credit card payment will be processed by Disney or your check should be made out to Disney. Not the travel company. If the Vacation Planner wants you to pay them directly, run! This is not a reputable Disney travel planning agency.
If you want to save money (a lot of money) and you can stand giving up a little control when it comes to planning your vacation, I strongly urge you to contact a reputable Authorized Disney Vacation Planner. They are knowledgeable. They are free. And they love Disney.
It’s a win-win-win!
(I am not an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner. I am not a travel agent. This post was crafted just friend-to-friend, giving you my best advice for planning your Disney vacation. No one paid me to sing their praises. I’m sharing the love all on my own because that’s just the kind of gal I am. That said….You don’t have to use my Authorized Disney Vacation Planner but if you do, you won’t be sorry…click here for a vacation quote. Debbie is fantastic!)