Basically, there are two ways to book your Disney vacation - directly with Disney or through a travel agent. When I use the term "Disney vacation" I'm referring to a Disney package which includes accommodations at a Disney resort, park tickets and possibly a dining plan. There are obviously other ways to vacation at Disney. You can rent a home or stay at a hotel outside of Disney. For purposes of this post, I'm only focusing on packages.
Booking with Disney
You can most definitely simply call (phone numbers are on their website) and speak with a cast member who will assist in any way possible but personally I have found Disney's website to be most helpful in making decisions. You can check the cost and availability right there yourself, running as many different scenarios as you'd like. I do suggest checking under the "Explore Our Special Offers" link to see current promotions.
Then why use a travel agent?
If you haven't researched the life out of a Disney vacation, a travel agent can be extremely helpful in guiding you through the process, which includes advance dining and Magical Express reservations, and FastPass+ selections. A travel agent can even handle all of those for you. The biggest benefit to using a travel agent is that he/she is aware of Disney's special offers so if you've already booked your vacation and a promotion is released after the fact, your travel agent can rebook your vacation. Keep in mind that Disney doesn't automatically update existing reservations when promotions are released.
I've booked directly with Disney and I've also used a travel agent. Why would I use a travel agent when I know so much about Disney? Well, this one had their own agency exclusive offer which resulted in significant savings versus booking directly with Disney. My agent also handled the Magical Express reservations for me. I took care of dining and FastPasses because, you know, Type A. If you're looking for a Disney travel agent, I would recommend Magical Vacations Travel. They were pleasant to work with and extremely helpful when I added that day on to the beginning of our vacation last year.
A few suggestions on picking a Disney travel agent:
- If you come across a Disney travel agent who wants to charge you a fee (say $200), I'd keep looking. These agents are paid a commission from Disney and the majority of them do not charge you, the client, a fee.
- If you aren't well-versed in Disney-speak, I would use an agent who has vacationed at Disney. Most will have a little bio or openly advertise their personal Disney experience. There are some Disney travel agents out there who have never been to Disney which to me is a little like reading the manual but never actually using the equipment.
You can check Disney's website or follow Disney Parks Blog (they have social media accounts.)
Disney has a history of releasing similar offers during certain time periods. For example, free dining during the fall. If you google "Disney historical discounts" several links will pop up of sites that track historical discounts. You may find this useful in planning future vacations as it will give you an idea of what discounts have been offered and when.
I hope you've found this helpful!