Using Destinations in Florida Travel for Walt Disney World



By Dave Shute

USING A TRAVEL AGENT FOR YOUR WALT DISNEY WORLD VACATION

Building on my recent material on using travel agents for your Walt Disney World trip, I asked Allison at Destinations in Florida Travel to help further explain what travel agents can do for visitors to Walt Disney World.

In response, she sent a testimonial one of her customers had drafted.  I provide it (lightly edited) below.

THE TRAVEL AGENT DIFFERENCE: A FREE PERSONAL DISNEY WORLD ASSISTANT

Just this weekend, I purchased for $15 an organizer called Mickey’s Personal Disney Assistant.  As I was looking over this item, I realized that is exactly what the agents do at Destinations in Florida Travel. They are personal Disney World Assistants.  Instead of $15, they are FREE!

They help you book your trip and then that is where their services really tart. They watch for future discounts, help with restaurant suggestions, book dining reservations, schedule spa treatments, make fun suggestions for your days at the Parks, and so much more. 

Just recently, one my friends visited Disney World.  It was a last minute trip for her family and they really wanted a dinner at Chef Mickey’s.  Unfortunately, at the time of booking her package, this restaurant was booked up. 

Her agent (from Destinations in Florida Travel) told her that she would watch for any cancellations while they were at Disney World.  The 2nd night of her vacation a cancellation came available for Chef Mickeys.  My friend received a text message with the confirmation details.  Her family was thrilled that they got to eat at this special restaurant with Mickey Mouse. 

For myself personally, I booked a package for September. My package was completely paid in full. My agent at Destinations in Florida Travel called me a few weeks ago to let me know that a new discount came available and I was going to save $580 on my package with this new discount.

A refund for the difference was on the way to my credit card account. I was shocked! They already sold me the package and I was paid in full. However, they still helped me save more money. I have never received service like this anywhere.

These are the little extra services that agents and more specifically agents at Destinations in Florida Travel can do for you.  It can be something as small as texting a dining reservation to a guest at Disney World to helping a guest coordinate the perfect location to propose.  These agents get excited to help with all of the extra details for a Disney World vacation. 

When you really think about all of the help you get to save you money and time on your trip to Disney, it is amazing that the services all of their agents provide are actually FREE.  Get your free personal Disney World Assistant TODAY!

Thanks Allison!

Have a positive or a negative experience with travel agents to share?? Use the comment form below!

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34 comments

1 Allison S { 01.26.12 at 10:07 am }

I have been to Disney at least once a year for the last 10 years, and just recently used a Disney Travel agency. I have been terribly disappointed!!
#1, they can’t get any better of a deal than you can get yourself online.
#2 you can’t modify/upgrade/change anything on your reservation without going back through your agent
#3 When discussing with our agent that I wanted res for the Pirates and Pals cruise, I was told it was a waste of money!!
#4 The cancellation fees are much higher with an agency vs disneyworld.com
#5 We leave in 3 days and I STILL don’t have our travel documents or Magical Express info.
So, needless to say, next time I will go back to planning on my own. After all, isn’t that one of the best parts of a Disney trip!!

2 Dave { 01.26.12 at 10:35 am }

Thanks Allison! Some of your specifics I can’t comment on, but in general the benefit of a travel agent is saving you time, and the cost is losing control. For first-time visitors I think they can help a lot…

3 Sheena { 01.31.12 at 12:29 pm }

Hi Dave,

Me again! Thank you for the time and wealth of information you put into this site. Quick question about travel agents and in particular, the people you like to work with. Most of the agents won’t help you unless you stay on Disney grounds. I’m not against that, but I’m trying to find the best deal for my pockets. Do they help you compare on site vs. off site? Thanks!

4 Dave { 01.31.12 at 12:39 pm }

Hey Sheena first see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/01/27/the-tightwads-guide-to-staying-off-site-at-walt-disney-world/

I don’t know as much about the business relationships of the agents with WDW as I probably should, but here’s what I think: if they can’t get a commission for a particular choice, they won’t go to far out of their way to help you with that choice. Some off-site options do pay them commissions for their time. I expect that Disney, in return for the training it provides, expects them to try to get guests on Disney property, but they will help you with other commissionable options if you convince them that you won’t…

5 Monica M. { 02.27.12 at 2:02 pm }

Hi Dave,
We have had a great experience with our agent from Destinations in FL. She has been so patient with all my questions as this is our first time. What would be the best way to thank her in terms of a gift??
~Monica M.

6 Dave { 02.27.12 at 3:11 pm }

Hi Monica! I don’t know, but I’ll probe around. Meanwhile, a letter or note to the boss would always be welcome by anyone…

7 Allison Jones { 02.27.12 at 4:51 pm }

Hi Monica,

Thank you for leaving such a wonderful comment! That is actually one of the best gifts you can give our agents and agency is a positive comment. That means so much to us!

Our job is helping you create those amazing memories for you and your family. You are sweet to offer a gift, but we do not accept gifts. Helping you is part of our job and we are happy to do it! I would love to hear more about the agent that helped you, so I can give her praise. You can email me at allison@destinationsinflorida.com.

Thank you!

Allison

8 Dave { 02.27.12 at 6:20 pm }

Thanks Allison! Monica, she’s “the boss…”

9 Monica M. { 03.01.12 at 8:20 am }

Thank you both for your responses. Allison, I will certainly email you. We leave for our first trip to WDW in less than 24 hours!!!

10 Dave { 03.01.12 at 8:25 am }

Have a great trip, Monica!

11 Lindsay { 06.21.12 at 1:56 pm }

I have used smallworldvacations.com, they were very helpful and watched all the new specials after we booked to make sure we got the best rate, so I didnt have too. getting ready to book again as soon as 2013 packages come out.

12 Dave { 06.22.12 at 2:36 pm }

Thanks Lindsay!

13 Jessica { 08.08.12 at 4:04 pm }

hello dave

I do not live in the US, and would like to know if we can use destination florida or if the service is only for US residents.

14 Dave { 08.08.12 at 8:51 pm }

Jessica, you can use them! They serve people around the world…

15 Amanda Starr { 08.13.12 at 3:49 am }

Allison S. I’m sorry that was you experience. I am Authorized Disney Vacation Planner with Blue Sky Journeys and certified travel agent and have never treated a client in that manner. Im sure Destinations in Florida hasnt either. There is a difference when booking with an agent that may not be with an Ear Marked agency. There are good ones of us out here. I love what I do and being able to help clients plan, save money, time and stress doing landing with them. All our services are free which is another value to the client. 2013 package rates are finally available. Just make sure you find an Authorized Disney VP if you want the best services for booking your next vacation!

live in the Seattle area and work with client nationwide. Currently, I also run a Friday piece on my blog called Frugal Fridays. Ways to go to Disney under $2,000. I’d love to help you or any of our reads plan a Disney trip or just share tips and savings tricks. 

16 Cynthia { 01.07.13 at 3:04 pm }

I used Destinations by Florida and was horribly disappointed. I switched to them hoping that they would be able to help with the following items:
*one day park tickets to Universal
*dining recommendations – couldn’t help
*planning our daily itinerary – recommended different parks than I had dining reservations
*room request – Disney stated they did not receive it.
*Magical Express – Disney stated they did not receie it.
*Universal one-day one-park tickets and shuttle – could only give me the two park ticket so the price was much higher – we did it on our own and saved $30 per person.
*Incentive to go with them – requested a gift card but received a cooler with a stuffed animal – what do two grown women need with a cooler – one more thing to put in the suitcase and will go to Goodwill.

Also, I expected some recommendations but I had to ask all of the questions. I even had to ask for the travel documents more than once. Will never use them again and I’m a big fan of travel agencies.

17 Allison Jones { 01.07.13 at 4:02 pm }

Hi Cynthia,

I am disappointed to hear about the service you received from our agent. We work hard to provide the same exceptional service to all of our guests. It sounds like you received less than exceptional service and I would like to hear more about your guest experience.

The incentive for transfers was a Mickey Treat Cooler or Mickey Mouse ears hats for the Transfer Week promotion for Your First Visit guests. Unfortunately, a gift card was never an option for this Transfer Week promotion. We only promoted the transfer incentive as a Mickey Treat Cooler or Mickey Mouse ears hat. Our guests got to choose one or the other.

Please email me at allison @ destinationsinflorida.com with more specific details in regards to your other concerns, along with the agent you worked with. I would like to follow up more with your guest experience. I look forward to hearing from you!

Allison

18 Dave { 01.07.13 at 6:11 pm }

Cynthia, I’m sorry to hear that, and hope you reach out to Allison (the boss who put in the comment above) and get some satisfaction…

19 Jessica { 02.07.13 at 7:24 am }

I know it’s a silly question but if I get the cooler is there a way to have two mickeys one for each kid so they don’t fight over it? That would help with my dissisions I wish I could do just the ears and the stuffed mouse that would be perfect! Lol

20 Dave { 02.07.13 at 7:49 am }

Hi Jessica, I doubt it!

21 Monica { 03.06.13 at 3:23 pm }

Wow. Wished I’d found this before booking our trip…but we are locked in to going to WDW 3/23-3/29 2013. Any suggestions for how to avoid the crowds. The girls are 9, 10 -me and my best friend,too. We all love the rollercoaster rides. These are the parks and dates (firm because we have dinner reservations) and can’t afford park hoppers. Sat 3/23-MK, 3/24 Sun Epcot, 3/25 hollywood studios, 3/27 animal kingdom and 3/28 MK. Please help me figure out how to deal with the crowds. I had to book this week as my friend is a teacher and the only dates she could go.

22 Dave { 03.07.13 at 8:12 am }

Hiya Monica! Question for you before I give you specific advice–are you staying at a WDW hotel, or off-site?

23 Melanie { 03.10.13 at 7:18 pm }

Do not use this company! Book the trip yourself and save yourself a lot of heartache. I thought it would be nice to use an agency to book a flight and Disney tickets for a weekend trip with my husband. The booking started off great, but the agent didn’t book my flight until 2 days after we talked so the price changed to $100 more on my chosen flight. She did not call me to ask if it was ok to book the more expensive flight. Then she promised that we had confirmed seats on both flights when we did not. Now we have to get seats at the gate. The final issue was that my husband’s name was spelled wrong on the reservation which caused a ton of trouble and I had to call the airline to fix EVERYTHING MYSELF. What is the point of hiring someone else to book your trip when you end up fixing all of their mistakes in the end? What a miserable experience. I am not the kind of person who leaves negative feedback about a company but this was terrible. Use someone else or do it yourself.

24 Dave { 03.11.13 at 7:22 am }

Thanks for the feedback, Melanie…I’m sorry it turned out that way…

25 Allison Jones { 03.11.13 at 5:05 pm }

Hi Melanie,

I am sorry to hear about your airfare experience. I would certainly like to hear more about your situation. We do email you a confirmation and documents. Did you receive confirmations showing his name was spelled incorrectly? Did you notify your agent that his name was spelled incorrectly on the confirmations?

Did you contact your agent when you had an issue checking into the airlines? Did you ask to speak to a supervisor at our agency when you had a pricing question or when you had an issue checking in to the airlines?

I would like to hear more details about your experience. Please email me at allison@destinationsinflorida.com with these answers and any additional information, so we can follow up with the agent, Disney and the airlines. I look forward to hearing from you.

Allison

26 Sharon { 04.06.13 at 10:57 pm }

Thanks for the great site! I’ve been poring over it in depth as I make my plans. I booked my reservation through Triple A at a WDW resort with a dining plan, etc. I want to call and get my restaurant reservations when 180 days comes around (very early for me!) in another day. But something occurred to me — will the Disney online reservation system “know” about my reservation at the resort? Will I have to call them on the phone instead? This didn’t occur to me as being a potential problem til just now. Do you have any advice or knowledge about this situation? Thank you so much for all the prompt replies — not sure how you keep up with it all!

27 Dave { 04.07.13 at 7:27 am }

Hi Sharon and thanks! I’m not sure how I keep up with it all either…. :)

There’s three ways to play this.

1. The most straightforward way is

To get your 12 digit (I think) reservation confirmation number. Triple A should have given this to you, but if not ask them.

Then asap–and before your 180 day rolls around–sign up for “My Disney Experience” and go through the processes it has for associating your hotel reservation with your account. This is kind of a PIA and a buggy and slow system, but you have to do it at some point anyway.

Then when 180 rolls around, log back in to My Disney Experience and do your your restaurant bookings from there.

2. Or, again with your 12 (or however many–the reservation I’m looking at has 12) digit confirmation number, you can just call 407-WDW-Dine and do all this over the phone.

3. Finally if for some reason you can’t get your number by 180, you can just start calling at 180 and book like a person without a resort reservation. You will then later have to associate all these bookings with your dining plan, which in the worst case your hotel concierge can help you with when you show up…

Follow yourfirstvisit.net on Facebook!

28 Sharon { 04.07.13 at 12:39 pm }

Just wanted to thank you again for answering my questions. Everything you said was 100% accurate, I got my AAA reservation linked up at the Disney web site and I’m all set to call in at (gulp) 3 a.m. (my time) tomorrow. :-) After going through all the information on this site, I’m confident we are going to have a fabulous time. It won’t be my husband and I’s first visit, but it will be for our kids, so I’m really looking forward to it. Many thanks!!

29 Dave { 04.07.13 at 1:28 pm }

Good luck tomorrow and I hope you can fall back asleep after!!

One more note–you might want to practice a bit today making reservations for a date that’s less than 180 days from today…you can then cancel them…but you’ll likely function better tomorrow at 3a if you practice a bit today!

30 Monica { 05.30.13 at 6:03 pm }

I was so disappointed to see that so many on here have had bad experiences with their travel agents. I am an authorized Disney Vacation Planner with http://www.buildabettermousetrip.com and we regularly have people come back to us when they decide to take another trip to DW. Most of our clients are from WOM or returning clients. We are very proud of this fact.

I always start out with the lowest quote possible for my clients. I know money is tight these days and I don’t want them wasting money if at all possible! If there are ways to save money,and I know about them, I will tell them! I will always help my clients make sure their vacation is within a budget they are comfortable with, even if it means I direct them to a hotel off site. I think this is why our clients return to us–they can tell that I care about them. We are solely Disney-focused so Disney is our specialty!

Our prices are exactly the same as Disney’s—we even use Disney’s booking site when we book our packages. Our cancellation fees are EXACTLY the same as if you went through Disney. We will never charge you an additional fee for ANY of our services. There is never any money going through Build a Better Mouse Trip–it goes directly through Disney.

It is my pleasure to help my clients have the most magical vacation ever. Yes, when you book your vacation through an agent you lose some control. However….would you rather spend 3 hours on the phone with Disney waiting for an answer to your question, or would you rather I spend 3 hours on the phone with Disney!??! It happens–a lot!! If my clients need to make a change on their reservation or need to book dining, I spend my time doing it, freeing you up to do something else.

As soon as I book my clients, I send them a listing of Best Park days so they can start choosing their dining. I will make recommendations for them if they ask. If I think something is a waste of money, I will give them the pros and cons and let them decide. What is a waste of money to me, may not be a waste to my clients.

If your Disney VP isn’t doing these things for you, you need to find someone else. This is what we are trained to do!

Dave, thank you for this awesome website! I point a lot of my clients here if they are wanting some additional light reading….lol.

Monica
Authorized Disney Vacation Planner
http://www.buildabettermousetrip.com

31 Toni { 08.09.13 at 12:11 am }

Monica and Dave-
I want to thank you for all the information you provided above. We have had the same travel agent for our last 3 WDW trips (we try to take a trip every other year). The first trip she was great and communicated well with us regarding what the best deals were and how much we could get for our money. The second and third trip now…not so much. My husband and I have been the ones looking for the deals and calling her to let her know what we would like done with the special offers that are being offered. Even after we told her where we wanted to stay and what reservation type we were looking for she didn’t contact us to tell us it was unavailable. I ended up contacting her in the evening because I hadn’t heard from her yet. By then it was too late and we are staying at a completely different resort that we hadn’t planned on staying at and to top it off it is costing us more money. I am very disappointed in the way we have been treated the last two times we have used her. I don’t really think my expectations are unrealistic. We went with a travel agent because we thought they were going to look out for the specials and let us know what the best options were for our money. Just a side note, we book our flights and make all our dining reservations on our own. So, I feel like we have made her job easy. But thank you again for confirming what I’ve been telling my husband…we will not be a returning customer of hers again!! Might I add as well, that you sound like you are exactly what I have been looking for in a travel agent :) Dave I just found this site and think it is wonderful and you provide a lot of great information…for those that are first timers and those that are veterans. Thank you to you as well :)

32 Dave { 08.09.13 at 11:47 am }

Thanks, Toni!

33 Marcie { 10.14.14 at 9:58 am }

Hi Dave,

Thank you for the great site!! I find it an amazing resource for planning our first trip to WDW. I was overwhelmed at the dates for calling and reserving our ADR’s and the first round of FP’s. Both dates just didn’t work very well with my schedule. I decided to contact Destinations in Florida based on your recommendation and I’m really glad I did! Michelle takes the time to go over everything with me, so I don’t feel a lack of control over our trip. She’s saving me a lot of time and helping me organize. Between her help and this site I feel very prepared!! We also got a great discount last week and I could focus on getting my daughter ready for picture day and not worry about it.

I’m very cautious about recommendations, but for my friends who are thinking of going to Disney I don’t hesitate to give them my TA’s info and a link to this site. They have to buy their own copy of the book though!

Thanks again for all the work you do.:)

34 Dave { 10.16.14 at 11:27 am }

Marcie thanks so much! And come back here when your trip is done and tell us all about it!!

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