When planning your Disney World resort vacation you have a few different options as to how to make the actual booking. Below we are going to outline each of the three main ways you can book a Disney World vacation and some of the positives and negatives of each. We are not going to go extremely in depth in any of these areas, but we are going to give a brief overview to educate you on the best ways to book a Disney vacation.
Disclaimer: The three options we are presenting below can be utilized with and without a travel agent. Most travel agents will encourage booking directly with Disney World, but can help you with any of the options, and let us reiterate travel agents should be working FOR you for NO COST. If a travel agent tries to charge you a service fee, you need to find a new travel agent. We just wanted to put the disclaimer out there that any of the below options can be done with or without an agent. If using an agent our sponsor, Big Dreams Travel, has Disney experts that will help you every step of the way.
- Through Disney World Directly – One of the best ways to book your vacation in terms of the extra benefits you get is to go directly through Disney World. This can be done on the Disney website or through your travel agent. You are going to get access to any deals and discounts that have been released by Disney, but the biggest positive is that you get complete control of your reservation from start to finish. You will see why that is important when we get to the next option below for dealing with a 3rd party reservation system. When booking with Disney you get immediate access to your reservation on your My Disney Experience to manage the booking. Also, you will get all of the great benefits to booking with Disney: availability of the dining plan, the option of doing a 3 day hold with no deposit, only having to make a $200 deposit until the 30 day mark instead of a full payment, and the ability to make any types of changes or cancellation you want until that 30 day mark. Disney reservations are very flexible and allow you much freedom if something were to come up and require a change. We think this is the best way to go if booking a package reservation which includes hotel and park tickets.
- Through a 3rd Party Reservation System – Another way to book your Disney reservation is going through a 3rd Party travel vendor such as Travelocity or Expedia. Sometimes these reservation sites seem to have good prices on the surface, but when you look at the extras that go with it and some hidden fees that are almost always involved. Also, with these sites you don’t get an actual Disney reservation number so you do not get the advantage of using My Disney Experience. A final negative if this method is that these sites often require full payment of the entire trip at the time of booking. With that said there are times when these sites do have an extra discount that they may provide when packaging airfare with a hotel, so we are not advocating never checking with these vendors. Travel agents also have some 3rd party vendors they can book through that are more reputable than these internet agencies and they usually do include the Disney benefits such as a deposit initially and the balance due later on, so if working through a travel agent this can be a good option at times.
- Through Separate Reservation Systems – This final option is referring to booking your hotel through Disney World as a “room only” reservation and then purchasing park tickets elsewhere. The “room only” option at Disney World carries most of the same benefits as a package reservation, except that your final payment is not due until a few days in advance of your trip. You can still apply room discount codes, but you are not able to take advantage of free dining offers when booking a “room only” reservation. This option does allow you to use a Disney World authorized ticket retailer, such as Undercover Tourist. A site like that offers a small discount on Disney World tickets. The discount is not much, but the tickets are the same as you would get through Disney and they can still be linked to your My Disney Experience account. With this option you do have to manage multiple reservations, but it is sometimes a better deal as far as the total cost.
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