I recently went to Disney World with my husband, three kids under 5, and parents.
It was a last-minute trip we planned while we were in Miami visiting family.
Using a travel agent made planning so much easier and it didn’t cost me anything.
In April, while visiting family in Miami, I thought it’d be fun to take my three kids, husband, and my parents to Disney World for a couple of days.
I asked in a tweet if people had suggestions of how to go about planning a last-minute trip, and among all the very helpful recommendations, someone said they were a Disney travels planner and they could help me.
At first, I was skeptical. Disney is already so expensive to start with and I’ve planned multiple vacations to places like Italy, Uruguay, and Argentina so I felt I could handle Disney without having to spend even more money.
But when she said her services would cost me nothing I decided to give it a try.
The trip-planning service really was free — she gets paid by Disney World
I thought the free service would have a catch at some point, but our agent explained that she gets paid by Disney for every reservation she makes. Disney wants to have all rooms booked at all times, so these agents get a cut when they are able to bring more people to the parks.
I told our agent, who works at Smart Moms Travel, some of the key details of our trip — how many people, how many days, and ideal dates. She came back with three different hotel options inside on Disney property.
Then my parents decided to join us, so we had to go back to the drawing board and options she’d originally provided, like the Polynesian Village Resort, were not available anymore so I knew we had to act fast.
The planner took care of everything and kept up with our last-minute changes
She took all of our needs into consideration and we ended up booking two connected rooms in the Contemporary Resort for three nights and four days.
She also bought our park tickets and made reservations for each park — something I’d never done since this system was put in place in 2020. She asked what characters our kids were into, and booked us two character meals during our stay. She also added a family meal while we were at Magic Kingdom.
After booking everything I realized we wanted to be at Epcot during extended hours, which happened on Mondays. We had to move all the reservations around to accommodate this and her knowledge really came in handy because she also helped us visit the Magic Kingdom during extended hours on Wednesday.
She was available at all times to answer my questions
Because we hadn’t been to Disney since 2019 I had a lot of logical questions, like how to use Genie+ and whether we needed MagicBands. She was ready with links and answers to all my questions and I felt less confused by the whole process.
She also had access to our Disney World app and kept an eye on whether new reservations for meals were opening up to fit our party of seven.
Now, I’ll never do Disney without a travel planner
Our experience working with a travel planner was so great that I’ll never do Disney again without one.
At every single step, she made sure we had everything we wanted, and as a working mom, it meant there were a few things I needed to think about — which I truly appreciated.
Read the original article on Insider