Travel

Returning to the Magic!

Whew! It’s been a whirlwind of updates regarding Disney travel over the last 24 hours, I’m going to do my best to cover as much as I can at this point. All of my information comes from Disney and I alway wait to hear confirmation before posting so that there are no rumors. I’ll start with the newest news to break (in the last few hours) which is, the CDC is recommending cruises sailing from the US through September 15, 2020 be suspended. Disney Cruise Line has agreed to uphold this decision from the CDC and while Disney is still working on their official update on how we (as travel planners) need to proceed to help our guests, they have not yet released how refunds or rebookings will be handled. We should hear something over the next few days and I’ll update everyone at that time. Disney Cruise Line had previously suspended cruises departing from Canada until September 14, 2020 and Europe until October 2, 2020.

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, MNSSHP for us Disney fanatics, has been officially cancelled for 2020. This is an incredible and fun event that Disney puts on at Magic Kingdom and I personally have several disappointed travelers that were looking forward to attending this year. Disney’s main priority during this time is safety for their guests and cast members and unfortunately MNSSHP was not able to move forward for this year. Guests who had already purchased tickets through Disney for this 2020 event will be refunded by Disney.

As an authorized Disney Vacation Planner, the biggest question I have gotten lately is when can we change or book reservations for end of 2020 and 2021 at Walt Disney World? Well the good news is that we can start this all very soon! Next week will be a big week for bookings as well as seeing a lot of changes to the current way guests experience Disney. When the Walt Disney World Resort reopens in July, guests will not only need to have a park ticket but also a park reservation to enter a theme park. This is due to the limited park capacity that Disney will have in place at the theme parks, the capacity will be managed with the reservation system located in your My Disney Experience account. Any guest that currently has a resort and ticket reservation for 2020 (from July – Dec 2020) will be able to book their park reservations on Monday June 22, 2020. On Wednesday, June 24th, packages for January 2021 – September 26, 2021 will be available for booking! Then on Friday June 26th, Disney Annual Passholders can book their park reservations as well.

While there will be changes for the safety of guests and cast members, this still is very exciting news! Things may look and feel different when Disney Parks and Disney Cruise Line reopen, but we can be sure that the MAGIC will still be there. I can’t wait for my guests to start arriving and for my family to start planning our next visit. I will be sharing more about the park reservation system and process, as well as other information, in the upcoming days so be sure to follow my blog for more details.

Travel

Authorized Disney Vacation Planner, do I need one?

I was on a Disney Fan Facebook page recently and saw a debate about using a Disney Vacation Planner when planning your upcoming Disney vacation or if it’s better to just do it yourself. The comments ranged from “it’s great to have someone else do all the work” to “I don’t want to lose control of my trip” and even “I’m not going to pay someone else to book my vacation when I can do the same thing online myself”. This isn’t the first time I have seen or heard these comments so I wanted to share a little about how an authorized Disney Vacation Planner can help, even if you are a seasoned visitor to a Disney property. Here are the top 4 things that I typically talk to potential guests about using my services.

Training: To become an authorized Disney Vacation Planner, you are required to go through Disney’s training course and pass all of their testing and criteria. You are also required to stay current on any updated training that is provided. Many of the agencies also have requirements regarding training and even traveling to the various Disney properties so that you can provide firsthand knowledge and experiences to your guests. There are many training tools and information sharing that we have access to so even if I personally haven’t run into a particular situation, I can pretty quickly find someone to help me to get my guest an answer.

 Customized Experience: An authorized Disney Vacation Planner can be as involved or as “hands off” as the guest prefers. For example, a first-time visitor to the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida can easily get overwhelmed with the planning. There are multiple parks, resorts to choose from, tickets, dining, FastPasses, special events, waterparks and it’s all spread out over miles of property. This can be very overwhelming for a guest who may not know where to begin. As an authorized Disney Vacation Planner, I can help narrow down all of these items until we create a vacation that is perfect for your family. After booking the package, I am available to my guests anytime a question arises. I send reminders to be sure they are aware when important dates such as dining opens or FastPasses can be scheduled. I can help with the booking of dining and FastPasses also.  For a more seasoned guest, I may only be booking their vacation package and they may choose to book their own dining and FastPasses or may just ask me for recommendations. At the end of the day, this trip is about finding what is the best fit for your family based on budget and availability and tailoring how involved I am to what the guest is comfortable with.

Advocate for the Guest: Once a guest has booked their vacation, my job doesn’t stop there. In fact, my job isn’t complete until after the guests have returned from their Disney vacation. On a regular basis I am watching for discounts that may be able to be applied to any of my guests’ packages, I will spend hours on the phone getting these discounts applied (if applicable) so that the guest does not have to make the call into Disney Travel themselves. If problems arise, I do my best to resolve the pieces in my control. For example, if a flight is cancelled due to weather I can’t change the flight but I will call into Disney and see if we can cancel that dining reservation you are now going to miss and see if we can reschedule it or what options we may have to make situation a little better.

We LOVE Disney: Disney Vacation Planners are often some of the most passionate people about Disney and Disney Vacations! This is a labor of love for many of us, we get paid from Disney via our agencies and never directly from a guest. We do not, and are not allowed, to charge guests for our services. Disney Vacation Planners are typically frequent Disney travelers themselves and stay up to date on parks, rides, attractions, entertainment and resorts so they can help you create the trip that best suites your family.We do this because we are usually the ones at the parks before rope drop, checking wait times and FastPasses on the My Disney Experience app, are always looking for the next time we can plan our own Disney vacation. I enjoyed helping family and friends make plans for their Disney vacations and I was always on the various Disney sites to find out about the latest news and offers so this is my dream job. My family has traveled to the Walt Disney World Resort over 10 times in the last seven years because we love it so much, so often that my pre-teen can navigate through the theme parks like a pro and is now starting to help me make our family plans.

For me, the decision to become an authorized Disney Vacation Planner was a dream come true and I am grateful every day that I am affiliated with Academy Travel, an EarMarked Diamond Travel Company, which is the highest honor Disney Travel gives to an agency. I am proud to be an authorized Disney Vacation Planner and helping others plan their dream vacations and make memories. Disney has so much to offer with theme parks, cruises, adventure travel options and much more so if you haven’t been on a Disney vacation before or if it’s been a while, I would love to help you plan a trip of your dreams. Contact me for a Free, No Obligation quote and let’s start creating your magical adventure together!

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