Top Questions (& Answers) That I Get Asked Before a Booking
By Erica Kocher
Between meeting new people at events, people I meet during travel, and with friends that are booking their own vacations and then realizing how overwhelming it can be, I must confess, I have had a lot of inspiration to write about most of the questions that I get asked.
I am often asked questions, such as:
- When is the best time to go to Disney?
- How can I get a deal on tickets?
- Why should I stay on property when it’s cheaper to stay off?
- Which park is Harry Potter in?
- Why would I pay a travel agent when I can book it on my own?
- Can you price match vacation prices?
When is the best time to go to Disney?
Let’s start with the most common question “When is the best time to go…,” In the past this was easier to answer. I used to tell people that if children were in school then the crowd levels would be lower. Now, there are so many special events happening throughout the year that it is a little harder to calculate. Holidays are still the busiest time to visit the parks. I have personally traveled to Walt Disney World on all major holidays just to get a feel of how busy it really is. Any time there is a special event such as a race weekend with Run Disney or festival at Epcot, the crowd levels are going to be higher. On a recent trip, a cast member told us that the lowest crowd levels are the week after Thanksgiving and the week between New Years Day and the Disney Marathon.
Another thing to consider when trying to figure out the best time to go to Walt Disney World is weather. If you are looking for sunny and warm weather for swimming, the winter months can become a bit too cool for swimming. The Disney resorts have heated pools, but you do have to get out of the water eventually. If you are sensitive to heat and humidity, then from May-September you would want to avoid central Florida. It is very hot and humid during these months. It is not uncommon for it to rain daily in Florida. Bring a poncho and dry set of shoes and enjoy the parks anyway. Typically, August through November is hurricane season. Walt Disney World has had to close temporarily because of hurricanes only 5 times since opening in 1971. They have plans in place to keep guests as comfortable and safe as possible if it does occur. My personal favorite months to visit are March, April, late-October, & November because of the typically beautiful weather during these months. The important thing to remember is that no matter when you visit, you need to pack appropriately. With a Wishes Family Travel advisor planning your vacation, we will help you be prepared for all aspects of your trip, including weather.
How can I get a deal on tickets?
When it comes to ticket pricing, getting a “deal” is tricky. Disney can release promotions at any time and as you agent, I am trained to watch for and apply those promotions to your qualifying travel package. Sure, you may see cheaper tickets from third party vendors, but Disney even suggests that you purchase directly with them or an Authorized Disney Travel Planner. If you book with a third-party vendor to save a few extra dollars, then Disney does not always honor those tickets. In my research, I have read some very disappointing stories of Disney Park guests who have learned this lesson firsthand.
My suggestion is that if you are going to Walt Disney World or Disneyland on a budget, then book though an Authorized Disney Travel Planner and let us look for a promotion that will lower the cost of your trip for you. Also, you can purchase Disney Gift Cards through wholesale stores often at a small discount to save you some money. I have even purchased Disney Gift Cards with my Target Red Card and saved 5% on my gift card purchase. You can book a Disney vacation by placing a $200 deposit down and then pay off the trip with those discounted Disney Gift Cards.
Why should I stay on property when it’s cheaper to stay off?
Yes, you can often find prices at Orlando area hotels slightly cheaper than Disney Resort Hotels, but by the time you add all the “perks” of staying on Disney property to your vacation price, it often comes out cheaper than staying off property. Some of those perks include free Disney transportation from the airport and around all of Disney property, free parking at the parks (if you choose to drive), the ability to add the Disney Dining Plan to your vacation, and Extra Magic Hours at the Parks.
Disney’s Magical Express can pick you up from Orlando International Airport (MCO) and take you directly to your resort hotel. Then each hotel has Disney transportation that can take you to the parks & to Disney Springs. Even if you have dining reservations at another resort, it is possible to go to get to that resort using Disney transportation (with a transfer). Not to mention, Disney transportation is extremely fun! Disney transportation takes you by bus, boat, monorail, and now by air on the new Disney Skyliner.
If you choose to drive to the Orlando area or rent a car while you are there, you will pay $25 per day for standard parking and $45-50 per day for preferred parking. You will be charged to park at the hotel per night, and the cost ranges between $15-25 depending on which level resort you are staying at. Your parking at the parks is included in your vacation package, so even if you are at a Deluxe resort and paying $25 a night, then you come out even on parking charges.
I have personally travelled with the Disney Dining Plan and without it to research the convenience of having it. Let me say, I will not travel to Walt Disney World without the dining plan again. Besides the “all-inclusive” feel that you get when having a dining plan added to your vacation, it saves you worry and hassle. When I didn’t have the dining plan, we paid $30 less than we would have paid for the dining plan BUT, we ate less food and we were constantly looking at the price of items on the menu. With the dining plan, if you want the most expensive meal on the menu, you can get it. Walt Disney World offers three levels of dining plans to meet your family’s needs.
While Extra Magic Hours are not something that you can buy, you do pay for park tickets and Extra Magic Hours allow you more time in the parks with lower crowd levels. I have tested out different ways to make Extra Magic Hours most beneficial for my clients. When you book your vacation with me, I will share those tips and secrets with you so that you make the most of your time in the parks.
Which park is Harry Potter in?
This is a common mistake often made. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is located at Universal Studios which is a different company than Walt Disney World. So many clients are disappointed to learn that they were incorrect in thinking that Harry Potter is part of Walt Disney World. I do specialize in Universal Parks, so I can help you add tickets to Universal Studios to your vacation.
Why would I pay a travel agent when I can book it on my own?
This biggest perk of booking with a Wishes Family Travel concierge agent is that our services are completely free of charge. That’s right, you don’t pay any more for your trip if you booked through me or on your own. The commission we earn is paid directly from vacation supplier. What you are missing out on, if you book on your own, is all the services we have to offer you. For no additional charge, why not have all the benefits that your vacation supplier has to offer PLUS all the services we offer.
If you are someone who believes strongly in supporting small businesses, you are also helping support my business by booking your trip though me. If you book directly with Disney, the planning fees are already included in your price, but Disney gets to keep that money. Honestly, you can get all my services and pay no more than if you booked directly through Disney on your own! It’s a win-win for both of us.
Can you price match vacation prices?
With some destinations, we can match prices, if it is a special that is offered directly from that supplier. If it is a third-party company (such as online travel services or big wholesale suppliers), we can not match their prices. Often the discounted price that they are offering you is what is the already built in commission that they will get paid by the destination supplier. What you are not getting by booking with them is any planning services and the experience that a Wishes Family Travel Concierge Agent has to offer you. That experience that we have is invaluable. We love hearing your travel stories and seeing your pictures taken during your trip. When booking with us, you have a friend on your side to help you along the way.
Are you thinking about a visit to Walt Disney World? I am an agent with Wishes Family Travel, an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner agency. As your agent, I’ll help you with everything from finding your perfect package to grabbing those hard-to-get dining and FastPass reservations. I work with all Disney Destinations around the globe. Best of all, my services are complimentary for clients. You can contact me at 1-618-514-5536, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org or through my Wishes Family Travel – Erica Kocher Facebook group.