Just as there are a million and one ways to “do Disney,” there are also a number of options when it comes to booking your vacation to the Most Magical Place on Earth.
Booking Directly Through Disney
The most obvious method (and my personal favorite) is to book a package directly with Disney. If you choose to do this, you can book your on-property resort, park tickets, dining plan, airport ground transportation, and even flight right through Disney. It should be noted that Disney frequently runs seasonal specials available for all guests, as well as affiliate discounts (for Annual Passholders, Disney Vacation Club members, Disney Visa cardholders, military members, or Florida residents). No matter what vacation elements you book, or don’t book, directly through Disney, you can always log into your Disney account to book Advance Dining Reservations or purchase tickets to special events.
Booking Through an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner
Another popular option for booking your Disney World vacation is to use an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner. Before you think “I don’t want to pay up for a travel agent,” you should know this option is totally FREE. I know, I was really skeptical when I first heard this too. These travel agents make their money when Disney gives them a cut of the price of the package booked, but you (the traveler) pay not a penny more than you would if you did all the work booking it directly with Disney yourself.
Basically, you could spend your own time scouring the Disney site for seasonal or affiliate discounts, crunching the numbers for how many days worth of park tickets you should get, etc. Or an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner could do it all for you for literally the exact same price. In a way, it could actually save you money to go through an ADVP if they discover a seasonal or affiliate discount you didn’t notice.
If you choose to go through an ADVP, they will ask you about your party’s interests and budgets, and they will take care of the rest. So, if you simply don’t have time to do all the research that goes into planning a Disney vacation and want someone else to handle it (and guarantee you the lowest possible price!), then booking through an ADVP is definitely worth consideration.
(Personally, I LOVE planning and research and crunching numbers, so for me, I derive a great deal of enjoyment doing all the things an ADVP would do for me. So I would rather become an ADVP than use one! 😉 )
Booking Through Third Parties
Finally, you can book on-property Disney resorts through third party hotel booking websites. This may make sense if you want to accumulate rewards through a third party site’s program, but remember to read their change and cancellation policies carefully, as they may not be as flexible as booking directly through Disney.
You can also purchase valid theme park tickets through an authorized third party ticket broker, such as Undercover Tourist. However, I would strongly recommend researching any ticket brokers first, as many out there are scams and/or may be reselling tickets illegally. Check out this helpful article on MouseSavers.com to read more about purchasing tickets.
As always, leave any vacation planning questions in the comment box below!