If you have a passion for Disney and enjoy planning vacations, a career as an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner may be the perfect fit. Travel agents and agents in training can complete a Disney-sponsored training program to learn the ins and outs of booking travel packages at Disney destinations around the globe. Below, we provide a closer look at what these travel specialists do, what it takes to become one, and how much you could earn.
What Is an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner?
Authorized Disney Vacation Planners are travel agents who are authorized to use the Authorized Disney Vacation Planner title and accompanying logo. Unlike a travel agent who might recommend a Disney vacation among other destinations, an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner specializes in planning trips to Disney parks and resorts. Planners complete an in-depth training course created by Disney, and they may also have extensive experience visiting Disney destinations. They are passionate about sharing the benefits of a Disney vacation with travelers, and they know virtually all there is to know about each park, resort, and Disney property at various destinations.
How to Become an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner
Travel agents interested in becoming an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner need to complete training through the College of Disney Knowledge program. Information about this program is not publicly available. To access it, you must either be an established travel agent or be employed with a travel agency that already holds the Authorized Disney Vacation Planner designation. The program is only available to travel agents in the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico. We reached out to travel agents who have completed the program and consulted online travel agent forums to get more information.
According to travel agents who have completed the program, it consists of thorough, self-paced coursework and examinations.
Once you graduate from the College of Disney Knowledge program, you will receive marketing materials to announce that you have completed specialized training. You will also have access to a Disney Travel Agents dashboard where you can access courses, information about Disney Destinations, and marketing tools to promote your services as a travel planner specializing in Disney vacations.
As an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner, you can either work as an independent contractor or for a travel agency that is also an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner.
Because Disney does not extend training program information to the general public, you will need to contact a travel agency that has Authorized Disney Vacation planner status to apply for the training program, or you can contact Disney directly for information about earning the Authorized Disney Vacation Planner designation. The Disney careers line is (407) 828-1000.
Working as an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner
Authorized Disney Vacation Planners must possess strong sales skills to make an attractive income selling Disney vacations. They are responsible for creating custom trips for travelers, and most of their income is from commissions from the type of trips booked.
As a planner, you will need to know how and when to offer upgrades, how to coordinate the details of travel and transportation, and how to monitor reservations and any Disney promotions to book the best possible trip for guests, so you can earn attractive commissions for all your hard work. You can provide Disney vacation planning services fully online, in-person for local travelers, or a combination of the two.
Agency vs. Independent Contractor
If you decide to work for an agency, you may need to complete additional agency training and learn how to market and promote your services under your agency’s guidelines.
Alternatively, if you work independently, you will need to invest in a reliable computer with high-speed internet access and a phone to communicate with clients, and you’ll need to be relatively tech-savvy to book travel and market your services. As an independent contractor, you’ll need to keep track of your income and file the appropriate tax documents with federal, state, and local governments.
The standard planner’s commission is 10% of the cost of the trip, according to current travel agents. Planners working for an agency can earn 60% of the agency’s commission. This means that a $5,000 trip booked by the agency would earn the agency $500 and the planner would receive $300. If the planner worked independently of an agency, they would earn the full $500.