How to Become a Disney Travel Agent

Have you ever thought of becoming a Disney travel agent but don’t know where to begin? Well, we are here to help. This article explores the ins and outs of how to become a Disney travel agent, including the benefits and drawbacks of working in this profession. We also explain the best Disney travel agencies to work for and the types of things a travel agency looks for in the hiring process. 

We hope these insights will give you a better chance of landing a Disney travel agent job at one of the premier agencies.

1. Know the Benefits of Becoming a Disney Travel Agent

Disney character meet and greet

Here are some of the main benefits to becoming a Disney travel advisor:

  • Making a Good Income

First and foremost, being a Disney Travel agent is a job. You have a responsibility to your client to provide them with excellent service and you are paid for the service you provide. 

Disney travel agents receive a commission for the trips they book (i.e., no salary or hourly wage). Depending on how many trips you book and the total dollar value of the trips, you can certainly make a good income in this profession.

Commission-based jobs typically reward those who are self-starters and put in the time and effort to find new clients. See the next section to learn more about how commission works in this industry. 

  • Doing what you Love

To a Disney fanatic, being a Disney travel agent may sound like the ultimate dream.  Your days are filled with thinking about, talking about, researching, and booking Disney Destinations.  What could be more rewarding than getting paid to do what you love?  

As Confucius said: “Choose a job you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.” 

This certainly applies to being a Disney travel agent! You’ll be immersing yourself in Disney while creating magical Disney trips for your clients.

  • Working from Home

Nearly all Disney travel agents work from home. This means no traffic delays, no commuter expenses, and you can sleep later and start dinner earlier. You just wake up and you’re at the office!  What could be better than that? 

  • Flexible Hours

Disney travel agents are considered private contractors and have the freedom to set their own hours. This type of job gives you a level of independence seldom found at other jobs.  That said, you must be prepared to accommodate your client’s schedules as much as possible. 

For example, you will be expected to make your client’s dining reservations on their behalf. Dining reservations can be made up to 60 days prior to their arrival date, starting at 6:00 am EST.  This means that you’ll be expected to wake up early in the morning to make these reservations for your client. Tables at Disney’s popular restaurants fill up fast so good Disney travel planners will put in the extra effort to make sure everything is done correctly and efficiently. 

Sometimes a client will call or text in the early morning or at night. You are expected to respond as soon as you are able to. 

With a few exceptions, being a Disney travel agent is much more flexible than most jobs.  

  • Tax Write-Offs

There are some tax benefits to being a Disney travel agent. Namely, any Disney vacation you go on is tax-deductible as a research expense. This ends up being a great perk for anyone that already spends a lot of time at Disney destinations. 

Please note that we are not tax experts and we urge you to consult a tax advisor before writing off these types of expenses. 

  • Free Tickets and Discounts

Freebies

Disney travel agents are eligible to receive free tickets and discounted travel at Disney and Universal properties.

Each graduate of the College of Disney Knowledge receives a one-day Park Hopper ticket for Walt Disney World (one per year). 

Travel agents who complete the Universal and U training program receive a free Universal Orlando 3-Park 3-Day ticket.

Comp tickets are complimentary tickets given to travel agencies as a way to promote their resort. These tickets often end up in the hands of travel agents. 

Discounts

Travel agents with valid IATA or CLIA membership are eligible to receive discounted Disney and Universal theme park tickets and hotel stays. Friends and Family discounts are also available. 

FAM Trips

FAM trips invite travel professionals to the park so they can learn first-hand what an area has to offer. They also serve as a way to build comradery within a travel agency. FAM trips can be a great learning experience AND a lot of fun!

FAM trips are either free to the travel agent or heavily discounted.

When it comes to Disney, the top-tier Platinum Earmarked Disney travel agencies or Diamond Earmarked Disney travel agencies typically receive more FAM trip opportunities than do the smaller agencies. This is yet another reason to seek out a job with a high-level Disney travel agency (you’ll have more perks and freebies coming your way).

We recommend The Vacationeer because they offer their agents FAM trips and other amazing opportunities. 

2. Understand How the Commission Works for Travel Agents

Epcot's Spaceship Earth

Let’s discuss how commission works in this industry.

  • Commission-Based

Most host travel agencies categorize their travel planners as “independent contractors.” This means your sole source of income will be a commission from booking the client’s travel. In other words, you will not have a salary or wages to rely on. Rather, the number (and cost) of trips you book will determine your income.

  • Commission Split

The commission split between the host agency and travel agent varies with each Disney agency. Agents usually receive a higher commission on clients they find themselves vs. leads given to them from the agency. Novice vacation planners can expect to have a 50-60% split with their host agency to start off

with, and up to around 70-80% as the agent books more and more trips. The best percentage splits you can expect to find will be around 80/20 (agent/agency).

We recommend that you steer clear of any agency that pays out less than 50% to begin with. After all, you’ll be doing the bulk of the work and we think you should be fairly compensated (50%+) for your efforts.

Since Disney pays travel agencies a 10% commission rate on booked travel, this means that a best-case scenario on a $5,000 vacation would result in $400 commission to the booking agent ($5000 x .10 = 500 x .80 = $400). Some agencies charge their agents an annual E&O (Error & Omissions insurance) fee – as well as other fees – so be sure to research what you are expected to contribute before signing up to work with a host agency.

* For the Disney agency with the best commission splits, our recommendation is The Vacationeer. Click here to apply for a job at The Vacationeer.

  • Delayed Commissions

When a Disney travel agent books travel on behalf of his or her client, Disney pays a 10% commission to the host agency, and then the host agency forwards the agent’s share of the commission to him or her. Be aware that Disney does not pay out the commission until AFTER the travel has been completed. Therefore, expect a lengthy delay from the time you book a vacation until the time you get paid.

In most cases, this lag time usually takes anywhere from a couple of months to up to a year, depending on how far in advance your client books their vacation. Many people who research “how to become a Disney travel agent” may be unaware of this drawback.

3. What to Look For as you Research Disney Travel Agencies / Jobs 

Disney World's monorail

Becoming a Disney travel agent can be a fun and rewarding career path. However, many new Disney travel agents are unaware of the pitfalls and challenges they may soon encounter. Here are a few things you should expect when applying for Disney travel agent jobs.

  • Look for Red Flags

Avoid Disney travel agencies that are run like multi-level marketing schemes. If you encounter an agency with upfront training course fees, registration fees, etc., this should be a red flag. These types of agencies are usually more interested in making money off you from the get-go than making you a “valuable team member.” Training should always be provided by your host agency – free of charge.

Most Disney travel agencies do charge a small technology fee or E&O insurance. These types of fees should never exceed a few hundred dollars.

Legitimate Disney travel agencies will have IATA (International Air Transport Association) and/or CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association) accreditation and require their agents to complete the College of Disney Knowledge (an online course for Disney travel agents to learn about different resorts, cruise lines, etc.).

  • Look for Authorized Disney Vacation Planner Agencies

You may notice that some agencies promote themselves as Earmarked Authorized Disney Vacation Planners. The Earmarked Travel Agency designation simply means that Disney recognizes the agency as having met the highest standard of service and sales volume in the industry.

This elite ranking gives the client extra assurance that they will be dealing with a Disney-approved agency. It also gives potential travel agents the confidence that they will be working for a reputable agency.

Furthermore, you may encounter Earmarked Platinum Producer and Earmarked Diamond Producer agencies.

Earmarked Platinum Producer
disney authorized vacation planner

These designations mean that these agencies have been selected as the highest producing Disney travel agencies in the business. As the top-tier agencies, Disney issues them more comp tickets and FAM trips than they do for the Earmarked Gold and Silver producers (and especially more than the non-Earmarked agencies). 

From a client’s perspective or a travel agent’s perspective, it’s always better to work with/for an Earmarked Platinum Producer or an Earmarked Diamond Producer agency. 

  • Size Matters

The best Disney travel agencies are neither too small nor too large.

If an agency is too small, they probably don’t have any brand recognition or marketing budget to bring clients to you. You will have to work harder to find your own. Small agencies might not have the infrastructure, technology, or business savvy of larger agencies. Or the owner might be overly reliant on you or demand too much. There are a lot of limitations to working for a small travel agency. 

An agency that’s too large can also be problematic. If they have over, say, 200 travel agents, chances are you will get lost in the shuffle. You don’t want to be just another number, a faceless member of the team. 

The best Disney travel agencies will make sure you succeed. You should have good training and the owner should be available to answer your questions.

Like in most professions, you want to be paid attention to, feel a sense of comradery, and be as effective in your job as possible.  Medium-size travel agencies allow you to do this.

  • Good Support Structure

That brings us to our next point. The best Disney travel agencies have a good support network in place. They should promote an open and friendly (i.e., non-competitive) dialog/communication system between each of the agents.

There will inevitably be agents that know more about certain destinations, while others will know less. If you are just starting out as a Disney travel agent, it’s understandable that you will have plenty of questions. The best Disney travel agencies won’t just throw you to the wolves to fend for yourself, but rather, support you along the way as you learn the ropes.

The best Disney travel agencies will make sure you succeed. You should have good training. The owner should be available to speak with you directly to answer your questions, address your concerns, and support you through your journey. You should also have the ability to communicate with your fellow travel agents and work through issues together. 

See if you can reach out to a current employee and get some feedback on the company. Do they like working there? Is the owner supportive and responsive? Is there ongoing dialog and comradery among the agents?  Getting the inside scoop from a current employee can be very helpful.

  • Do they Market Themselves?

Marketing is key to success.

As a Disney travel agent, you will be responsible for marketing your own services.  However, some agencies spend their own resources to market their brand and bring in new clients. 

The best Disney travel agencies are always those that are in a position to provide client leads to their agents. The more trips you book the more money you will make. Therefore, it helps to work for an agency that brings extra business your way.

The Vacationeer pays for marketing and provides their travel agents with leads. Apply here today!

  • Read the Reviews

Reviews are an extremely important factor as a client and as a job seeker. Check out the Google and Facebook reviews to get an idea of what people are saying. Also, take note of how many reviews different agencies have.

It probably goes without saying but you want to work for a well-regarded agency with a high volume of sales. If the agency is close to 5 stars and has over 100 reviews, you’re probably in good hands.

4. Brush Up on your Disney Knowledge 

Disney's Coronado Springs front desk

As a Disney travel agent, you will be thought of – and called upon – as a Disney expert. 

Anyone who expects to be a hired as Disney travel agent must be well-versed in all Disney Destinations. Before you can even think of submitting a job application, you should first brush up on your Disney knowledge. 

What can you do to educate yourself?

There are TONS of online resources to keep up with the latest Disney news. Read Disney websites and TripAdvisor reviews. Watch Disney YouTube channels. Ask friends about their experiences and recommendations. Join Facebook groups and chat with your fellow Disney fanatics.

A Disney travel planner’s universe of knowledge should never be limited to just Walt Disney World and Disneyland. Someone might ask you to book Aulani (a Disney Resort & Spa), Disney Cruise Line vacations, and/or Adventures by Disney. How well do you know these destinations? 

Furthermore, most Disney travel agencies book trips to Universal Orlando Resort.  Do you consider yourself an expert on Universal? Maybe it’s time to brush up on your knowledge of Universal parks.

Your breadth of knowledge may need to expand even further beyond Disney and Universal, depending on which destinations your travel agency books.  Sandals & Beaches Resorts and Royal Caribbean Cruise Line packages are something you might be required to know about. 

5. What do Disney Travel Agencies Look For When They Hire?

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

Each Disney travel agency has its own set of criteria they require when hiring travel planners. Here are some of the most common characteristics Disney travel agencies seek from potential job candidates.

  • Marketing Savvy

For the most part, Disney vacation planners are on their own to find client leads. Some of the larger, more established agencies may have a prominent social media presence or high Google search ranking, in which case you may get some client leads handed to you. Some agencies pay to advertise their brand – at no cost to their agents – so this certainly is a bonus from an agent’s standpoint. However, for the most part, Disney travel agents are left in the cold to fend for themselves when it comes to acquiring new clients.

Reminder: The Vacationeer pays marketing expenses to bring leads to their agents (at no cost to the agent). Apply to The Vacationeer here.

  • Friends and Family

It helps to have a large circle of friends, family, and acquaintances to pitch your services to once you become a Disney travel agent. Since your compensation is entirely commission-based, an effective marketing strategy will be key to your success. Having a large circle of friends and family to market to should help you hit the ground running.

  • Experience

If you’ve been a travel agent before, then your chances of being hired are much greater right out of the gate. This is especially true if you have Disney travel experience.

It’s still very possible to get hired as a Disney vacation planner with little to no experience. Disney travel agencies are always on the lookout for new talent, but they’re not going to hire just anyone.  You have to play up your experience even if it’s limited to just booking your own trips.

Some Disney agencies might ask you if your friends and family seek out your advice when planning their Disney vacations. If you’ve never been a travel agent before, this is where you can show a Disney agency that you at least have some related experience in doling out advice and planning Disney vacations, albeit unpaid and unofficial.

  • Good Communication

Like many sales jobs, Disney travel agent jobs require good communications skills. Effective agents are calm, cool, and collected, as well as upbeat, articulate, and helpful. This doesn’t just apply to phone conversations, but also to the written word.

Since much of your communications with the client will be done through email, make sure you proofread everything you write before pressing the “send” button. It’s not always easy to convey a pleasant tone via texts and emails, so avoid writing anything that sounds abrupt, angry, or unsympathetic. Be timely with your responses and helpful with your advice. Clients can be sensitive.

When applying to a Disney travel agency, do your best to convey these positive traits.

  • Detail-Oriented

Clients depend on Disney travel agents to take the headaches out of planning and booking their trip. As their travel planner, these hassles now become your responsibility. You must possess excellent attention to detail when you book travel, as one slight error can complicate or even ruin a Disney trip.

  • Well-Organized

Disorganized travel agents are bound to encounter confusion and mix-ups at some point. Having a good organizational system in place is key to keeping all your information in order as you juggle multiple client trips at once. Keep your information easily retrievable in case a client calls with questions. You will need an efficient system to track all the key dates, dining reservations, payments, etc. The worst call you can make to a client is “I screwed up.”

  • Proactive and Prompt

Not only should Disney travel agents be proactive and prompt in addressing their client’s questions and concerns, but they should also be proactive and prompt in re-booking the client’s vacation package if a new Disney promotion is launched. You will be looking out for the best interests of your client, so if a deal pops up that can save them some money, be ready to act!

  • Passion

It’s no surprise that Disney travel agent jobs require a passion for Disney Destinations. This isn’t just another job to pay the bills – this is a Disney job! There are so many Disney fanatics out there, so why would any agency hire anyone but a genuine Disney enthusiast?

Employers like enthusiasm, so try to be expressive and enthusiastic when you apply for Disney travel agent jobs.

  • Knowledge

We mentioned this before but we can’t stress it enough. Disney travel agents must be well-versed and insightful when it comes to Disney Destinations. Therefore, agencies want to know if you’ve actually been to some of these places you’ll be promoting. Expect to be asked which destinations you have been to, and when. Some agencies may ask you to write about your favorite aspects of certain Disney Destinations.

  • Commitment

Next, they will want to assess your commitment to the job. Most Disney agencies are looking for people who aren’t bogged down with lots of commitments. An ideal job candidate would be able to devote as many hours as possible to grow their business and be highly attentive to their client’s needs. Becoming a Disney travel agent may entail morning, afternoon, and nighttime phone calls or correspondence, so having this flexibility and availability is important to a host agency.

  • Character Traits

Most Disney travel agent jobs require a strong work ethic, professionalism, ambition, positivity, independence, business-mindedness, seriousness, fun, etc. In a nutshell, they want all the good qualities and none of the bad!

  • Customer Service Skills

Disney travel agents must possess excellent communication skills, both written and verbal, and be comfortable “meeting” new people. Travel agents should balance calmness and friendliness to put the client at ease while also having the confidence/forcefulness to make decisions and close the sale, so to speak. You do not want to alienate potential clients with a bad attitude or a sales pitch, but you shouldn’t be wishy-washy in the process.

  • Tech-Savvy

No one wants to hire someone living in the dark ages. Disney travel agencies want you to have a quiet home office and reliable technology to work with. This means good cell phone service and high-speed internet access. You will be using an online booking system and talking to clients throughout the day, so Disney travel agencies will make sure that your technology is adequate and your computer skills are up to the task.

  • Social Media Presence

Social media plays a major role in marketing these days. Therefore, effective Disney travel planners should not only be computer savvy but also be social media savvy. It helps to have a large friend-base, to begin with, because the more connections you already have established, the more potential clients are just one instant message or Facebook “share” away.

Successful Disney travel agents create a Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram account devoted entirely to marketing their Disney travel services. Every update will remind your followers that you are the go-to person for planning their next Disney vacation.

6. Apply to Become a Disney Travel Agent

It's A Small World ride at Disney World

So you’ve brushed up on your Disney knowledge, know what types of Disney travel agencies to look for, and learned what agencies look for when hiring. Now what? 

Once you have identified a few agencies you’d like to work for, it’s time to actually apply for the job. Application questions will vary depending on the agencies. Remember the types of things we’ve outlined when filling out the application. Proofread your answers before submitting them.

Be patient once you’ve submitted an application. It could take a month or so to get a response. 

Be wary of any company that hires you right off the bat without follow-up questions and a phone interview. Ideally, you will speak directly with the owner of the company so you’ll have a good idea of who you are going to be working with. Be sure to have YOUR questions ready, too. 

7. You’re Hired!

Disney's All Star Movies Resort

If you are fortunate enough to get the job – congratulations!  However, don’t take it if you’re not ready to commit to it or you don’t have a good feeling for the travel agency.

You want this to be the most magical job you’ve ever had so use your discretion. 

Good luck!

Other Considerations on How to Be a Disney Travel Agent

Disney's Skyliner

Here are a few more things to consider.

How do you Find Disney Travel Agent Jobs?

We suggest you start your online search by googling phrases like “Disney travel agent join our team,” “Disney travel agent jobs,” “Disney travel planner jobs,” etc. You may be surprised at how many Disney travel agencies exist and how many are seeking new agents to join their teams.

Which Disney Travel Agency do we Recommend?

While there are plenty of fabulous host agencies to work for, none beat The Vacationeer (in our opinion).

The Vacationeer provides their agents (appropriately named “Vacationeers”) with some of the highest payout ratios in the industry – up to 80%. They engage in a variety of online marketing strategies to bring in new leads to their agents.

The Vacationeer prides itself on its satisfied client-based and its happy Disney travel agents. For this reason, we are highlighting them as our top pick.

The Vacationeer is currently seeking new Disney agents to join their growing team. If you would like to become a Vacationeer and you think you have what it takes, please visit TheVacationeer.com/travel-agent-jobs to apply.

We hope that you found our How to Become a Disney Travel Agent article helpful. Good luck on your quest to enter the Disney travel industry!

For more Disney-related articles,  feel free to browse through Magic Guides extensive list of pages like How to Plan a Disney VacationDisney World Map, and use our Disney World Crowd Calendar to book your clients once you become a Disney travel agent!