Did you grow up singing along with Disney movies like “The Lion King” and “Aladdin”? Are you looking for a side hustle in a fun industry? If the answer to both is “yes,” you may want to consider working as a Disney travel agent.
Even if you’ve never been on a Disney vacation, you’ve heard how much fun they can be for kids and adults alike. As a travel agent, you’ll work with individuals and families to help book their perfect trip.
Ready to learn more about this dream job? We’ve got you covered in this guide on how to become a Disney travel agent.
What Is a Disney Travel Agent?
A Disney travel agent is someone who books vacation experiences to Disney destinations on behalf of others. Disney travel agents are just like regular travel agents, in that they book things like hotels, airfare, park admissions, FastPasses, and various other components of a vacation package.
If you’re familiar with all things Disney and like to help others, you may find this job to be a natural fit. However, you don’t necessarily need to have any direct experience as a Disney travel planner.
What Skills Do You Need to Become an Agent?
To become a successful travel agent, there are a few skills that you’ll need. Fortunately, many of these are soft skills. You don’t typically need to have a bachelor’s degree to work as a travel agent, although some agencies may request it.
Although many prefer to secure work through a travel agency, it’s possible to use your career experience to operate independently. If this is the case, you won’t need to meet any technical education requirements.
So just what types of skills do you need to make it in a Disney travel agent job? For starters, having some travel experience helps. If you’ve never traveled before and don’t understand the joys — and stress — that accompanies it, you may not be as attuned to the needs of your clients.
As an agent, your job is to make sure that your client’s trip goes smoothly. This not only involves a lot of pre-planning, but it will also require you to help when flights are canceled or the reserved rental car isn’t on-site.
You’ll have to be patient and have excellent customer service and communication skills. Your clients pay top dollar for their vacation, so you’re going to need to help them when things aren’t going as planned. Similarly, you’ll need to be able to:
- Listen attentively
- Have a high level of organization
- Pay close attention to detail
Additionally, you may want to consider training to help familiarize yourself with the industry and boost your credibility with clients. While this isn’t a technical requirement, these certifications could help you succeed in the industry.
Consider opportunities like the College of Disney Knowledge. The College of Knowledge allows both old and new agents to learn about all things Disney, including:
- Disney resorts
- Disney cruise lines
- Adventures by Disney
- Aulani, a Disney resort and spa
This course is entirely online and self-paced. You can take a 30-minute knowledge assessment each year to renew your certification.
With limited education requirements, this career could be an excellent choice for those with a passion for places like Walt Disney World or Disneyland. There is a limited upfront investment, and you can make a good bit of money working in the role.
How Much Can Disney Travel Agents Make?
The amount of income that you’ll earn as a Disney travel agent will vary significantly. Many Disney travel agencies will hire you to work as an independent contractor. You’ll work solely off commissions and won’t be making much, if any, by way of salary.
Because you’re an independent contractor, there will probably be a few upfront costs associated with working as an agent. For instance, you may need a desk and office chair. You may also need a laptop, high-speed internet access, and a high-quality headset that allows you to take phone calls. You can deduct all of these expenses from your taxable income. You’ll also need to pay self-employment tax on this income as well.
You’ll find that there are numerous Disney travel agencies available. Pay can vary amongst them significantly. But for the sake of giving you an idea of how much you can earn, Glassdoor found that one Disney travel agency pays $13-$14 per hour, or approximately $28,000 per year. This accounts for full-time roles, so you can expect to earn less if working on the side.
Pros and Cons of Working as a Disney Travel Agent
If you’re still interested in booking Disney trips for others, then consider some of the pros and cons of working in the industry.
First up is the fact that you’ll be earning based on commissions. This can be both a benefit and a drawback since there are no limits on how much you can earn, but you have no guaranteed income either.
Similarly, as a travel agent, you’re your own boss. You can work when you want, taking on as many or as few clients as you’d like. Some people enjoy this flexibility while others don’t like the potential uncertainty.
One of the most significant downsides of working as a Disney travel agent is that you won’t see commissions for quite some time. To be paid, your travel agency will need to see the money from Disney first. However, Disney does not pay until after the trip is complete. So your money could arrive months after completing a deal.
Another drawback is that there are often uneven hours associated with working as a travel agent. You need to be prepared to work late nights, resolving situations as they arrive. As an independent contractor, you have some control over when you work. But you need to be prepared to help your clients when things start to go wrong.
How to Become a Disney Travel Agent
If you think you would enjoy helping people book dream vacations to Walt Disney World Resorts and other Disney destinations, then working as a travel agent could be right for you. Below are the steps to get started.
1. Search for Travel Agent Jobs
The first thing is to start searching online. You can search for Disney travel agent jobs on the internet and even by browsing social media. There are dozens of companies that offer Disney travel agent jobs, so you don’t have to focus your search on just one company. Instead, you can check for jobs on both job boards as well as various agency websites.
The most important thing to consider is that the company needs to be an “Authorized Disney Vacation Planner.” These are the companies certified to work directly with Disney. Clients will most likely search for these companies when booking vacations, so working for one of these reputable companies increases your likelihood of success.
Agencies recognized by Disney will have an “Earmarked” status with four recognition levels:
Once you find an agency that you’d like to work for, look for the company’s career website or for a post that says something like, “Join Our Team,” to find out the best way to get in touch.
2. Check for Proper International Accreditation
Disney has properties in the United States and abroad. In addition to having an Earmarked status from Disney, you’ll want to make sure that your host company is a member of an international travel association. The two that you should be looking for are the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and the International Airlines Travel Agency Network (IATA), which allow you to book cruise and plane tickets, offering your clients a comprehensive package.
If a travel agency checks all of these boxes, you’re ready to apply. The agency will most likely put you through an interview process, where you’ll have to answer questions about your Disney knowledge and travel industry experience. If you do well, you’ll be well on your way to earning a bit of money on the side working as a travel agent.
Ready to Start Making Money as a Disney Travel Agent?
If you love traveling and have a passion for all things Disney, then working as a travel agent could be right for you. Whether you choose to work through a travel agency or work on your own, you’ll most likely be working as an independent contractor. This means that your earnings are going to be tied directly to your commissions.
But if you think you have the drive and dedication to earn money this way, then working as a Disney travel agent could be a tremendous opportunity. When browsing, don’t forget to look for companies certified as Authorized Disney Vacation Planners to help boost your credibility and the likelihood of finding clients.