From interning at Walt Disney World, attending classes at Disney’s University, to getting married at Disney’s Fairy-tale Wedding Pavilion.. you could say that Shelbi Moore lives a Disney obsessed lifestyle!
Now a successful travel agent specializing in Disney vacations, Shelbi is also a blogger over at Shelbibritton.com. I’m delighted to have Shelbi as a guest poster on Seaside Sundays today to give us the scoop on how she turned an obsession into the dream career!
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One of the number one questions I get about my job planning Disney vacations for a living surprisingly isn’t “ Can you get me a discount?” (Although that is a close runner up) but it is “How do apply to do what you do? It looks like so much fun!”. Oh, trust me it is the absolute most fun! However, like any career, you need to truly love and have a passion for what you do!
Today, I will share with you a little background and behind the scenes look at life as a travel agent!
How I got started
Shortly after interning at Walt Disney World in 2011, I signed on as an Independent Agent with Magical Moments Vacations. They are an Authorized Disney Vacation Agency and has been ranked as a Platinum Earmarked Agency with the Disney Travel Company several years in a row. That means that they have established themselves as a reputable and trusted agency, only the best agencies across the U.S. are awarded this designation! (Slight humble brag, I love my team!)
As an agent, I have access to booking with pretty much any company or travel supplier out there. However, I personally focused my training on Disney Destinations so that I could say I was truly an expert on the subject rather than being semi-trained in several different areas.
Did you know, not only do they have Walt Disney World and Disneyland but there is also the Disney Cruise Line, Adventures by Disney, Aulani Resort and Spa, Vero Beach Resort and several more parks overseas!
When training with Disney you must complete a pretty extensive program every year called the “College of Disney Knowledge”. There are also webinars, conference calls, and daily emails to keep you up to date in between. I truly believe that one of the most important parts of the training process is actually traveling to these destinations! (This is the fun part!)
Perks of the job!
My husband and I travel to Walt Disney World at least twice a year! Having met there during our internship it is like “Home” to us!
We have also been on several Disney Cruises as well as traveled to Disneyland and recently attended Disney’s D23 Expo! These destinations change every day, there are closures, refurbishments, new additions…
I feel it is extremely important for an agent who claims to be an “expert” to have not only visited these destinations but to also go frequently! As an agent, we do get certain perks such as free or discounted tickets, discounted room rates, as well as cruises!
What does my day entail?
As an agent, my job is to assist in every aspect of the planning process. From helping research which resort is best for your family, walking you through booking Dining and Fastpass reservations, to helping plan an overall itinerary for your trip.
Basically, I am your personal Disney assistant. Instead of googling, stalking blogs, or calling customer service, I am your go to gal! I offer free travel planning quotes on my blog.
The Downsides to the Job
I would be lying if I said this job was always easy. Don’t let me sit here and make you think that every day is sunshine and pixie dust. People often take advantage of my time, knowledge, and hospitality.
I get emails and facebook messages daily from people wanting quotes, advice, and recommendations on planning their trip, (Which I am more than happy to give since my services are 100% free!) but then they don’t book with me!
Here is the part I wish more people understood; I do NOT get paid unless you allow me to enter/submit your booking to Disney.
I also do not get paid until your vacation is over so it can take a while to build up a steady income.
So all the time I spend on emails, phone calls, and itinerary planning… I do not get compensated if you don’t allow me to submit it to Disney. Even then, I will not see any payment until AFTER your vacation has ended.
Families NEVER pay a dime more to work with me and often I am able to find promotions to apply to their reservation even after they have booked to save them more money!
The best part of the being a Disney specialist
There are so many amazing families that I get the opportunity to work with that overshadow the negatives of this job.
It is such a rewarding feeling when you have worked so hard to make sure a family has the best experience possible and they send you pictures of their children with Mickey Mouse, or a video of the first ride they ever rode! I put my heart and soul into every family vacation I work on.
I put my heart and soul into every family vacation I work on. By the time they travel I am just as excited if not more than they are about all the magical moments they are about to make together!
Advice for those who want to become an agent
For those who think this career sounds perfect and interested in possibly becoming an agent. I recommend you do your research.
There are different ways to become an agent and hundreds of agencies out there! Make sure they provide you with training and support you will need to get started as well as grow your business.
You can check out this post for more general details on becoming a work from home travel agent.
While my agency, Magical Moments Vacations doesn’t seem to be hiring at the moment, they do open up the application process periodically and I highly suggest if you are interested to keep checking back because they are the BEST out there! (Slightly biased)
Last minute advice for Disney vacationers
If you prefer to be your own agent and like doing your own research and planning, my advice to you is to keep it fun! Don’t stress the small stuff! Disney offers so much, it is impossible to do everything there is to do on one trip.
Pick your number one must-do activity each day and take the rest one step at a time! I see so many families miserable while on vacation because they can’t squeeze in everything they had planned and leave disappointed. That is truly the saddest thing to me!
Remember, just being there is magical! Enjoy it!
About the Author
Shelbi has taken her obsession with Disney and turned it into a career with a passion for helping families plan a stress-free and magical vacation to any Disney destination on the planet!
Check out her website for more about her FREE planning services, travel planning tips, and oh yeah, there might be Disney Gift Cards up for grabs!
So tell me, what is your favorite Disney Destination?
For more WFH job ideas, check out these posts!
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