Thursday, June 2, 2011

Cancelling a Disney Trip.


It's a Small World.

I just cancelled the Disney vacation that I had planned for October. It was just going to be a quick weekend trip, but even doing the creative "Disney math" that I usually do, I couldn't quite justify the expense of a trip in October when I was going for a longer trip in December with my husband and children.  I'm a little sad that I won't be going to Disney World for another 190 days, but I know that I'm lucky to go as frequently as I do and I can't complain. Still, this got me thinking. I haven't had to cancel any trips before, although I've moved a few around.  What do you do when you cancel a trip? How do you make it a little easier?

The Practical Side.

Cancelling a Disney Package:

  • More than 45-days prior to travel:  You'll receive a full-refund, no questions asked. Disney usually tells you your refund could take several weeks, but in my experience, it takes about 7 days.
  • Less than 45-days prior to travel:  Unless you have insurance, you'll be charged $200, your original deposit amount. This is the case even if you paid for your trip in full at the time of booking.
  • Some elements of your package are non-refundable, such as airfare and insurance.  If you book airfare with Disney, strongly consider getting insurance.

Cancelling a Room-Only Reservation: 

  • You can cancel your room-only reservation up until 5-days before check-in (6 days if you booked online).  The penalty for cancelling a room-only reservation is one-night's deposit. 
  • As an aside, if you're booking an expensive room, such as one at a deluxe resort, consider having your travel agent or Disney book this room as a "basic" package.  The premise of this package is essentially that you'll add tickets or dining later, but you don't have to.  The upside of this, is that you only pay a $200 deposit when you book, just as you would with a regular package. While you'll have to pay in full at the 45-day mark, just as you would with a regular package, if you have to cancel you're only out $200 rather than the a full night at an expensive resort, which could run your $400 or $500, easily.

Changing a room-only or a package reservation: 

  • Disney charges $50 to change a reservation under the 45-day mark for packages.
  • Changes to room only reservations after the 5-day mark will cost $50.
  • If you think you'll be coming back at some point, this can be a more economical solution than forfeiting $200 or the cost of one night's stay.
 Making Yourself Feel Better.

So you cancelled a trip. What do you do to make up for it?  Well, first of all, you remember how lucky you are that Disney World will always be there. Whether it was for financial reasons, school, or some of the sadder things we all go through from time to time, one of the best ways to make up for having to cancel a trip is to plan another one! In fact, I would say that cancelling a trip can be a gift in some ways:  You've got another opportunity to plan a new trip and get everything right.  Plus, we all know that planning is half the fun.  And while you can't make the time between now and your next trip go faster, but you can make it go . . . funner?  Okay, that's not a word. But, you know what I mean.  Here's a few things to consider:

1.  If you cancelled for financial reasons, congratulations for taking control of your finances and making the right decision even if it hurt. Whether you're going in six months or in two years, you can start putting money away for your vacation now. If you've already got a new reservation, Disney will let you make small payments (as little as $20) as you go. That money can really add up.

2.  Go into full-blown planning mode. If you've ever wanted to do a vacation right down to the smallest details, you've got a little extra time. 

3.  Become a Disney expert.  There are tons of great websites that can make you a smarter Disney guest and a better consumer. 

4. Do a trip report.  Disboards, Passporter, and WDW Magic all have active trip planning forums.  Start a pre-trip report with all your details. You'll be surprised how many nice people you'll "meet" while brainstorming about your next vacation.

4.   Get into shape. I sometimes hear people worrying about how they'll deal with all the walking at Disney World. It can be physically challenging, no matter who you are.  So, if you're worried about the shape you're in, consider using this time to get into better physical condition.  Disboards has a WISH board section devoted to people getting into shape and changing their lives. Get motivation and support by reading their stories.

5.  Have a Disney day close to home.  See a traveling show like Disney on Ice or maybe a Disney movie when it comes out in the theater.  Or maybe have a family Disney movie night just like we used to do before everyone had Netflix!  Pop some popcorn, walk away from the computer, and enjoy the great stories and characters you'll get to relive in the parks.  If your kids are into scrapbooking or crafts, get them involved in planing. They can start a scrapbook for the trip or even just work on a paper countdown chain.  There are lots of fun ways you can get everyone involved in planning your next trip.  One tip I love is to get a family change jar that everyone tosses their change into at the end of the day.  By the time your trip rolls around, you'll have plenty of mad money for treats and souvenirs. 

It's disappointing when you have to  cancel a trip, but the old adage is true:  Absence makes the heart grow fonder.  I promise that when you do get there, it will be even sweeter.

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9 comments:

DisneyBabies said...

great post! talk about taking lemons and turning them into a lemonade post.. you just didn't want to run the 5k, huh?

Chris said...

You know, that is one advantage. Not having to sweat all the way through Animal Kingdom? On the other hand, I'll be missing the 40th anniversary at WDW! Sad.

Aimee said...

What a great post! It stinks to have to cancel, but you put it all out there to help others make it smooth! :)

Kathy said...

Aww, so sorry you had to cancel. Sometimes it's hard to be a responsible adult! But you're certainly neither the first nor the last who will need to make the same decision, so this post was a great idea!

Anonymous said...

Great post!!!!

I know it's hard to cancel, but when you are a grown up sometimes you have to make grown up decisions.

The one thing I always add to my trip is travel insurance, and it's the kind that I can cancel for any reason. I usually book flights in far in advance and those are tricky to cancel, at least here in Canada. That way I am covered for any unforseen incident. Like my last trip when the teenager almost moved in with her dad, and then wouldn't have been joining us.

Don't worry about missing the 40th, The 50th now that's the one to go during. :)

Chris said...

Thank you everyone!

I appreciate it. Now I just need to stop secretly trying to figure out a way to go!

Robin said...

Can someone explain what the insurance covers? If you have to cancel your trip and the airfare and other things are "nonrefundable", what exactly are you buying insurance for? Thanks!

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