Tuesday, October 30, 2012

How To Salvage Your "Lost" Disney Vacation

At this very moment, we are supposed to be on a plane, headed for Orlando.  Since Hurricane Sandy has derailed our plans, I've decided to share with you how steps to recover a “lost” Disney vacation and included phone numbers for your calling pleasure. 

Get angry and panic…
When natural disasters occur, you are your own travel agent, and you decided to opt out of the vacation insurance offered, there isn't much to be said that will lower your blood pressure back to a normal state, so go ahead and panic.  Get it out of your system before you call your airline or Disney to try and salvage your vacation.  Do not try to call until then.  There’s no need to get angry with the agent trying to help you; chances are they are already having a rough day.  Do yourself and the agent who will speak to you a favor and have a cup of coffee or something before you start making calls.

Call Disney…
Normally, you cannot make changes to your vacation less than 45 days away from arrival without incurring some costs.  In the case of a natural disaster, Disney makes an exception to the rule.  Expect that wait times may be long.  Find out what your options are.  You can try to continue your vacation, move it to another date, or cancel it altogether. (Gah! Who would do such a thing?!)  We chose to postpone our vacation by 11 days, since we were going during the Free Dining promotion and did not want to lose that valuable option added to our package.  Moving our vacation to a date prior to that would mean losing free dining.  The cast member gave us three options, two that would cost no additional money and one with a slight package upgrade.  We chose the best option for us and canceled all of our dining reservations. (More on that later.)  (407-939-7675)
These are headed for the recycle bin!

Next, we had to contact Disney’s Magical Express and inform them that we would not be arriving and gave them the new arrival dates.  Since we are more than a week out, a new book and tags are being sent.  It's kind of sad that these luggage tags are headed for the recycle bin, rather than scrapbook.  They can't be reused.  (866-599-0951)

Then, I had to call bell services at our resort.  I typically ship non-perishable, consumable items to our resort, such as snacks, instant oatmeal, glow necklaces, etc.  Since our box of items has our scheduled arrival date and reservation number on (and in) it. It was easy for them to find, retag and put away for safe keeping.

Call your airline…
Airlines have no problem rescheduling your flight, especially if it was canceled due to inclement weather.  Prior to my call, I checked out available flight options online, so I knew what I wanted before I waited an hour (yes, an hour) to actually speak to someone.  They were more than happy to book us on a flight nearly two weeks away from our original dates, giving those who really needed to get home a chance at a flight.

Reschedule Dining Reservations…
I think I was the most upset over losing dining reservations.  When you wake up six months before your trip to get the perfect collection of ADRs and then lose them, it’s enough to cause Donald Duck style catastrophes to occur in your home.  California Grill is my favorite restaurant; the thought of losing a reservation put hummingbird moth sized butterflies in my stomach.  Luckily, I was able to get another one of these coveted ADRs, but I did lose our Chef Mickey’s reservation.  Oh well…some other family will be happy when they walk up and there’s availability.  I just hope I have the same luck when I show up to beg in a couple of weeks. (407- 939-3463)

Cancel or Change Special Event Tickets
We were planning to go to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party.  Our daughter was chomping at the bit to go.  I have yet to explain to her why we aren't trick or treating at Mickey’s house.  Nonetheless, we will be there during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.  It will be nice to see Christmas decorations at the parks since I've vowed never to go to Disney World during Christmastime because I prefer smaller crowds.  Normally, these tickets are non-refundable, but again, because of Hurricane Sandy, we had no problems changing this. (407-566-4985, option #5, this office is only open 8:30 am – 4:30 pm ET)

So, there you have it.  While I didn't quite get what I wanted, we will still have our Disney vacation.  I’m a firm believer in everything happening for a reason, so I’m predicting that this revised trip will be pretty awesome.  Since we are ten days out (again) I'm headed off to do Online Check In.  Prayers have already gone out to those on the east coast affected by Hurricane Sandy.  Stay safe, folks!

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