This has been an astonishing week across the United States and around the globe as the reality of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) has finally begun to sink in. Disney announced late this week that the theme parks at both Walt Disney World Resort in Florida as well as Disneyland Resort in California would close through the end of March.
If you’re like me, and you probably are since you’re reading this blog, you probably have a trip planned to Walt Disney World in the near future. So Disney World is closed, now what? Do you wait and see, reschedule, cancel…cry? In this post, I’ll cover what Disney has to say, what I am doing about my upcoming trips, and where we go from here.
DISNEY WORLD IS CLOSED
Well, here’s what we know so far, everything is changing. Every time you turn around, there seems to be more information, restrictions, cancellations, and things to worry about being shared across social media. Hopefully, I can put your mind at ease, at least where your Walt Disney World vacation is concerned.
Let’s begin here…Disney is a strong, reputable company that has been around over 100 years. It is resilient, and I have no doubt, will bounce back from this situation, better than ever. The Disney Company cares about the health and safety of its employees as well as its guests, so I am sure that the decision to close its theme parks didn’t come easily. However, top officials knew that it was the right thing to do given the severity of the situation. Disney’s unprecedented decision to continue to pay its theme park employees during this time, should hopefully give you some reassurance that they will take care of you and your vacation plans, too.
WHAT DISNEY HAS TO SAY
For now, if you have a trip that does not begin within the next 3 days, please wait to call Disney. The phone lines and cast members are currently overwhelmed helping guests that were scheduled to travel during the closure. If you can wait patiently to call closer to your travel date, you will help everyone out. Remember you can access the Disney website 24 hours a day, and many modifications and cancellations can be made there without calling. If your travel dates are within the 3 day window, please call (407) 939-5277 for help, and be prepared to wait on hold for several hours.
In the meantime, if you have a question, here are some common ones that cast members have been receiving, and the official answers from Disney:
Even though this trip is further out, I have already had to make some difficult decisions and modifications. Hopefully, Walt Disney World will be back up and running sooner rather than later, but it’s impossible to predict exactly when with any degree of accuracy at this point. I am optimistic that my kids and I will still be able to go this summer, so I don’t want to cancel until the very last moment unless I have to, similar to my plan for my spring trip. However, I want to minimize the amount of money I could be out, if a last minute cancellation does need to occur. So even though it was difficult, I let my kids in on what is going on with the vacation plans, telling them I had made some adjustments for now, but that there is a chance that we might have to postpone until summer 2021.
For the flights, I am just going to wait and see what happens. Even though I could cancel now and receive a full credit with no cancellation fee, I am going to take the gamble that if I need to cancel closer to my travel date, Frontier will still have in place their special cancellation fee waivers due to COVID-19. For the park admission tickets for my kids, if Walt Disney World is closed, the same rules will probably apply to my tickets allowing me to use them through December 15, 2020. Even if I can’t reschedule before that date, I will be able to apply that $1000 I spent on the tickets towards new ones to use next summer if I need to move my trip to 2021. The car rental was also an easy decision, I just went ahead and cancelled it this weekend, for no cost.
The most difficult decision was cancelling the vacation home. It cost me a non-refundable 20% deposit (ouch!), but if I don’t cancel now, the amount of money that I could lose just continues to go up from here. Magical Vacation Homes does not allow rescheduling and they do not refund money under any circumstances which is all clearly spelled out in the rental agreement that you sign at the time of booking. Their company is not making an exception due to the Coronavirus. I decided rather than taking the chance on losing the full amount of the rental if I had to cancel closer the to trip dates, I would rather have the flexibility that Disney offers. So after cancelling the vacation home, I rebooked onsite at a Walt Disney World resort hotel for my summer vacation with my kids. Although it is a little more expensive and a lot less space, it gives me the peace of mind that I need knowing that I won’t lose money and that Disney will work with me to modify or cancel my reservation if necessary.
LATE SUMMER AND BEYOND TRIPS
For my trips in July and beyond, I am going to continue to take them one day at a time. I would hope that by mid summer we as a country and as a world are in a much better place both health-wise and economically. I imagine it will take some time to recover, but as things start to calm down and begin looking up, I would expect the parks to reopen and crowds to slowly pick up as people become more comfortable traveling again.
WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE
In the meantime, while we wait for things to get back to normal, I will continue to share Walt Disney World information here. You can still expect to see several posts a week, updating you on the latest news and filling you in on all of the fun things coming up at the most magical place on earth for the rest of the year and beyond!
Please stay safe and well, and I will see you in the parks real soon!
If you are planning a vacation to Disney World, be sure to check out these valuable resources to help you save time and money:
- Check out my book UPDATED FOR 2020 501 Ways to Make the Most of Your Walt Disney World Vacation for secret insider tips and tricks that you won’t find anywhere else!
- View the latest Disney World discounts currently available!