My DH was all packed and ready to go this morning to go visit our DD who is working at Disney with the Disney College Program this semester. I’ve gone to Disney by myself or with a subset of kids many times but this was his first time. He was excited for the one on one time with our DD who used one of her few allowed requests to take a precious day off rather than just hoping that her schedule would work out while he was there. I was so excited for them!!
Then, he checked his email . He is a department chair at a University and despite it being spring break, meetings are now being scheduled to deal with contingency plans regarding the coronavirus. He told them that he was going to be out of town expecting that they’d wish him well and catch him up when he got home. After all the department has already put together all of their plans to switch to online classes if need be. They did not wish him happy travels but instead urged him to call into the various meetings at the very least. He could try this but then all he really would be doing is paying a lot of money to travel to Florida and work from there. So, trip canceled thirty minutes before leaving for the airport .
Telling the story was to help me with my disappointment for them so thank you for indulging me The relevant information for all of you is what I did next to try and get our money back on our room-only reservation that he had already checked into and fully paid for. Unfortunately, this was not my first Disney cancellation. Last Labor Day I had to cancel my mother/son trip because of the hurricane but I did get all of my money back from that trip. In this case though, I wasn’t sure what would happen.
I waited on hold about 15 minutes and then told the cast member the story. She indicated that I would get all but the deposit back, which is what I expected. I politely asked if there was anything they could do about the deposit due to the unusual circumstances surrounding this virus. I expected nothing given that no airports have closed, no domestic travel advisories have been issued and there were no medical issues on our end but I thought it was worth asking nicely anyway. She said that she would have to ask a supervisor and put me on hold. After a few moments she can came back with the news that they are refunding everything, even the deposit! (I was also offered the option to book for a later time but this is not a normal vacation so that isn’t practical for us right now.) As someone who has been regularly traveling to Disney since 2006, I have been frustrated with some of the changes recently, the decline is services and price increases but this is the Disney customer service that I have always loved! They had absolutely no obligation to help and yet they did. The cast member briefly lamented with me the canceled trip, hoped that we could book again soon and wished me a magical day. I did take the survey at the end with all positive responses.
If you are thinking about canceling due to the coronavirus I wouldn’t purposefully wait to do so past the normal cancellation periods and hope that you get all of your money back, but if something happens last minute, I think that you can have some confidence that Disney will work with you to either reschedule or get you your money back. I hope our story helps calm some fears! Also, asking nicely and being kind to cast members does help in all situations. After the stories that I have heard from my DD, many people don’t and that although sometimes you get what you want by yelling the loudest, everyone will be happier when you get what you want by asking the nicest