Monday, May 6, 2013

Disney Vacation Interupptus: What to Do When It Doesn’t Go Your Way


Welcome back one of my favorite guest bloggers ever, Rebecca Farrell (follow on Twitter @RMZFarrell)

Well, readers, I had hoped to be writing this week’s column as the first in a series reviewing the Western Caribbean itinerary on the Disney Fantasy. Alas, my baby (on board, due in October), had other ideas. I’ll spare you the details but long story short – my doctor and my family (and yours truly, after MUCH debate), decided it was better to skip the week-long cruise to Mexico and spend a week at Walt Disney World instead.
I know, I know, rough choice, right? Everyone should be so lucky…
Thanks to my amazing, wonderful travel agent, and the last-minute receipt of a Disney pin code, we were able to book 9 days and 8 nights on the club level of Disney’s Contemporary Resort.
I actually started making the dining reservations for the trip before the hotel was even re-booked…and I was pleasantly surprised at the availability of our favorite places, both in the parks and at the resorts. Of course, we couldn’t get into Cinderella’s Royal Table, but we did enjoy breakfast with Mickey and friends at O'hana one morning!
I’ll blog about the particulars of our last-minute switcheroo trip in the weeks ahead, but we had to be flexible to accommodate a fair amount of rain and a WHOLE bunch of cranky pregnant lady.  Below are just a few tips on how you can avoid issues when you have to re-book travel at the last minute or flat-out cancel everything.
1.      Buy travel insurance for your trip AND your airfare – I had done so for the cruise part of our cancelled trip, but not the airfare, and for the latter ended up paying a $300 change fee. You can often get refunds for unused or interrupted travel if you have the right travel insurance. This is another reason why it’s a good idea to purchase your vacation with the help of a travel professional. Nothing is foolproof, of course, but there are back ups in place – and that’s peace of mind worth spending money on, in my opinion.

2.      Get everything in writing – in order to file for a refund of our cruise, the travel insurance company requires a lot of paperwork, including (in my case) a form that my doctor had to fill out. I spent the better part of a day tracking down what was needed, but hopefully we’ll get our money back!

3.      Get a GAC – that’s Guest Assistance Card. I had my doctor do one up for me on their letterhead and sign in. It worked like a charm! My doctor didn’t want me on my feet all day, so in addition to taking LOTS of breaks in and out of the parks, we had the GAC in our back pocket just in case. But with our park savvy and the cooler temps, lines weren’t an issue.

4.      Be prepared not to get first dibs – As I mentioned earlier, some things we would have liked to experience on a trip like this were off-limits because we booked so late in the game. But we certainly weren’t disappointed…we know we’ll be back in about 18 months when Baby Farrell turns one.

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