Disney vacations are a big deal in our family. We save and plan for months and everyone gets involved in the count down until we leave. But what do you do when a hurricane decides to pop up and threaten all your fun? When a natural disaster like a hurricane is happening, it seems selfish to be worried about your vacation when others are facing a life-threatening storm or losing their home. I absolutely agree that a vacation being ruined isn’t the biggest thing to worry about during a storm but it is the situation our family found ourselves in when Hurricane Dorian popped up on the radar in September 2019.
We were deep into packing and prepping for our daughter’s 3-year-old birthday trip to Disney World when my husband told me we might need to keep an eye on the tropical storm brewing. At first, I wasn’t too worried, we have been to Disney a bunch of times many of which were during the fall and in the middle of hurricane season and never had a problem. But as we sat and watched The Weather Channel, I started to realize this probably wasn’t the same as other trips we had. We started to talk seriously about what we should do and weather we needed to talk about the dreaded C-word – cancellation. If it was just my husband and I going it might be a different story but taking 4 young kids who don’t like thunderstorms into a hurricane didn’t seem like the smartest plan. We were supposed to leave on Friday, so we gave ourselves a deadline of Thursday night to make the call. We put all of our kids to bed and turned the weather channel back on to make our final decision. As we watched the models showed the cone head right for Disney World and we knew what we had to do.
Since we had booked directly with Disney, we jumped on the phone and called the reservation team. As we listened to the happy hold music, we started discussing what our options were. Like I said, this was our daughter’s 3-year-old birthday trip. At Disney, children 2 and under are guests of Mickey Mouse which means they are free; free to get in, free to eat (at table service), and free to stay. Our trip was scheduled for right before our daughter’s birthday to let her be Mickey’s guest one more time, so the idea of rescheduling our trip for after the hurricane made us worry about the extra expense it could be taking a 3-year-old instead of a 2-year-old. Thankfully about that time, a cast member answered the call. They reassured us that they were there to help and will take care of us. After just a few minutes, we were able to rebook our trip for a couple weeks later.
I can’t say enough good things about Disney customer service and the amazing cast members who really make the magic of Disney for so many of us. I’m so glad we did move our trip because Disney did end up closing during the time we would have been there. Even though we had to reschedule last minute we were able to rebook all our advanced dining reservations and fast passes and were able to get everything we wanted. In addition, we had some cast members work some magic for us and given one day tickets for our whole family that are good for 10 years because on our rescheduled trip one of our days was a shortened day because of travel times.
Pro Tip: Remember to be patient & nice to the cast members when you call; they are working hard to make your experience magical.
If you have questions about Disney World’s hurricane policy, you can check out more info on their site. https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/faq/hurricane-policy/cancellation-or-change-fees/