Despite Disney World reopening its theme parks beginning on July 11, some guests may be weighing the pros and cons of keeping their upcoming Disney World reservation for a number of reasons.
With new realities such as an advance reservation system to enter the parks, no fireworks or parades, no character dining, and sanitation concerns, it’s completely understandable that travelers may be reconsidering their summer vacation plans.
Disney offered a slew of automatic refunds during the park closures. Now that the parks will be open again, however, it may be more tricky to get everything refunded. While we cannot decide for each guest if they should cancel or not, we CAN offer some insight into what the repercussions might be.
If a guest selectively chooses to cancel their upcoming vacation, here’s what they can expect will happen.
How to Cancel
According to Disney’s website, most reservations can be canceled online. If you are in the unique circumstance where you need to call Disney in order to cancel, the phone number to call is (407) 934-7639.
To cancel online, sign in to your Disney account and go to your Reservations page. If you are able to cancel your reservation online, you will see a link that says “Cancel Reservation.”
Disney’s site notes that a cancellation fee may apply. During the closures, however, this fee was waived. According to Disney, “To provide additional flexibility, we are waiving Disney-imposed change and cancellation fees up to the date of check-in for reservations with arrivals through the closing period.” This indicates that Disney MAY NOT be waiving these fees anymore once the closing period ends.
What Disney is Automatically Cancelling Due to Capacity Reductions
Whether you choose to cancel your reservation or not, Disney has announced a series of cancellations that they will be making automatically that may impact your upcoming vacation. These include:
- All Advance Dining Reservations and all Disney Dining Plans included in packages
- Offerings and experience bookings such as behind-the-scenes tours
- All FastPass+ selections
If you had previously booked any of these experiences and prepaid any sort of amount of down payment towards those bookings, Disney should be refunding that amount in full.
Read more about Disney’s decision to cancel all upcoming Advance Dining Reservations & Disney Dining Plans here!
Disney’s Cancellation and Refund Policies
Per Disney’s website, the following policies apply to arrivals between January 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020:
- “For cancellations made 30 days or more prior to guest arrival, amounts paid, minus cancellation fees assessed by third party hotels or other suppliers, non-refundable air transportation, non-refundable runDisney race registrations, non-refundable travel protection plan costs, and other amounts owed, will be refunded”
- “For cancellations made 2 days to 29 days prior to guest arrival, amounts paid, minus a cancellation fee of $200.00 per package and minus any cancellation fees assessed by third party hotels or other suppliers, non-refundable air transportation, non-refundable runDisney race registrations, non-refundable travel protection plan costs, and other amounts owed, will be refunded. No refunds are given for cancellations of any personalized products or experiences.”
- For cancellations made 1 day or less prior to guest arrival or for no-shows, the full price of the package is non-refundable.
What is unclear at this time is if this cancellation policy will remain in effect once the theme parks reopen. These are unprecedented times and Disney World has never been faced with so many unique circumstances regarding guests’ reservations. However, at this time we have not seen anything from Disney to indicate a change in their policy except for refunds during the closure. For now, we will have to wait and see!
Hotel Rooms & Packages
During the closures, Disney was automatically canceling and refunding all hotel reservations. Now that the parks are set to reopen in July, these automatic cancellations may no longer be happening, and guests could need to selectively cancel their reservations.
For guests with impacted reservations during the closures who were offered Free Dining, those packages are also being canceled. However, Disney is offering a hefty 35% room discount for those impacted.
During the closures, Disney was pretty flexible in extending the useful life of park tickets. Per Disney, “Unexpired multi-day theme park tickets with unused days, or date-specific theme park tickets with a start date on or before March 31, 2020 will automatically be extended to use any date through December 15, 2020. If you are unable to visit by December 15, 2020 you may apply the value of a wholly unused ticket toward the purchase of a ticket for a future date.”
We spoke with a Cast Member regarding the possibility of Park Hopper add-ons being refunded, as many guests were wondering if park hopping would be halted at the time of reopening. As of time of writing, we were told that park-hopper add-ons will NOT be automatically refunded, primarily due to the fact that they currently do not know yet if guests will be able to park hop when the parks reopen.
There are also special events tickets, like for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, that summer travelers need to consider (those parties start in August, after all!). At this time, purchased Halloween party tickets are still valid. There is no word yet on whether or not Disney will still hold these events, but if they choose to do so and you cancel your vacation, we cannot guarantee that Disney will refund your party tickets.
Dining Reservations & Disney Dining Plan
If you purchased a Disney Dining Plan, that will automatically be refunded regardless of whether or not you choose to cancel your vacation altogether.
Guests have started to receive confirmation that their reservations are being canceled. Learn more here.
Non-Disney Related Refunds
For most travelers, there are a couple of additional major expenses to deal with when canceling your vacation that have nothing to do with Disney themselves. This could be a more complex issue that will be unique to each traveler, but here’s what we know so far.
Each airline operates differently, so what one airline does in terms of refunds may not be how another one works. In general, the airline industry is going to want your business, so you may see enticing deals, which could include:
- Canceling or rebooking your flight with no fees
- Automatically extending rewards status
- Lowering the qualifications for elite status
Not all airlines are going to be as open about discussing refunds as others, so keep asking (politely) when speaking with an agent!
Similar to airlines, each rental car company will operate differently in terms of what they will refund. For example, Enterprise is currently offering a no-fee cancellation policy for existing prepaid rental reservations.
Contact the company you are renting through to see what they are doing differently during this time and what their cancellation policies are.
Ultimately the decision on whether or not to cancel your summer reservation is entirely up to you. There’s no question that Disney World will look very different than what we’re accustomed to, but we’re sure that Disney is doing all that they can to create those magical experiences we have all come to expect.
With that in mind, know that once the parks reopen, Disney will probably be less lenient in terms of full refunds, so be prepared! Review those cancellation policies and make the best decision for your family!
Do you have a current reservation at Disney World this summer? Have you considered canceling? Share your experience with us in the comments.