Friday, June 30, 2017

How To Handle The Unexpected Travel Delays

When you travel as much as we do, you are bound to run into bad travel delays. Most of the time there is really not much you can do to resolve the situation. You are at the mercy of the weather, the airline, or the local department of transportation. Whatever the case may be, you are going to have hiccups. On our latest Disney trek, there was weather all up and down the east coast affecting over 50% of the hubs for our preferred airline. So even though we enjoy all the privileges of my husband's airline status there was no way we were going to make our connection. So what is a poor traveler without much experience to do when this happens? Here is what I have learned traveling with a seasoned business traveler.

Cancelled Flights

Instead of following the herd to the customer service line, get on your cell immediately and try to get rebooked. Call or use the app. Check your email to see if the airline has sent you an alternative to book quickly. The idea here is to get to the head of the electronic line, not the physical line. And then use your phone to find a hotel if you will need one. Be sure to confirm it before leaving the airport. And ask what will happen to your luggage so you know where to pick it up the next morning.

Missing Disney Reservations

It happens. Travel delays cause you to have to miss a dining reservation or some fastpasses. The first thing to do is call or text your travel agent. They will be able to fix the dining issues for you. If you haven't booked with an agent (why is that??), if you are still within the 24 hour limit, you should be fine. If you are inside that limit, explain to Disney that missing your reservation is entirely out of your control. It's likely they will be accommodating and waive the fee for canceling within the 24 hour time frame. Your fastpasses don't come with a penalty, but it is courteous to let them go. Someone else will be so glad you did!

Stay Rested and Fed

If at all possible, keep the children fed and rested. And get some sleep yourself. Also, give yourself permission to recover once you arrive at your destination. You don't have to jump right into your plans. Take an hour, take half a day, do what you need to do to make the rest of your vacation enjoyable.

Check Your Attitude

It's so hard to stay positive when things seem to be falling apart around you, but it helps to remember that the one thing you always are in control of is yourself. You have the power to decide how you will respond to what is happening around you. Give yourself permission to be frustrated and then move on. Treat yourself to a new movie on your mobile device, purchase that book you've been wanting to read, allow yourself to use more data than you would because this is a special circumstance. Do whatever it is you need to do to keep yourself from falling apart along with your travel plans.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

What's Your Favorite Candy Bar? Or Why Crowdsourcing Your Trip on FaceBook Is A Bad Call

You've seen it before; someone on your Facebook feed asks for recommendations for their upcoming trip to Walt Disney World. It's likely they have never been and are looking for tips and tricks to get them started. This post may or may not phase you. Maybe you get all excited and recommend all your favorite attractions, and where your favorite parade seats are, and where they just have to get dining reservations. Or you may just scroll right past thinking, that's a nightmare I don't want to get involved with. When I see those posts, I cringe. I cringe because not only will there be a ton of erroneous information, I cringe because their friends are cheerfully letting them know all the things they liked (and didn't) while in no way considering your family's needs and desires. They are telling you what their favorite candy bar is, not telling you where you can find your favorite.

Remember that jingle from Almond Joy and Mounds? Sometimes you feel like a nut; sometimes you don't. This is what a good travel planner can parse out for you. When you are considering a trip to Walt Disney World the last thing you need is the conflicting advice from your friends; some of them like nuts, some don't. What you really need is the help of a Disney travel planner. These people are trained in all things Disney. They have experience and knowledge your friends who went two years ago don't. You need to think about what it is your family likes, what your needs are, how you like to travel, and where you like to stay.

Consider this: Are you foodies, and if so, do you have food allergies? Are you the family that likes to go till you drop, or do you like a more leisurely pace? Does your family like to swim, or do you prefer a playground? Are you into broadway shows, or thrill rides, or both? Do you like a high level of convenience in your trip, or do you want to travel on a shoestring? Do you want autonomy, or do you like to have someone else handle the details? Maybe you want a resort with a lot of kitsch and activity, or maybe you like to stay in a quiet, out of the way place. These are not the questions your friends are considering when they recommend their favorite candy bars. They are assuming you like the same ones they do. Maybe you do, but odds are, there are some things that you like that they just don't.

So the next time you see a Facebook post asking for Disney recommendations, the best recommendation you can give is to refer them to a Disney travel planner, preferably one like me who has been over 50 times and can offer sound advice with up to date, accurate, information on all the policies and practices at Walt Disney World. I can't tell you the number of times I have seen downright incorrect information given by well meaning individuals. It's not that they are trying to sabotage your vacation, but if you listen to only the advice of friends, you are bound to be disappointed. Walt Disney World is constantly changing. They add and take away experiences on a regular basis. It's an amazing trip, but it can also be a disaster. It would be such a shame to think you are going to get one sort of candy bar and end up with your least favorite in return. Call a Disney travel planner. You will be so thankful you did.