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What to do when EVERYTHING goes wrong at Disney

Well readers. This is a bummer blog to write because I have to relive the craziness that was our last trip to Disney. BUT as in everything, I learned a lot from it! As my title states: what to do when everything goes wrong at Disney, this blog is all about what went wrong during our trip and how to handle it if, God forbid, it happen to you!

Our Story:

We were blessed by my in-laws to a 3-day Disney trip for Christmas! We spent months preparing, gathering clothes (and Minnie ears...ok this was just me), and being excited. We were set to leave on December 26 from Albuquerque at 7:50am. We woke up on the 26th at 5am, got a text that our flight was running early (whatttttt) so we were hustling at the airport to make it. As we finally made it through security, it was announced that our plane was delayed because of a personnel issue. We finally took off 2 hours after our scheduled departure time but we knew our layover in Houston was long so we weren't worried at all. As soon as we landed in Houston we noticed that our flight was delayed... uh oh. While we sat and ate lunch it was delayed again. At this time we start to notice that a lot of flights were being delayed and cancelled and there were Southwest (yep....) employees, pilots, and stewardesses scattered throughout the airport. I approach a stewardess at a desk and ask that since our flight had been delayed twice what our chances were of actually taking off.... and she laughed. She said she had been working 16 hours days for days on end and told me that "your flight will be cancelled. Most likely". And within 15 minutes, it was cancelled. We rushed down to baggage because they were announcing that there were no other flights leaving till the 31st.. and saw a line 3 hours long for flight scheduling and another 3 hour line to find out where our baggage is. It. Was. Insane. Suitcases stacked on top of each other. People shoulder to shoulder (this is important to the rest of our story). Our plan B is to stay the night at my parents in Houston, rent a car and drive to Orlando. As we wait 3 hours to find out that our baggage will meet us in Florida, I have 3 failed rental cars and no idea what to do next. As we're driving to my parents, I finally secure a rental car 1 hr away from the airport and we say a quick thank you & goodbye to my parents, buy car seats and hygiene products from Walmart and finally we're on our way! We stayed in Baton Rouge the first night of the road trip and we stayed in Disney's All-Star resort when we finally made it to Orlando. The plan all along was to meet our family at the Animal Kingdom Lodge on the 28th for the rest of the Disney portion of the trip. Finally, everything is going smoothly till we walk out from breakfast at our All-Star resort and Judah begins complaining about his throat hurting. Austin also begins to feel tired and run down. Thinking that the past 2 days of travel chaos was just exhausting and traumatizing, they relax at the hotel lobby while Josh and I go to Disney Springs to do some shopping. Side note: THANKFULLY our in-laws were able to find our baggage at the airport and fingers-crossed Southwest reimburses us for our 2 days worth of clothing and hygiene products we had to buy along the way. Judah and Austin continue to sleep and they decide that they will sleep in on Magic Kingdom morning and meet us later. They meet us for lunch but don't last much longer because they felt so tired so they go back to the hotel. To summarize the rest of the trip: Judah and Austin take turns with fever, fatigue, and more.... They joined us on the last day because 1. they both went fever free for 24 hours 2. both took a covid test and it was negative 3. we had to check out of the hotel to drive to my in-laws later that day (I'm only saying this so I don't get hate about having sick people at Disney). We stayed at my in-laws for another 2 days while they recover from whatever we got AT THE AIRPORT and we face a few more flight delays (we got in bed at our house at 2am) on the way home.

So, if you don't want to read that long paragraph, here's a 30 second Disney recap: flight delay, flight cancelled, no rental cars, no baggage, unexpected out of pocket expenses, unexpected road trip, sickness, more flight delays, really late return home.

As promised though, here is what I learned about what to do when EVERYTHING goes wrong at Disney.

  1. Pay for the travel insurance. If worst case scenario happens, at least you'll get your money back! This applies to travel expenses & hotel expenses! If you can't afford the travel insurance, KNOW the cancellation policies for your hotel, flights, and entertainment (in this case, Disney park tickets).

  2. USE A TRAVEL AGENT. When I was frantically looking for a rental car, my phone was dying and I kept thinking: "this would be so much easier with extra help". In this scenario, I would have called my travel agent, asked her to help me find and secure a rental car and handle any hotels booking/rescheduling while I took care of my bored kids or to keep my sanity.

  3. Pharmacy delivery was very helpful while taking care of sick family members. While I was in Epcot with the healthy family members, I had medicine & covid tests delivered to their hotel. My husband did have to go down to pick it up because he had to show an ID for some medications. The resort store does have some medications but they were more like pain relieving and nothing specific to sinus, allergies, cold, etc.

  4. Each Disney park has a first aid center and it was extremely easy and helpful! While my family was in line for a show, I went to the first aide desk and asked for allergy medicine, adult Tylenol and children's Tylenol. I signed my name and date and that was it! The lady gave me a single dose in an individually wrapped packet for the adult medicine and she gave me a secured syringe of the kids liquid medicine. She asked me the child's age and made sure to give me the correct dosage. I'm not sure what other medications they have but I do know that they also have a secure fridge there to hold park goers cold medications they may need during that day. Here is a link to read more about their first aid centers.

  5. Know your transportation options to and from the parks. Staying at a hotel with quick transportation (monorail, skyliner, short shuttle time) really makes a difference when you don't feel well.

I realize that sickness can't be avoided.... (we tried before this trip) and I also realize that I can't even encourage you to "make the most out of it" because being sick on vacation is AWFUL. Although my oldest and I were able to stay healthy and enjoy all the parks, it's not as much fun without your entire family and I know that my husband and youngest feel disappointed that they missed out on a really fun family vacation.

Here's a cute pic of me and my oldest enjoying some quality time together!

Animal Kingdom Lodge was a beautiful hotel!! Not too bad to get stuck in for a few days...

What are some vacation lessons you've learned the hard way?

Let me know in the comments below!



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