Disney Travel

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Aug 27, 2015
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#1
My sister has encountered a problem with an upcoming vacation she booked for Disney World through Disney travel. She made the reservation over the phone for a package including air. When the initial reservation was made they did inform her that the airfare was a non-refundable fare so it was "use it or lose it" unless a situation arose that was covered by insurance. They also told her that while it was non-refundable it could be changed. At no time did they tell her anything about a change fee, only that she would have to pay any difference in fare if she changed it. She did end up needing to change the dates so she calls Disney back. The very pleasant, helpful "cast member" got all of the Disney changes made and then they moved on to changing the air. This is when she found out about the $200 change fee imposed by American.

After a couple of hours of back and forth between the "cast member" and the "Disney Flight Specialist" (who for some reason wouldn't talk directly to my sister, only through the other agent), she was left with "that's the airline's policy, there's nothing we can do about it, you'll need to talk to the airline". The airline in question is American, so naturally (and rightfully), they declined to be of any assistance. So now it's back to Disney. (she's already given them her permission to speak with me) I'm trying to help her deal with the situation because she is just so upset about the whole thing she's having a hard time keeping emotions out of it and she's working as many hours as possible to pay for the trip so she doesn't have much down time. I'm trying to compose an email to Disney for her and my questions are:

1. Is contacting them through the regular "email us" link on their site the best way to go? I know email is the best since you have a paper trail. I can't find any other email addresses for them but I thought maybe someone here might have a better contact address.

2. How much information should be included? I wrote what I thought was a concise explanation, but it still seems long after much editing. This is what I have at this point:

"I'm writing to you on behalf of my sister, ********. She made reservations through Disney travel for an upcoming trip in November. As part of the reservation, she also booked airfare. When booking the airfare, the cast member assisting her did inform her that the tickets were non-refundable, however, they could be changed if the need arose. Earlier this week, she did change her vacation dates. First they made the changes to her Disney vacation package.

Next they moved on to rescheduling the air portion of the trip. This is when she was first informed of the $200 per ticket change fee. At no time during the original booking did the cast member inform her of any change fees other than the possible difference in fare. She didn't feel the $200 per ticket fee was warranted since she was not informed the fee existed until she was tried to reschedule the air portion. After much discussion between the cast member helping her reschedule her trip and the "Disney Flight Specialist" and hours on the phone, she was told she would just have to pay the fee or lose what she paid for the tickets and make other travel arrangements. With the cost of the change fee and the additional cost of the fare, the cheapest option at the time was to just forget the original tickets and book through another airline. I have spoken with the airline. Their stance is it's not their fault that Disney didn't inform the customer of the fee. Is there anything that Disney can do to rectify this situation?"

The first draft was even longer. Is there anything else I can (or should) remove? Or is there anything else that should be included? Thank you all in advance.
 
Aug 27, 2015
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#3
The airline is correct. There is always a fee to change dates and if there is a change, she has to pay the difference in fare.

She needs to go after Disney if the rep. didn't tell her there is a change fee, but good luck getting the rep. to admit she didn't tell her. Does she have the reps. name?
She doesn't have the original reps name. She made the original booking a few months ago. If she would have asked me before booking the trip, I would have told her to avoid American and Delta if at all possible. But she didn't and now this is where she is. I was really surprised by Disney's stance. I've been there several times myself and they have always been more than accommodating with everything. On one trip, I was mistakenly told when booking that there were coffeepots in a room when that particular resort didn't offer them. I asked the front desk about the "missing" pot when we headed out. She explained they didn't have them at that resort and I said "Okay, thank you" and that was it. I didn't even mention I had been told otherwise. When we returned to the room, there was a coffee pot that they brought over from another resort with a note that said "Sorry about the mix up! ♥, Mickey (and plenty of coffee, tea and cocoa for our entire trip and then some) and 2 envelopes addressed to my kids. Each one had $50 Disney Dollars! On another trip, a seagull stole my son's hot dog and a cast member saw that he was upset and asked him what happened and then immediately went and got him another hot dog and gave him a huge stack of fast passes that were good on any ride at any of the parks. I could go on and on about how good they have always been to me. I'm a huge fan, so I'm not really sure how to go about complaining to them.
 

Barry Graham

Administrator
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Jan 7, 2015
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#4
Disney's business is all about being accommodating, as I know from a recent Disney Institute class I attended. Of course in order to be accommodating it has to be something that is under their control. There is a list of company contacts at the bottom of this page, it's really for Disney Cruises but I believe the list has good contacts that could help you.

http://elliott.org/company-contacts/disney-cruise-line/
 
Aug 27, 2015
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#5
Disney's business is all about being accommodating, as I know from a recent Disney Institute class I attended. Of course in order to be accommodating it has to be something that is under their control. There is a list of company contacts at the bottom of this page, it's really for Disney Cruises but I believe the list has good contacts that could help you.

http://elliott.org/company-contacts/disney-cruise-line/
I understand they have no control over what the airlines do. But I would think that they would have offered some other type of option. Pay the fee themselves, credit her for the amount of the change fee for the Disney portion of the trip, something. It just seems so strange that they offered nothing to try and fix their mistake. Thank you for the contact info. I will give it a try.
 

Neil Maley

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#6
Disney Cruise Lines is a totally different entity than the parks vacations and they don't mix. I don't think contacting them is going to work. I thought we had contacts for Disney Vacations, but we don't. I'll see if I can find anything online.
 
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jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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#7
Tx, I think the problem here is that the Disney rep assumed that 'everyone' knows about the airlines' change fees. That is unfortunate for your sister, unless she made note of the date, time and full name of the person with whom she dealt making the original plans. If she did, Disney owes her the change fees.

If she does not have that info, a very polite request to American, explaining the situation and asking them to waive the change fee might do the job. But they are in the midst of digesting a major merger, so it could take months to get a positive answer. Nobody likes change fees, some of us get really rabid about the subject, but they're here to stay until the government steps in and forces the airlines to charge a humane amount.

If American won't cooperate, I'd send an email to Disney and ask for funny money to cover the pain of the air changes. However, reading about all your good fortune with Disney over the years, I think YOU should give your sister the change fees - pay it forward, right? That coffee pot story is GREAT! Good luck, and please let us know what happens ... we like to learn too.
 
Likes: AAGK
Aug 27, 2015
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#8
Tx, I think the problem here is that the Disney rep assumed that 'everyone' knows about the airlines' change fees. That is unfortunate for your sister, unless she made note of the date, time and full name of the person with whom she dealt making the original plans. If she did, Disney owes her the change fees.

If she does not have that info, a very polite request to American, explaining the situation and asking them to waive the change fee might do the job. But they are in the midst of digesting a major merger, so it could take months to get a positive answer. Nobody likes change fees, some of us get really rabid about the subject, but they're here to stay until the government steps in and forces the airlines to charge a humane amount.

If American won't cooperate, I'd send an email to Disney and ask for funny money to cover the pain of the air changes. However, reading about all your good fortune with Disney over the years, I think YOU should give your sister the change fees - pay it forward, right? That coffee pot story is GREAT! Good luck, and please let us know what happens ... we like to learn too.
We did go to the airline, being American, I didn't expect anything, which is exactly what she got. She knows when the original reservations were made, but she doesn't have the name of the agent. I'd give her the money in a second if I had it. The change fees alone are $800 for her trip. $200 per ticket to change a flight that's not even leaving for over 2 months is ridiculous. Even if she just decides to forget the money she's already spent and go with another airline, those seats will end up being filled. They are for prime flight times between DFW and MCO. Those flights are almost always overbooked. So they'll end up with her money and the money of whoever they end up putting in her seats. I'm not going to hold my breath for Congress to force them into doing the right thing. I'll just keep my fingers crossed that Disney does. Like I said, they've always gone above and beyond for me. One of our trips was over my daughter's birthday. The hotel desk gave her a pin to wear on her big day and all day cast members wished her happy birthday and gave her little trinkets or treats at the parks and restaurants. But the coolest part was when we got back to the room, the maid service had made a bunch of the towel animals and set them around a birthday cake towel arrangement with a birthday card. Thinking about all of my great Disney memories makes me really want to go back. Only I'd fly Southwest.
 
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JVillegirl541

Verified Member
Nov 21, 2014
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#10
Have booked several vacations with Disney (packages & cruises) and they come with what seems to be pages of disclosures. Those folks seem to put everything and every possibility in writing in the booking package. This is e-mailed during the booking process and usually mailed out also.

Fine print, these guys are experts at it so I'm surprised it's not hidden in there somewhere dealing with "change fees" which are normal with airlines, because Non-refundable really means Non-refundable and they are doing you a favor by allowing changes vs forfeiting the entire ticket.... And all the airlines charge about $200 for this (or there about).
Investigate what your sister received from Disney Vacations in writing & email.

I am assuming she called to book based on what you said and she did not book online herself. The real problem here is that you want to be a good sister but you were not on that phone when complicated arrangements were being made, so you are relaying conversations 2nd hand that you did not hear. Not meaning to insult you but this is a problem, kudos for you having the time to help her out!

You have gotten lots of good advice and I would urge you to track down paper work and emails
And see what the fine print was.

BTW Disney does record calls for "quality" assurance ;)
 
Likes: jsn55
Aug 27, 2015
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#11
If she cancels her AA reservation, she will be given a credit she can use up to a year from the date she booked the original trip less the cancellation fee.

Is there any way she can just travel the original dates she booked?
The original itinerary is no longer available unless Disney want to throw in a huge room upgrade or my sister wants to stay in a tent at the campground. The beginning of the original trip fell at the end of the Food and Wine Festival and they were booking 2 separate moderate rooms at the same resort. They don't have 2 moderate rooms at the same resort for the original dates and they didn't offer to upgrade her to the available deluxe resort.

She's also pretty much all in on this trip. She won't be traveling anywhere for quite a while. Thank you again for all the help. I will email Disney's general customer service address and keep you updated on the progress.
 
Likes: jsn55
Aug 27, 2015
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#12
Have booked several vacations with Disney (packages & cruises) and they come with what seems to be pages of disclosures. Those folks seem to put everything and every possibility in writing in the booking package. This is e-mailed during the booking process and usually mailed out also.

Fine print, these guys are experts at it so I'm surprised it's not hidden in there somewhere dealing with "change fees" which are normal with airlines, because Non-refundable really means Non-refundable and they are doing you a favor by allowing changes vs forfeiting the entire ticket.... And all the airlines charge about $200 for this (or there about).
Investigate what your sister received from Disney Vacations in writing & email.

I am assuming she called to book based on what you said and she did not book online herself. The real problem here is that you want to be a good sister but you were not on that phone when complicated arrangements were being made, so you are relaying conversations 2nd hand that you did not hear. Not meaning to insult you but this is a problem, kudos for you having the time to help her out!

You have gotten lots of good advice and I would urge you to track down paper work and emails
And see what the fine print was.

BTW Disney does record calls for "quality" assurance ;)
She did book over the phone. I'm sure somewhere in the pages of the terms and conditions the change fees are mentioned, but because the booking was done on the phone, this was all given to her after the fact. By the time she had the fine print to read, the booking was made. The general terms mention that the airline MAY impose a change fee, but doesn't spell out how much. Either way, it really should have been brought up at the time of booking. While many people are well aware of the change fees, not everyone knows about them until they are told. They didn't mention the checked bag fees either, but she was aware of those so at least she didn't show up at the airport and get hit with another $200 surprise.
 

Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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#13
Until we can find contacts, I would tell her to call Disney again and ask for a supervisor. If there is a Food and Wine Festival and there aren't rooms for her original dates, thry should be happy to help her.

Tell her to ask whoever she speaks to to look at the agent that did the original booking as that would be the agent she spoke to and ask them if they can review the conversation (they may have it recorded).

I am wondering if the agent meant she could change her room dates not realizing the air component eas involved.

Disney usually does bend over backwards to help guests so maybe she just hasn 't gotten the right person on the phone?
 
Mar 17, 2015
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#14
Don't the contact e-mails follow the same line as DCL's, i.e. Karl.holz@disney.com. Just find out the execs names and start e-mailing. Not sure that I think Disney customer service is as great as I did a few weeks ago, but hey, maybe they will come through for you. I sent an e-mail a week ago and have received a phone call I need to return from Mr. Holz's office, so I know they are reading the e-mails and attempting to earn back some of the magic that has been lost recently.

I am not 100% sure your sister has a case however, even though she booked over the phone, did they send her any paperwork to sign off on? Not sure how bookings over the phone work, as I go through a travel agent and she makes sure to spell out the cancellation/change fees. Maybe see about splitting the change fees since your sister is adamant that they did not tell her. I am a bit surprised there is much $$ left on those earlier tickets, as the flights from DFW to MCO are not normally that expensive, the change fee would almost eat up the fares in this instance. But I would also ask for any documentation sent to her after the phone call, I bet there was something in the fine print about the change fees.
 

Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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#15
Karl Holtz is on both but the right way to try to resolve an issue is not going to the top right away. If there is no history shown on all the emails you tried to resolve before contacting, that email is usually not even read.
 
Likes: jsn55
Mar 17, 2015
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#16
Karl Holtz is on both but the right way to try to resolve an issue is not going to the top right away. If there is no history shown on all the emails you tried to resolve before contacting, that email is usually not even read.

Sorry, should have said that I did start with the regular customer service e-mail. Kept getting form responses that did not answer or address my complaint.
 
Aug 27, 2015
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#17
Don't the contact e-mails follow the same line as DCL's, i.e. Karl.holz@disney.com. Just find out the execs names and start e-mailing. Not sure that I think Disney customer service is as great as I did a few weeks ago, but hey, maybe they will come through for you. I sent an e-mail a week ago and have received a phone call I need to return from Mr. Holz's office, so I know they are reading the e-mails and attempting to earn back some of the magic that has been lost recently.

I am not 100% sure your sister has a case however, even though she booked over the phone, did they send her any paperwork to sign off on? Not sure how bookings over the phone work, as I go through a travel agent and she makes sure to spell out the cancellation/change fees. Maybe see about splitting the change fees since your sister is adamant that they did not tell her. I am a bit surprised there is much $$ left on those earlier tickets, as the flights from DFW to MCO are not normally that expensive, the change fee would almost eat up the fares in this instance. But I would also ask for any documentation sent to her after the phone call, I bet there was something in the fine print about the change fees.
I'm 99.99% positive that Disney are not technically or legally required to do anything. My sister obviously didn't record the call when she made the reservation, so she has no real proof that she wasn't told about the fee upfront. At this point, it's more a matter of trying to get the company to do the right thing. Based on my experience, Disney has always tried to go above and beyond to fix any problem a guest has, even if it's something that is in no way their fault (see my above story about my son and the thieving seagull). I know many, many people that have gone on Disney vacations and the few that have had issues got the problems resolved beyond their expectations with minimal headaches. The only person I personally know that has ever gone on any type of Disney vacation and not ended up being at least 100% satisfied is my OTHER sister, and she's the type of person that you could give a billion dollars too and she'd complain about her taxes going up.

As anyone that's been to Disney knows, even a "budget" trip there isn't cheap. This is a once in a lifetime type trip for my sister. She's spending well over $10,000. There were other additional expenses involved when she changed her booking, like the additional $3000 for dining because a promotion was not available during the new dates. She took the other additional costs in stride because were fair and she was informed upfront that she would be responsible for any change in costs. An $800 "change fee" that she wasn't informed of isn't fair, even if she should have asked when they said she could make changes. She's not one of those people with a laundry list of complaints, most of which are completely unwarranted, who expects a complete refund and a free trip for all her "trouble" (I absolutely hate those people). It's about doing what's right for your customer, despite the fact that the company may have a "CYA" policy in the fine print.

Update on the progress: I did email the regular customer service address on their website. I know it's only been about 24 hours without a response, but I'm going to go ahead give them a call when they open and see where things go.
 
Aug 27, 2015
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#18
Another update. I called the regular customer service number. The "cast member" I spoke with was extremely pleasant and tried to be helpful. Unfortunately, she was limited in what she was able to do. She did note the account and provided me with the email address. It is probably the same email address my previous inquiry went to, but since that was done through their website, it didn't show the address. The address I got was guest.services@disneyworld.com. My next step is to send the same email as before directly to this address. The "cast member" told me they should respond within 24 hours and no more than 48 hours. Much better than the "within 30 days" I heard from American Airlines. Hope that helps if anyone is trying to reach Disney without going through their web site.
 

JVillegirl541

Verified Member
Nov 21, 2014
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#19
Sadly because this is an airline fee out of Disney control I have a hard time seeing how or what they can do.... Non refundable tickets are just that Non refundable and can only be changed with the change fee. At least the tickets are not completely forfeited.
Once again, Disney does record phone calls so you could ask about that.
 
Aug 28, 2015
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#20
For a 10k vacation, one should definitely make sure they are available. Many arrangements have been made for such a booking on the other end as well. The rep was accurate on the phone- the tickets are nonrefundable and she can change them anytime she wants. Putting a teapot in a room is excellent customer service by the property- so why push this issue? If you do, they will maybe flag your file and you probably won't get the same customer service in the future.
Also, Delta and American have nothing to do with it, all nonrefundable fares are nonrefundable. They can be changed with a fee plus the price difference.
If your sister or a family member was ill, or lost their job or another hardship, I would encourage you to give it a shot. I dont mean to sound harsh but if I were you, I would let it go, pay what I owe and enjoy the lovely customer service as always.