Changing and Cancelling Your Walt Disney World Reservations

We all look forward to our Walt Disney World Vacations once they're booked. However sometimes things don't go quite right and life rears it's ugly head, making for a trip that needs to be canceled or postponed. It's the worst-case scenario, but if you know what you need to do in advance it doesn't need to be difficult or fraught with drama. There have been some changes and updates since we first published this piece, so our regular guest blogger Holly L. took a closer look to keep us up to date with all you need to know about changing and canceling your Walt Disney World Resort reservations in 2016.



Changing And Cancelling Disney ReservationsChanging And Cancelling Disney Reservations


Disney Room Only Reservations:

In order to cancel a room only reservation and receive a full refund of your deposit, notification of cancellation must be received at least 5 days prior (6 if you book online) to your arrival date. To cancel or modify an existing reservation, you must call the Disney Reservation Agents at (407) W-DISNEY.

If you have booked your Walt Disney World Hotel reservations through a private travel agent, you will need to contact them with enough time to facilitate your cancellation.

If you would like to change your reservations rather than cancel them, you may be subject to new room rates. Any additional deposit will need to be paid on the new room reservation within seven days of booking.


Walt Disney Travel Company PackagesWalt Disney Travel Company Packages


Vacation Package Reservations:

Changes or Cancellations in your package reservation made with the Walt Disney Travel Company can be made without penalty up until 31 days in advance of your trip.

If you cancel your reservation 30 days or less in advance, there will be a cancellation fee from Disney of $200. In addition to that you will lose any nonrefundable elements, such as travel insurance and possibly airfare.

For cancellations made 1 day or less prior to Guest arrival, the full price of the package is non-refundable. Absolutely no refunds will be given to no-shows.

Changes to reservations that result in a lower rate, 30 days or less prior to arrival, will be subject to a $50 fee.


Disney Vacation Club ReservationsDisney Vacation Club Reservations


Disney Vacation Club Points Reservations:

31 Days or more before check-in existing points reservations can be changed or canceled without penalty. Any excess points not used for a new reservation will be returned to the vacation account in the use year for which the reservation falls. They must be used during that use year, so be aware of the new timeframe on your points if you have banked or borrowed points for the reservation being changed.

When canceling a DVC points reservation 30 Days - 1 Day before planned check-in all of the vacation points will be placed in a holding account that must be used in the same use year which the reservation falls. If a new reservation uses fewer points than the original, excess points will remain in that holding account until it expires at the end of the year.

Finally, when you modify your reservation on check-in date, if the new reservation uses fewer vacation points than the original, the remaining points on the original reservation will be forfeited. If you cancel completely on your check-in date, all vacation points used to make the reservations will be completely forfeited. In this case it seems like it's better to rebook to a later date using the full amount of points on your original reservation, even if you don't know you'll use it. That way you at least keep the points in play while you figure out what you need to do.

If you have made your DVC reservation using cash, other restrictions may apply, so be sure to check with member services.


Sometimes You Have To Just Roll With The ChangesSometimes You Have To Just Roll With The Changes


Cancellation or refund policies and procedures can vary depending on how and where you book your vacation, they are also subject to change. Be sure that you understand which apply to you at the time of booking. No one ever wants to have to cancel a Disney vacation, but knowing what the policies are in advance can save surprises and money if it needs to be done.

Have you had to change or cancel one of your Disney reservations? I've had the unfortunate luck that saw me doing just such a thing over the past couple of years. Do you have tips or tricks that could make the cancellation process the process go more easily? Leave a comment below and share your tips & tricks!

JeffC wrote on Thu, 02/09/2012 - 01:00:

JeffC's picture

We've had to call and change our vacation reservations not too long ago - we had to delay our September 2011 trip to April of this year.

I think, to the point of your whole article, knowing the change and cancellation policies in advance makes it a whole lot smoother. And knowing exactly what you want when you call. For us, I already had the new dates in mind, so everything just moved over to the new dates.

The only bummer was I lost all my ADRs and had to wait until 180 days to make them all again.

Kristen K. wrote on Thu, 02/09/2012 - 01:51:

Kristen K.'s picture

I love changing reservations with DVC, they make it really easy because I never have to worry about moving money around or getting my deposits back. As you mentioned I always try to call with a couple of options in mind.

Katie wrote on Fri, 04/06/2012 - 00:29:

Anonymous's picture

I'm unfortunately having to cancel our dream trip/ belated honeymoon to Disney World for financial reasons and am totally heartbroken, so thanks for letting me know exactly what to expect so I'm not in tears with the castmember when I call. I'm especially bummed out because we had every single prime reservation during free dining I could ever want. Hopefully in a couple years we'll be able to swing it :(

Steve wrote on Wed, 12/12/2012 - 04:25:

Anonymous's picture

Hey, Katie. Try going through a travel agent. They aren't any extra money and often can get you deals that aren't open to the general public.

Christine wrote on Tue, 08/13/2013 - 16:14:

Anonymous's picture

I had an awful time dealing with the Disney Guest Services people in cancelling our Disney World vacation. My son died unexpectedly after heart surgery and I first called Disney FOUR MONTHS BEFORE our scheduled vacation, at which time the pleasant representative told me since I was cancelling so early it would be no problem and we would get 100% of our deposit back. After 3 weeks and hearing nothing, I called again at which time another perky employee promised a complete refund within two billing cycles. I called TWO MORE TIMES and kept talking to these Stepford people who promised a complete refund. It was so strange and unnerving that I felt compelled to WRITE A LETTER via Fed Ex to the CEO of Disney as well as the woman in charge of Disney World in Orlando. As a result of my letters, they had more Guest Services reps call me to ask if I needed help in filling out the insurance claim (because now it's within the 45 days of cancellation)! When I asked WHY would all those previous people make promises to me about a complete refund they would not answer but instead shift the conversation. Now I am being charged a $200 fee. There is something unethical going on here and no doubt Disney gets a cut of the fees. What a bad taste in my mouth about Disney World.

Kristen K. wrote on Tue, 08/13/2013 - 21:52:

Kristen K.'s picture

Oh Christine that is just awful, I am so sorry to hear about your loss. There is no reason that you should be having such a difficult time with Disney in canceling your vacation and getting a refund, especially at this difficult time. The only advice I have is to stick to your guns and to document everything that's been happening. I'd try sending another letter as well. I hope that they can offer a resolution soon.

mary wrote on Tue, 10/15/2013 - 14:20:

Anonymous's picture

now in 5th day of trying to cancel a reservation due to medical reason. was told 5 days ago that I would receive a cancellation notice in 24 hours and a credit to my credit card for $200.00 deposit in 48 hrs. I'm back on phone. NOW I'm told "we do not send cancellation notices" and "refunds can take two billing cycles to be posted". amazing how disney can post a charge in 30 seconds but take 60 days to return it! our airline insurance requires written cancellation notice from disney for medical claim of cancellation. So now we have lost $1830.00 because disney will not help us.
THINK.....NOT AS SWEET AS YOU THINK IN DISNEY
CUSTOMER SERVICE!!!!!!!!!!

Mary wrote on Tue, 06/24/2014 - 23:15:

Anonymous's picture

Made reservations with AAA months in advance to meet my daughter and her family at Wilderness Lodge for a couple of days. When my daughter had to cancel today about 2 pm, I called AAA and because I did not cancel before noon today, which would have cost $25, I had to pay the one day fee of $309, which is outrageous! They have 5 days to book that room! I will never ever book far in advance again at Disney. I may never go to Disney again at all!

Cindy86488 wrote on Thu, 10/09/2014 - 18:08:

Anonymous's picture

If I make reservations for a party of 6, but one person can't make the trip, can I cancel only their reservation and will I receive a refund for their portion of the vacation?

Kristen K. wrote on Sat, 10/11/2014 - 13:49:

Kristen K.'s picture

Hi Cindy - I believe that you can, however depending on when you cancel the reservation there may be a penalty. I am not a travel agent, nor do I work for Disney so my best advice is that you give Disney a call and ask them for an official answer.

Lex wrote on Thu, 04/02/2015 - 18:21:

Anonymous's picture

What about changing vacation date to a sooner time? Our original date to Disney is booked for three months from now but things have changed and we would like to change it for less than a month and a half sooner. Are there any regulations or fees that you know of for bumping up the date?

Kristen K. wrote on Mon, 04/06/2015 - 21:14:

Kristen K.'s picture

Lex, Your best bet is to give your TA or Disney a call and see if there would still be fees. I believe that the fees are applied no matter if you move your trip sooner or later than originally schedules. Check with Disney though, I could be mistaken.

Jmfcg wrote on Mon, 05/04/2015 - 00:19:

Anonymous's picture

Cindy, we had to remove someone from our trip and it was no problem at all. Then we ended up adding a different person back on. As long as your room has room you can add or take them away. We were also enjoying free dining;)

Michelle wrote on Mon, 07/27/2015 - 18:31:

Anonymous's picture

I understand that you can cancell up to 44 days before the trip...were leaving thursday. My son whose 14 is giving me a hard time about this trip, i don't think he wants to go. can I still cancel we leave in 3 days!

Laura M wrote on Sat, 12/05/2015 - 04:09:

Anonymous's picture

We just received a letter saying that the main pool area, slides, kiddie pool and bar are closing for refurbishments the day we arrive. We paid extra for pool views etc. this letter comes just 34 days before our arrival. With three kids 4, 4, 18 months we were really planning on these activities. Any suggestions? Change resorts? Ask for discount?
Thanks

Kristen K. wrote on Tue, 12/08/2015 - 04:20:

Kristen K.'s picture

Laura,

My advice is to call Disney and ask if they can switch you to another resort with comparable amenities for the same price. Very politely, explain your situation and see if thee's anything they can do. If you don't ask, the answer is always no.

Krissy wrote on Sat, 12/26/2015 - 18:11:

Anonymous's picture

I have booked a vacation for marathon week at Disney. My mother was supposed to accompany me, but unfortunately is unable to make it. I still plan to go but I had purchased theme park tickets for her. Will they refund me the money (some or all) for just her tickets?

Kristen K. wrote on Mon, 12/28/2015 - 21:18:

Kristen K.'s picture

Hi Krissy, I believe that all sales are final as far as tickets go. I know that I've had to hold onto them before when people canceled on me. The good news though is that they won't expire, so you can use them on your next trip!

Jill wrote on Mon, 01/25/2016 - 03:19:

Anonymous's picture

We are scheduled to leave Illinois on the evening of February 3rd, though I am now hearing that the Midwest is expecting snow-mageddon somewhere in the February 2-3 timeframe - fabulous! If our flight gets canceled (hypothetically....ugh, I can't even imagine), are we able to modify our reservation for later dates without penalty?

alicemouse wrote on Mon, 01/25/2016 - 14:48:

alicemouse's picture

Hi Jill,

Call Disney as soon as you are aware that there will be a delay. You can modify your dates altogether or remove the first night or two of your stay for a small change fee ($15-50 depending on the exact circumstances). If you remove a night, the fee will be offset by the refund that you receive on that night's reservation. If you do not call Disney and just try to check in a day later, they will count you as a no-show and cancel your reservation. At that point, the reservation would be non-refundable. If you cancel the reservation due to travel delays, it is also non-refundable. The most important thing is to be in touch with your travel agent or with Disney (if you booked direct) regarding the situation. Remember that Mickey loves you and he really wants to see you, so his cast members will work to find the best possible solution for your family.

Your best protection--especially when traveling in the winter--is to purchase travel insurance. I think that you're probably within a window where you wouldn't be able to purchase it for this trip, but for the future, it might be a good option for you given your location in Illinois. If you purchased travel insurance, review your policy carefully. Eligible claims should be clearly defined in the documentation.

Hopefully you will have a day or two advance notice regarding your flight if it's going to be a really bad storm. I'm in the mid-Atlantic and we had about 48 hours warning that all Saturday flights to everywhere were being canceled this past weekend and the airlines were helping people move around their flight to preserve their travel plans the best they could. They were even putting people on flights a day or two earlier where possible. And I mean, what's wrong will a little bit of extra Disney Magic? :D

Jason Honingford wrote on Tue, 02/09/2016 - 21:23:

Anonymous's picture

I believe you can cancel online now when booking through Disney.

Diana L wrote on Wed, 02/10/2016 - 08:12:

Anonymous's picture

We live 25 mins from Disney World and my husband will be attending a conference there Valentines weekend (4 days from now). We decided to take advantage of the timing by making it our Valentine's Day getaway. Unfortunately, my mother was admitted to the hospital in Miami and might need surgery. So my question is, will Disney allow us to cancel or make it for another day?

Kristen K. wrote on Wed, 02/10/2016 - 15:01:

Kristen K.'s picture

Diana, the best advice I have is to give them a call and try. You may be able to switch to another date, without penalty, but I'm not 100% sure. Calling them to ask is your best bet.

Karen P. wrote on Thu, 03/03/2016 - 17:34:

Anonymous's picture

Hi, I was wondering if Disney gives you the option of travel insurance if you're booking a room only... Thank you!

alicemouse wrote on Wed, 03/09/2016 - 02:28:

alicemouse's picture

Hi Karen,

Currently Disney does not offer travel insurance on room only reservations. You may be able to get a quote through a private insurance company. You'll hopefully find, however, that Disney's regular cancelation policy is liberal enough to suit your needs without incurring additional expense. If you could purchase travel insurance through Disney, the premium would be $77.50 per adult on the reservation. The deposit is $200 and that is refundable in full if your reservation is canceled at least 30 days prior to arrival. As late as 2 days prior to arrival, everything except that initial $200 deposit is refundable. If you have 2 adults in the room, it would only cost you $45 more to cancel than the travel insurance premium would have cost you. The caveat is that you have to know that there's a problem two days in advance.

Where you would get into trouble is if you needed compensation for lost luggage, trip interruption, or had an emergency that necessitated that you cancel your trip within 48 hours of arrival.

Technically, you are supposed to forfeit any opportunity for refunds after 2 days prior to the start of your stay, but I have had a situation where a family that I booked for room only had to check out early due to weather conditions that they would experience on the way home and Disney refunded them their unused days.

TGutz wrote on Fri, 03/18/2016 - 03:51:

Anonymous's picture

I have bought tickets for magic kingdom for 2 days. The first day is on the 21st of March. Can I change that to the 19th?

Kristen K. wrote on Fri, 03/18/2016 - 13:26:

Kristen K.'s picture

TGutz - if your tickets are part of a hotel room package, then no, they are not activated until the day of your first hotel night. However - if you bought the tickets separately and they are not connected to a room, then yes, you can use them earlier.

Audrey D wrote on Thu, 03/31/2016 - 20:09:

Anonymous's picture

We have a package beginning April 15, 2016. I know we loose $200 if we cancel but what if we changed our date to say, October? Would we still be charged the $200 or just apply what we have paid to the new package?

Holly wrote on Sat, 04/02/2016 - 03:53:

Anonymous's picture

I reserved a room for myself, my daughter and her friend at the all star movie resort for the end of June for a week. I also got 5 day park hopper passes and the Disney quick service dining plan. Now her friend cannot go. Will I be able to cancel her 5 day pass and the dining plan for her, and receive a refund? Or am I stuck with those purchases?

Kristen K. wrote on Sat, 04/02/2016 - 14:30:

Kristen K.'s picture

Hi Holly - It depends how close you are to your trip. You can make changes without penalty up until 31 days in advance of your arrival. Give Disney a call and see what they can do for you.

Farrah D wrote on Fri, 04/15/2016 - 13:06:

Anonymous's picture

We booked a 7 night package at AKL villas, paid for entire trip in Disney gift cards. We booked 2- 9 year old son as 10 year olds so they would have better dining options (since we thought we would have the free ddp this year) they have chosen all buffet and family style meals. Will I have a hard time changing their ages to reflect the fact that they're both actually 9 instead of 10? Was thinking of booking another reservation and cancelling the other but not sure how it will work since we used $6,000 worth of gifts cards (in $50 increments) and paid $200 deposit with our Disney visa. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Kristen K. wrote on Sat, 04/16/2016 - 00:57:

Kristen K.'s picture

Tough questions. When I paid for my Disney Cruise all on Gift Cards they told me to keep the physical gift cards in case I needed to cancel and have them refunded. So as long as you kept those physical gift cards, they should be able to refund you the money to them. I'm unsure of the procedure if you didn't, but there must be one. I don't think that it will be too difficult to change the kids ages, worst case scenario you proved their birth certificates and it will be fine, but I don't know that they will even need that if you just explain what you did. Disney always wants the head count to be as correct as possible in case of emergency.

Eric wrote on Mon, 04/18/2016 - 12:44:

Anonymous's picture

Have an Alaskan Disney Cruise Scheduled for June, and have to cancel due to a medical issue with my son. Paid for the cruise with vacation pts. and extra dollars to make up the difference. Seems pretty clear from what I read that cancelling and getting the pts back for future use wont be a problem, but how about the extra money that I had to pay to cover the short in vacation pts.?

Kristen K. wrote on Mon, 04/18/2016 - 20:36:

Kristen K.'s picture

Shouldn't be a problem I don't think - I have never outright canceled a cruise before, but I know that you can move everything to a holding date until you decided when you want to take the actual cruise. Give Disney a call and let them know what;s going on, they should be able to help.

MARY wrote on Sun, 05/01/2016 - 18:44:

Anonymous's picture

I made reservations for 5 people and a 7 day disney trip. Have paid $4200, but due to finances need to cancel. How long does it take to get refund, and will they do full refund. I am 18 days out from trip.

FrannieS wrote on Mon, 05/02/2016 - 01:09:

Anonymous's picture

I broke my leg and could not make the trip to Disneyland. They are trained to apologize a lot while they keep all your money. The room cancellation policy is 5 days out but when I was insistent to know the actual date and time I was told it is 6 full days; check-in day does not count- new math. The marathons advertise that if you can not make it you can defer to a different Disney race- only true if their "allotment" is not full. I guess I broke my leg too late. I am totally disenchanted with Disney - I think Walt would be as disappointed and appalled as I am. Fortunately there are hundreds of races to run in and even more fabulous locations to vacation; I think I will head to one of the National Parks and forget the characters of Disney who only know how to say, "I'm sorry but that's our policy."

Kristen K. wrote on Thu, 05/05/2016 - 20:03:

Kristen K.'s picture

Mary, I believe you are within the dates that you will incur some loss. Please contact who you booked your trip to in order to discuss options. It may be a better option for you to reschedule than to cancel at this point.

Mary Forrest wrote on Wed, 05/11/2016 - 02:04:

Anonymous's picture

We have reservations at Disneys Caribbean Beach Resort ( Res.#******) for a party of 2, Arriving 05/23/16 & departing 05/27/16. IF we have to move our reservation to another date what is the window option to reschedule this reservation? In short, 3 mos, 6 mos, 10 mos to use this reservation at Disneys Caribbean Beach Resort. Mary Forrest
5-11-16

Kristen K. wrote on Wed, 05/11/2016 - 14:29:

Kristen K.'s picture

Hi Mary! First, Thank you so much for reading WDW for Grown-ups. I want you to know that we are a fan website, not actually Disney, so I edited out your reservation number. You should never share that with any third party. The information that you are looking for will be available from either your travel agent or Disney Travel, which-ever you booked through. Please contact them in order to get specifics on your travel. As a fan I would hate to offer you misinformation.

Cheryl S wrote on Thu, 06/09/2016 - 00:43:

Anonymous's picture

Some of my family is coming to Disney world June 25. We have 2 rooms. I am the main person in my room. There are 3 adults in my room. My husband has had a medical emergency and will be having treatments so I won't be able to go. Can we just have one of the other adults become the main person of our room. They shouldn't lose their dining and fast passes because I can't go.both rooms have the same dining reservations and fast passes. Would not be able to get them this late.

Kristen K. wrote on Thu, 06/09/2016 - 15:40:

Kristen K.'s picture

Everything should be fine Cheryl, but give Disney a call and let them know just to be sure.

Steve wrote on Wed, 06/22/2016 - 14:15:

Anonymous's picture

Just don't try it with Disneyland Paris. They kept my money even after I purchased travel insurance. I found out (too late, unfortunately) that they are not actually owned by Disney. So you won't get treated with that Disney Magic by them.

Suzanne wrote on Wed, 06/29/2016 - 01:47:

Anonymous's picture

This info has been very helpful. I have a booking, and one of the people in our room will need to cancel. Of course, I didn't get travel insurance. Anyway, if the tickets aren't refunded, can they be used by a different person in the future, or would it have to be the person who cancelled?

alicemouse wrote on Wed, 06/29/2016 - 17:32:

alicemouse's picture

Hi Suzanne,

You'll want to contact Disney or your travel agent to find out exactly what rules apply to your reservation based on where you are on your timeline. If you booked as a package, you may or may not be able to save the ticket for another date, period. Disney has made some changes to the ticket expiration rules in the past few years and with the start of MyMagic+, most people don't even receive a physical ticket anymore, so you most likely wouldn't have any physical ticket media to hang onto for that future trip anymore. But, if the ticket is unused and is valid according to Disney's expiration rules, anyone can use it. There is no ID required to use a ticket at WDW; however, once someone has used the ticket, their 4-point fingerprint will be attached to the ticket, meaning that different person definitely could not use it once it has been activated at the park turnstiles. If you are more than 30 days in advance of your trip, you can make any changes to your reservation. If you're closer than that, your ability to make changes depends on what type of reservation you are on. I hope everything works out in your favor!

Mr Ken Chard wrote on Sat, 07/09/2016 - 21:09:

Anonymous's picture

Dear Kristen, I booked 14 day passes for Two people --my wife and myself, for between 4th August to 25th August Inc. Unfortunately my wife has suffered a retinal detatchment which required an urgent operation which was carried out on July 8th, The surgeon made it clear to us that we must not fly for at least 4 months, although we are very disappointed we must follow his advice. Would you kindly advise me how to claim a refund for these tickets,I can provide medical evidence if necessary.

Kristen K. wrote on Mon, 07/11/2016 - 13:01:

Kristen K.'s picture

Hi Ken! From the information you've left me I can't quite tell if you just have tickets or you've booked a package. Either way, you're going to want to contact who you booked through directly. If you purchased travel insurance, contact them as well.

Monica wrote on Tue, 07/19/2016 - 02:45:

Anonymous's picture

I have a trip planned for end of August, all booked at a Disney resort with dining reservations and fastpasses made and magic bands ordered but now we are renting a vacation home, if I cancel my room reservations to I lose all my dining reservations, fastpasses and Magic bands? We have never stayed off property before!

alicemouse wrote on Tue, 07/19/2016 - 15:22:

alicemouse's picture

Hi Monica,

I would definitely double check with Disney before making a change, but I THINK that because FP and dining are booked in separate databases that you can cancel your resort reservation without losing your other reservations.

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