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.

Changing & Canceling Your Walt Disney World ReservationsChanging & Canceling Your Walt Disney World Reservations

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!

alicemouse wrote on Mon, 09/19/2016 - 15:23:

alicemouse's picture

Hi Maureen,

I believe that you need to have your new dates in mind in order to move the reservation, but I'm not aware of a policy that limits the number of times you can move or alter a reservation, so if you need to change the dates a second time, you should be able to do so, pending availability of course.

The best thing to do is to call Disney directly (or your travel agent, but it sounds like you booked on your own) because their representatives will be able to decipher which cancellation policy rules apply to your specific reservation.

Best of luck and here's hoping that your son is feeling better soon and that the rest of the family is spared!

Rayven Chaney wrote on Tue, 09/20/2016 - 11:48:

Rayven Chaney's picture

Due to financial reasons it looks like we won't make our 30 day payment, they agreed to push it up 2 weeks which is great! But now our water heater went out so we will miss this deadline. We have a package, could we change it to room only, pay that in full then a few days before the trip aDD tickets and dining back?

Kristen K. wrote on Sat, 09/24/2016 - 15:07:

Kristen K.'s picture

Hey Raven - You're going to have to call Disney directly and see if they will modify it again for you.

Johnd441 wrote on Tue, 11/08/2016 - 11:35:

Johnd441's picture

This website is mostly a walkby for all the info you wished about this and didnt know who to ask. Glimpse right here, and also youll undoubtedly uncover it. edeeefdgkced

JAN wrote on Tue, 12/06/2016 - 03:53:

JAN's picture

Disney cancelled out travel insurance on us in error and now our trip is too close to add it back ( even for customer svc) Agent tried to tell me the notes do not
show it was added in. I said how can you credit something back to my card that was never there( credit rec'd 2 days after last payment was made). Any suggestions?

Kristen K. wrote on Tue, 12/06/2016 - 14:00:

Kristen K.'s picture

Hey Jan,

My best suggestion is to call back a couple more times and talk to different people, you may get different results. If you're not happy with what the agent can do for you ask for a supervisor. Good luck!

Rissa wrote on Wed, 01/11/2017 - 17:33:

Rissa's picture

Hey Kristen,

Thanks for all the help! I was wondering if I book a Room Only for 9 days and then I need to shorten the trip to less (maybe one night only :( )
Can I make that change online? Will they allow me to shorten the reservation without cancelling?

Thank you!

Kristen K. wrote on Wed, 01/11/2017 - 17:52:

Kristen K.'s picture

Hey Rissa!

I don't know the answer to that off the top of my head (I'm DVC so my regular reservation knowledge is limited). I sent an email to our resident TA Holly to see if she'd come leave an answer for you. Hopefully we'll have an answer soon.


alicemouse wrote on Wed, 01/11/2017 - 18:14:

alicemouse's picture

Hi Rissa!
As long as you're outside of your 30 day window, you should be able to make any changes to your reservation without penalty.

Rissa wrote on Wed, 01/11/2017 - 18:17:

Rissa's picture

Thank you Kristen!! Thank Holly for me too!

Rissa wrote on Wed, 01/11/2017 - 18:38:

Rissa's picture

Thank you AliceMouse. Do you know if you're outside of your 30 day window and you decrease your days, does that affect your FP+ reservations?

Kris wrote on Thu, 03/16/2017 - 19:08:

Kris 's picture

I was able to cancel my hotel room only reservation with Walt Disney World on the website. I did not have to call them. Booking room only is the best way to go because if you need to can do so five days in advance with no penalty...and if you cancel at the very last minute, you lose your deposit, not the whole package price you would love if you booked a packages. Packages are not usually discounted. If you add each item to your MY DISNEY EXPERIENCE and purchase them on your is usually the same price. But tickets are nonrefundable. SO I would not put them on My Disney Experience until close to the arrival date. Also..Orbitz charges 25.00 if you cancel room only reservations at Disney booked through them.

Kristen K. wrote on Thu, 03/30/2017 - 12:37:

Kristen K.'s picture

Hi Moomee,

I'm so sorry you had to cancel your trip. In my experience refunds from Disney can take up to 14 days to process. If you are unsure that your cancelation has been processed, give Disney reservations a call at (407) 934-7639 to confirm.

robin wrote on Fri, 10/06/2017 - 17:44:

robin's picture

I booked my resort hotel in July. I realized the Caribbean resort will not have dining, while we are there. I tried to change to the french quarter. because its Halloween time, they closed reservations. around the mid-july. I was hoping to get in with a cancelled reservation. so i kept calling and the agent, kept telling me, if i did, I may get the French quarter, by my date, but today the agent, said, unless its listed online, that will never happened. Why did they keep telling me to call, and is there anyway, to change it before I arrive on October 15th?. thanks

alicemouse wrote on Sat, 10/07/2017 - 03:10:

alicemouse's picture

Robin, At this point, it is very unlikely that availability will open up. The best chance was right after the 30-day mark because that is the cancellation deadline. It COULD happen, but it's fairly unlikely, especially since French Quarter is a small resort. The table service restaurant is closed at Caribbean Beach currently, but there will be an event-style tent that will serve a quick service meal. There is no table service at French Quarter anyway, so you really aren't missing a class of amenities by not being able to switch. WDW resorts are operating very close to capacity these days and as such are often unable to accommodate changes, especially in the Fall, which has become a very busy time. Even though Caribbean Beach will have some construction going on, it is still a very nice resort and you will still have a memorable trip to WDW. If you are insistent on switching within your existing category, have you agent check Port Orleans Riverside and Coronado Springs (also having some construction interruption, but I don't believe that it is affecting el centro where the dining is located). You may also be booked on a promotion that is no longer available. If that is the case, there may be availability at a different resort, but you would not be eligible to receive the discount that you originally booked under.

Robert wrote on Sun, 03/04/2018 - 16:45:

Robert's picture

We are a family of four traveling to MCO WDW in August 18. We have thought about upgrading from Port Orleans to The Animal Kingdom Savanah Lodge as they can guarantee bunk beds for opposite sex children. However WDW customer service have said that we cant do this. I've read through the terms and conditions of the WDW booking form but I cant find anything that really identifies the answer to my question. When we booked in 2017, there was a free dining plan with our moderate hotel booking. Whilst we're looking for the best possible deal, just live every visitor, but we feel that were being penalised for wanting to upgrade. I'm happy to upgrade to a better hotel and pay the difference, but surely the meal deal offered in 2017 should stay the same, or at a minimum we should be offered the option to just pay the difference as an upgrade. Why are we being asked to cancel our entire booking, only to then rebook to a better hotel and then pay again for a meal deal. Is this right??

Kristen K. wrote on Mon, 03/05/2018 - 17:44:

Kristen K.'s picture

Hi Robert! Let me get our resident TA to answer this question for you. Keep checking back!

Kristen K. wrote on Tue, 03/06/2018 - 00:09:

Kristen K.'s picture

Hey Robert! I talked with a TA to give you the best information I could get, I will try to explain my findings. First off, free dining packages are very competitive, and the limited number that Disney releases sell out quickly once they become available. In addition, WDW Resorts are not interchangeable. While they are all Disney Resorts, they do not operate as if they are the same resort. The different WDW resorts don't all get the same discounts and packages, and even when they do there is a limited amount available at each resort. If the hotel that you hope to switch to was either not given the Free Dining package you booked at the first hotel, or they are sold out of their allotment of that package, they would not be able to rebook you using it. You aren't being punished, the discount is simply not available at the new property.

I will say this as an additional note. I've been traveling to WDW for a long time, and the dining plan rarely saves money over the room discounts available at the Deluxe Resorts. Dig a little deeper on the room discount available at Animal Kingdom and do some comparative math, you might actually come out ahead.

Sharhonda Davis wrote on Wed, 05/16/2018 - 03:31:

Sharhonda Davis's picture

Due to babysitting issues, I may have to add my child to our package. But I will not now definitely until a few days before we leave, how would this affect her riding the magical express with us.

Kristen K. wrote on Wed, 05/16/2018 - 15:21:

Kristen K.'s picture

Hey Sharhonda, it shouldn't effect your Magical Express. They are actually pretty flexible. Just call them as soon as you know and explain the situation.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly. If you have a Gravatar account associated with the e-mail address you provide, it will be used to display your avatar.

More information about formatting options