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horsegirl 03-20-2006 10:02 AM

How to make $3600 on your disney vacation! WE DID!! NEW 9/3*The Epilogue, DONE* p. 54
Okay, a joke you may say? Nope. Are we in the travel industry? Nah. Did we find a little paperbag full of greenbacks and slither away with it? Not a chance, wouldn't do it anyway, really We wouldn't. Did we sell something there? You're cold. Did we find a credit card and charge away? Well, no, but we'd never do that either. Colder. More on this later.

Meet the crew

DH-DJ-40something- a gorgeous, all around nice guy who works alot
Me-Gem-40something- neurotic, slightly type A mom, works part time
DS-Carson -6 -handsome, serious, sweet and very imaginative
DD-Sky -5-adorable thrill seeker who is part princess, part prince
DSJack4- cute, cantankerous & mischeivous-gives stitch a run for his $

Our Destination- The fabulous World, 5 nights/ 6 days at okw, then onto 7 nights/8 days at the beach

Our trip started out with an ominous and foreboding event, that would jeopardize our journey that had been 6 months in the making. Sound dramatic? Well, yeah, having fun at WDW and the beach is serious business and any obstacle that could potentially put a wrench in our best laid plans is of epic proportions in my book.

Could happen to anyone. Twisters, fog, car accident on the way to the airport, a family crisis. Maybe some of you have been there. Ours was a super snow storm, set to slam into the Northeast during the 12 hours prior to our long awaited departure day and continue on through that whole next day. We were scheduled to fly at 6 am on sunday feb 12th. There it was on every weather map I found- on the weather channel, the local news, the internet sites - they all showed the same thing. A gigantic snowstorm with high winds coming in like a freight train with no other track to go on. This was firday at 6 am. 48 hours til liftoff. I poked my DH in bed. "Hon, what are we gonna do? We'll miss our first day at OKW. You're only going to be there a week. You'll miss one seventh of your vacation." (I was staying on a week longer with our 3 dks) "Maybe it won't come", ever the optimist. I had a bad feeling. We hadn't had any snow all winter, virtually none, and we live in Maine. It was more than overdue. His attempts at calming me were in vain. I knew "the big one" was coming to sabotage our wonderful, perfectly planned trip. I did what I always do. I obsessed. Preoccupied at breakfast, I forgot to put the notes I'd written in the kids backpacks informing them they would be missing school the next week. 'Ah, she's one of those', some of you naysayers who would never take your kids out of school are thinking. 'This is her just reward for attempting to sacrifice the children's education for her hedonistic pleasure'.......Fiddlesticks, is all I say to that! But I digress. Obsessed, preoccupied, anxious=FREAKING OUT.

I did what every self respecting DISer would do whilst faced with Goliath standing in the path of our sacred Disney vacation. I picked up the phone and started working it, but not before posting here looking for a little support and maybe an idea. DISers always have good ideas. I called Delta. We were using frequent flyer tickets and thought, because we are such good customers, they would certainly not want us to miss our trip. Hmmmm, I am not naive, just desperate and well, that thinking was way off the mark. "I would like to change our tickets to fly out saturday as a giant noreaster is on its way and we don't want to cause you stress trying to get us out the next day." Well, that isn't exactly what I said, but you get the jist. I was informed that actually in the event of a big storm they do accomodate people and fly them out early. Eureka, I thought! But alas, she informed me that at this point there was no official word that this would be taking effect. The gal suggested I call back, but not before giving me the option of paying $ to change our flight to 3 pm sat with a layover in Laguardia, and taking a shuttle to Newark and flying out at 9:30 pm. This sounded bad, as the beast was scheduled to hit the metropolitan area sat afternoon. Being socked in in Jersey or New York with three little kids seemed like a nightmare, and certainly not something I wanted to pay for!

So I called back. It is interesting. I got different responses and different levels of empathy and assistance. The airlines, Delta at least, is not one of those companies that keeps a record of your call. You all know, you call back to try to rectify something and they say "I am sorry, but the last time you called at 8:03 am and spoke to our representative, they told you there is nothing we can do, just like the previous 22 representatives said when you called. Uh, Delta doesn't keep those records. So keep calling, if this ever happens to you. By 10 am I had lots of info, but no deal. A really nice gal recommended I call back after noon. So I packed more, kept the playdate with my not so disney fanatic best friends and sat there stressed to the gills. Meanwhile I kept emailing and calling my husband. Should we do this, should we do that. The poor guy works in college admissions and february is a very busy time. He wasn't thrilled about going away at all and had piles of things to do before flying out on sunday morning at 6 am. I wasn't helping taking up his time and casting my anxiety his way, but he is my confidant and I needed to keep checking in...I can be needy that way sometimes.

So I left my play group shortly before noon and optimistically called back Delta, sure they would have given the green light to get their passengers out before the great storm of '06. They were calling for several feet of snow all along the northeastern seaboard. Got a young man who was, not helpful to say the least, and perhaps not informed. Clearly had no kids as there was no emapthy-not a glimmer. "No, no way to change this, because you have frequent flyer miles, there are very few flights we can get you on. If you were a paying customer, we could change and put you on any flight for a fee." WHAT!?*&$#@#!!! We are paying customers, that is why we have so many bloody ff miles!!!!!! Shouldn't we get more respect? Uh, no, apparently not. I hung up devestated and continued to try to get outta Dodge.

I went back on the Disboard and gave my update to the many dear folks who had sent pixie dust our way. One very saavy DISer urged me to keep calling, as she had been in this type of situation once. I also heard from other poor disers in the same boat, uh, "icebreaker" if you will, from all along the northeast. So at 3 pm, I called, again. "We are traveling on Sunday am out of Portland, Maine and there is a huge storm coming and we are trying to leave early, can you help us?", I said, with every expectation of hearing what I had heard all day. "How soon can you leave, Mrs. J? You're in luck. They just put out the official okay for us to rebook people early a few minutes ago," the angel agent from heaven said. OMG, Jiminy, Halleluia!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!She booked us on a 6 am sat morning flight connecting in Cinncinati. "The connecting flight from cin to orlando is sold out, mam. I shouldn't put you on the flight, but usually someone doesn't show up. They are expecting snow there too, you realize you could get stuck there." "I'll take a chance"' I replied and grabbed the flight. Didn't cost us a cent. I called DH and started to kick things up. Leaving a whole 24 hours earlier than planned. I had spent months packing and arranging, but leaving early had never been something I had considered. We have 3 dogs, 7 cats, 4 horses and 2 ponies and just getting them squared away before we leave is a major task. Would our pet sitter come in a blizzard? Could my DH get his work done? Could we get everything ready in time to leave our house at 3 am? Wait, that is in 12 hours! We are leaving in 12 hours!

Lesson learned. Be a pain in the butt, send your tentacles in every direction and don't give up until you get something accomplished. I learned this a long time ago, but my satisfaction at making this happen and avoiding a major disappointment reminded me, we can't just sit there and let something roll over us in the face of adversity. But, was the problem solved? Did we indeed avoid succumbing to the monster that was before us?

Stay tuned for installment #2 and learn more about if we beat the big one and if so, how we made all that money! ;)

Part 2- GO to PAGE 3

WDWLinda 03-20-2006 10:22 AM

Great start!!!
Very well written - I'm looking forward to the rest of this one.

We were in a similar situation last fall - scheduled to fly down to Disney on a Sun. morning, same time hurricane Wilma was scheduled to show up. The Wed. - Fri. before that were chaos - I called my husband every hour with updates from various sources (not all in agreement) and kept our poor travel agent guy late one night when we finally decided to postpone the trip until Tues. I wanted someone with a crystal ball to tell me what would be best. I think the airline waived the fee to change the tkts. But I agree, you really do get treated as second class citizens when you travel on ff miles - its not fair!

Hurry up with the next installment, please!


brandt79 03-20-2006 10:51 AM

I'm hooked! And eagerly awaiting the next installment. :thumbsup2

1stTimeDisneyer 03-20-2006 10:55 AM

I hope you beat the storm and tell us about the money!

gomomgo 03-20-2006 11:03 AM

More! More! More! :bounce:

pumba 03-20-2006 11:40 AM

I always worry too about flying out of Portland.......but once we arrived home to a snow storm.....we are going in NON SNOW SEASON...30 something days...Yippee.....thanks for your report and anxious for more

timandlesley 03-20-2006 11:41 AM

Oh my oh my, come on. . don't leave us hanging!!!

MomofCKJ 03-20-2006 11:42 AM

Don't leave me hanging, I need more!!! And that was a doozy of a storm, I live in MA, I remember!

Allyson :)

GeorgiaAristocat 03-20-2006 11:50 AM

FABULOUS start - can't wait to read the rest. PLEASE do not string us along for months . . . (like some others I could mention, :rolleyes: LYMI VetteChick and ZZub!)

DAPford 03-20-2006 11:53 AM

Can't wait to hear this keep writing ! :rolleyes1

kimmar067 03-20-2006 11:56 AM

horsegirl ~

ACK!! Don't leave us hangin'..... :guilty:

bigsis1970 03-20-2006 12:02 PM

Howdy - I too try not to fly around during the winter season here in Maine and wouldn't it figure that you get to in almost the only one storm of the season.. great report - can't wait to read more

PS Pumba -- we leave in 28 days but from Logan this trip !!

penguingirlie 03-20-2006 12:04 PM

More!! More!! Great start. Looking forward to the rest!

paslea_pooh 03-20-2006 12:08 PM

Can't wait to read the rest!!

TLinden16 03-20-2006 12:36 PM

Yikes. I know how stressful traveling with an upcoming storm is! Can't wait to heare how the travel went.

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