HELP ME DECIDE! Change park days? Flight cancelations got me worried!

What do I do?


  • Total voters
    10

MamaMouse0920

Earning My Ears
Joined
Apr 20, 2022
Let me preface this by saying I KNOW no one can make this decision but me. I know this. But I need a sounding board and would love to hear your guys' opinions!

All these flight cancelations across the country have me worried. We are traveling from Minnesota to Orlando (a 24 hour drive without stops), the travelers being myself, my husband, & our two young kids (3.5yo & 2yo). The kids do NOT do well with long car rides- my son throws up any time we drive longer than 30 minutes unless he is sleeping. So driving would be borderline cruel & unusual punishment for all parties involved. I really, really, really REALLY do not want to drive. But, if worst comes to absolute worst, we are not canceling this trip for a third time so I guess we may have no other choice.

Here are the details: Staying offsite. Currently have 4 park days planned, with tickets valid from 9/8/22 - 9/14/22, & our flight scheduled for mid-morning on 9/7. Our current plans are:

Wed 9/7 - arrival
Thurs 9/8 - MK
Fri 9/9 - AK
Sat 9/10 - rest day @ resort
Sun 9/11 - rest day @ resort/Disney Springs
Mon 9/12 - HS
Tues 9/13 - MK
Wed 9/14 - departure


If we are given as short of notice as the airlines have been giving lately (approx. 12 hours prior to departure, from what I've been seeing), that means we would know that our flight is canceled late evening of 9/6. I suppose we could wake the kids up, hop immediately in the car (even if it is at midnight, technically 9/7) and start our drive right then & there, but that still does not put us arriving in Orlando until probably mid afternoon 9/8 because we would need to stop many times (kids stretch legs, potty breaks, puke-clean-ups, etc.) in addition to at least a few hours in a hotel so my poor husband can get some rest.

Now here is my predicament. With the stupid park reservation system in place, what on earth do I do?! If we end up needing to drive, I can't simply "push everything back a day" because with that short of notice, it is extremely likely that all parks will have no availability. It feels like a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" situation. I could A) buy a 5th park day right now (when there is tons of park availability) for an extra $200.. but in the event our flight is NOT canceled, yes I gain a park day, but also lose out on a rest day (I know I know, but our kids are young and will likely need that rest day!) or B) do nothing, and in the event our flight DOES get canceled, I lose a park day ( 😭), or if by some absolute miracle there is park availability, I am forced to go to the parks on Saturday or Sunday (which as you can tell by my itinerary, I am trying to avoid the weekend crowds), but I am once again losing a rest day.

And yes, I know this is all speculation and it could end up being totally fine and there's no reason to think my flight will be canceled...... but in all of the groups I'm in on Facebook (plus here on the DISboards) it is happening more and more and I just want to be prepared for the worst but hope for the best.

So first, thank you for taking the time to read my ranting novel and secondly, thank you in advance for ALL your thoughts/opinions/insight. As always, it is very much appreciated!
 

MamaMouse0920

Earning My Ears
Joined
Apr 20, 2022
I should also note that we are rope-droppers who want to maximize our times in the park. I envy all of you who decide at 3pm (or whenever your flight lands) to just mosey on over to one of the parks but I could never, ever do that. If I am spending this much money, I want to be there allllllllll day!
 

Average Joes

Mouseketeer
Joined
Apr 24, 2012
There are recent reports of the weekend being marginally less busy in terms of ride times. It may not really matter anymore what days you go. You may be able to switch MK to the Saturday without much difference. Note that MK will be busy on the non-party Halloween days.

For two RD to close days I would probably want AK first then MK. You can go to bed early Thursday for the earlier start at AK. AK closes early so you can rest a bit before a full day at MK in the heat. You can then sleep in Sunday.
 

Nevada Jen

DIS Veteran
Joined
Nov 5, 2012
Do you have direct flights? If so, I would just roll the dice. I think you have enough cushion that if your flight gets cancelled, you should be able to get somewhere close to orlando and then drive from there worst case. I would maybe book a car through costco at a couple of the closest airports to Orlando with drop off at MCO and include Miami. I can't imagine that you will not be able to get to Miami before your first park day.
 

MamaMouse0920

Earning My Ears
Joined
Apr 20, 2022
Do you have direct flights? If so, I would just roll the dice. I think you have enough cushion that if your flight gets cancelled, you should be able to get somewhere close to orlando and then drive from there worst case. I would maybe book a car through costco at a couple of the closest airports to Orlando with drop off at MCO and include Miami. I can't imagine that you will not be able to get to Miami before your first park day.
Yes our flights are nonstop, thank goodness! I will look into renting cars. That is a great tip, thanks! For sure Atlanta (MSP > MCO always seems to have stops in Atlanta), and maybe Ft Myers as well. Thanks again!
 

Travis 12345

Earning My Ears
Joined
May 4, 2021
Most flights will still go on time, and those that are canceled result is some uncertainty for sure with the airline rebooking you, but as long as it is a major airline they will get you to Orlando faster than driving from Minnesota any any event in my opinion. Orlando is a very busy airport with flights coming from all over, and my experience with cancelled flights has been under most circumstances you can still arrive within 24 hours or less of your intended arrival, even if it means a layover somewhere.

We had a similar schedule last time we went (park days mid-week, Disney Springs on the weekend) and it worked well. It was November, but EPCOT on a Tuesday was way less crowed than it was on a Friday. Since you are going in September it is typically a less crowded time and there will likely be park reservations still available to switch around. It seemed last November that MK was always the first to sell out on the busy days, so perhaps consider making a 5th park reservation on Saturday or Sunday for MK just in case.

The one thing I did notice is that your MK reservation for 9/13 is the same date as an after hours party. The park closes early that day for the party, so be aware of that. 9/9, 9/11, and 9/13 all have after hours parties at MK during your trip (we are going on the 9th, we love them), but that means if you don't also have a party ticket that day the park closes for you at 7:00 p.m. that night.
 

MamaMouse0920

Earning My Ears
Joined
Apr 20, 2022
Most flights will still go on time, and those that are canceled result is some uncertainty for sure with the airline rebooking you, but as long as it is a major airline they will get you to Orlando faster than driving from Minnesota any any event in my opinion. Orlando is a very busy airport with flights coming from all over, and my experience with cancelled flights has been under most circumstances you can still arrive within 24 hours or less of your intended arrival, even if it means a layover somewhere.

We had a similar schedule last time we went (park days mid-week, Disney Springs on the weekend) and it worked well. It was November, but EPCOT on a Tuesday was way less crowed than it was on a Friday. Since you are going in September it is typically a less crowded time and there will likely be park reservations still available to switch around. It seemed last November that MK was always the first to sell out on the busy days, so perhaps consider making a 5th park reservation on Saturday or Sunday for MK just in case.

The one thing I did notice is that your MK reservation for 9/13 is the same date as an after hours party. The park closes early that day for the party, so be aware of that. 9/9, 9/11, and 9/13 all have after hours parties at MK during your trip (we are going on the 9th, we love them), but that means if you don't also have a party ticket that day the park closes for you at 7:00 p.m. that night.
Yes, unfortunately the MNSSHP dates were released after making our plans/reservations :( And I think I like the way the itinerary flows as it is too much to change (start with MK, end with MK since my kids are little and it will likely be their favorite park. Good book-ends, so to speak). It does make me sad to leave early on our last night, but I think it will work out for the best. I am thinking (hoping) that MK will be way less busy that day with the early closure, and my kids may be ready to head out at 7pm anyway being that it is the last of our 4 park days.

Thank you for the reassurances about the likelihood of our flight being okay- I keep telling myself that in large groups (i.e. these boards & on Facebook) you only see the ONE flight that was canceled that day- you don't hear about the thousands of flights that didn't get canceled!
 

DaviVascaino

Mouseketeer
Joined
Mar 6, 2022
where are you flying from?

Usually the cancelled flights are from or to smaller cities. Orlando is a hot spot, and I doubt major airlines will cancel unless something really extraordinary happens (flights to Orlando are usually full)
 

MamaMouse0920

Earning My Ears
Joined
Apr 20, 2022
where are you flying from?

Usually the cancelled flights are from or to smaller cities. Orlando is a hot spot, and I doubt major airlines will cancel unless something really extraordinary happens (flights to Orlando are usually full)
Minneapolis, so definitely not a smaller airport! But I think the pilot/flight attendant/baggage handler/ground staff shortage may be nation wide- not just in smaller cities
 

DaviVascaino

Mouseketeer
Joined
Mar 6, 2022
Minneapolis, so definitely not a smaller airport! But I think the pilot/flight attendant/baggage handler/ground staff shortage may be nation wide- not just in smaller cities
My point is they will rearrange their pilots and crew and focus on higher demand itinerary. You will be fine
 

Frozen2014

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 12, 2014
Am sorry this is all so unknown and stressful. I feel for you with having precious family vacation time put on hold for 2+ years. As an option...would you consider changing your 4 day park ticket to 5 day ticket and maybe book MK for one of your current non-park days? That way, if you don't make it for your planned day 1 due to having to drive, you will have a backup. And if you do make it, you could just go for a few hours (or skip it if wanted too).
Hope your flight goes as planned. I totally get it as I too am always thinking of "what ifs"...when you just want everything so perfect.
 

MamaMouse0920

Earning My Ears
Joined
Apr 20, 2022
Am sorry this is all so unknown and stressful. I feel for you with having precious family vacation time put on hold for 2+ years. As an option...would you consider changing your 4 day park ticket to 5 day ticket and maybe book MK for one of your current non-park days? That way, if you don't make it for your planned day 1 due to having to drive, you will have a backup. And if you do make it, you could just go for a few hours (or skip it if wanted too).
Hope your flight goes as planned. I totally get it as I too am always thinking of "what ifs"...when you just want everything so perfect.
Yes I am really toying with the idea! The only problem... my in-laws are FL residents and graciously offered to add on our 3.5yo daughter to theirs so that her ticket could be counted as FL resident (working the system... perhaps, but honestly Disney has taken so much of my money that I figure they can deal with it!) and unfortunately we can't change their tickets from a 4 day to 5 day as FL resident tickets are only sold in 1, 3, or 4 day tickets. So we would have to just buy a stand-alone 1 day (park hopper, because that is the only "discounted" ticket they offer in 1 day increments) ticket and for the three of them it would cost $527. Boo!
 

leebee

DIS Veteran
Joined
Sep 14, 1999
I'd move the MK day on 9/8 to 9/10. Take the 8th and run with it. I'm assuming if you are offsite, you'll have a car. You could go to the pool, or if you need a "disney fix," ride the ferry boat to MK and then the monorail to Epcot, or go to Disney Springs (free parking) where you could take a bus to POP and ride the Skyliner around. If you end up back at Disney Springs there is always the option of taking a boat ride to POFQ or OKW for lunch. DS also has World of Disney, the Lego store, a carousel (or similar kid-rides), etc. Heck, with a car you could add on a day at SeaWorld on 9/8- or just relax, visit the grandparents and catch your breath before the craziness begins.

Lots of options, but if you are really worried about missing a park day, I'd move the MK day. Who knows- your kids might ADORE AK, and at their ages they won't know they are missing MK until they actually get there. One thing I would NOT do is drive. I was that car-sick kid. I remember when I was 5 and my parents drove us from Boston to Canada. I thought I was going to die. No way would I do that to my own child. I was so happy when I was old enough to take dramamine (and now I take Bonine every 12 hours while at Disney).
 

DebLovesPooh

Mouseketeer
Joined
Aug 8, 2020
I also vote on moving your first MK day to the 10th. I wouldn’t need two rest days in the middle and I would regret missing a day in MK if my flight was cancelled on the 7th and I was rescheduled for the 8th. And if your flight on the 7th wasn’t canceled but delayed by 4.5 hours (like my last flight was), you’ll have a chance to catch your breath on the 8th instead of rushing into a park.
 

HeiHei2018

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jan 10, 2018
You are traveling at what has historically been a slower time, so I wouldn’t stress too much about park reservations. It’s possible that park reservations will fill up, but they might not. You can keep an eye on things on The reservations calendar.
 

snikki

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jul 9, 2021
Can you fly in the night before? If not I would change to a 5 day ticket and make 9/10 or 9/11 a MK day. If all works fine with the flights and you have your 9/8 day I would use the additional day as a half day. Pool time in the morning and hit MK in the PM with stacked G+.
 

SDKMom

Mouseketeer
Joined
Feb 17, 2011
I've been worried about flight cancellations too, so my solution was to rebook our late evening flight to as early in the morning as possible. Fingers crossed it works--we fly out Saturday!
 

JodyK

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jan 22, 2015
AK seems to pretty much always have reservations available and are the last to go so I would probably lock in 3 MK reservations (since they are the first to go) then modify one to AK once I am on the way and know what my schedule looks like.
 








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