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Updated Disney World Cancellation Policy Makes Planning a 2021 Trip a No-Brainer

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The modified Disney World cancellation policy should remove a major obstacle in planning your next getaway!

As the travel industry has had to fight for customers through the COVID-19 era, there have been some good things to emerge for the the traveler. Marriott, for example, used to allow cancellations up through the day of check-in. A few years ago, they began modifying their cancellation policy and requiring cancellation two days prior to arrival with some hotels requiring between three and 14.

Airlines, notorious for inflexibility with a purchased ticket, have begun implementing generous change policies in an effort to increase their sales. And all this flexibility has added up to more reasons to say YES to planning your next Disney World Vacation (our Nerdy 7-step planning process can be found here).

Here is the standard Disney World cancellation policy.

As we pointed out in our recent Flexible Disney World Cancellation Policy Extended to April 21 article, you can plan a trip well into the spring. The upside to this is equally emotional as it is practical. In our experience, Disney World was really good about flexing on their policy and allowing a trip to be rescheduled as long as you did so ahead of time. The current policy seems to allow for cancelling, even last minute.

Disney world cancellation policy
Our recent trip started at Disney’s Pop Century!

On a recent trip, we were scheduled to stay at Pop Century for our entire stay (you should know by now that the Nerds love the Skyliner). As the trip loomed closer, we decided we needed to share review on a few other properties (these hotels had just reopened) and Disney made this easy-as-pie. I inquired about an early departure shortly after our contact-less check-in where we went straight our room and unlocked the door with our phone app and MagicBands.

I was told to come to the front desk the morning of my early departure and they would handle everything. They had one clear piece of advice – make sure someone is in the room or you have everything, because once you check out you may not be able to get back into the room. If we are being honest, there were skeptics among our party…a lot of them.

But you know what?

The process was smooth like butter (and we like butter!). The front desk could not have been more accommodating and the entire process took less than 60 seconds.

disney world cancellation policy
The flexible Disney World cancellation policy allowed us to check into Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.

We were able to rent DVC points last-minute and modify our stay and enhance our vacation. Meanwhile, Disney World kept us on-property and we dutifully continued to shop, dine and spend. WIN-WIN! After a terrific stay at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, we moved one more time to Disney’s Boardwalk Resort.

disney world cancellation policy
Disney World’s flexible policy allowed us to add time at Disney’s Boardwalk Resort and it coincided with our time at Epcot (and we loved the short walk).

Having flexibility right now is key and we love that the Disney World cancellation policy reflects these current times. This probably goes without saying, but we will be planning our next trip (ahem…trips) soon and we hope to have some exciting details to share. In the meantime, it’s time to fire up your browser, find some great flights and decide who will join you on your next Disney adventure. In the meantime, we Nerds will be doing our best to keep you up to date. Our fingers are still crossed for a Disneyland reopening update, but that’s for another time.

There are a few good things that will come out of 2020 with flexibility being numero uno. We are super excited about the announced extension of the flexible Disney World Cancellation Policy.

Flight modifications and cancellations have been pretty restrictive for quite some time.

Hotels, in recent years, have begun narrowing their cancellation policy.

Even rental cars have gotten in on the action and, by early 2020, were putting some strong restrictions in place.

Disney World? Well….the Disney World cancellation policy has always been, in our humble Nerdy opinion, pretty forgiving. Especially if you were open to rescheduling your trip instead of cancelling.

And then 2020. So many frustrations, so much confusion, and so many changes to the travel industry. But there is a shiny silver lining.

disney world cancellation policy
Our favorite dessert!

No, the silver lining is not just about eating more ice cream cookie sandwiches – though that IS a huge plus! The silver lining is about flexibility. When the Nerds and Nerdlings travel, we are reading and learning about our destination up to (and sometimes beyond) our arrival. This often leads to interesting adventures and experiences. But add flexibility to the Disney World cancellation policy and…well…we’re pretty excited!

Take our most recent trip to Disney World. We had our entire stay mapped out and we decided to spend our entire trip at our favorite Value Resort – Pop Century. As our trip approached, we decided we wanted to explore renting DVC points and check out some new Disney World hotels and revisiting some of our favorites, including the Polynesian Resort.

And the flexible Disney World cancellation policy made this easy. Because I didn’t handle the changes to my reservations prior to my arrival, I had to handle the changes in person. And you know what? It was easy and the service was great! I walked down to the front desk several days prior to our check-out date and told them I wished to check out. The said it was not a problem and told me to expect an updated folio later that day.

Easy peezy, lemon squeezy. Right? Right!

Since we did the only thing anyone should do – and a Nerdy requirement – we linked our new DVC rental reservations to our My Disney Experience. Now, our plans showed we were due to check in to the next hotel that day. We arrived for a super smooth contact-less check-in. Dropped the bags in the room and headed back to the parks. Our tickets via MagicBands continued to work seamlessly. Our charging privileges remained unchanged. Our vacation just kept going.

Why? Well…the flexibility of the Disney World cancellation policy, of course. Not only did Disney make all of this easy, bu the integration of all of our plans into My Disney Experience was terrific. Given our last minute cancellations and changes, we expected a few bumps in the road. And yet, there were none. It was Peter Pan-level smooth sailing.

So don’t hesitate – book your next trip with confidence and take advantage of the flexibility of airlines, hotels, rental cars and, of course, the Disney World cancellation policy. You really cannot go wrong!

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