Friday, June 24, 2005

Booking the Trip

On Monday, I spent my breaks and lunch hour pricing out different options, visiting the WDW message board on, and trying to learn as much as I could to make the most informed decision. For some reason, I wasn’t able to price a trip on the Disney World website, as it would time out and give me an hour. I was a little nervous thinking that the reason it was doing this was because of such a high level of traffic on the site caused by many people booking their trips. I was afraid that by the time we called to book our trip, the limited number of packages offered would be gone.

I was able to price the trip on, but they aren’t my first choice since they charge your card immediately for the full price of the trip. Walt Disney Travel charges you a $200 deposit with the balance due 45 days before your departure date. I hoped to use my Disney Visa and get the 6 months, no interest financing that they offer to cardholders who book packages through the Walt Disney Travel Company.

Once I arrived home, I quickly sat down in front of the computer and went to the WDW website. Unfortunately, my computer immediately locked up and I had to reboot, not once, but twice. My computer has been doing this a lot and I probably should just reformat my hard drive and start over, but I really don’t want to deal with that. Anyway, that’s a whole ‘nother story and one I don’t really want to go into right now.

I finally got my computer up and running again. We also had Jason’s laptop open as well so we could have several things going at once. After calling the Disney Visa people to verify that the trip we were planning would fall within the guidelines for special financing, I dialed the WD Travel Company. Ironically, all the numbers for booking Disney vacations/cruises are 800 numbers, except the number for Walt Disney World. This was going to be a long distance call to Florida. I have free long distance on my cell phone, but I wasn’t sure how long the call would last and I have limited peak hour minutes.

It seemed like I was on hold forever, but finally I was able to speak to a travel representative. I gave her our dates of travel and the package code for the free dining plan. This whole process took quite a while. When she gave me the total price, it seemed a little high. I asked her to check to make sure that I wasn’t being charged for the dining plan. While she checked, I priced out a vacation that included paying for the dining plan and it was the same price she quoted me, so I knew that she had overcharged me.

When she came back on the line, she said that because our stay extended past the expiration date of the special offer, the computer wasn’t giving me free dining for those days at the end of our trip. I explained that I was under the impression that as long as my check-in date was the dates of the offer, I would be eligible for the offer during our entire stay. She said that no, that wasn’t the way it worked. I still believe that information is incorrect, as I have read in several places that rate that’s in effect at your check-in date is the one in effect for your entire trip. I asked her to change the dates to the last week of September, and to also check for other value resorts. She willing did so, but came back to say that the computer wasn’t coming up with the deal so all the special packages must be sold out. I explained that I had just priced out the exact vacation on and was able to get the free dining plan. She suggested that I book through Expedia. I thanked her for her time and hung up.

With both of us at a different computer, we entered our own trip details into Expedia and were able to get the trip we wanted. I had a $75 off coupon from Expedia that I was able to use to further reduce the cost of the trip. We each clicked the button on our respective computers at the same time to book our trips. There was more than a moment of panic when Jason received a message saying that the flight he selected was no longer available. There was no way we wanted to travel on separate flights. Fortunately, he clicked the back button and tried it again. This time it worked.


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