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We booked a trip for our 10th anniversary next August. We currently have a split stay booked for 5 days at Pop with 7 day tickets for 3 adults (myself, DH, and DS) and 1 child (DD), followed with 4 nights at AKL (3 adults, 1 child). Well DS decided to join the Marines!
He really seems to think he'll still be able to go. The reality is there is virtually no chance he'll be able to go. I can't crush his dream of doing both so I need to wait until the last possible minute to make changes to all of our plans without either losing money or have to pay up front more than I need to and wait for a refund. This is a 'blow out' trip for us and we've planned lots of extras we don't normally do.
1: Pop Package - need to have the final count at the 30 day mark when the final package payment is due
2: AKL room only - could change up to the last minute when the payment is due but in reality this will already be paid off in advance, most likely at the 30 day mark along with Pop.
3: 'General' table service - at 6 months out I'm guessing I should make ressies for four, then drop to three if needed. Either way we're at a four-top table so it shouldn't make much difference.
4: CRT lunch - this one I'm stumped on. I'd make it for four then drop to three but I have to pay in advance. I'd rather not pay more than most likely necessary then wait for a refund but I will if it's too difficult to go from three to four. Or is it not actually charged until you go? I can't remember.
5: HEA dessert party - I'm guessing to book four, then change to three if needed. Most likely I'll know the exact count before this is open to book anyway.
Airfare is easy. I'm just booking myself, DH, and DD. If by some miracle DS is able to go we'd have to book his airfare separately anyway from a different airport.
I think your plan sounds workable, with the possible exception of CRT. Before I booked and prepaid, I would ask about refund policy in the event the number needs to be changed. The one time we went to CRT, my card/bank account was charged the moment I booked. According to the Disney Mom’s Panel, who quoted the WDW website statement, refunds are generally shown on your account within 3-5 business days. However, that is for a full refund/cancellation. I think the issue for you is that is is difficult to get a definitive answer from a CM. I know we’ve all heard stories of conflicting information coming from different CMs. The question for you is will they simply drop one from your reservation, or will they cancel and rebook the entire thing? The latter could be problematic, as we know that those CRT reservations get snapped up. Even in the couple of minutes it takes to transact it all, could someone else get your spot? I’d say it’s possible...maybe not likely, but possible.
If I were in your shoes, I’d book and pay for 4 at CRT, understanding that, worst case scenario, I might have to eat...pun intended...payment for an unused meal. Best case scenario, you’ll get your money back for the 4th meal, without complete cancellation and rebooking.
Are you sure you can’t reason with your son? Heaven only knows where he’ll be in his relatively new experience with the Marines. In the meantime, you are doing a lot of rearranging of plans to accommodate his participation in a trip you’re almost certain he won’t be able to take. I know you don’t want to burst his bubble, but it seems it’s either now or later, right?
As always, I think you should follow your own path, not mine, but I would have a difficult conversation now, rather than later.
I wonder whether it would be possible to pay for three at CRT and then pay for the fourth/additional person if he's able to come at the time of the meal? I feel like the table is the same size no matter if it's 3 or 4 and they wouldn't mind taking that extra money.....