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  • Writer's pictureWhat I Did

Disney Cancelation Fee Loophole


Vacations do not always work out perfectly as planned. We go to Disney often and this tends to put us in situations where we must change plans last minute. Disney planning requires work far in advance – how are you supposed to know you are going to want that dinner at California Grill after a full day at Hollywood Studios 60 days in advance? Traveling with children can be unpredictable – it would be miserable to force a toddler that has obviously reached their max into a signature dining experience.


Pixar Pier at Disneyland California Adventure
Pixar Pier at Disneyland California Adventure

So… What do you do in these situations? Disney cancelation policies are great until you get close to your reservation. When it comes to dining you will be charged $10 per person on the reservation if you cancel within 24 hours of your dining reservation. When it comes to resort reservations you will lose ALL of your deposit, which is usually the cost of one night, if you cancel within 5 days of your reservation.


The answer to the fees? MODIFY!


We once planned a trip out to Disneyland last minute and were trying to rent DVC points to stay at the Grand Californian but wanted to book something, so we had a place to stay if renting the points fell through. We found out we got the points the day after we had booked a stay at the Disneyland Hotel on cash. We were within 5 days of our trip so the website was telling me we would lose our entire deposit (one night’s stay). I ended up calling Disneyland to see if I could talk my way out of it and the cast member told me about modification for Resort Stays.


The cast member was able to move our stay for a couple of months out and put the difference in price back on my card. After I got off the phone with the cast member, I was able to go onto the Disneyland website and cancel my stay. I was able to get the full amount of my deposit back as I was now more than 5 days out from my vacation.


I just used the modification for a Walt Disney World resort today. I had a split stay between the Riviera and the Grand Floridian that I paid full price for as I could find no discounts on the rooms a couple weeks ago when I booked. I was looking today and was able to find a room at the riviera for the entire length of my stay at the Passholder rate of 25% off. I had already called Guest Relations to try and apply the discount to both stays and was told there was no availability left to do so. I booked it! I went to cancel my stays at the Riviera and the Grand Floridian, but realized I was within the 5-day period of no refund. I then just modified both reservations out to January (I knew that January was a slow time and would probably have availability) and then canceled those reservations getting my full deposit back.


Modifying dining reservations works essentially the same way. Click on your reservation and instead of canceling it just modify and choose a new date and dining time that is more than 24 hours in the future. Once the new reservation is made you will then be able to go back to your reservations and cancel it with no fee.

Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disneyland
Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disneyland

When modifying dining reservations inside your 24-hour window you must be careful if doing it for some of the most popular restaurants. As most Disney fans know some restaurants will be sold out for 60 straight days so when you go to modify there may not be any available time and date to modify your reservation to. If you have an emergency and cannot find a time and date to modify to then call guest relations as they may be able to help with the $10 per person fee. Most of the time I am able to keep messing with modifying the reservation inside of the WDW app and find a later date to modify it to – check for slow park days which are usually Monday through Wednesday and unusual dining times like 2pm-4pm.


Obviously, Disney has these rules for a reason so that people aren’t blocking others from reservations if they are going to cancel. I would never depend on this trick and book things I have no interest in going to, but it has come through for me in certain situations where I couldn’t make things work.


I hope this helps you as much as it has helped me. Have you ever used the modify trick?

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