Resort Reservation Payment Policies
Two different Disney Offices accept resort reservations. Their policies differ significantly!
There are two ways you can directly book your reservations for your Walt Disney World vacation. Both the Central Reservations Office (CRO) and the Walt Disney Travel Company (WDTC) can assist you. And while the two different Disney Offices both accept resort reservations, their policies differ significantly.
No matter who you talk to, everyone seems to have an opinion in the CRO Vs WDTC "which is better" debate. The question really shouldn't be "which is better". Rather it should be "what's the difference"?
AREN'T CRO AND WDTC SEPARATE COMPANIES?
Yes and no. Seems that people are under the mistaken impression that WDTC and CRO are two separate and distinct places with separate staffs in different places. This is not the case. Everyone is in the same room at the Disney Reservation Center (DRC). Nearly every person who is in WDTC started with CRO. A CM needs to be trained in both to handle WDTC calls. This is because both CRO and WDTC draw their available resort rooms from the same Central Reservation System (CRS) program. Money is handled separately, too. In most cases, you will not be able to transfer your already paid deposit between the two companies if you change your reservation. You will have to get the old reservation cancelled and refunded while putting down a brand new deposit on the new reservation. The exception to this policy is when you have paid your deposit by check. In that instance, your deposit can be transferred between the two.
WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE IN WHO MAKES YOUR RESERVATION?
CRO CMs take Disney room only reservations and some code offerings and enter them into the CRS reservation system. WDTC CMs are trained using software that allows them to book your air, airport transfers or rental cars as well as your Disney resort just like travel agents can. CRO books room only and discounted room only reservations (i.e., AAA, FL Res, Passholder, Cast Member, etc.) using three letter codes. CRO no longer books any packages. Think of it like this — CRO books on-site, Disney-supplied components ONLY (hotel, admissions, dining, recreation, etc.). WDTC's claim to fame is "all-inclusive" vacations, i.e., trip insurance, air, transfers or rental cars (yes, WDTC DOES BOOK RENTAL CARS!), hotel, admissions, and any other components a guest may want (meals, recreation, etc.).
With regards to the Swan and Dolphin, Downtown Disney Resort Area Hotels, and the 30 or so Disney Good Neighbor Hotels, these can be booked by both CRO and WDTC but it depends on what you want. Packages for Swan and Dolphin, Downtown Disney Resort Area Hotels, and the 30 or so Disney Good Neighbor Hotels are now booked exclusively through WDTC, but room only for Swan, Dolphin and Downtown Disney Resort Area Hotels may still be booked through CRO. Disney Good Neighbor Hotels are only available with a package so they can't be booked through CRO at all. All Good Neighbor bookings come as a package (only!) with special Length of Stay Park Hopper/Park Hopper Plus passes (NOT Ultimate Park Hoppers).
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES IN TERMS BETWEEN A WDTC RESERVATION AND A CRO RESERVATION?
There are several differences in terms between CRO and WDTC:
A CRO room only reservation requires a one night's deposit within 14 days. If arrival is less than 30 days out, deposit is required at booking. The balance is due at resort check in. MasterCard, Visa, American Express, and Discover are accepted. You may also mail a check or money order. Cancellations up to the 6 day mark will have your deposit refunded in full. Cancellations after the 6 day mark will be charged the one night's deposit as a penalty. Any additional amounts that may have been paid on the reservation will be refunded in full. There is no time limit on when you can make modifications to an existing CRO reservation with no additional charge. This can be done right up to arrival.
A WDTC package (including the "room only" Basic Package) requires a $200.00 deposit within 14 days of booking. The balance will be due 45 days prior to check in. Checks, money orders, MasterCard, Visa, American Express, and Discover are accepted. Cancellation between 6 and 45 days prior to arrival will result in a $100.00 fee. Cancellation 5 days or less will incur a $200.00 fee. Any change or modification of the reservation inside the 45 day mark will incur a $50.00 fee.
Here's a summary in table form:
|Terms:||CRO ROOM ONLY||WDTC|
|Deposit:||One nights room rate + tax||$200|
|Deposit Due:||in 14 days||in 14 days|
|Balance Due:||at check in||45 days prior to arrival|
|Cancellation Fee:||One nights fee less than 6 days prior to arrival||$100 between 6 and 45 days
$200 less than 6 days
|Changes/modifications||no charge anytime||$50 within 21 days prior to arrival|
WHAT CONSTITUTES A PACKAGE?
On the CRO side, a package is defined as a reservation that includes components other than just a hotel room that the guest receives upon arrival, such as UPH passes, dining options, etc. Note that a room reservation and a credit card order for a 4-Day Park Hopper is NOT a package. Such a ticket is charged up front and mailed to the guest immediately. This is a hotel reservation and a ticket order, two separate sales. An Ultimate Park Hopper, on the other hand, is a package because this ticket is not mailed out but rather is coded onto the guest's room key at check in.
On the WDTC side, it's very easy. EVERYTHING is a package. Any reservations that are booked with a WDTC agent that do not include the requisite package components is, in fact, booked through CRO even if you have a WDTC agent doing it.
DO YOU HAVE A CHOICE OF WHO YOU USE?
Yes, to some extent. There are certain things that require booking through one or the other. For example: if you are using a code that contains 4 letters, you have to go through WDTC, if you are using a code that contains 3 letters, you have to go through CRO, etc. You do not have any choice as to who books these. But if you want a rack rate room only reservation, you can ask to have it booked either way. It will be called the Basic Package through WDTC and will include some token freebies like admission to Wide World of Sports or a free round of miniature golf. The freebies vary from time to time.
IF I HAVE A RESERVATION THROUGH WDTC, CAN I CALL UP AND HAVE IT CHANGED TO CRO?
You cannot simply "call up to change the reservation, insisting on the usual CRO deal vs WDTC terms". As strange as it may seem to the general public, policies are not whimsically applied or ignored based upon guest request. The reservation would have to be cancelled completely through WDTC and then rebooked completely through CRO. If you opt to do this, first make sure you know about any penalties for cancellation that may apply to your WDTC reservation, and make sure that availability under the code you used or just the room only rack rate at your resort of choice still exists in CRO.
HOW DO I KNOW WHO MADE MY RESERVATION SINCE I DIDN'T ASK WHEN I CALLED?
Look at your confirmation sheet. If you got a large yellow sheet that carries a 12 digit confirmation number, you have a CRO reservation. If you got a legal size white envelope with a white sheet of paper that carries an 8 digit number, you have a WDTC reservation.
IS THERE A SPECIFIC PHONE NUMBER I CAN CALL TO KNOW WHICH ONE I'M GETTING?
Please note that at this point, all agents are trained to handle both room only (CRO) and WDTC calls. There really isn't an "overflow" situation anymore because most everyone is on the same "skill set". Eventually, incoming calls will be routed based on demographics (whether the guest has never been to WDW, or has been a few times, or comes every year).
WHO MAKES MY RESERVATION IF I BOOK IT ONLINE THROUGH THE DISNEY WEBSITE?
You will get WDTC through the website.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I FORGET TO SEND THE DEPOSIT OR THE BALANCE OF MY CRO OR WDTC RESERVATION BEFORE THE APPROPRIATE DEADLINE?
If you can't make your deposit within the prescribed period, you can call CRO/WDTC and request an extension. They will give you a few more days to get you deposit in. If we are talking about your remaining balance payment being missed, then your reservation can be cancelled and you will have no recourse to reinstate it at the same prices/terms as you had. You will only be able to make a new reservation based upon rates and availability now.
A FINAL THOUGHT
A friend pointed out to me that WDTC really isn't as sinister as everyone thinks as long as you understand what you are getting when you book. Just think of WDTC as a full service agent who can take care of just about anything you need to do during your stay at Walt Disney World. If you are still not sure, don't be afraid to ask questions if you need clarification on something when you book. Don't assume you know the answer. Your budget could take a real hit if you are wrong.
WDTC Complete Terms & Conditions
The following is the complete list of the actual terms and conditions that are attached to a WDTC reservation:
All rates are subject to change until package is paid in full. All rates are in U.S. dollars. If you book a package which includes air travel, purchase Travel Guard International's Trip Cancellation Insurance through Walt Disney Travel Co., Inc., and pay the insurance premium, then Walt Disney Travel Co., Inc. will not charge you an increased rate due to an increase in the base airfare of your air travel which occurs after such insurance premium payment is made. However, you may be charged an increased rate due to increases in or addition of fuel or other surcharges assessed by the airline, other surcharges, passenger facility charges, taxes or other items not part of base airfare.
Package features for all plans are subject to change and may be based on features available at time of arrival, not those in effect at time of booking. Documents will be delivered via express service for reservations made 14 days or less prior to arrival and will incur an additional $10 fee.
A DEPOSIT of $200.00 per reservation is due within 10 days from the date of booking. **IF THE RESERVATION INCLUDES THE PRICE OF ANY PROMOTIONAL OR PUBLISHED AIRFARES, the $200.00 deposit plus full payment of airfare must be received at time of booking or the reservation will be automatically canceled. FINAL PAYMENT is due in our office 21 days prior to guest arrival. For all packages that include airfare, final payment is due 45 days prior to guest arrival. 'Land Only' bookings made 21 days or less prior to arrival must be paid in full at the time of booking. FINAL PAYMENT can be sent to Walt Disney Travel Co., Inc., P.O. Box 10375, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830. For overnight delivery via private courier service only, send to: Walt Disney Travel Co., Inc., 7100 Municipal Drive, Orlando, FL 32819. Please note: regular US mail service does not deliver to the Municipal Drive address. Vouchers are proof of final payment.
CANCELLATION AND CHANGE FEES:
For cancellations or changes, if your air travel has been ticketed, there will be a cancellation or change fee per ticket equal to the higher of (i) $75 to $100 and (ii) the cancellation or change fee assessed by the airline. Please note that cancellation of a non refundable, published or promotional airfare results in a charge equal to the entire amount of the airfare.
For a cancellation made between 6 and 45 days prior to arrival, there is a cancellation fee of $100 per package plus any cancellation fees by hotels or other suppliers. No refunds will be given to no-shows.
For a cancellation made between 5 days or less prior to arrival, there is a cancellation fee of $200 per package plus any cancellation fees by hotels or other suppliers. No refunds will be given to no-shows.
For a change made 21 days or less prior to arrival or that results in a rate change, there is an additional change fee of $50 per package plus any change fees assessed by hotels or other suppliers.
Travel insurance is non refundable.
Changes affecting outbound flights or first night's accommodations must be made at least 6 business days prior to arrival. All existing documents must be returned to Walt Disney Travel Co., Inc. via overnight delivery service and revised documents will be delivered express at an additional cost of $10. Land portions of the booking cannot be cancelled without canceling the air reservations.
Documents will be mailed approximately 21 days prior to arrival (after receipt of final payment). Non refundable, promotional or published airfare tickets will be mailed immediately after payment of that component of your package. Any lost or misplaced documents will result in additional fees which may not be refundable. All applicable tickets and vouchers for land bookings, excluding car rental or transfer vouchers, will be picked up by the guest at the hotel at check-in.
No refunds will be made for unused admission tickets or features. Any refunds as a result of changes to the package must be requested in writing within 60 days after departure and will be assessed a $25 processing fee. All documents must be returned in order to process a refund. We reserve the right to make refunds in accordance with the method that payment was received. No air refunds will be made after travel has commenced or if a flight is missed/delayed.
GENERAL CONDITIONS AND RESPONSIBILITY:
Walt Disney Travel Co., Inc. shall at no time be liable or responsible in any way whatsoever for any loss, injury, or damage caused or arising in connection with any transportation, hotel or other services or products provided through Walt Disney Travel Co., Inc., or as a result of acts of God, acts of Government or other authorities, wars, civil disturbances, hijacks, thefts, or any circumstance beyond its control. Walt Disney Travel Co., Inc. reserves the right to decline, accept, or retain any guests as a participant in these packages at any time. If a package is cancelled by Walt Disney Travel Co., Inc., Walt Disney Travel Co., Inc. shall have no responsibility beyond the refund of all moneys paid by the guest or guests' agent, as the case may be, to Walt Disney Travel Co., Inc., less any amounts retained by airlines, hotels or other parties providing services or products. The terms and conditions of any transportation services provided by airlines shall be as represented by the airlines.
All passenger's full, legal names and children's ages are required at time of booking. Name changes are not permitted; reservations are nontransferable.
Flight schedules are not guaranteed. The Walt Disney Travel Co., Inc. shall not be responsible for any airline schedule changes, delays, cancellations, or the airlines' inability to perform. Passengers are responsible for reconfirming all flights. Seat assignments are not guaranteed. If seat selection is unavailable through the Walt Disney Travel Co., Inc., seats will be assigned at airport check-in. Juniors and children must fly with an adult on the same itinerary and reservation. At this time, a government-issued photo identification is required for all air passengers 18 years and older.
Check-In / Check-Out
Check-in time is typically between 3 and 4 p.m., and check-out time is normally between 11 a.m. and 12 noon. (During peak periods, check-in may be delayed one to two hours due to high occupancy.) Most hotels will store luggage for guests arriving before check-in time and/or departing after check-out time. Some beach hotels have check-in after 4 p.m.
NATIONAL CAR RENTAL:
If your package includes a car rental, present your rental voucher to the National Car rental desk. Renter must be at least 21 years of age; some locations may vary. Rates may be higher for drivers under 25. Renter must present a valid driver's license and either an acceptable major credit card in his or her name or credit verification. Other standard rental qualifications apply. Car must be rented for a minimum of 2 consecutive 24-hour periods. Car rental includes unlimited mileage (if car is rented and returned within the state of Florida). Additional days, additional drivers fee, Loss Damage Waiver, Supplemental Liability Insurance, Personal Accident/Personal Effects Coverage, optional refueling service and any other charges are extra. Child restraint seats must be used for children up to age 5. Child restraint seats must be requested at the time of booking for an additional charge. Seat belts should be used by all passengers. A drop charge will be added to all rentals returned outside the state of Florida. Car rental rates are based on a 24-hour period, beginning at the time of rental.
Your stay at a Disney resort includes complimentary air-conditioned motor coach transportation throughout Walt Disney World.
For any payment, modification, or cancellation questions, it is also possible to reach the Disney Reservation Center by phone. The number to call is: 407-828-8101. International members: (407) 939-7860