April 2020: Our son, Joseph, was in his senior year of high school and had just committed to a wonderful job in the Air Force that he would be beginning upon graduation.
He was graduating high school, starting a career in the military, and I celebrated my 50th birthday in March. We were so excited to really celebrate these milestones together – the whole family – all six of us before he would leave for basic training in Texas.
As a family, we were planning the most magical, celebratory Disney trip. We were going to do all the things. Hit all the parks. Everything had been meticulously planned, and our excitement was tangible. Easter break was when the Canas family would descend upon Disney World. The countdown in our household had begun.
Then… COVID-19. Less than a month before our vacation was to start, a worldwide pandemic hit, and everything came to a screeching halt.
My husband and I, and our four children, consider ourselves to be pretty adaptable people, and all of us seemed to adjust to the many instant changes and inherent challenges to our lives gracefully and with positivity. The Broadway tickets we were planning to use the weekend of my birthday were not going to be used, but I didn’t worry about it. I had purchased ticket insurance, after all. Surely, I’d be reimbursed, and we would just plan to go again once the world opened up again. Nope.
This insurance did not cover a pandemic situation, and neither the insurance company, Ticketmaster, nor the theater would be reimbursing me for the six orchestra seat tickets I purchased. That was a big, very unexpected hit to our “fun” budget.
And, then, it struck me. What about our big family trip that was supposed to be right around the corner? I mean, six round-trip plane tickets, an SUV rental, Disney Resort suite reservations, four Disney Parks and Universal Studios Park-Hopper Tickets with Express Passes added on to each one.
Of course, we had already figured out a plan to postpone our trip a year or so, hoping Joey would be able to be eligible for leave. We were optimistic. “Everything always works out” played repeatedly in my head.
I, luckily, entrust all of our Disney vacation planning through LBAC Travel, an agency that specializes in organizing all of the Disney Magic we look forward to, and their stellar, extremely wise agent, Tracy Geraghty, who had thoughtfully encouraged me to purchase travel insurance each trip we booked with them.
With the scorching reality of what had just happened with our theater ticket loss, my confidence in saving our invested vacation funds was dwindling. The call to Tracy had to be made, but, “I’m sorry, but pandemics aren’t covered in your insurance coverage,” was already ringing in my ears.
But, you know what? That travel insurance saved us. We were quickly reimbursed for everything we had invested – the resort reservation, the multiple park tickets, our car reservation, multiple dining reservations and all 12 airplane tickets were able to be used toward new flights once the pandemic was over.
Every. Penny. Returned. Returned, and saved for rescheduling, when some form of normalcy could return to all our lives.
Had we not purchased that travel insurance, our next Canas family adventure would not have happened. And that vacation was the one where the greatest memories were made.
Our son was able to be with us, joining his siblings, my husband and me, and it truly was the most magical Disney vacation of all. We survived COVID, unexpected homeschooling for two children, job changes, and all of the chaos of uncertain times, and were able to experience the joy of being together and just having fun.
Did I ever really put thought into vacation insurance? Nope. Because, “What could EVER happen?!” Luckily, I listened to the wise advice of our trusted travel agent and it came through for our family, 100%.
Take it from someone who learned the value of adding travel insurance to your vacation budget. Truly worth every penny.