Friday, May 28, 2010

And Now For Something Useful

Disney World has finally updated its online dining tool.  It is considerably more user friendly, and you can now see a list of all of your ADRs in one place.  Previously, you could only see a list of the ones you made in that session.  I'm guessing that like us, many of you make multiple ADRs in different sessions.  Now you can get a list of them altogether.

Another bit of encouraging news which pertains mainly to us but may also encourage many of you: even though a significant number of people make their ADRs right at 180 days, you can still get reservations for the places you want to eat at closer to your trip.  When we booked our trip a few months back, we were already in the 180 day period and yet with the exception of one restaurant, were able to get every ADR we wanted at the time we wanted.  This included CRT which I made two separate reservations for.  Both of which I've now cancelled but the point was, this formerly hard-to-get ADR was wide open on two separate days.  The only place we wanted to eat at and had difficulty scheduling was 'Ohana.  We did get it but at an inconvenient time (NOAlgore'sInconvenientTruth).  Yet, just today, while playing around with the new online dining deal, I was able to secure 'Ohana at the time we wanted.  Huzzah!

Lastly a word about changing flight times.  Until a few weeks ago, I wouldn't have thought this was information which needed to be passed on, but then I ran into someone who didn't know you don't have to pay activation charges when you get a new cell phone or sign up for new service.  If before you sign up you tell them you will not pay the charge, they will waive it.  I thought everyone knew that but apparently not everyone does.  If you didn't, now you do.

Now here's my flight change story: we're flying Delta Airlines. They love to change flight times and it shows. Their "policy" is if the flight change causes you to arrive or depart at least an hour later than originally ticketed, they'll change your flights one time for no charge. Their policy is silent about leaving earlier.  We are scheduled to fly home from Orlando at 7:00 in the am.  Don't ask me why, but that's what we booked.  One assumes there was a good reason I picked that flight.

I have been regretting it ever since and contemplating eating a change of flight fee to move us to later flights.  Only Delta now charges a whopping $150 per ticket to change.  For the ZZUBs, that's $600 ducks to avoid a minor inconvenience.  No dice.  But as I was looking at our itinerary, I observed that Delta had changed our flight and we were now leaving at 6:15!  In the freakin' am!!!!  The website said I might be able to change our flights without cost under certain conditions (see above).  Since the "policy" was silent on early departures, I clicked around and picked out a later flight to see what it would cost.  Adding in the change of flight fee with the cost difference in the new flights, it was a little over $2,000 to leave later.  I threw up on my desk.  Looked at the screen again to confirm it was correct and threw up a 2d and 3d time. The 4th time it was just dry heaves.

Undeterred, I called Delta.  The woman I spoke with politely changed our flights without any cost at all.  I didn't have to even go all ZZUB on her.  She just said, "of course there's no charge since we altered your itinerary."  Funny.  Evidently the "policy" only applies to the website.

So: if you find yourself in the situation where your flights have been changed.  Don't fret none.  Just pick up the phone and give them a call.  You might be surprised at what happens.

All of which makes me wonder what tips y'all possess that you're willing to pass along.  Don't assume we all know them b/c like the cell phone activation charge, not everyone does know it.  The only caveats are these: I'm looking for genuine tips not funny ones, and let's avoid anything to do with parking, pool hopping, refillable mugs and room occupancy.  For the obvious reasons.


Have a nice Memorial Day. Please pause on Monday to remember our servicemen and women and pray for them and their families.  They have sacrificed much for our freedom.  Let's especially consider those who, as Lincoln said, "gave the last full measure of devotion."  God bless their memories.  God bless their families.

God bless the USA.


  1. I hear you ZZUB. Our first trip to Disney World was on Delta, and I think they changed our fights at least twenty-teen times.
    SCORE, on the new flight times though! It's great when a screw-up actually improves things.

    Javamom, AKA Steph

  2. Here's one for ya...

    You can shop at Costco without having a membership. The key is to get a Costco Cash Card, which is their gift card. If you have the Costco Cash card, you don't need a membership. The gift card lets you go into the store and buy anything you want. You'll need to use the cash card to pay for your purchases and, if it doesn't have enough on it, you can use cash or debit card to pay for the rest.

    The downside to this strategy is you can't buy a new card or reload the card without a membership. You'll have to find a Costco card-carrying friend to buy them for you and the minimum is $10.

  3. Hey Zzub!

    You'll be so happy that Mrs.DeltaSuzyHelpershoes helped you change your flights because take it from the YAK's MCO is no place to be with the family at 5 darkthirty in the morning. We did that once. Never again. We even stayed at the hotel right inside MCO to avoid the masses. It is so busy at MCO first thing in the morning that I would have advised you to pay the $2K. 40,000 people lined up to check in. Another 6.3million trying to get through security. I guess if you have to leave the magic it's best to do it before you are awake and had your first coffee.

    For me, never again!

    So that was my tip.

  4. Well, ZZUB, it looks like only three people have decent tips for ya, so what about a page turn?

    Actually, I do have a tip before you turn.

    I've never tried it, because I don't clip coupons. (I know, I know. I should, but I don't. It just seems like too much trouble.) Evidently, Publix will take competitor coupons. Harvey's, whatever.

    But to me, coupons only work if you shop the processed foods section and need four hundred boxes of Cookie Crisp cereal. Which would be delicious, but not so good for ya.


    Hope the ZZUBs are getting pumped up for their trip to Disney World. Y'all leave this weekend, right?

  5. Congrats on conquering the evil empire of Big Air. Here's a hand tip. If you are looking for something specific on a webiste and don't feel like scrolling, hold down Ctrl and type the letter F. Type wat you are looking for and hit Next.

  6. To avoid getting a non-reclining or windowless seat on your next flight, consult before choosing your seats. They have seating plans for the planes used by every airline, with a color-coded system for identifying seats best avoided.

    Don't forget that the airlines release quite a few seats exactly 24 hours before you fly -- so go online at that time to see if you can get a better seat. You can't see these seats on a general seat map for the flight in question -- you have to go through the check-in process for them to show up.

    Didn't know about the decline-able cell activation charges. You're sure that if I say I don't want to pay those charges, I won't start hearing Rick Astley singing, "Never Gonna Give You Up"?


  7. Hey here's a tip:

    Seeing as how there's only six comments on this page, it's obvious the vast majority of us DON'T have anything useful to say. So next time you might wanna stick with the useLESS.




    I do have something to add though. When you use a jar of spaghetti sauce, fill it up halfway with water, shake it up really hard and then add it to your pan. It makes the spaghetti sauce go MUCH FURTHER. Apparently. It also makes it extremely watery. So I wouldn't recommend it.

    Here's something else: if you can't manage to score an ADR for that 'high demand' restaurant at Disneyworld that you wanted and the thought of a cold selection from the Hess Station just isn't doing it for you, show up at your restaurant of choice a few minutes BEFORE they start serving dinner and request a table. Have a backup plan in case it doesn't work but we've been able to score Chef Mickey's, LeCellier and Crystal Palace like this before without any problems whatsoever. The key is the timing.

    I have LOTS more useless stuff, but I'll save it for another day.

  8. I think La's nailed it. We are just a useless group.... Plus all the Disney tips I have and that I readily share with anyone within earshot in "normal" settings don't really apply to this population. We ARE Disney geeks, after all, and I probably got most of my WDW wisdom from you guys, anyway!

    I did, btw, know the Delta tip. They are famous for switching flight times about 10,000 times before your departure day, and it can help you out if you want to make an adjustment without the fee. I believe JetBlue does the same. Not sure about others. Southwest is the only carrier that I know of who will let you change with no fee, or even cancel. Cancellations get a credit of the fare price to be used within a year. I think most people know that, don't they? The credits are even transferrable, which is great.

    Aside from that, the only helpful hint I can think of? When cutting freshly baked brownies, use a plastic knife. Works great without all the sticking!!:)

  9. Ash, the brownie comment is about the most useful tip I've gotten in a LONG time. As a mom who makes brownies as my go-to dessert for almost any occasion, I have NEVER heard of cutting them with a plastic knife when they are still warm. That is fantastic!!