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Mickey and Minnie Southwest
Credit: Disney

Disney World Travelers Are In For a BIG Shock This Week

It has been one heck of a week for those trying to travel for the holiday season. A bomb cyclone swept through most of the country, leaving in its wake huge blizzards, severe negative temperatures, and chaos at airports as airlines dealt with massive cancellations and delays. Those traveling to and from Orlando for their Walt Disney World vacation may find their flight status altered. That is especially true if they are flying on the popular low-cost carrier, Southwest Airlines.

orlando international airport disney world 50th anniversary

Credit: MCO Airport Facebook

While many airlines are struggling to get travelers where they need to go and fight the extreme weather, Southwest Airlines is in a category all on its own. According to reports, 62% of all Southwest flights have been outright canceled. Of the remaining 38% of flights, 88% of those have experienced significant delays. Southwest Airlines is the third-biggest airline in the country, which means that hundreds of thousands of travelers will be impacted by Southwest’s giant failure.

Mickey Southwest

Credit: Disney

The biggest problem isn’t that flights are canceled or delayed, although that is a problem. The biggest issue is how Southwest is rebooking its patrons. According to reports, Southwest is booking people on flights nearly a WEEK away! KTLA — a Southern California news station — reported that all SoCal Southwest flights were canceled through December 31. Theme park reporter Scott Gustin then shared that the same seems to have happened at the Orlando International Airport — the main airport for Disney World travelers.

Same announcements at @MCO — Southwest is telling customers they won’t be rebooked until Dec. 31 *at the earliest.* 👀😬

Things have gone so haywire for Southwest that the Department of Transportation is even launching an investigation into the matter.

USDOT is concerned by Southwest’s unacceptable rate of cancellations and delays & reports of lack of prompt customer service. The Department will examine whether cancellations were controllable and if Southwest is complying with its customer service plan.

If you are heading to Walt Disney World Resort, you are not completely out of luck if Southwest Airlines cancels your flight. You are legally allowed to find another flight to the Orlando airport — even via another airline — and then request reimbursement from Southwest. The Department of Transportation requires airlines to refund customers whose flights are canceled for any reason. Southwest is also reimbursing those travelers who experience significant delays and have to spend additional money on their travel.

Rainbow over Magic Kingdom Cinderella Castle

Credit: Disney

If you have flexible travel dates, you may want to consider contacting Disney. Historically, Disney is very good about working with Guests who need to change their travel dates suddenly. Those who cannot change their dates may want to look into other airlines to get to The Most Magical Place on Earth.

About Krysten Swensen

A born and bred New England girl living the Disney life in Southern California. I love to read, to watch The Golden Girls, and love everything to do with Disney and Universal. I also love to share daily doses of Disney on my Disney Instagram @BrazzleDazzleDisney!