When Everything Goes Wrong

by Abby Mayo     

This month, I sent clients Lucas and Charlie on their honeymoon. More accurately, I sent Lucas and Charlie on a grand Walt Disney family reunion for Charlie’s side of the family, that would then morph into their honeymoon when the family left and Lucas and Charlie stayed a few more days to soak up the Disney magic. However, as the family reunion was coming to an end, I received an update that the whole family had caught a cold.

Anyone who travels regularly knows that vacations are when you seem to get sick, and Disney-sized crowds means lots of germs are being brought in from lots of places. Often when people catch something on vacation, it’s nothing more than a common cold, or even just allergies irritated by the different-than-used-to pollen. However, on the last day of the family reunion, Lucas and Charlie contacted me; Charlie was VERY sick and, unlike the others in the group, it didn’t seem to be a cold.

I immediately told Lucas to go to guest services and tell them that his wife needed medical attention. I told him that, if they decided they needed to come home early, I could help with that, but the first step was getting Charlie to the hospital.

Charlie was transported to Advent Health, the official hospital of Walt Disney World, where she was put in a Finding Nemo themed room. While there, she received testing, pain meds, a Dole whip, and access to Disney+. The testing revealed that poor Charlie had a severe bladder and kidney infection, which is very common for her chronic illness, but a bummer nonetheless.

It was decided that Charlie needed to get home to her doctor, who could get her an emergency appointment in 48 hours, so I sent them the travel emergency hotline through their travel insurance. After some back and forth, the travel insurance let them know that the earliest flight they could get was in four days and included a 12-hour layover. Insurance told Lucas and Charlie that, if Lucas and Charlie could find a better flight, insurance would reimburse them. Lucas and Charlie once again called me and I found them a direct flight for the next day.

Lucas and Charlie’s story is not one that we love to hear, we would rather people stay healthy for their whole trip, but I am grateful for a few things. I am grateful that they had trip insurance. Thanks to trip insurance, their medical bills will be covered and they will be reimbursed for the park tickets and hotel nights they didn’t use, as well as their emergency flight home. I am grateful that Disney World has great medical care and that I  was able to find them a flight home in time to get Charlie the care she needed. And I am especially grateful that Lucas and Charlie reached out to me when problems arose.

Lucas and Charlie were able to focus on getting medical care, and packing, and going home, because I could be on the phone canceling hotel, dining, and spa reservations. I was able to worry about finding plane tickets and documenting things they plan to make insurance claims on, so they could focus on making sure Charlie was okay. I love planning trips, but more importantly, I love making sure my clients can enjoy their trips. My job doesn’t end when you get on the plane or the cruise ship. My job ends when you are safely home from a magical experience.

For one last piece of grateful, I am grateful that Lucas reached out to tell me that, even with all of the mess at the end, it was still the best vacation he has ever been on, and he wants to go back next year.

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