Long-range planning was part of preparations for their wedding celebration, but Elliot and Kayla Carruthers didn’t think twice about the honeymoon. They knew they were going to Disney World.
“The wedding seemed more like a daunting task where the honeymoon was like a sigh, a relief,” said Elliot. He admits he is a bigger Disney fan than his wife.
“The night we got engaged (a year before the wedding), we pretty much knew where our honeymoon was going to be before we started planning our wedding,” Kayla said.
Their favorite theme park in Disney World is Epcot, so they booked rooms at Boardwalk Inn, walking distance from that park. They were married Dec. 20 but postponed their honeymoon until April because they knew Disney World was less crowded at that time of year and the weather would be pleasant.
However, the honeymoon week of April 17 they worked — he as a FedEx driver and she at a restaurant helping with carryout orders — instead of enjoying the Florida sunshine. Disney World shut down March 15 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Many people in the area have had their plans dashed and the Homewood couple knows they aren’t alone in having to go to Plan B, but it’s still a letdown.
“It was really heartbreaking. We planned this honeymoon pretty much for two years. What are the odds it would be canceled because of a virus?” Elliot asked.
They worried about whether they would get their money back. The trip, rooms, tickets, etc. cost them more than $8,000. The bill was paid in full. And wedding guests added to a Disney honeymoon fund that let Elliot and Kayla add on special “behind the scenes” tours and extras.
They didn’t take trip insurance.
Luckily, the couple got refunds for the honeymoon add-ons, they got a voucher from Southwest Airlines for their flights, and they now have an $8,000 credit with Disney.
They bought a house and had a big wedding, so they aren’t planning any other vacations soon.
Their honeymoon may be more like a first anniversary celebration. It’s been rescheduled for the week of April 16, 2021.
“Just for our personal convenience we decided to let it (the money) ride because we know we’re going back to Disney. Instead of holding on to the money and being tempted to use it for something, we just left it there,” Elliot said.
“I like Disney because their parks are so much better than any other amusement parks that I’ve been to,” he said. “It’s just got all the bases covered.”
“Disney is definitely an experience,” Kayla said. “You’re not just at a park for rides and attractions. Everything you do — from walking in, the stores the characters — it’s the whole experience.”