Stuck in Orlando?

The volcanic ash that has been blown from Iceland across the northern half of Europe since the middle of last week has caused serious interruptions not only to the air traffic in Europe, but also to the holidays of thousands of vacationers across the globe. While many may end up missing their vacations somewhere in Europe due to the cancellation of their outbound flights at the start of the vacation (which most probably will also hurt Disneyland Paris in a year that is shaping up to be far from stellar so far) there are also thousands of Europeans stuck at their vacation destinations long past their original return date.

Being forced to extend their vacation indefinitely (as even once international flights to Europe will resume it will take up to a week according to current estimates till the regular flight schedule can be reestablished and most probably even longer till everyone has been moved back to their original destination) not only brings up the question what to do with the extra time to keep the mind of the problems caused (e.g. missed work etc.) and relieve the stress, but also the question how to finance the extra time away from home. The Orlando Tourism Bureau and its members have reacted to this by offering services and experiences to guests affected by the European air service interruptions for free or at greatly reduced rates.

While the Orlando Tourism Bureau currently has a long list of hotels in all price classes offering reduced accomodation it has also started to collect a growing list of entertainment offerings. Included are special golfing offers (at Marriott’s Grande Pines Golf Club and Marriott’s Grande Vista Golf Club) but also free one-day admission to the Wet’n Wild water park on International Drive plus free one day admission at each at SeaWorld Orlando,  the Aquatica waterpark in Orlando and Busch Gardens Tampa.

Once SeaWorld hat released this generous offer starting last Saturday Walt Disney World took a bit but yesterday, Monday, decided to join in as well. As The Disney Blog reports WDW is offering guests affected by the air service interruption up to two free days of admission to help keep them entertained and forget the worries for a while in the magical world of Disney. Today, Tuesday, and tomorrow, Wednesday, (April 20 and 21, 2010) affected international guests will be able to pick up a one day admission passport for all Disney theme parks and the two Disney water parks upon presentation of a canceled plane ticket or expired boarding pass and a photo ID. Upon presentation of a parkeing receipt the parking fee will also be reimbursed. So if you are stuck in Orlando, why not forget the worries for a day and step into the magical worlds of Disney for some fun and relaxation? If you know anyone who is stuck in the Orlando area: spread the word of this (and the other special offers)!

A full list of all offers for international guests affected by the interruption in the European air service operations due to the volcanic ash reported to the Orlando Tourism Board is maintained and frequently updated at this link. The list also features detailed information such as contact information, how to prove eligibility, further restrictions & requirements etc. Please note that as of the release of this post the offer by WDW is not yet listed.

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