I have almost forgotten what the term vacation means. Usually, it means fun, relaxation, and excitement. While this will still be true once we return to Walt Disney World, the planning lately has been mostly the opposite of fun and relaxing. Cancellations. Hours on hold with Disney cast members. Speculation of when it will reopen? What will reopen? What will change? Despite setback after setback and cancellation after cancellation, we’ve done the best we can to “cue the excitement” and anticipate (rather than fear) a whirlwind of changes”. I guess that can be exciting!? Right?
My family and I were originally scheduled to travel to WDW earlier this year in March. We had planned this trip for a year, as we usually do, but this time we were bringing along three extended family members who haven’t been to WDW in over a decade. As such, the anticipation for this trip was even more than usual. We couldn’t wait to show them the new rides, the shows, the resorts, and (our favorite) the food! As things developed with COVID-19 and it got closer and closer to our trip, we held out hope knowing that deep down that it wasn’t going to happen. Sure enough we all know the result, WDW announced they were closing for the unforeseeable future. Cancellation #1.
Despite our disappointment, we understood the reasons for the shutdown and we made the most of our (now) staycation at home with lots of virtual WDW rides via YouTube, old DIS videos, and baking our own Disney inspired snacks. I even gave our 3-year-old daughter her own Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique makeover. It would’ve been her first time old enough to participate and she had really been looking forward to it.
Try # 2
At the time WDW closed, we already had a December 2020 trip scheduled for just our family of 4, so we were very fortunate to move our 3 other family members to our resort that trip. It took a lot of time and some really helpful cast members, but we did it. Great! This is exciting for us in a new way, right? Our family will love seeing Disney decorated for Christmas. Festival of the Holidays. The Gingerbread Trail. The Christmas Trees at Disney Springs. Maybe this will work out even better. The only problem left is can we, our Disney-addicted family of 4, really wait until December? That will have been a 1 whole year without our Disney fix. Is it even possible to “not Disney for 1 year?” Ahhh! Sounds like a nightmare.
Open the calendar, husband has a week off in June . . . I mean COVID should hopefully be settled down for June, right? We moved our points to a nice room at Old Key West. Perfect. All the blog’s speculation was looking at a June 1st reopening. So we got to planning. At least to the best extent that we could. We figured even if we didn’t hit the parks we just wanted to be there. We would make it a resort staycation. Well, as you all know, this trip didn’t happen either. (Cancellation #2)
In truth, we most likely would have postponed anyway since our son is under the age of 2 so he can’t wear a mask yet. Our hesitation was really never with Disney. I was always more concerned with the flying than being at Disney itself. That and the concern of how serious other guests would take the guidelines and recommendations. We really trust that Disney keeps to the highest standards of precautions, especially in the times of a pandemic. Would guests follow their lead? In such a short time, Disney planning became a roulette wheel. What color was this trip going to land on? Please no more red. Please.
Try # 3
September will be better. It has to be, right? This has to get better … or maybe not. It was looking good, but then came reopening and here we are in July. Yes, Disney is officially open (as of today actually, while I write this) but the number of COVID cases in Florida right now are going higher and higher. So far guests seem to be doing great at following Disney’s new policies and Disney (as we expected) seems to be going above and beyond to make sure that they do everything they can to keep their guests safe. It’s near impossible to turn off the news, however, and the question remains: are we really going to risk the travel to a state with one of the fastest rates of COVID with our 2 very small children? Will we handle the potential that my husband may have to quarantine for 2 weeks upon our return home? Our daughter will have started preschool, would she have to quarantine upon return? Would it really be worth all of these substantial risks?
Cancellation # 3. Obviously we are dying to get back to Disney but there is absolutely no way we can justify travel to Florida for September with the increase in COVID cases happening right now. Depressing? Of course but, in our minds, unavoidable. If anything, these past few months have only given us a greater appreciation for WDW, like so many things during this pandemic, that we completely took for granted. The satisfaction of knowing it was there creating its magic everyday. The fact that we can decide to use our free flight miles for a last minute trip and be forever grateful that we did now that it has been so long. It’s helped us realize how lucky we are to be DVC and be able to miss WDW as much as we are. It forced us to appreciate the DIS and DVCFan, for the community of like-minded people, who share in that need of a Disney break now more than ever. That same community of Disney lovers who have been going through all the same issues and feelings that we have. We’re not alone …. even in quarantine.
Trying to stay hopeful
It’s definitely not been easy. There have been times of high frustrations and low sorrows. At the end of the day we are fortunate. Fortunate that our loved ones are safe and healthy. Fortunate that quarantine has shown us so many aspects of life that can’t be taken for granted. And fortunate that in its absence, we are reminded of what magic WDW provides to us and so many families. We are really holding onto every piece of hope we can that come December we will be back “Home”. Fourth attempt is a charm right? Even if it isn’t. That longing for the magic will keep us charged through the fifth, tenth, or fiftieth attempt. Aaaah. That nightmare again…