Why Walt Disney World will no longer be my first trip post quarantine
I wrote Why Walt Disney World may be my first trip post quarantine back in May – oh May you were so long ago – I was pretty confident that Disney will be our first post-quarantine trip. It hit all the check boxes for a safe trip in my opinion. Today we were supposed to be boarding our first flight, our first trip since January. But COVID had other plans and I felt necessary to write a follow up to that first post.
I had booked for us to go to Walt Disney World in July for Kevin’s birthday well before the announcement of the parks opening, which happened to coincide with our trip. It would either be the best idea or the worst idea to be there at park reopening. I thought for sure the parks would open in June so going in July would give some leeway for kinks to be worked out by the time we arrived. We kept the plans in place and watched carefully for signs of the best Disney trip ever (laugh laugh laugh). Besides, I wrote an entire post on all the things to do outside the theme parks– we have plenty to work with.
… and then dining plans were announced.
So as many of you know, we continue to be repeat Disney goers for a few reasons but one of the top one is the dining. Some of our favorite restaurants reside on Disney property and we dream about those dishes (ugh pork belly). California Grill, Flying Fish, Hollywood Board Derby, Trader Sam’s – the list goes on! If we could not go to the parks, at least we had our wonderful dining experiences. When Disney released the restaurants that would be open 1) the list was super limiting 2) the list was missing our favorites 3) no signature dining to be found 4) the menus were modified, some cases modified drastically.
… and then resort plans were announced.
Another activity we like to do is visit the other resorts – there are so many to explore on property and each is uniquely themed. Then Disney announced that guests cannot freely travel to other resorts – another wet blanket on the Disney parade. Guests can only enter the resort if they are staying as resort guests or had a dining reservation booked. Great, but unless you want to ride share (covid nightmare), there are no Disney transportation options without taking a bus from your resort to Disney Springs to transfer to another resort – you spend more time waiting or on a bus than actually eating.
… and then theme park plans were announced.
So if we can’t eat where we want, and we can’t visit other resorts, perhaps we would bounce into the parks afterall. Welp… Disney stopped ticket sales indefinitely and only those with 1) a resort stay (check) and 2) a theme park ticket (ugh, no check) were able to make a park reservation to attend. That left us out of the equation completely.
So we found ourselves without the dining, without the resorts, and without the parks. While I love Animal Kingdom Lodge, there is only so much to occupy the day. I understand the reasons why Disney made these decisions and do not fault them for how this ended up looking for this trip. Uncharted territory and everyone is trying to do their best to balance the risk / benefits.
… and then, COVID (of course).
Simultaneously, Florida is seeing a messy outbreak of COVID. Funny that the masks in Florida’s July heat really never crossed my mind as a barrier to visit but apparently some people do. (step onto soap box) *Wear the masks people* (step off of soap box). Anyway, I still trust that Disney World is putting in measures for safety but not so sure about MCO and the locals that will be in the parks.
… and then the travel restrictions ensued.
While Florida has had a 14 day quarantine rule for those traveling from the tri-state area, we heard anecdotally it was not being enforced. But the cherry on top, the tri-state area as well as our employers mandated 14 day quarantine when returning from high infected state like Florida. If I need to do a 14 day quarantine in Florida and a 14 day quarantine at home, there is no way I am wasting four weeks on Florida – I’d rather take my chances in Europe, New Zealand, anywhere really.
Ugh all this stress was not worth it! Trip canceled, more disappointment in the travel realm of 2020. How I envy all the countries that get to resume a more normal life and can start to travel for summer vacations. How disappointing it is for a travel bug to be stuck – not permitted internationally, a stained passport (probably for the remainder of this year), and domestic travel ain’t so great either.
I am not faulting Disney, it is just they way everything aligned that it does not make sense to travel there for that kind of trip. I think it is a great opportunity for for locals do to day trips or staycations at the resorts, but not worth traveling there to sit in a hotel room. Only problem is I have no idea when to reschedule to! Thank you Frontier for full travel credit and not imposing fees canceling so close to the flight.
Well, COVID, we are going somewhere to celebrate Kevin’s birthday. It is a tradition I hold dear and while these times have challenged all my travel skills, I think I will pull this one off – time to put some of these rough draft itineraries to the test.