It will come as no surprise that I receive a LOT of questions. From guests, from travel agents, students and from those who follow me on social media. Typically, those questions cover a wide variety of subjects, but lately they seem to be focused on one topic. No, not whether or not you should order ice cream from the take-out window at Beaches and Cream, but rather...should we plan to go to Walt Disney World as soon as they reopen?
Whether you have a previously scheduled trip for this Summer or had to re-book a canceled reservation due to closure, it's likely this question and concern has entered your mind. Of course, we don't yet have a reopening date, but what if we did? (This type of hypothetical is often the scenario I'm questioned about.)
What if the Walt Disney World Resort opened back up on June 1st, would I go? The answer to that questions is YES, without a doubt I would go. But would I advise YOU to go? That is not as easy an answer.
I'm going to give it to you straight, with the understanding that I may be shooting my business in the foot. I would not advise that everyone rush back to Walt Disney World when it reopens. There are too many variables to consider and a blanket response of "No Way" or "Absolutely" just doesn't cut it in this unique and unparalleled situation.
What I do know, is that the experience is going to be different. I have no inside knowledge of what it will look like. I do not know what procedures or what the measures taken to operate while staying within CDC guidelines will be, but it surely will not resemble the Walt Disney World experience we have come to understand, expect and dream about. Not for a little while at least. That's not to say it won't be just as amazing and magical. BUT, would I be willing to bet my once-in-a-lifetime, costly vacation on it? No, sadly I would not.
My advice to anyone who will likely only be visiting the Walt Disney World Resort one time in their lives or once during their children's childhood years, or once as a huge extended family adventure, would be to put it off a while longer. How long really depends on what things look like when the parks and resorts do in fact reopen. The jury is still out on that. We should have somewhat of a clearer picture next month, but until we do, I recommend that if you don't visit Walt Disney World often or your vacation is to be truly one-of-a-kind, push it out a little further.
Now, for those guests who travel each year and have no concern about contracting the covid-19 virus, I would be totally on board with you moving forward with your existing plans this Summer. It's history in the making and if you are there year after year, you just may be looking for something a little new and different. This unprecedented time would surely fit that bill.
I am personally wildly curious how it will all work. I cannot wait to experience how the Walt Disney Company handles it all. I've been an armchair student of their operations and customer service relations for most of my professional life, so you can bet if they are open, I'll be there on-the-job learning from the best. Being able to advise my community (agents and travelers alike) on the modified operations and how to make the absolute most of a Disney vacation post covid-19, is my number one goal.
Regardless of what side you fall on; that we should all remain socially distant for a few months longer or that general social distancing rules, stay-at-home orders and closures was an overreaction, the fact remains the world has changed and the Walt Disney World Resort must change with it.
Canceling vacation plans is hard and it stings, I know it. I've had three incredible trips fall apart because of covid-19 concerns. I understand the disappointment and sadness. My honest feeling is though, if you want to experience the FULL joy that is a Disney vacation and it's your first time, first time in a long time, one and only time or a particularly unique and special trip, I would wait.
Things may never be as they once were, but allowing the parks and resorts to acclimate, get into a groove and master the new way of living and working, is how I personally would handle rescheduling my one and done Disney vacation. I know it's hard to hear and a brutal call to make, but I do believe in this situation, it would be the right one in the long run. I would love to hear what you think in the comments. :)
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