The recent news of the drastic operational changes made and measures the Walt Disney World Resort has taken to adhere to CDC guidelines in response to the Covid-19 global pandemic, dropped like a lead weight to the Disney travel community yesterday.
Earlier this week, we learned that when the Walt Disney World Resort reopens in mid July, it will be without fireworks, parades or character meet and greets. Many could forgive the loss of these experiences under the circumstances and still were willing to go forward with their vacations as planned. The collective sigh of relief from fans that they were reopening could almost be heard.
Then the bomb dropped. Disney announced they would be canceling all Disney Dining Plans, dining reservations and FastPass+ selections guests had previously booked, through the end of this year. Though not without feeling or regret, and the promise of priority re-booking opportunities or discounts, but the announcement came with disappointing certainty that the vacation some guests were planning on, dreaming of, anticipating, no longer existed. All those months, maybe years of careful consideration, plotting and strategizing went down the tubes. Ugh.
Many guests have and will cancel the trips they planned for this Summer because of these changes and I can't say I completely disagree. I've said it before, if you had been planning the trip of a lifetime, have a family member with a compromised immune system, only want to budget and splurge on one Disney vacation or have other concerns that make you feel uncomfortable going right now, put it off until next year. Now isn't the time for you to go. Think about booking a Basic Package for 2021 now, before your favorite resort is sold-out by others doing the same. Next year is also the 50th Anniversary-so expect big things!
Alright, so this begs the question, why would anyone still visit the Walt Disney World resort right now during this reduced and subpar experience? Let me tell you...As an annual Passholder, DVC Member, frequent visitor, Disney-focused business owner and super fan, I don't need much convincing to go. That said, I have five great reasons why I cannot wait for my short visit in July, even while having to wear those stifling masks.
1. To enjoy lower crowds. If you asked me what I dislike about Walt Disney World, the answer is always the same...crowds. I will revel in all the elbow room I will have strolling down Main Street USA, Sunset Boulevard, in Pandora and through the World Showcase.
2. To be a part of history. Years from now when my preschool age nieces are learning about the "Global Pandemic of 2020" in history class, their cool Aunt Kat will have pictures of what it was like at Walt Disney World. This truly is history in the making and I am really excited to be a small part of this chapter in the book of Disney.
3. To go on vacation. I love my home. I live here, work here and really aside from Disney resorts, there is no place I would rather be on a Saturday night. But I want OUT. It's been months inside these walls and the idea of getting away is keeping me going.
4. To be at the most magical place on earth. If I have to wear the mask, I might as well do so while enjoying the sights, sounds and smells of Walt Disney World. It will still be the best place on earth to be, despite the loss of "normal" operations. It's where so much of my heart is, where my best childhood memories are, where I feel closest to my past which I treasure. I kind of need that magic right now.
5. To support a company that has given me so much. Over the last forty years, Walt Disney World has provided my family with such joy, elation and treasured memories that can't be touched by any virus. I owe them. I will happily pay into that debt whenever I can, mask or no mask.
I know some will call me crazy, but likely not you, right pal? At least you sort of understand where I am coming from. When I arrive back into the Magic Kingdom and see Cinderella Castle at the end of Main Street USA, my heart will be full. My view will no doubt be through foggy glasses (thanks to the mask), but in that moment, nothing so trivial will matter. :) So what do you say, am I crazy or do you get it too?
If you haven't yet, I invite you to join our private Facebook Group to keep up with the latest news and get professional advice on planning through the best and worst of times at Walt Disney World. We have a ton of fun in this drama-free, outstanding community. Come hang out with us!
When you are ready to book your next vacation, let our Disney travel planning professionals work with you to navigate these new procedures and protocols. Our services come at ZERO COST to you when you book your vacation package with us, and can save you time and money. We can book 2021 packages right now! Start by submitting this simple form to get the ball rolling.