The world continues to grapple with the novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. Disney parks around the world have closed in an unprecedented, and needed, attempt at supporting social distancing practices to help stop the spread of the virus. This has led to mass cancellations of trips to Walt Disney World, Disneyland, and also aboard Disney Cruise Line. All the while, I continue to plan my next Disney trip.
Disney taught me to dream through its movies and television shows as a child, but Walt Disney also taught me to hope. Hope that tomorrow will be better. Hope that we can come together to create good and build a stronger future for all of us. That hope is built into my drive to keep planning my next trip.
I booked my 2020 trip down to Walt Disney World in late January. It filled me with anticipation, albeit eight months ahead of my actual trip, for the trip itself, but also for the planning that goes into a trip. I hope that this will be resolved by September and that the world will get back on track.
Hope is driving us all to band together, get behind our health care workers and scientists, because we are all hoping that tomorrow will be better than today. That feeling is wrapped up in Disney, and in everything that I put into my trip planning.
Incorporating My Children
When my family booked our last trip to Disney, my wife and I kept it a secret from our children for months until only a month before we were set to leave. This was so we could build excitement for the trip within our children without getting asked every day for six months when we were going to leave for Disney. We aren’t doing that this time.
Having now booked our upcoming trip, we are incorporating our young children into planning a little bit more for many reasons, but most of all, to keep them busy!
Like millions of other children in Canada and the United States, they are currently off school due to fears of spreading the coronavirus further. They’re bored, antsy, and in need of something to focus on. To combat this, we’ve taken to looking at photos and videos from our last couple of Disney trips to chat about rides they would want to FastPass, the food they really liked and the characters they want to meet or perhaps pass on this time.
Seeing their faces as they think about the future, hearing my youngest say “Mickey!” when we look at character meet and greet photos from past visits and watching ride videos with my oldest brings great anticipation for me, as well. There’s a chance that six months from now nothing is resolved, but for now, the planning is keeping our children engaged and, no matter what, we’ll be going back sometime down the road.
Our world is going through a collective moment of unease. The news is complete with never-ending coverage of the outbreak and nearly every inch of Disney related content over the past week has been linked to the COVID-19 virus. And, understandably so.
Also, my job is in communications where I am currently in emergency/crisis communications mode nearly all day, every day. It might not be the vital work of a courageous first responder or frontline health care worker, but at the end of the day, I need a distraction to stop myself from feeling anxious about the world.
The tourism industry is getting hammered right now with impacts that will last for months, if not years. The Disney parks act as hummingbird feeders for tourists to Central Florida and without them, there is a gap in the local economy with vast ripple effects. Firmly booking in advance helps businesses plan for the future when some semblance of normalcy returns.
My next trip will be pretty Disney-centric. I’m staying on property, using the Disney Dining Plan, and I do not plan to go off property during my week’s stay. It may feel like I’m here to support only the Disney corporation, but there are thousands of jobs that revolve around Disney tourism. Cast members, delivery drivers, local suppliers and vendors, and Lyft/Uber drivers will all benefit from my trip, and they depend on me keeping my plans and not bailing on them unless naturally forced to.
Life will return to normal. It always does. It will just take time. As we move forward down this road of uncertainty and temporary change, I hope many of you are staying strong and leaning on your loved ones and your love of Disney to stay positive.
Keep safe everyone, and plan on!