COVID-19 has been full of surprises. Stores closing, schools closing, work closing, but there was no way I would have ever guess Disney Parks would close as well. Since opening, the Disney Parks have only closed a few times (the Kennedy assassination, bad hurricanes, 9-11, just to name a few). But for the most part Disney is open year round.
As I am sure you will come to learn, if you don't already know, we are a HUGE Disney family. My husband and I took our first trip together to Disney World in 2006. (I should specify that MY First trip was in 2006, my husband went when he was younger but let's not count that LOL!). Since our visit in 2006, we have been to the parks at least once a year since then (many years we have gone more than once so we have pretty much lost count of our total trips). We started bringing our twins when they were only 9 months old, because why wait? We weren't those parents who felt like they needed to wait until the kids were old enough. Oh! Fun Fact: We named our son Elias because Walt's middle name is Elias and the minute we heard the name we fell in love with it.
We had just taken our most recent family Disney Vacation in January of this year to experience the Festival of the Art (a must visit time of year by the way) and we were planning our next trip for May. We had our flights and hotel books so we were very excited. Enter COVID-19 in March. We start seeing things close down. Then, it happened...Disney announced they are closing their parks to reduce the spread of the virus. At first it was only for a 2 week period. That 2 week period turned into a month and then into indefinitely. To be honest, it was a little surreal. I was quite sad. It was like someone plucked the magic out of my life. Disney has always been our happy place, the place we would go even when things weren't the best. You can't help but feel happy there.
So once Disney made the announcement we all had a little bit of a mourning period. After all, it is so rare for Disney to close that this just seemed weird. My first thought was "What about our vacation? Shouldn't we cancel?" but of course my husband being my positive voice told me to wait and "Let's see how it goes". So we waited patiently.
March came and went, and April begun. We hung on to the hope that our vacation would still happen. After all, it still seemed like we had enough time before our vacation. We kept our fingers crossed that things would reopen soon. Then we got an email from JetBlue about our flights. At first we had a flight scheduled for 9am May 12th. That flight got changed to 5:30pm, then a few days later to 8:30pm, then a few days after that it was CANCELED. (Cue the crying session) Since we normally fly out of Westchester County Airport when we head down to Florida (a small local airport) their flights are generally limited anyway. With the pandemic happening they ended up closing down entirely to limit flights only to the large airports.
The cancelation of our flight was the first step in us realizing that we might not be going on vacation but we still clung to the hope that maybe things would take a turn in a positive direction. Alas, the end of April hit and it was confirmed that our trip wouldn't be happening. (cue the tears yet again) Disney was canceling reservations and their hopes of opening was now undermined. All we could do is wait until we knew when they were reopening and start planning the next trip after that.
I will admit that it was a tough pill to swallow. After all, this has never happened before. We were so ready to pack our bags and head to warm weather and now we weren't going anywhere. This entire pandemic has been an emotional rollercoaster, as I am sure it has been for so many people. The uncertainty of not being able to plan future events was taking its toll. Hopes of vacations were slowly fading. I can hope be thankful that we are all still healthy and getting through one day at a time. We already plan on book a trip just as soon as we are able. I tell you, we will definitely need it after this craziness.