Defeated and Demoralised

Let me get the obligatory “first world problems” caveat out of the way. We are all healthy, housed, clothed fed and safe. I understand most folks have it worse than me and I know I am a snivelling gimp for what is to about to happen. With that said, I am about to unleash both barrels of my moan-gun all over this blog.

On Friday the decision was made to postpone our upcoming trip.

I am very much not OK about this. Yes, it was a special trip for my 50th and that hurts a bit, but more than that, I just miss the place, need a holiday and was really, really looking forward to spending some time with the family in nice weather with nice food. (I refer you again to paragraph one above).

Why did we take that decision? Well, for many reasons I suppose.

First, of course, is our own safety. Whilst this is our primary concern it isn’t the thing that I feel is the highest risk or the main reason to defer. I am pretty confident I have had it, along with Tom and Rebecca. Louise suspects she had it very early in the outbreak but of course none of us knows for sure. Hopefully, that affords us some protection. None of our party is particularly at high risk, but of course, we need to protect ourselves as much as possible. However, we are no less likely to catch it here than in the US, to be honest.

In reality, the procedures outlined by Disney for their re-opening were the straws that broke this camel’s back. I woke on Friday to the news that all my ADRs had been cancelled as I suspected they would be. You can’t socially distant in restaurants that are full. It also became almost clear that there would be a reservation system to get into Disney parks. Being off-site scum, without a valid park ticket (yet), I assumed we would be some way down the pecking order in getting those. That would make the investment in a 14-day ticket unjustifiable.

Add to that the fact that masks would be mandatory for Freddie and there would be no parades or fireworks, then for us, I felt the effort and investment to get over there, didn’t feel like it would be worth it. I am not moaning about Disney doing any of this. They need to do what they need to do. In a way, I feel they want to deter visitors, certainly in the first few weeks.

There is still much for Disney to outline, flesh out and confirm of course but for us, with park tickets to buy in the next few weeks, there is too much uncertainty around gaining entry to parks for us to go ahead and do that, with the seemingly unavoidable risk that we may not get a reservation to get into a park on some days.

Secondly, I don’t want to get into political discussions on here, that’s what my Twitter is for, but all I will say is that I have very limited confidence in the respective governments of the UK and the US getting their countries out of this any time soon. Neither have a test, track and trace scheme in place and neither are seeing their infection and/or death rates coming down as other similar countries are.

It is spikey, but the above shows the new cases in Florida. The trend just isn’t going down. Even if international travellers from the UK were allowed into Florida by the end of August, that may only add to what seems to be a second wave forming from the limited re-opening the state has allowed already.

As for the UK. I do despair. Our trend looks better, but we haven’t opened up things like restaurants, gyms and hairdressers yet as Florida has. Yet we do seem to think it’s OK to send the kids back to school whilst the test and trace scheme so crucial to ending lockdown was “launched” prematurely with all the hallmarks of success we have come to expect from the response to the pandemic so far.

With gatherings of up to 6 being allowed alongside schools going back and with large parts of the country citing Dominic Cummings as an excuse to do whatever the hell they like, my confidence in us avoiding a second wave, or more accurately a prolonging of the first, is not very high. That, in the context of our holiday, might mean non-essential travel not being allowed any time soon. That also brings up fears of the sustainability of airlines like Virgin who are currently sitting on a good chunk of money.

I understand many of you may feel differently about the approach and “success” so far and I respect that. I’m just outlining some of my thinking whilst trying to avoid too long a stint on my soapbox.

So, for those and many other reasons I won’t bore you with, it was with a heavy heart and massive sulk on that I emailed Virgin on Friday and requested our booking be moved to the 1st of March. I haven’t had a response yet and I do have a fear deep down that this change won’t go as smoothly as their website claims it will, but if all goes to plan that is when we will be going.

I have emailed the villa and they are holding our new dates until Virgin confirm the change and then I can swing into action and sort out everything else.

Now that the decision is made my worry can be transferred onto the topic of whether or not things will be any different in March. My main hopes there are that there might be a vaccine so that things like masks and social distancing won’t be needed as much, but I just hope stuff is more back to “normal” than it would be in three months from now.

I am most definitely not OK. The dread of facing a whole other winter before getting back there is horrifying. As for how I will feel on the 26h of August, our intended departure date and my birthday a few days later are not worth thinking about.

Inevitably, even before the new flights are confirmed I am doubting the decision. I think (and hope) that is just driven by how much I miss the place. I watched a vlog of someone wandering Disney Springs yesterday, and despite the masks and distancing, it was still that beautiful dusky time of the evening, lovely and warm and full of that twinkly light Florida loveliness and my heart broke.

I wonder if I have gone too early and with three months before we would have arrived, might things have improved/changed in the parks by then? If I am sat watching folks enjoying stuff without too much disruption in early September I will be very hard on myself. I also constantly wonder if we should have just abandoned the parks and gone for a “relaxing break” on a beach somewhere in Florida but that isn’t the first choice of holiday for a few of our party and the rejigging of accommodation would inject quite a lot of extra cost into a trip with a lot already invested.

More than anything I am just horrified at the prospect of how much work is stretching out before me now until we get to go on holiday. That’s a whole lot of stuff I don’t want to do and I am very sad, probably in more ways than one.

Till the next time……

31 thoughts on “Defeated and Demoralised

  1. We made a similar decision a week ago. We should have been going on the 21st Aug. We have changed to Feb next year. I think it’s the right decision and it’s been made at the right time. The longer it was left for the more the flights next year will fill and the cost increase etc. My feelings are that it will go quicker than we think, it will soon be Christmas and then the weeks after Christmas when it’s really miserable won’t be as bad with something to look forward to!

  2. I feel your pain, we were due to go September but it’s now mid Feb into March. Luckily Charter Travel sorted it very quickly and for the same cost roughly

  3. We should have flown Friday it would have been our grandsons first time and daughters boyfriend. We have changed for May next year. I am absolutely gutted thank goodness the baby was too young to know we were going it will still be there and as you have said health and safety come first.

  4. I feel your pain, we were going in September but have switched to February, luckily Charter Travel sorted it for us with no extra cost. But at least leaving the cold weather behind will be a new experience.

  5. So sorry Craig. I feel you, I made the same decision this week about our August trip. I turn 40 in a month and I had a big trip planned with friends at the end of June that’s now had to be move to June 2022 and now the Florida 2021 trip will be no more and we’ll have to wait till August 2022 to get our Disney fix. I’m gutted but with 3 young children the thought of walking round the parks in August heat trying to keep masks on us all just turned what should be a wonderful family holiday into a whinging, grumpy trip that we’ll all resent by the end. With no fireworks, parades or characters it just wouldn’t be the same.

    I really hope that by 2022 we’ll be saying “Coronavirus who??” And all this will be a distant memory.

    Interestingly I haven’t had my dining reservations cancelled yet, I don’t know if because I’m DVC that’s made a difference or not but maybe they just haven’t got round to cancelling me yet!

  6. Same here. We were due to arrive in Orlando on 2nd August. We’re “off site scum” too but annual passholders. Even so the lack of fast pass, reservation system on park days, face masks etc has led us to conclude we’re better off asking for a refund on the pass and rebooking when the situation has calmed down.

  7. We also made the definite decision this week to cancel our August plans and we won’t be able to go until next summer. I’m actually not too upset about this, as for all the reasons you have stated and more, it won’t be the same, so I don’t really feel we will be missing out too much. I, like you, am just hoping that it’s not back to situation normal in August, because then I will feel very differently.

  8. For what it’s worth, and despite it being totally pants, i think you’ve made the sensible decision to postpone your trip.
    Like you I have little or no confidence in Westminster or POTUS to resolve this thing in a timely manner, that boat has sailed way over the horizon.
    Looking at NZ with not a little envy right now, if only we were an island nation with control of our borders…..Oh wait..

  9. Feeling the pain, we should have been travelling in 50 days but alas ‘its a no go for us’ Still can’t even muster up the energy to start our plans for California next year. Hopefully soon we will break out of the ‘Meh” stage

  10. I can sympathise. Our trip for hubbies 60th should have been in April. In a way I’m glad we could postpone earlier, and deferring our flights with Virgin was suprisingly easy. I’ve not yet booked a new date, but thinking of April 21. If things are relatively normal in Florida by September, there may be the option of a last minute booking for Halloween

  11. Definitely sympathise with you. We should have been travelling tomorrow with virgin holidays. No confidence as to when it will be viable or worth returning so have opted fora refund. Probably get the money back by Christmas if Twitter is to be believed.

  12. It’s the right call. Our numbers are rising, everyone is behaving as if nothing has happened. We went into Manny’s last nite and not one person including servers etc had a mask on.

  13. We don’t have anything booked (apart from a couple of nights in a Harrogate hotel for the presumably cancelled Great Yorkshire Show in July) so I suppose I should feel relieved that we won’t have to make these difficult decisions or consider how much it would cost to cancel completely- but then I do the maths and, even with the premises grant and staff wages furlough payments, Amanda and I have personally lost around £40,000 so far, and are now only plugging the leaking bucket 90% of the time by grafting hard at a home delivery service that will no doubt disappear when larger places with beer gardens are allowed to reopen first. But then I remember that one of our friends and customers is in week 10 of isolation, grieving all alone for her husband and soulmate who died from this disease shortly after the lockdown. I suppose I/we should settle for being healthy and just try to ride out the storm. But it’s hard at times.

    1. It’s tough to be a morning diva about trivial matters when real stuff happens. But somehow I manage it 😁🙄 I’ve been thinking of you and other self employed friends and can only wish you the best of luck.

  14. We too postponed our USA trip until March next year …. 🤞🤞gutted to say the least so feel your pain x

  15. Good luck with Virgin. We should have flown 25th April. I have been told all manner of conflicting things and even after I don’t know how many ‘conversations’ on their text system along with various emails I am still no nearer with them sorting out my new flights for early next year. One of them even suggested booking the flights from scratch again (£1600!) and requesting a refund which would take 90 days or maybe longer as they are busy! I have not tried to contact them over the last week as my daughter has been ill with covid19 so have had other things to bother about. I am still off work self isolating this coming week so I will have another shot. At least it will keep me busy I suppose and my daughter is now almost back to normal too 👍🏻

  16. Isn’t it the worst….I have followed you from about 10 years ago on The Dibb, and love your passion for Orlando as I completely get it. But, it won’t be the same and a lot of the fun of a Florida hol is the planning and anticipation, and it wouldn’t be in the usual excited form this time round. This is a bit of relief we can hold on to, not trying to second guess the unknown of how it will be there this year, and look forward to hopefully some normality next year (and Happily Ever After- my highlight!) Take care 🙂

  17. Although a tough decision to make, I think you’ve made a wise one. I don’t know if this comment is going to come up under my name or my “Hit The Theme Parks” alias, but as you know, I live in Orlando and I keep a close eye on how things are going re COVID, and our willingness to get back to normal seemingly at speed. I see a lot of people have the same question about the pecking order for reservations, which will need to made prior to getting into a Disney park. Universal and SeaWorld haven’t told us their plans for this yet. A 7,14 or 21 day ticket certainly won’t mean that you will get unlimited entry. Of that you can be certain. Quite where someone with that type of ticket will stand against those staying on site and against AP holders is unknown, but maybe not at the top.

    I can’t see international flights being let into the US for a while yet, maybe August, by which time, the parks will have probably increased their capacity, and will continue to do so until they get to maybe 75%. How many times do they actually reach 75% capacity anyway, so will it be moot by then?

    Concerning the spikes, there was one last weekend, which we are told was as a result of a backlog of test results. I don’t know why they can’t allocate them to the days the positive tests were collected on, but it seems to be beyond them. There was another this week and i’m sure that’s what they will say again. We are not seeing a drop in the number of positive cases, but we are seeing a slow decline in the number of deaths. I am happy that even if we don’t see a sharp decline in positive tests, because we moved into Phase 1 of our reopening on May 4, 2020, and “full” Phase 1 on May 18, almost two weeks ago. If we were going to see a spike, it should have come by now. We will continue to move forward here and hopefully, we will continue to hover around the same number of cases (300-700) per day, with that number declining over time.

    Going away from that though, even if you can get a reservation for a theme park, do you really want to be here while you have to wear a mask in 95f (35C) of heat and near 100% humidity? Do you want to be in the parks with no character interaction, social distancing, no parades, no fireworks? is it really Disney at all at that point? I would hate for a first-timer’s first walk up Main Street (because there can only ever be one first walk up Main Street), to be one in a mask, socially distanced, and with not a lot going on. March 2021 will, I hope, look very different to now and to August 2020.

    See you in March!

    1. Thanks Lionel. It’s always good to get a view from someone “on the ground” and you are the second Florida resident to tell me we’ve done the right thing. It just feels overall that there is too much uncertainty for a trip that requires so much time and money invested. Keep doing the updates as they have been very helpful to me and I’m sure many others. See you in March!! 😁

  18. Craig, I know you didn’t want to, but I am relieved you’ve made a decision – and one I think is the best.

    Yes, it’s your favourite place to be. Yes, this year’s trip should have been to celebrate your 50th birthday. But you can celebrate another time. This year will just not be in the place you intended to be joining the 50s Club.

    Easy for me to say? Of course. But actually I do share your pain. I should have been looking forward to my 60th in the same month as you with a trip a month later to the Caribbean. It’ll still be there next year. And I hope I am too!

    I’m concentrating on doing the right thing in the here and now. Holiday planning is for a time when I feel like going away and can enjoy it.

    And I’m lucky in this weather as I live on the south coast in the New Forest and live a mile from the beach. Lucky? Maybe. But not right now… I won’t go down to my own beach because the selfish hordes of outsider people who have probably never visited it in their lives are all down there. Our little beach the last two weeks has never been so busy – the toilets are closed, the waste bins full and overflowing. Thanks Boris and Dom. Sorry to detract with the politics but I’m really angry.

    Keep your planning hat on, it’s part of the enjoyment of a holiday x

  19. I feel your pain, we should be flying out this thursday but the decision was made for us which does make it feel a little easier.
    Were also looking to rebook feb/march so may see you there

  20. A lot parallels our situation. We’re due to go in August, we’re also regulars, I also have an August birthday, being approximately 6 weeks older than Magic Kingdom, so my big one is next year. We’d already had discussions about the financial feasibility of going this year versus actually spending money on the house, which you’ve gone through this in the past. Before the health issues we were in the mindset that the right thing to do was to skip this year, but sod it won out. Throw in the corona virus and we were quite quickly in the mindset of accepting the inevitable cancellation, yet still took zero action to change anything. We still have an onsite booking in place, but our flights have since been cancelled for us. We know not going is the right thing to do but as you rightly point out, that does absolutely nothing to detract from it being a “bit rubbish”.

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