As if we are once again in some days gone by, transported back to the latter end of 2021, I bring you important travel news that you will all be aware of already. The need to provide a negative COVID test prior to departure for the US ends today, at least for those fully vaccinated.
There’s a weariness to this news as if a long exorcised ghost has returned to haunt us once again. I mean, imagine if all these years after the vote we were still talking about sorting Brexit out? Right? I suppose with COVID our weariness does not defeat the thing.
With no travel plans in place, I feel like I have lost all touch with what may be required to go on holiday but with testing now gone, at least some of the anticipation and excitement can return in the countdown to a trip. The ever-present sword of Damocles of that last-minute test I know was a huge source of stress in our countdown, so being rid of that, hopefully for good, is a positive step. One small move in the direction of re-capturing some of the magic that we all used to treasure.
From my brief scanning of social media around the Disney experience, that seems to go from bad to worse. I also saw that there were some boardroom shenanigans at Disney recently, with the CEO coming under some pressure. I have no clue if he is directly linked to the poorly perceived park experiences, or whether those calls are made further down the hierarchy, but ultimately I suppose he is responsible and needs to carry the can. It does seem that a lot of the Disney internet community blame him completely for the state of things. The Disney share price is in the toilet, but I suppose as long as crowd levels are high and revenues up, he will probably be OK for the time being.
It is very strange to not have that absolute compulsion and obsession to return. I have not been without that for decades. I am still of the feeling that, for now, the cost and complexity of attempting WDW parks are too high. The squeeze is not worth the juice. As a man who loves a plan that seems silly, but having to be up at 6.30am to fight for the privilege of buying Genie+ and then hoping to get some decent use out of it does not feel like a holiday. As for the best rides, well, as long as we don’t stay on-site, those experiences will be denied to us, even if paying around $10 each to do so were acceptable, which is quite frankly, a disgrace, and Walt should be spinning in his cryogenic chamber.
Recently I have found myself, when asked by those who know I have done a bit of Disney over the years about going for the first time, trying to put them off. They look at me quizzically at first but as I begin to lay out the levels of complexity and planning required to go to a theme park, it starts to make sense to them. That is all before the cost of everything is laid bare.
It feels like a loved one is currently held hostage and I just hope and pray they are returned to us at some point and we can resume the relationship we have had for many decades. Driving massive crowds to parks with limited availability and huge queues by continually adding accommodation without expanding the parks or adding a new one or two is not sustainable in my view. Especially when those excessive crowds are then denied the previously free method of getting on a ride or two and made to pay extra for the “privilege”. Yes, investment is being made in new attractions, but they are typically replacing old ones and will only serve to increase the crowds and demand even further. That fifth gate is desperately needed.
I’d have had more empathy for Disney if they had come out and said COVID has been hard for us and we need to do a ticket price increase beyond the norm to keep the experience as you expect it. Adding $10 a day to everyone’s ticket would have generated much more revenue and pissed off fewer guests in my view, leaving the free FastPass+ system as it was.
Before posting this I was watching one of those House In The Sun programmes whilst breakfasting. A family were looking for a holiday home and of course, considered properties all around the places we all know so well. Of course, with these programmes you know they could have been made at any point between the 1990s and yesterday and with that in mind, it is not too shocking to hear that it stirred a yearning for the “that” Florida. Whilst I am currently not on the best terms with the WDW parks, I miss Florida and how I feel when I am there. Our return is inevitable but as yet unplannable.
In real-life news, my Dad has spent a few days in hospital this week. I won’t go into the details but he had some treatment that seems to have massively helped and hopefully he will be home in the next few days. One major downside of getting old is that parents do too and inevitably incur health issues. I do not like this, so if that could stop I would appreciate it.
Louise’s Mum, Mary, continues to bounce back from a recent suspected minor stroke a couple of weeks ago. She too went through a bad time a month or so ago with a prolonged hospital stay, with pneumonia, but is thankfully now making good progress in recovering from both of those things. She is a tough old boot as they say.
Rebecca is making her own recovery too from her C section, with her scar causing some concern and trouble. I suppose having a baby freed from your stomach is apparently quite a big thing and your body does not appreciate it. Dougie and Freddie are both doing very well and are very much welcome positive beams of light in our lives.
I am hopeful that the week to come may be the final week of conservatory disruption. The builder doing it had the absolute gall to go on holiday for a week last week, so it has been stood progress-less for that time, and my OCD-driven hatred of tasks being incomplete has been rife for that time. Luckily just as this work is coming to an end, we are “hoping” to have someone start flagging our back garden. I can’t wait!
As Radiohead once said, you do it to yourself, you do, and that’s what really hurts.
If you can’t end a blog post with an oblique song lyric, are you even trying?
Till the next time……