How visiting a UK theme park has changed my thinking about visiting WDW

So I’ve just come back from a two night stay at a UK theme park — you may have read my trip report.

Before I went away I thought it was more likely than not that I would not visit Orlando as planned in October. Quite a lot more likely that I would not.

But having taken my first trip anywhere since December, I’m feeling differently now. I now believe it is more likely than not that I will visit Orlando in October.

Of course I reserve the right to change my mind again — especially as I anxiously watch the number of days since my UK trip tick by, constantly wondering in the background “did I catch COVID while I was there?”

Here’s my thinking.

  1. @bswan26 put it brilliantly in response to my description of the UK park: This is a perfect description of the Six Flags franchise. Great rides, mediocre food, limited (and often cheesy) theming, and workers who all seem to be wanting to do anything else except being there. You go for a coaster fix, and that’s about it.

  2. It turns out there really is something special about WDW (and, for me, UOR). There is magic. It’s not about the rides per se. It’s about the atmosphere. And, like you all, I do miss it. I think visiting WDW is good for the soul.

  3. And it turns out I’m less into thrill rides than I thought. I like gentle rides. And I like pretty things to look at. My favourite part of the UK trip was the gardens. Disney and Universal do pretty things to look at very well.

  4. I do understand the sunk cost fallacy, but the fact remains that if I don’t go, but my flights are running, I will have paid around a thousand non-refundable dollars for a flight I didn’t take.

  5. My issue with masks clearly has a significant psychological component. We only had to wear masks on the rides themselves — so ten minutes at a time. And in UK weather (cold, rainy). It wasn’t awful. At all. I reckon I could handle it in Orlando, especially with mask-free rest areas.

So why not go?

  1. There’s another thread discussing whether anyone would want to go to Florida right now. I take that stuff seriously, though I do think that the WDW / UOR / MCO bubble is different to a bar or a beach or a shopping mall. There is clearly still some risk, but they’re doing the best they can to minimise it. Am I reckless to remember the adage “If the purpose of a captain were to preserve his ship, then he would never leave port”. If you saw my driving to and from the UK theme park, you’d wonder just where the greatest risk to my life lies!

  2. My dog. I can’t overstate how hard it is for me to leave him. It literally affects me physically and mentally in the immediate run up to the moment of dropping him off. This time he seemed absolutely fine when I picked him up — but I’d only been away two nights. In December I felt like he punished me for a week or two after I’d left him for eight nights to go to Florida.

  3. I actually don’t think I care about the restricted offerings at WDW. I love HEA as much as anyone, but surely that can’t be a dealbreaker? I’ve been to WDW enough times in the last few years that I can live without the bits that are going to be missing. I’ve said before — and I still think it — that just being there is enough. Any ride at MK is going to be great. I don’t care if I don’t get to ride BTMR or whatever.

So my current thinking is that I’m very open to taking an almost entirely unstructured trip for the sole purpose of just being at the two resorts and enjoying the sights and sounds. And a few rides.

In terms of COVID, I do draw a distinction between the parks and the restaurants. My understanding is that the risk is greater indoors. I don’t know how I feel about food and where I’d get it.

(I should add a slightly obnoxious addendum for those of you who are going to say “You can’t have an unstructured trip to WDW. You have to book.” Well, I won’t need to. I have friends in high places. But don’t worry, I’m not going to steal your spot in line for FOP or 7DMT.)

1 Like

The good news is that although it will still be a lot hotter than your typical UK weather, October is when the crazy heat of July - mid September starts to taper off.

1 Like

You’re so right that other theme parks just don’t compare! Listen. If I were you and my flights were running and I was going to lose that money … I’d go too. Of course I kind of expect you to change your mind a few times between now and then. :wink:

How odd. It would be so unlike me.

2 Likes

You hit me in the feels with your dog…
I totally get it. We honestly didn’t ever vacation until we started going to Disney because we didn’t want to leave them behind. It was actually one of the reasons we bought DVC so that we would almost be forced to do something regularly for our daughter.

Recently we have had either family or a pet/house sitter come and stay at our house while we are away so that it doesn’t upset his routine or environment. The picture updates and videos from them help, but I admit I also have the feeling of guilt/dread for the whole week or so leading up to it and think about cancelling every time so we don’t have to leave him.
We previously had two dogs, but sadly lost one a little over a year ago, so now it is even harder to leave our little old man behind. I totally get where you are coming from, I think it is hard enough to leave them in general and then a whole new level of worry when they are older.

1 Like

Except for 4), every pro you listed is an argument for visiting WDW sometime in the future, but not for this October.

Crossing the Atlantic during this pandemic is awful. Airlines are cancelling enough flights to guarantee all planes are completely full - my 2 flights, 16 hours journey became a 3 flights, 30 hours trip. Every seat taken. Although masks were mandatory, people would lower them all the time. I spent the whole time noticing every single person walking around the corridors, some talking, some with their masks down, some coughing.

For the first 6 days after arriving, I would take my temperature and smell things almost every hour. Everything that could be possibly considered a begining of a symptom left me wondering “what if?”.

I am hoping your flight gets cancelled and you become free to make a decision without dealing with sunk costs.

As a total side question: When I watched Imagineering Story, I got the impression that Disneyland Paris was the prettiest park. I vaguely remember you not being that impressed by it, so now I am curious.

1 Like

Last night I cancelled our Oct family trip and Mar couple trip in favor of an April family trip and this morning I’m gutted. I feel like I have a next day hangover like when my high school boyfriend broke up with me. I expected to feel relief from having a decision made, but instead I’m nothing but sad. Yes, I’m probably being dramatic, but I also believe in feeling the feelings and naming them in a judgement free way. It sucks.

5 Likes

My point being @mousematt - if you feel comfortable going and are able to go, you should go. If it weren’t for the travel restrictions making my trip into 5 weeks instead of 1, we would still be going.

1 Like

That, of course, is a known unknown.

For me to go to WDW —

  1. Flights from the UK to the US have to resume (they are scheduled to do so)
  2. The US ban on people from the UK entering the US has to be lifted
  3. There has to be no quarantine provision in Florida for UK visitors
  4. There probably has to be no quarantine provision in the UK for people returning from the US, which there currently is.
1 Like

I was willing to wait it out for NY to lift the restriction against FL because I know that it would be an all of a sudden “OK now you can go” kind of decision by the governor. But then FL extended their restriction against NY until at least 9/5 which is just this side of a month before our Oct trip. The way the DVC system works I could not comfortably cancel so close to 31 days prior to the trip and not lose the points. So we canceled now.

To your point about flying - we totally agree. We’d be going on a plane at a small local airport with 98% of the people being from our area 97% of which are going to Disney (at 6am nearly the entire flight is little kids). Then going into Disney where precautions are being taken by nearly everyone. Then getting on another plane again filled with Disney guests going back to where we came from. I truly view it as pretty low risk. Bubble to bubble and back.

I hope you’re able to go and you have a magical time.

2 Likes

Thank you :smile:

1 Like