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.
@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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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!
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.
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.)