To Go-vid or not to Go-vid?

Hi All. Longtime listener, first time caller and all that. Thanks for having me on the show.

I know Covid has been discussed at length here in various places. I haven’t read through the entire “Coronavirus Outbreak: Part 1” (and 2), but I’ve read lots of posts in them. Basically, I’m looking for some outside feedback. I’ll try to keep this short (brevity is not my strong suit).

We have two daughters (4 and 2). We had been planning go to DW in 2021 for a while, originally in April. Like many of you, we decided to move things around. We moved it to Late August/Early September. My wife and I are both vaccinated (Moderna, both shots). To make this just a little more interesting, my wife is 20 weeks pregnant with baby girl #3 (yes, I am living the #GirlDad life). We’re 42 days out and our window for cancelling with full refund is closing rapidly, so we need to decide if we’re committed to this.

We were feeling optimistic about our trip as numbers dropped in June, but we’re starting to feel a bit anxious again with Delta on the rise. We’ve been very Covid cautious from the beginning, probably because we’re just across the river from NYC on the Jersey side (Jersey City) and we got hit hard from the get-go. We’ve slowly been loosening up, especially over the past few months as numbers in NJ improved, but we’re very much a “masks indoors and in crowded outdoor settings” type of family. I’m very aware that data suggests kids have very much been spared the worst of Covid, but I’ll admit I’m still leery about long Covid as data on that seems a bit all over the place (and to the person who linked to the Nature article in “Coronavirus… Part 2” about that, thank you). My DW’s OBGYN has given her the green light to go, and our pediatrician has said it’s up to us as long as we follow good Covid safety (masks, distance, hand washing, etc).

On one hand, it seems silly to me to risk the girls getting sick for a “fun” vacation. I know the data is in our favor, but like or not, it’s still a novel disease that we’re figuring out and I’d kick myself if they got sick and worse, developed long Covid or something else down the road because of it. On the other hand, after god knows how many months of them being so so so flexible because of the “germs”, I feel like this would be awesome for them, as well as being our last big trip as a family of 4. I know at the end of the day, the answer is “if you don’t feel safe, don’t go”. It’s just tough to figure out what is “safe”.

So I guess my question is, to any other parents who are in a similar position and have a similar mindset, would you/have you/are you going to go to DW in current conditions? What pushed you in either direction? If you’ve been recently how was it and how safe did you feel?

Thanks in advance everyone, appreciate your thoughts and insights.

Edit: I should also add that right now, we have ADR’s that are all at outdoor restaurants (and we’ll do Quick Service elsewhere) and we plan to have everyone wear masks in queue’s and on rides, us included. Kids are excellent (4 yo) and generally good (2 yo) at keeping masks on.

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I have a little guy (6) who is multiply disabled.
I am also in Jersey, so I know that aspect of it too.
DS is usually ALWAYS sick. He had both Flu A and B back to back right at the beginning of the pandemic. Scary times.
We took 2 trips during covid. December 2020, and April 2021.
I felt safe both times.
I’m also going solo in September 2021.
We felt personally that we needed the break. It was good for everyone after all the horror we experienced early in the pandemic. Mental health is important too.
No one got sick after.
I can’t tell you what to do, but that’s my experience.
I have no regrets.

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I have no advice but following as we are in similar situation. (Have a twice delayed trip scheduled for October. 7 year old twin grandchildren who love Disneyworld more than anything and have missed an awful lot the last year and a half. Adults all vaccinated (but one doesn’t have a robust immune system due to transplant.) If they still had the “wear masks indoors, everyone” rule I’d probably feel okay, but without it . . . . I dunno. I was at 80% we were gonna go but am sliding fast. Sitting at maybe 50/50 right now.

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I think so much of this comes down to your own comfort level. As an adult who is vaccinated I am not too concerned but if my kids were younger I’m not sure I would risk it.

I have a trip planned in February to DLR with my niece and her family. Her kids are ages 3 - 8. Our hope was that they could all be vaccinated by then. But now it seems likely that the vaccine will be phased in for kids starting with 5+ in September. That means three of her kids will be vaccinated by February but probably not her twins who will be 4 in January. So we will also be faced with the same decision but have some time to let things play out.

My niece has been very cautious because a couple of her kids (including one of the twins) have underlying conditions that could make them more vulnerable to covid.

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That’s really great to hear. And yeah, I’m trying to weigh the mental health aspect of this as well, since that is something that’s been coming up more and more in the “costs of Covid” discussions.

Do you think you would feel differently if you bought your DS now that masks are no longer required indoors?

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Yeah, the lack of masks indoors really was a bummer for us. We were hoping they’d keep that rule in place until kids could be vaccinated, but c’est la vie. My “are we going to go?” index changes depending on what hour you catch me ha.

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I’ll be the jerk.

(only because you asked about how others have handled it)

We had an amazing trip planned 2020. In fact, we lost a lot of points that we had saved up to get a beautiful room for two weeks at BLT. But we just couldn’t do it with so much at stake. So we stayed home. Completely isolated for 14 months. Watching everyone else go LONG before vaccines were approved. For us, it wasn’t worth the risk.

We saw people not properly wearing their masks and still touching their eyes/masks, then touching common area spots and someone else come up right behind, touch that same spot then wipe their eyes before washing…uck.

We can’t control how other people behave, and instead of spending all that money for a prolonged anxiety attack we opted to stay home until every one of us was vaccinated.

I have my opinions, and don’t I know it that they aren’t popular, but going to a theme park in the middle of a pandemic boggles my mind! I would wait until the vaccine is approved for the littles, and maybe a little more research is done on what affects Covid could have for pregnant, vaccinated women.

That being said, I am also a HUGE believer in “you do you”. I just felt you might want to hear from someone who opted to stay home.

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I hope you’re right about September! I was hearing that, too, but lately I’ve been hearing it might be later. :frowning: Nothing from anyone reliable, though. (I do not really want to go through the whole holiday who can come to my house thing again. Got reamed by my aunt for telling them that they can’t come unless either they or the kids get vaccinated. I “don’t understand how important family is to them,” and “am punishing them for their choices.” Umm. No. Just wanna keep my grandkids safe, and I know you aren’t doing it. :frowning: :frowning:

(Just met a friend’s 33 year old niece. She’s a physical therapist, a long distance runner, who caught Covid in March, 2020. Didn’t get particularly sick but she’s a long-hauler. A year + later, she can only work part time and can’t really climb the three flights of stairs to her apartment without getting so winded she has to lay down for at least a half an hour later.)

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I’m indifferent about the Covid thing. What would give me pause in your situation though is your wife. It is hot hot hot in late August at Disney. I can’t imagine going at 26 weeks pregnant. The threat of dehydration and heat exhaustion is going to be high. Of course, I can’t imagine going to Disney while pregnant at all, so take what I say with a grain of salt!

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Not really.
DS has been in school every day in person since November 2020 because of his disabilities. And now, with most of the state not masking, he’s still in school,
(Extended School Year) and we’ve been to indoor restaurants on occasion… I take him to the grocery store. He’s masked in all situations.

I understand and respect those who do not feel comfortable. For us personally, we’ve crossed a threshold where the cost of staying secluded is higher than the potential risk. That’s not going to be everyone’s decision.

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@Jeff_AZ may be of help here. He has some littles and just went in May. He had also shared some useful information on the risks to children for someone else unsure what to do.

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We went in early May with a 5 and 2 year old and I agonized over it. It was right when cases started to tick up and people predicted a 4th wave (which thankfully didn’t come to pass). We similarly did almost all outdoor eating (were foiled when a restaurant patio closed for heat). BUT the mask mandate was in place and honestly that’s what made me feel ok about it. We are from like 20 minutes away from you and also opted to drive instead of fly (which was not awesome but cut back a lot of my nervousness).
It was crowded and I likely would have bailed without the mask mandate. Once we were there, it was on my mind (in moments like deciding not to share an elevator) but not omnipresent. You have to go with your gut (like everyone said!)

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You are in a tough position. All of our adult children have politely refused to go there with their children, our grand kids, even though we’ve offered tips to be safe. My wife and I were at WDW back in April before Disney started relaxing all their well known Covid restrictions. While we were vaccinated then, we were also considerably uncomfortable because of how other people behaved around us … absolutely no respect for keeping one’s distance. I can only imagine what it must be like now for Covid concerned people, given the more relaxed rules at Disney, the difficulty of enforcing compliance and the apparent resurgence of the Delta variant everywhere, especially in Florida. I’ve come around to our kid’s point of view, WDW with its crowds is no place for the non-vaccinated. Best of luck deciding.

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One thought. Note, I can’t really comment on what I’d do because I’m not coming from the same mindset. But, I can’t imagine going on vacation, particularly somewhere like Disney, with a sword of worry hanging over my head. I’d be so stressed out, I don’t think I’d have any fun. My anxiety would be picked up by DD and it would just be a hot mess. I recommend waiting to go until you are comfortable. By comfortable I mean assuming the parks have zero social distancing, etc.

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One other thing: our 2yo wasn’t in school, so our trip was the first time he had been among any kind of crowds in over a year (so, long enough that he couldn’t really remember). He ended up being overstimulated amidst all the people and first time experiences (rides, even outdoor restaurants), which made mask wearing much more of a struggle. This is definitely specific and your circumstances may be different, but masking was ok at home and tougher there

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We went in June for 2 weeks, after outdoor masking was dropped but a few days before indoor masking was dropped. The physical distancing wasn’t great when we arrived and what little was left of it, was being dismantled during our trip (markers and barriers being removed, etc.).

The only physical distance was basically what we ourselves generated. Being constantly alert to that caused way too much stress for me. I don’t exactly regret going, but if I could rewind, I would have planned an alternate vacation.

Conversely, I think if it was just DH, he would have just put it out of his mind and let the chips fall where they may.

So, I would do some self-reflection on whether you think your group masks wearing will be enough for you to relax and have a true vacation, or if you’ll be in a constant state of alert as to what the conditions are around you.

Summer 2020, we did a road trip to Colorado. Lots of hiking and takeout. For that one, I felt like what we were doing was reasonably safe given the current conditions, so I was only “on alert” a very small portion of the time so it did feel like a vacation. I also felt like we took enough precautions that if things had gone sideways, I wouldn’t have felt like I had been reckless. I’m pretty sure if things had gone sideways on the Disney trip, I would have felt like I should have known better and had significant regrets.

So in summary:

  1. Will you be able to relax and enjoy it or will you be on alert most of the time?
  2. If things do go sideways, will you feel like your choices were reasonable or will you have significant regrets?

ETA: You might also think about what your personal/childcare situation will be like at the time of your trip. Will it be a similar level of risk as the conditions at Disney or significantly different? That might also play into your decision. Right now, our schools are saying no masks or physical distancing in the fall, so risk at school with zero precautions vs. Disney with masks might not be that different. (Still trying to get my mind around that school situation.)

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We are in a similar situation. We’re from Jersey as well. We have reservations mid-August, and we are still planning to go. It would probably take quite a bit at this point to change our minds. DH and I have talked a bit about the uptick in cases in the South, as well as whether DS (the only non-vaccinated one of the four of us) would be at risk.

The thing that is different about our case is that all four of us had Covid in February of this year. I actually was exposed around the day I was vaccinated (can’t pinpoint because of repeated exposure to the individual) at work. I did isolate, but didn’t know that I needed to until too late; it spread through the house. So all of us have some natural immunity. I finished my vaccine sequence, and DH got his right after he was out of quarantine. DD12 couldn’t get hers until a bit later, after it was approved for that age group. I’d say, out of the four of us, DD had it the worst, and DS10 had it the least. It was still hard to watch everyone sick and know I’d brought it into the house (not on purpose, working in a school was really a disaster waiting to happen, but mom guilt…)

So our decision is partially based on how open things are up here. We were just at Hersheypark and felt we were able to keep a few feet away from people. We didn’t mask indoors, but had our masks ready in case we wanted to. I think we will mask up more frequently at Disney, at least indoors or outdoors in crowded situations. I was always the person giving dirty looks to people in line who violated my personal space in Disney in the past…I have a feeling that will continue.

Like @jwoandrews, we are also driving, but that’s how we roll anyway. We will be masking up at rest stops, etc.

I have those moments where I think to myself, am I really doing this in a pandemic? And then, I think, for our family, it’s not quite as risky. It is such a personal choice and depends on the weighing of factors, which we can’t understand, for you. But I understand your dilemma.

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We just returned home from our first trip in 1.5 yrs (to a nearby beach town, not Disney). It was a lot of fun, but mentally difficult for me more than I had imagined. I don’t regret it, but I will be relieved when 2 weeks passes by. We have 4 vaccinated family members and one too young for the vaccine, but old enough to understand to wear her mask and distance (she’s 9). Overall I was really surprised at how well my kids took to being pretty much the only people around wearing a mask. We only did so in crowds and indoors, not on the beach or at the pool. We ate all meals in our room and stayed away from indoors activities that we normally would have considered.

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Wow, so many great responses here. Was taking care of the kids for a bit and I came back to a slew of awesome thoughts. Thank you all for sharing. Going to try and round up a response shortly but just wanted to check back in and say thank you everyone.

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We are going November/December. DH, myself and our 12 year old twins are vaccinated. DS9 is obviously not. We are still planning to go. If vaccines come out for him before then, great. We have been doing day trips to various places this summer. We went to the beach for a long weekend last summer. My kids were in school in person all year. DS9 played soccer In fall and spring. We live in PA where cases are low at this point, so we come from a different perspective. My kids are only young once and we want to enjoy our time with them doing what we enjoy.

You gotta do what you feel is best for your family. And I agree with someone above regarding your pregnant wife in the heat. I don’t think I would have done well, but I don’t do well in the heat not pregnant.

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