When the world started to shut down during the COVID-19 crisis, I had many thoughts swirling through my head — just like you. Mostly, it was concern for the health of my family and friends, but I’ve also had a more selfish, nagging, recurring thought: “Thank goodness we hadn’t planned any summer trips for this year.”
This time last year, my family was at Disney World and it was an absolutely amazing trip. This was the second time we’d taken our kids to Disney World. On that first trip, with a 5- and 3-year-old in tow, our days revolved around character meet-and-greets, lunch with Snow White, Cinderella, Belle and all the rest, and then getting back to the resort for naptime, an afternoon swim and maybe getting to see some of the fireworks before having to maneuver out of the park with two sleeping children in our arms.
That first trip was fun because of the wonder and magic we saw in the kids’ eyes, but, it was exhausting in a way that only a Disney vacation can be: complete and utter trip planning fatigue coupled with maintaining a rigid schedule for five full days — not to mention chasing two preschoolers around The Magic Kingdom.
Our most recent trip was a totally different ball game, however. The kids were 12 and 10 last summer and they were the perfect ages to take on Disney World again. Thanks to their new-found tall stature, there were no limitations to what we could ride. Also, their stamina had increased since our last visit to Disney World, so naps weren’t needed this time (although, I would’ve loved a nap most days).
If you’ve never done it, the planning of a Disney vacation isn’t for sissies. Finding lodging and transportation are the easy parts of booking a Disney World vacation. The true test of mettle comes from booking dining, FastPasses for rides, and other Disney add-ons that seem ridiculous but are actually pretty necessary. Disney vacations are not for the person who wants to get away from it all and feel untethered to a schedule.
So, for that reason, I’ve been equal-parts thanking my lucky stars that our very complicated, highly structured Disney vacation was last summer instead of this summer, but then also feeling much sadness for those who have already gone through the pain of organizing a Disney trip (down to the minute) and who are now having to cancel or reschedule.
Whether it be the loss of life, the loss of jobs, or just the loss of our daily routines, the COVID-19 crisis has left no one untouched. Believe me, I know that the loss of a summer vacation is a First-World Problem, but it’s a loss nonetheless.
No matter how big or how small, our families have suffered unexpected defeats. And, while that big, summer trip might not happen this year, my hope is that we can all appreciate the little seasonal indulgences, like a road trip to get Fredericksburg peaches, or a refreshing swim in the Comal or Guadalupe. And who knows, maybe, we’ll find that our priorities have shifted a bit, along with our interest in high maintenance, expensive vacations.