Walt Disney World (FL)

Planning a Walt Disney World Vacation in a Time of Uncertainty

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What an incredible time in our lives we currently find ourselves in. While it is true that life is full of uncertainty, there have always been a few things we can count on in our modern world. For many of us, an annual vacation to Walt Disney World is one of those certainties, a privilege and a gift that many are now longing for.

I had been aching to plan a two-night stay at a Walt Disney World resort and before this all happened, and I had booked a trip for mid-March. Then my husband’s work schedule got in the way, so I moved it. Then something else came up, so I moved it again to the first weekend in April. Even though our Gold Annual Pass would be blocked out for part of the stay, we still planned lots of fun ways to enjoy our weekend getaway. Then COVID-19 happened and it all shut down. The weekend getaway I’d been hoping for just wasn’t going to happen.

Missing trips to WDW with my husband and toddler

Like so many other families we let it go and focused on what is most important – our health and the health of our community. Once we got into our new groove of staying at home I started to hear the call to re-book our trip. I decided to check on annual passholder rates for June. Currently, June 1, 2020 is the earliest arrival date you can book at a Disney-owned hotel. I am thankful that as a local family we can be flexible with our dates.

We found a good rate at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort. The moment I booked the stay a new feeling of hope bubbled up. Then I booked a few dining reservations, including breakfast at Oga’s Cantina at Star War Galaxy’s Edge – despite hearing that breakfast there is not so great. I’ll blame it on the euphoria that had taken over in that moment. The “I’m going to Disney World” pixie dust high is a real thing.

Coronado Springs Pool

After becoming reacquainted with this feeling of excitement, the joy that comes from planning at vacation, I became curious. Are others out there still planning a Disney trip in 2020? Or, is everyone in wait-and-see-mode? I took to Twitter for a quick straw poll.

  • Most respondents indicated they do have a Walt Disney World vacation still planned for 2020
  • The second most respondents indicated their WDW trip is planned for 2021
  • About 20% of respondents indicated that they have no plans for a WDW vacation in the near future

For anyone who does have a trip planned any time in 2020, there is one thing we all have in common: our plans are in limbo. It would be comforting if we all knew without a doubt that this age of uncertainty will be behind us sometime in 2020, but that’s just not true. So although I am enjoying the positive feelings that come from having a trip on the horizon, I know in the back of my mind it may be cancelled yet again. More than anything I am grateful to even have the two-night stay as a possibility.

Do you have a trip planned in 2020? How are you dealing with all this uncertainty?

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Born and raised in the land of sunshine and dreams come true, Dani is a proud Orlando Native who loves sharing her hometown with others. She's worked in nearly all of Orlando's theme parks, on board Disney Cruise Line, and in hotel management. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @thisfloridalife

10 thoughts on “Planning a Walt Disney World Vacation in a Time of Uncertainty

  • I have a trip planned for early October 2020. This will my 25th Wedding Anniversary and it will be my husband’s first trip! He reluctantly agreed to go on this trip because it is MY favorite place to be. I don’t want to take him and it be so drastically different experience from what I know it to be. How far ahead are you allowed to move your reservations (I bought a package thru Disney staying on property). Not sure if I move it to October of next year would be the best decision due to the crowds for the 50th Anniversary. I appreciate your opinions and advice.

  • My family of four has been going every year the last week of August for 8 years now. As Canadians, this is a great week and we’ve learned how to deal with heat and hurricanes. This summer will be our 10th trip to Disney World, and we were planning to celebrate with a bounce back club level at the Poly we made last year. At this stage, we don’t even know if the US Canada border will be open, even if current lock down improves. We’re all hoping, it honestly I give it no better than a 50 50 chance. If we have to cancel, we can hopefully still make it in before end of November. I know it is clearly a Western problem and many don’t understand, but the entire family looks forward to this and it’s a special time we grow closer together. Wishing everyone safe times.

  • Yes – planning a trip in October 2020. Have an August trip booked, but then we booked another trip for October in order to attend Not-So-Scary Halloween party for the first time. We hadn’t cancelled our August trip yet and now, may keep that to see how the virus responds in warmer weather, as well as testing across the U.S. Depending on how the spread goes, I would certainly be hesitant to brave the masses at WDW, if we’ve not gotten a handle on the disease yet. I also expect, though – as someone else said – there has been a significant economic impact to many as a result of the business closures and other COVID restrictions. Think it will take a while to see a true recovery, so I would expect that, even among people who travel to WDW every year, many may have to skip this year and just plan for 2021 and the 50th. But I guess we’ll see….

  • I’ve got an 11-night trip (Riviera & Boardwalk) booked for June 9th. Clearly that’s still in jeopardy, so I booked a backup 4-night Xmas trip (Old Key West) for December 13th.
    I’m still hoping that “backup trip” turns into a “bonus trip”, but the Coronavirus will make that call for me.
    It’s nice to have WDW planning as a diversion during these difficult times.
    Everybody stay safe.

  • We’ve rebooked for the week of Nov. 29th, but there are 2 reasons we’d still cancel that:

    1. I’m in the high risk category for COVID-19 mortality, so if the virus is still hanging around we won’t go.

    2. If the parks are running with modified operations and things like fireworks, parades, indoor shows etc. aren’t happening. All the construction is bad enough, any more than that and it just isn’t worth the cost.

  • We have a trip planned arriving 6/3/20 which is paired with a cruise. We estimate there is a 10% chance we will actually go, however, right now we are only eligible to rebook the resort portion of the trip so… we wait. I expect in the coming weeks Disney Cruise Line will extend its optional rebooking past May 31. Considering rebooking for November even though I’ll have to take considerable time off work as a teacher, but hey, the kids will be fine. My mental health his more important at this point especially when working with middle school special needs students. So we wait…

  • I’m still planning on going to Disney World for the D23 Destination D event (if it’s held) in November and for the 50th Anniversary with the whole family at the end of August 2021. We all could use some Disney magic after what we are presently living through.

  • We had a trip booked for April, moved it to May, now it’s moved to June. We have a backup trip booked for September 2020, so we’ll see!! Contemplating booking an additional backup for November-ish.

  • These are interesting times indeed. Thanks for reading!

  • Was planning on a 2021 trip, but uncertain of that now. I don’t think we will be dealing with mass closures like we are now, but worried that the parks will become overly crowded by people putting off their trip for a year and those who were already planning a 2021 trip for the 50th anniversary of MK. Also concerned that two of the new rides that I’m interested in, the Tron and Guardians of the Galaxy coasters, will not be open by late summer 2021 due to the construction halt. But, on the flip side, the park may not be overcrowded since we look to be headed to a worldwide recession, and when that happened in 2008, attendance was down at WDW in 2009.

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