The day we declined our Walt Disney World passes

posted by Jeff | Thursday, May 28, 2020, 1:15 PM | comments: 0

I didn't know it at the time, but my solo trip to Epcot for a little lunch on March 5 was the last time I would be in a Disney park for a while. It was Simon's birthday, but he and Diana were on a field trip to St. Augustine. The impending seriousness of the pandemic was already obvious at that point. I remember going in to the temporary location for Mouse Gear (weird I know, but I like the shampoo they use in the resorts and on the cruise line), and it was pretty crowded with people from all over the world. I quickly turned around and got out of there. A few days later we went to Universal to see Blue Man Group, then on Sunday, to Splitsville for the annual tradition of bowling for Simon's birthday.

But now, I don't know when our next time in a Disney park will be. Yesterday, Disney announced its opening plan, which would have set the new expiration date for our passes as about three months after our original expiration. Today, we cancelled the passes and requested a prorated refund. There are a lot of reasons:

  • Diana is particularly vulnerable to respiratory disease, which I saw at its worst when bronchitis visited her again last summer. Simon is potentially in a tough spot as well. He's had pneumonia and another nasty illness a few years ago, both times requiring a few weeks of nebulizer treatments. All that to say, the infection rate of Covid-19 is already headed back up in Florida, and now we're going to attract people from all over. That's not a great risk profile for our family, no matter how safe-ish Disney tries to be. In a best case scenario, we have to see where this tracks for the next two months.
  • The product that Disney is now offering is substantially changed. Reservations are required, which is not practical in summer when you don't know day to day what the weather will be like. It's likely many attractions won't even operate. Mickey will not be taking hugs.
  • I don't see any world where the Food & Wine Festival, our biggest time of year, is fun or even possible in the new world. I doubt they can do concerts, and the whole point is to put food and drink in your mouth.
  • At $720 per person annually, all of this is the opposite of compelling. Plus there's that whole thing where the economy is headed to uncharted territory of ugliness. I'd rather get some of that money back.

I applaud Disney for doing their best, and maybe (hopefully?) that will be good enough for the tourists, but it's not great for us. We'll buy in again as soon as it seems like a good idea, but in the five months we've got left, I don't see it. There's no evidence that things will be better, and actually the evidence points the other way. We've got a cruise line reservation to use as well, and I can't tell you when that's going to happen for all the same reasons.

It's a bummer, but on the bright side, Epcot will be like a new park once we're able to go back.


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