Since the world stopped earlier this year, our November trip to Disney World was a beaming light of hope. By then, surely, the pandemic would be under control, or at least manageable enough to allow us to travel without too much worry.
But, as the months went by and the COVID-19 cases went up, our Disney trip seemed like less and less of a possibility. Still, I stayed positive.
Numbers were declining in my state — once an epicenter for the New Coronavirus — and I was encouraged when Disney World opened its doors again this summer. I followed along with the ever-changing protocols, rationalizing the sacrifices we would have to make would be worth it to go.
Sure, I thought, the masks might feel odd, and the characters won’t hug us, but the crowds would be smaller, and the parks will be cleaner than they’ve ever been.
I told myself not too feel bad if this was the first experience the kids had with Disney World. They’ve never been, they wouldn’t know any better. But, I have, and I know better. Yet, I convinced myself all the restrictions and changes would be a minor price to pay to give my children the chance at something magical in an otherwise difficult year.
I held on to the hope as the months, weeks and days drew closer to our planned trip. I sent countless emails back and forth to our agent, making and re-making dining reservations, I spent hours one morning to snag our set of limited park tickets, all the while knowing our trip would likely be postponed.
And, today, was that day.
Today was when I sent the email asking our agent to move our trip to next year.
That dream we had all the way back in the beginning of 2020, before COVID-19 was a word in my vocabulary, that dream was now gone. Well, not gone, but delayed.
As, I write this, I hear how incredibly privileged I am to even have entertained the thought of a Disney World vacation. When so many have suffered tremendous loss both in terms of life and livelihood, I know some mom whining about not being able to take a trip to Disney is the least thing the world needs right now.
So, I write this with no intention of anyone to feel sorry for me. I have no right to elicit sympathy, nor comfort. Those are things we should grant to those truly suffering, because there is plenty of suffering and not enough sympathy to go around.
But, I will permit myself to feel just a little bit sad about these now canceled plans. I will take a moment to grieve the loss of what I had hoped would have been a special trip for my family.
I will wallow and bitch about the state of America and how if we could have only gotten our act together fewer people would have died, and I would get to watch my youngest get a hug from Cinderella and my oldest wield a lightsaber against a Sith lord.
So, please, forgive me for being petty and whiny. I am aware of how foolish I sound.
Then again, maybe you are like me, maybe you had a big trip planned, or you were hoping for a huge wedding, or you thought you would be celebrating your kid’s graduation with hundreds of people, or your family has yet to meet your new baby, or you will be alone on Thanksgiving.
I want you to know you are allowed to feel devastated about all of it. Feeling sad over what you lost doesn’t make you any less appreciative of what you have.
I am so grateful for all the incredible people and comforts I have in my life. I thank God, and hope a canceled Disney vacation is the worst thing that happens to our family this year.
Because while we may not get to experience the magic of Disney World, we have had plenty of joy and happiness right in our own home. We have found new ways to connect and appreciate one another, all while managing a challenging year.
And our Disney Dream isn’t over, it’s just on hold until next year.