Mom, Can We Go to Disney World (in a Pandemic)?

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Normally, my answer to “Mom, can we go to Disney World?” is HECK YEAH, LET’S GO, BABY! My daughter is 10 and she’s my Disney bestie. She gets excited about Minnie ears and Magic Bands. Even though her favorite park is Animal Kingdom (my least favorite), it’s been so fun to share the magic on as many mommy daughter dates as we can!

Mom and daughter smiling with Mickey and Minnie Mouse at Disney's Animal Kingdom
Mom and daughter, Coppelia and Ally, smiling with Mickey and Minnie Mouse at Disney’s Animal Kingdom!

When the pandemic closures hit, we couldn’t believe it. Disney was … closed?! We knew it would eventually open, but still, it was just weird. And now that we have an official re-opening date (July 9th and 10th for Annual Passholders), the question came up again: “Mom, can we go to Disney World”? PLEEEEEASE! (And my baby girl’s Disney smile is the BEST! So cute and happy!)

Mom and daughter smiling with Epcot Spaceship Earth lit up in shades of purple behind them
Disney-park-hop-till-you-drop! Mom and daughter, Coppelia and Ally, smiling with Epcot’s Spaceship Earth lit up in shades of purple behind them!

Except this time, Disney is reopening in the midst of an active pandemic. My answer so far has not been my usual “heck yeah.” It’s been more like “ummmm… no. I’m not sure, baby. Maybe. I don’t know.”

Mom and daughter smiling at Toy Story Land inside DIsney's Hollywood Studios
Disney besties, mom Coppelia and daughter Ally are all smiles at Toy Story Land inside DIsney’s Hollywood Studios!

How do you decide?

Honestly, though, how you do you make hard decisions in a pandemic … in the middle of summer? Isn’t summer supposed to be fun? And here we are, a bunch of moms, trying to figure out if it’s safe to let our kids play with their friends, go to the pool, have a sleepover or go Disney World.

If we say yes, are the kids going to bring back a virus that could put my husband or I at risk? What if we visit our parents (in their 60s and 70s) and put them at risk? Or what about my 89 year old grandma, Abuela Mamin? She lives here in Central Florida with my parents and we have tried to limit contact for their safety. But while the pandemic continues, the concerns do, too.

Grandma and great-granddaughter at DIsney's Grand Floridian resort
My grandma, Abuela Mamin, and my daughter (her great-granddaughter) Ally at DIsney’s Grand Floridian resort last Christmas 2019. This is the grandma who brought me on my first Disney trip when I was 5 years old!

5 Questions to Help You Decide

These are the five questions that I’m sharing with my kids, when it comes to anything we want to do in the pandemic. Whether it’s to hang out with friends, go out to eat or go to Disney World, it’s nice to have a few questions to help you decide. Hope these help you and your family, too!

  1. What’s already on our calendar?

    • Even in a pandemic, it’s easy to overcommit to things! Our calendar can be our best friend. I’m working outside the home in a job that, thankfully, is considered essential (radio DJ at Z88.3!) My daughter is back to her gymnastics classes five days a week. And my son is busy with two summer online courses to help him get ready for high school in the fall. Even when things have closed down, it hasn’t been a “full shut down” for our family.
    • Pandemic or not, it’s always a good idea to look at the calendar and see what we have. Maybe we CAN fit in that Disney visit, pool time or whatever! But maybe it’s a busy week and the better answer is “let’s stay home.”
  2. Is it safe?

    • So many places are taking EXTRA safety precautions and measures. Temperature checks, masks, hand sanitizer and social distance stickers are becoming “the new normal.” So maybe it’s safer to go to Disney World than to the grocery store where not everyone is wearing masks.
    • If you feel like the safety precautions are enough and everyone is healthy, fantastic!
    • However, if you or anyone at home has a pre-existing health condition that could put you or a loved one at higher risk of contracting Covid-19, you may feel safer staying home.
  3. Why do you want to go?

    • No, really, asking “why” can make a huge difference! Even if you have room on your calendar and it’s relatively safe, you can go further and ask WHY. Why do you or your child want to go? It could be just because Disney closed (!!!) and now they reopened, so “Let’s Go, Mom!” “We HAVE to!” If your why is powerful or meaningful enough, it might help sway your decision in the best possible direction.
  4. What happens if we don’t go? (How will it make you feel to not go?)

    • It’s probably not the end of the world if we don’t do anything. It’s still a pandemic and many experts recommend staying home as much as possible.
    • As of June 2020, we can add that “Central Florida is a Covid-19 hot spot,” so it makes a lot of sense to stay home.
    • Are we going to be “so bummed” if we don’t go? (My daughter just said “yes.”) Maybe we can put it off, so it’s more of a “not now” instead of a hard no.
  5. Is it ok to wait it out?

    • Maybe after talking it out as a family, you decide it’s not worth the risk. We’re in a global pandemic hot spot and the answer is no.
    • Or … you decide, NAH, this is too exciting! Disney World is REOPENING! Throw caution to the wind!
    • Either way, I’m a big fan of looking at the pros and cons. I’d rather help my kids work through and learn decision-making skills than me just saying YES, we’re going or NO and stop asking! (lol!)
Mom and daughter with Daisy Duck at Disney's Animal Kingdom restaurant Tusker House
Mom and daughter with Daisy Duck at Disney’s Animal Kingdom restaurant Tusker House

If I’m honest, we are still having these conversations in our home. I don’t have a final answer just yet.

But between now and then (official opening dates are July 11th for Magic Kingdom & Animal Kingdom, and July 15th for Epcot and Hollywood Studios), I’m sure I’ll hear “Mom, can we go to Disney World” a few more times! 😉

Let me know what you’re thinking about visiting the theme parks in a pandemic — share your thoughts in the comments below! I’d love to keep the convo going!

Your mom friend,

Coppelia

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Coppelia is a local Orlando radio personality, wife, mom and self-proclaimed "Boricua princess!" Boricua because she was born in Puerto Rico and princess because ... Disney! Her love of all-things-Disney probably started when her grandma "Abuela Mamin" brought 5-year-old Coppelia to Disney World for the first time! She's married to her "Boricua prince charming," Adam, who is also from Puerto Rico. Both of their kids, their son Chris {2006} and daughter Ally {2009} were born in California. So far, Coppelia's family adventures have taken her from Puerto Rico to California, then Texas (where she loved being a part of our sister community, the Houston Moms Blog!) She moved to Orlando in 2019 for an awesome radio gig! You can hear her on Z88.3 in English and La Z 102.5 in Spanish! When she's not on the radio or getting her kids to basketball and gymnastics, Coppelia blogs about family, faith and fun at coppeliamarie.com. She's also the author of a Bible devotional called “Whole: How One Book Can Transform Your Whole Life." While her roles as wife & mom are priority, she loves opportunities to lead worship and sing in churches and speak at Christian women’s conferences. Orlando life is still new to Coppelia, but she loves being a Disney Annual Passholder. She and her sister Emille hit the parks as often as possible! Special Disney memories include her Disney Honeymoon in 2004 and her first RunDisney half marathon at the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend in 2015! Can't wait to make new memories & share them with YOU! You can follow her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @Coppeliamarie.

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