At any given time I have several trips to Disney World in the back of my mind. I monitor the resale market for Disney Vacation Club sales. I read several Disney World news sites almost every morning.
I would probably be qualified as an obsessive.
The reality is that I find it soothing and relaxing to imagine the family vacations we might yet take.
I know that we will certainly not take all of them or even most of them. After all there are many other places in the world that I would like to visit and to visit with my kids. Money is not infinite or even always plentiful in this the season of financial slow down and widespread unhappiness and unemployment.
Why do i do this if I know these trips are likely never to happen?
It’s fun and an escape and it costs me nothing to plan them.
The planning is a break from thinking about whether my sixth grader is really able to learn a foreign language via zoom meeting or my eighth grader is learning to manage social relationships when she can’t actually see most of her friends in person.
Planning a trip to Europe just reminds me that we aren’t allowed to travel overseas absent a two week quarantine (and, frankly, reminds me of how much I want to escape some of the political realities of the present political situation we find ourselves in here in the United States).
Disney seems lighter and less fraught. I know the company and the parks are far from perfect and that they present a sanitized version of America that does not exist in reality nor does it exist in history.
But sometimes we need to blink for a bit. Sometimes we need to live in a world where it’s ok just to enjoy a ice cream bar shaped like Mickey Mouse.
The problem is to bring myself back and keep myself grounded in reality often enough to continue to work on the things that I can work on in reality (making sure my sixth grader is at least turning in all of her French homework).
So today I booked a trip for Thanksgiving week. We may go, or we may not. We’re really not entirely sure if it’s safe. We’re not sure its a great idea to go to a vacation destination given the progress we have as a nation (or have not as the case seems to be) in keeping contagiousness under control. The Disney experience will not be what it has been. In some ways it will likely be better – drastically reduced crowds, no planning of FastPass+ – though that one is a double edged sword because I kind of like the planning as outlined above. In others it will most certainly be worse – no parades, no fireworks, no in person character meets. We have middle school aged children, they don’t love the three ways in which it will be worse anyway.
And I have FOMO.
Because of the above mentioned podcasts and news sites, I hear about the people going to the happiest place in the world and waiting in short lines and doing what they want in a shorter day with more time left over to spend at their hotels and in restaurants (I hear about restaurants period and feel desperate to get back to that pre-pandemic reality, but also accept the reality we are in is NOT back to that state).
It’s so hard to hear about people having fun and to not be having that fun.
It’s painful and makes us desperate to have fun too.
This is the danger of the denial of reality that many people are engaging in and the root of my concern about going on vacation. Do we just encourage the FOMO in others if we go? What if we go and don’t post it on social media?
What do you think? What’s appropriate? I think this is a thing I’ll have to think about in the coming months. My hope is that the decision will be made by reduced rates of infection and improvements in treatment and survival rates. But it’s hard to live in that “we don’t know” reality. It’s why we have a President that denies it with every thing he has. It’s uncomfortable not to know and to know that we need to maintain uncomfortable circumstances and restrictions when others aren’t.
So I’m considering it and wondering about it and worrying about it.
But sometimes I’m just thinking about that ice cream in the shadow of Cinderella Castle with the joy of starting the Christmas season the day after Thanksgiving in a place that decorates beautifully.