Planning a Spontaneous Pandemic Trip
As I started writing this post, intending for it to be about our whole trip, I realized it’s a whole lot of lead-up that no one may care about. So feel free to skip ahead (by clicking here) to read about the actual trip. If you care about all the details, feel free to keep reading and you can get to the post about the trip after you’re done.
TL; DR: We booked a long weekend trip to Disney at the end of August and I’d love to tell you all about it.
It’s been quite awhile (nearly 2 years) since I’ve posted anything. I never quite got around to finishing chronicling my 1st ever trip with my best friend, which was also our 1st ever visit to Food & Wine Festival. Then I got food poisoning on the next trip, our most recent trip, in December 2019. I spent some time on that trip writing and had plans to do a lot more until I spent a full night and day back and forth between the bed and the bathroom.
The pandemic hit and we had to reschedule and then ultimately cancel a 2-week California trip that would have included a return to Disneyland, and writing about anything Disney really didn’t appeal to me since it just made me sad.
Anyway, none of that really pertains to this post. At the beginning of this year, 2021, my husband and I decided to plan a trip for our favorite week to visit Disney World: the week after Thanksgiving. We are Marriott members and decided to reserve a room at the Dolphin, which didn’t require us to spent a single penny. We didn’t but park tickets, we didn’t pay for flights, but we knew we had the intention and plan in mind and a place to sleep if it was able to happen.
Come spring, we felt comfortable enough to book flights and buy park tickets. We made our park reservations and had a rough idea of where we want to eat.
As summer has worn on, we’ve seen the situation with the world deteriorate and I started worrying things would shut down again and our trip won’t happen, so a few weeks ago we decided to book a quick, long weekend trip to Disney World!
A number of factors motivated this decision: the announcement that Happily Ever After, the fireworks show in the Magic Kingdom, won’t be returning after the 18-month long 50th Anniversary Celebration (starting 10/1/2021, the 50th anniversary of Magic Kingdom opening, and thus Disney World opening); my mental health; we had enough Marriott points to stay at the Swan for free; and, probably the biggest motivator, Food & Wine Festival started early this year and we would get the opportunity to enjoy it together for the 1st time.
It all came together like a whirlwind. My husband came home from work the day I had this crazy idea and before I know it I was proving out over a dozen hotels in the area (mostly non-Disney since this was not in our planned financials for 2021). Before I knew it, we booked our hotel, flights, had a call in to get the dogs boarded, bought park tickets, and all of a sudden I was making park reservations and reading through all the Food & Wine menus and getting more and more excited with every passing minute. I actually made a spreadsheet of all the foods we wanted to try, what booth they could be found at, and where (roughly) the booth was located.
I also knew immediately that I wanted to try for a California Grill reservation since Disney announced they’re doing something different with the restaurant for the 50th anniversary celebration (tho they haven’t said what) and I wanted to be sure we got a meal in together as a 5th anniversary celebration while we still could. Nothing was available the day we booked everything, but I checked a few times a day for the next couple days and managed to get a perfect reservation time (7:15)!
The plan came together so well: 3 nights and 4 days; we planned on hitting Epcot as soon as we arrived on Friday and then hopping over to Magic Kingdom in time for Happily Ever After; day 2 we’d start out at Magic Kingdom and hop to Epcot around 2 or whenever we were done doing Magic Kingdom things; Sunday we’d start in Hollywood Studios, hopefully with a Rise of the Resistance boarding group, and then have dinner at California Grill; and our final day would put us back in Epcot until it was time to head home.
Check out my next post to read about our trip adventures!