An odd sense of relief...


DIS Veteran
Oct 11, 2012
...That the Parks will be opening again, even in a diminished capacity.

It's a weird feeling - because literally, since I was a kid, WDW was *always* open, except for those dark, horrifying hours after 9/11, and of course a handful of (thankfully brief) hurricane closures.

Always there, full of happy memories for me and my family. Always open, every day, for all of the lucky folks who could go. And knowing that every day, the Parks opened - and the rides ran, and the parades stepped off on time, knowing that the flag was raised and lowered, and the Mickey Bars were frozen, assured that the Dole Whip was sweet and cold and creamy, and secure in the knowledge that every night there were fireworks, and every night, there was a "Kiss Goodnight", I could be happy from here, my home, exactly 1202 miles away.

And so even though we weren't there, the day they closed for this pandemic, I cried. It's silly, I suppose, to shed tears over a place that to some people is the epitome of American capitalism, and in a greater cultural sense fulfills a longing for escape, nostalgia and child-like wonder.

And yet I did.

I cried for the Cast Members who would certainly be impacted financially, if not physically with the virus. I cried for the food pantries in the Orlando area that had come to rely upon the generous donations from all of the theme parks in the area - and especially for the people they helped feed every day. I cried for all of the people in Orlando and Florida who would be impacted by the ripple-effect of such a large enterprise closing; many of them not directly employed in tourism, and yet it touches so many lives there indirectly. I cried for the families who were still there, and had to explain to children that Disney World had to close because people were sick. I cried for those of us with plans to return - and a now uncertain future. And I cried for those of us without plans, but with memories that draw us back, time and time again. I cried for the Wish kids - all of those who were at, or were supposed to be visiting Give Kids The World; knowing that there would be some children who would never get to have their trip because time and the virus would rob them of their opportunity.

And I cried for myself.

I have never made a secret of the fact that Disney World is my respite. It is where I - somehow, miraculously - don't feel pain. I sleep deeper and better there, even on a lumpy old hotel mattress. It is not just my "happy place", it is the one place in my world where all of my happiest vacation memories - since my first trip in 1972 - have happened. It is precious to me on a level that I cannot articulate. And while I still live a fully, happy life between trips, and have been blessed in so many ways outside of our trips to WDW, it is - aside from our home - the place I will always want to be.

During this time, knowing that the Parks have been closed, and that everything has stopped, I have had so many questions. I know that there was a visible security presence; they had to be to deter would-be sneaky peepers from trying to get in and wander around. But, I have wondered - did they keep the water flowing in "Small World"? (and all the other boat rides?) Who fed all of the Disney Ducks and other critters - especially the birds at Epcot - that scavenged our crumbs and lived off of our sloppy generosity? Did the gators come out of the lakes and make themselves at home on the lawns of the Resorts with no humans around? Did someone go into each hotel room every week and flush the toilet and run the water? (that's more important than it seems, btw). Did they run the rides empty for a bit every day, to keep everything ready to go? Did someone grab up all the candy from *all* of the shops all over the Resort, as well as all of the groceries that were in the Resort shops, and donate all of that, or is it all just frozen in time, waiting to be thrown in the trash? Are there still carts of dirty laundry waiting to be washed, and hotel rooms that were never serviced because Guests checked out, and then everything closed? Did they clean all of the kitchens - in the Parks & the hotels - properly before they were closed? And Lord help us all - did they keep the A/C running everywhere so that we don't have to worry about mold & mildew on top of a killer virus?

What happened every day when a place that big - that involved and spread out, the equivalent of a small city - gets completely shut down? Is it ever really "shut down"? Or did a skeleton crew, spread out at the Parks and hotels, keep everything in a state of suspended animation (no pun intended) I know that some people reveled in pictures that showed off different areas of Disney World perfectly empty, devoid of anything, but I didn't. The Parks - the entire Resort - is like a living thing, and it needs human interaction to remain viable. Just keeping the grass mowed isn't enough.

Regardless, I now feel a real sense of relief, knowing that the Resort *will* re-open in July, and that with or without the parades, and fireworks, stage shows, and dance parties and all of those things that those of us who are veterans might miss... the Magic will be coming back.

And I hope and pray that when the reopening occurs, everyone - Cast Members, and Guests alike - arrive and stay healthy, and are able to really enjoy the gift that Disney World is to us all.


DIS Veteran
Mar 5, 2005
I enjoyed this and it so nice to know that im not the only one who wondered about these things!
Yes WDW has been my second home since I was 4 I will be 46 this yr.. I'm also relieved its opening. I cannot wait to.go home!

Brett Wyman

DIS Veteran
Mar 30, 2018
Yes Disney is a bellwether of the times. If Disney is closed things are bad, really bad. And to think it will have been closed for nearly 4 months before it reopens, with restrictions, helps to put into perspective the impact of this pandemic. Truly unprecedented times we are living in that will hopefully be all in the past soon.


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