Disney Did the Right Thing By Closing: But I’m Still Sad

As you may have heard, Disney announced Thursday it would be closing Disneyland and Walt Disney World for the rest of March. The announcement joined a growing list of cancellations ranging from South by Southwest (SXSW) to the NCAA championships.

Disney’s phone lines have been jammed with heartbroken spring breakers fumbling to reschedule and plan ahead for an uncertain future.

My family is among those who thought we would be hanging with Mickey next week. As I write this, our suitcase is still packed and ready to go. It represents months of planning and careful review of every recommendation from Disney fan pages.

Matching Etsy shirts? Check. Dollar store glow sticks? You betcha. Stroller accessories, autograph books and trading pins, all lovingly ordered and tucked into place for my kids’ first trip.

All that anticipation withered over the last week as the news grew dimmer. Now, I’m just sad.

I’m going to pause for a moment and say: I know this pandemic is bigger than my vacation plans.

This week I learned about flattening the curve and expanded my vocabulary to include “social distancing.” I am prepared with toilet paper and a wide variety of songs to hum for 20 seconds. I’ve read the heartbreaking and terrifying reports from around the world. I’m thankful for the cancellations and how they will help to slow down the spread of COVID-19.

I’m also aware that even before hand sanitizer was hunted down like a Beanie Baby in 1994, there was pain in our world. While refugees flee violence daily, I can hunker down and stream Schitt’s Creek. I get that.  I know how lucky I am.

I’m a firm believer that multiple truths can exist at the same time. I can understand the bigger picture of this global pandemic and support the hard but necessary decisions being made. I can also be super bummed out about my trip. Both of these things can exist together.

While we take precautions and share advisories, give yourself permission to feel all the feelings. There is fear, there is hope, and along the way there will be disappointment over opportunities lost.

Couples have cancelled wedding celebrations. Students prematurely ended once-in-a-lifetime study abroad experiences. It is hard, and we can acknowledge that.

When you are ready, refocus that energy on building community and sharing compassion in new and different ways. Send your virtual love to our medical professionals. Have patience when your Zoom meeting has an unexpected child guest. There is so much goodness out there, and we are at our best when the going gets tough.

I may not be spending next week at Walt Disney World, but I’ll know magic when I see it. The greatest of our humanity is ready to shine.

If your Disney trip was also cancelled, here is the information released on March 13, 2020 regarding the closure:

Park Tickets

Unused park tickets for March 12-31 will automatically be extended to use any date through December 15. If you are unable to use the ticket by December 15, you can apply the value toward the purchase of a ticket for a future date.


Guests who have not checked in for stays between March 16 and March 31 may modify or cancel their reservation. If no action is taken, Disney will automatically process a refund to the original form of payment.


Dining reservations during the closure will not be charged a cancellation or no-show fee. Pre-paid dining experiences will be automatically refunded.


FastPass+ reservations during this time period will be automatically cancelled.

Did you have to cancel your spring break travel plans?

Susie is a mom of two, book-lover and frequent challah baker. In addition to working at The University of Iowa, Susie is a PTA volunteer and sorority advisor. She loves date nights in the Ped Mall, catching a show at the Englert, and most of all, cuddling her family on the couch.


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