Are You considering taking a short trip to California to get your Disney fix? Don’t do anything until you read this post!
Let me start off this blog by stating that I am a Project Manager by trade and a Virgo. In other words, I NEVER do anything spontaneous, or without a plan. As a matter of fact, Grumpy has told me for YEARS to “stop project managing our lives”. So, to even think about what I am writing here is crazy on a level that I can never fully tell you about.
BUT! I wanted to spontaneously fly down to Disneyland for my birthday in August. I know, I know, the parks aren’t open due to COVID and California is leading the nation in COVID cases at this moment in time.
I simply wanted to be able to walk down the sidewalk IN Downtown Disney, hear the music, see the sights and be THERE. My Disney Peeps get it, right? I wanted to have dinner at one of my favorite dining spots in Anaheim (Bubba Gump Shrimp, we don’t have those in Portland) and enjoy myself for a few days. Maybe take a swim in the hotel pool with my boys or enjoy a Pacific Coast sunset on the beach.
Grumpy and I are also new Disney Bloggers. We wanted to experience travel and share that experience with our readers and followers. We wanted to gain insight into how things were working during COVID for travelers that want to know. We wanted to take video and pictures and do live Feeds!
But mostly, I just wanted to blow a bunch of money in World of Disney on over-priced items that I probably don’t need… If I am being completely honest!
Step 1: Hotel: A Place to Crash at Night
The first step was to check to see if my Worldmark timeshare had availability. I was looking for the day before my birthday, the day of my birthday and the day after. This year my birthday falls on a Wednesday, so that’s great. We were more likely to be able get a room one month out and during the week rather than on a weekend.
They had availability! So, I booked the room.
Since everything is online these days, there could be other people trying to get the room you want. Early Bird Gets the Worm is a good slogan to live by. Even during COVID!
I also called the resort to ensure that the amenities would still be available and to understand protocol for using the pool, the jacuzzies, gym etc. Disappointment happens in that gap between what you expected and what actually happens; I didn’t want my family to be disappointed with a sub-par experience. Setting expectations up front goes a long way in this strange new COVID world.
- Hotel – $64 – DONE
Step 2: FLIGHTS: We’re Leaving, on a Jet Plane…
So, pre-COVID I traveled for work to California pretty much once a month. I have quite a few airline miles that are in that “use it or lose it” category. I am proud to say, I fly Southwest. They are a no-frills airline, yet I rarely have issues when I fly with them.
I checked to see how much flights would be to the four area airports: Los Angeles (LAX), Burbank (BUR). Santa Ana/John Wayne Airport (SNA) or Long Beach (LNG). My preferred airport to fly into is always SNA, but Long Beach has impressed me, and its super close, so either one would have been fine. The flights were dirt cheap—I’m talking $49 one way! WHAT? I know, right?!
BUT! I was going to use my airline miles! The flights were so cheap, the required points were less than what I had in my account. In other words, all I had to pay for was $11 in taxes/fees for each passenger. $44 Total!
- FLIGHTS – $44 – DONE
Step 3: Anxiety Attack and Social Media Guidance
I did it, I pulled the trigger on hotel and flights and then I had “middle-of-the-night” anxiety attacks for several days. I mean, what was I thinking? What if one of my boys got sick? How selfish was I being? Why do I need to go now, during the middle of a World Pandemic? How would I live with myself if something happened?
I could hear my older sister’s voice in my head saying, “What are you crazy?! You are willing to put your whole family in danger, for what? A BLOG?! That is the silliest thing I’ve ever heard.” She used to be a nurse, so she would not cut me any slack if I told her about it. None. Zero. Zippo!
I was second guessing my every decision. The angel/demon thing was in full affect:
Angel: “You are saving so much money! Its going to be a blast!”
Demon: “Yeah, it’s all fun and games until someone gets COVID! Sounds like fun! And then the hospital bills. Yep! Come on down!”
Angel: “Its ok, you know how to be safe: wash your hands, keep a safe social distance, cover your face. Be strategic. Be Smart.”
Demon: “Like that’s gonna work. You haven’t been out in public since March! Get a grip!”
Yep, I was freaking myself out a little bit, so, I did what any social media guru would do: I started a Facebook poll and asked a bunch of Disney Peeps what their thoughts were. On July 31st, I posted this:
“If you could fly your family of 4 (Mom, Dad and two teenage boys) to Long Beach California for a $44 stay in a 2-bedroom suite, only ¼ mile from Disneyland this August (2020) Total trip cost of $104 – not counting spending money, just flights and hotel. Knowing full well that all you’d get to do is Downtown Disney, and other Cali stuff, for your birthday; Would you do it?”
The results are below as of the time of me typing this blog:
YES: 270; NO: 119; Are you Crazy, um COVID: 109
Total No’s = 228; Total Yes’ = 270 (and the no’s had 2 chances!)
There was a ton of comments and discussion on this topic. People had their opinions, that’s for sure! Some others had already done it and offered tips. Some wanted to know where we lived and if we would be bringing the disease to California. Some gave other options: go to the State Parks instead or attend the Knott’s Farm food event. Still, other folks gave helpful tips like: Public restrooms might not be open, or make sure you get dinner reservations and check ahead. Everyone was respectful and helpful. But most of all the topic seemed important to all.
What did we decide?
We are going! There are bold chances that you have to take sometimes in life. Even if no one else understands, or agrees, you just have to go for it. “YOLO” my kids tell me! Maybe it’s just to prove to myself that I can be spontaneous; maybe it’s to throw caution to the wind after being quarantined for 4 months; or maybe it’s to just be able to say, “I did it!”
I am sure there will be many more nights where I stay up wondering if I am making the right decision. Worrying if I will regret it. But in this moment, my heart is set on going to California and standing at the gates of the “Happiest Place on Earth” on my birthday!
In a mask…
Slathered in Hand-Sanitizer…
Keeping a safe 10-feet away from strangers…