BANTER: Don't Hate On Disney Too Much For Cancelling Everything
We're in unprecedented times with this Coronavirus pandemic. Even though the news of Disney cancelling all dining reservations, dining plans attached to packages (including free dining), Fastpass+ and extra Magic Hours is still fresh and ongoing, at the time of writing, the impact on UK bookings is not yet clear (we have much stricter consumer rights here and the free dining offer being pulled from our bookings is going to cause some serious legal implications if we're not offered full refunds including deposits), but we'll wait to see what Disney announce specifically for us Brits, as well as what our travel agents are going to do. This is a tough time for tourism as it is, and with Disney essentially writing off 2020 for a large chunk of international guests by ditching all the free dining, it's going to hurt more. The fact that you can no longer book 2020 resort hotel nights or buy 2020 tickets is a sign they can't handle any more people that they've already got booked.
This is even more frustrating for us, as we were all set to get married at Disney World this September. We originally had our 2020 Disney World wedding/honeymoon booked with Thomas Cook, but after they went bust, we rebooked, and now that booking will soon be gone as well. What a wild ride.
People are rightfully mad, upset and confused at this decision. Disney say they are deeply sorry for doing this, and I believe them. What they're doing is not financially beneficial at all, but believe me, a time will come where all this lost revenue will have to be made up. As long as Disney (and by extension, all third party travel agents) allow people to either reschedule to 2021 or offer to cancel for a full refund if your booking had an offer (like free dining) that wont be honoured, I think the riots will be kept to a minimum. There are people who have booked for stays between October and December where free dining wasn't available, and it'll be curious how many of those people can still go (if there's flights) and how many will be allowed to reschedule or cancel.
I was thinking to myself over the last month or so after reading the Florida state requirement for restaurants to only open with 25% to 50% capacity, how would Disney deal with that low capacity amount when people have already made their reservations 6 months ago? How could they possibly decide which 50% of guests get to keep their reservation, and which 50% lose it. The solution that funnily enough didn't even cross my mind at the time was just cancel the lot of it. Wipe the slate clean and start again.
Opening up the world during this pandemic has to be done slowly and carefully. This applies to the whole world, not just Walt Disney World. Infection rates need to be at a level so we stay well away from another peak until there is either an effective therapeutic or a vaccine is produced. Until then, Disney have to start from scratch. There is a small subset of people out there who don't mind wearing a mask, not seeing fireworks, not having meet-and-greets, and those are the people Disney can start opening up with until we move on from this pandemic.
It sucks, it really sucks. This pandemic is causing death and damage across the world, but there is light at the end of the tunnel, it just might just take a little while before we get there. The experts were not lying when they said there will be a new normal. I hope some good comes of it, like the dining reservation window staying at 60 days instead of going back to 180 days.