The Disney parks here in Orlando closed their doors in March and didn't reopen until July. As someone who visits the parks on a regular basis this had a major impact on my life. Of course it was understandable and necessary but Disney World is also my workplace and play ground and when Disney closes their doors you know things are serious and it was really hard to grasp.
When Disney announced that they were re-opening and that cast members (even us furloughed ones) would get the chance to go to a special preview I knew I would have to book. I got lucky and managed to get Epcot for the same day as some of my friends and we made it into an adventure!
It was really emotional being back in the magic after months without. I for sure cried as soon as I caught a glimpse of Spaceship Earth, the park icon for Epcot. I definitely cried when I saw Elsa and Anna walk through World Showcase in a new socially distanced greeting. I was overwhelmed with feelings because yes Epcot is magical all on its own, but also I spent many hours in this park working, I found my footing as a costumer there, I attended meetings, fittings, lunched with friends, this was a second home, then you add to it the times I've taken trips around the world with my sister, parents, friends, cousins, and to be back after time apart, it all washed over me like a Tsunami!
There was an adjustment too, getting used to an empty park, which we told ourselves was due to it being a cast preview, not waiting on line for anything was nice, being able to sample so much of the Food & Wine festival booths was great but there was still an eerie feeling surrounding the emptiness of it. A note about the food, always get the empanada and cheese bread at any festival they are available! The macaron ice cream sandwich can always be found in the France pavilion so save room for that too!
I got a chance to head back to Epcot yesterday, Cast block out dates were lifted for the week so I headed back with a couple of friends and I thought to myself "great, we've already done this, no way will I get as emotional" WRONG! I still cried at the site of Spaceship Earth but yesterday I think I figured out why. Epcot and all of the Disney parks are places we would go just about every weekend, our home away from home, special occasions, just to walk around, it didn't matter, this is where we went to spend time and I took it for granted. I didn't think I did because I always knew I was lucky but I didn't take into account what it would be like if the park wasn't always available, these moments now are more special because they are not common, I can't just put on my shoes and say I'm going to Disney World today, there has to be a plan and for that I cried because I am still so lucky to get to go.
I'm happy to report that Disney feels just as magical now as ever, maybe even more so, and I feel completely safe. I may be biased but Disney has put so many amazing safety precautions into action that I can't help but be impressed and brag about them. It is easy to maintain social distance because unfortunately the parks are still very quiet (at least Epcot that's the only Disney park I've visited) the food is still amazing, the cast is happy to have you there and Spaceship Earth is still beautiful. This time around we also paid Nemo and Figment a visit, no waits, cars to ourselves and lots of sanitizer stations everywhere. I for one need the magic and I'm glad I get to enjoy it safely, and I don't think I'll ever take for granted these magical adventures ever again!