I reached out to DCLFan.com in February 2020 because I wanted to share my Disney Cruise Line wedding experience with all of you. When I was researching DCL weddings, I found many lovely pictures of couples on their wedding day. I found a few blogs and Pinterest pages dedicated to choosing decorations and attire, but there wasn’t an abundance of easily accessible information about the actual planning process, working with a DCL wedding coordinator, or even pricing. Eventually, I sought help from Dreams Unlimited Travel. As my wedding drew nearer, DCLfan.com put out a call for contributors and I emailed them about my desire to share my wedding planning process as it was taking place. I wanted to help other DCL fans plan their once in a lifetime experience.
In March 2020, Disney Parks and Experiences came to a grinding halt as the whole world grappled with the challenge of a growing pandemic. The word unprecedented has been used so much lately that it almost feels cliché. But it truly was an unprecedented global reckoning. My mind, like many of yours, reeled with questions. What would Disney Cruise Line do next? If we could still cruise in May, would it be safe for our guests? Could they get their money back if they lost their jobs or didn’t want to cruise? Would airports and shipping ports be open in May? Would our borders be open to international travelers? Would schools resume this year? What the heck was going on in the world? Every morning I woke up from a bad dream, relieved that it was only a dream, only to realize that it wasn’t just a dream. This nightmare was real.
By April 2020, things were a bit more grim here in the U.S. Countless people were paying an economic toll for the sudden shut down, our children were coping with the cancellation of school, and the numbers of people growing ill were too much to bare. It felt trite to worry about my Walt Disney World vacation and Disney Cruise Line wedding, yet it was important to me. I was heavily invested emotionally and monetarily. We had been thinking about this for a decade and we had been booked for almost a year. I followed every line of Disney news and speculation with great anticipation, hoping against the odds for any glimmer of good news. Disney was usually my escape. Where was my escape hatch?
The good news didn’t come. Walt Disney World temporarily furloughed their employees, park operations were suspended indefinitely, and the final blow… Disney Cruise Line cancelled all cruises through May. I wept. Maybe it was selfish to cry about something that was a privilege to begin with, but we don’t choose how or why we grieve. The DISboards were filled with other people sharing their sorrows, sharing their coping skills, and people criticizing others for worrying about Disney at a time of national sorrow. (Although, I have to wonder, why were those people still on the boards? Why were they following along and commenting, unless they too were hoping for camaraderie and a little Disney magic?) I had nothing useful to write. It was all tone deaf clamor.
Throughout the rest of April and the beginning of May, I began to accept our new reality. The world will be different for a little while, maybe a long while. We’ll need to wear face masks and social distance, but the powers that be are looking for a solution and eventually it will come. Disney Cruise Line did allow us to move our cruise date and gave us a lavish cruise credit. DCL also fully refunded the people in our wedding party who weren’t sure it would be safe for them to cruise within the next 15 months. There was some breathing room there, a weight lifted from our shoulders. DCL has had to extend cancellations further since then and we may need to move our ceremony again. Flexibility and grace will be the keys to navigating the world over the next few months.
When Disney Springs partially re-opened, following the re-opening of Shanghai Disneyland, I found myself feeling incredibly grateful. I’m grateful for my health and the resources to continue educating my children digitally. I’m grateful for my travel agent, Beth Fejer, who patiently waits on hold and moves our dates around as updates are announced. I’m grateful that we chose to do business with companies like Dreams Unlimited Travel and Disney Cruise Line, which are trying their very best to be more than fair to their clients. I am grateful that Disney has remained cautious in their reopenings, reassuring me that the faith I’ve always placed in Disney to take care of my family is not unfounded. I have faith that someday soon our dream will come true and we will have our wedding ceremony with DCL. I know that when we are able to finally have our ceremony it will be more special than we ever knew a celebration could be, because our hearts will be filled with bountiful gratitude that we’ve never known before.
Until our great big beautiful tomorrow arrives, remember that wearing is caring and be well.