Let’s say you were planning a trip to Paris. Having never been there before, you’re excited to see all of the big tourist attractions: the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, the Arc de Triomphe, mimes, et cetera. When you get there, though, you find out that the Louvre is closed. You’d be pretty disappointed, if that’s something you were really looking forward to seeing. Especially for the first time.
What if, though, before you’ve committed by booking flights and other non-refundable reservations, you found out about the Louvre closure? How, if at all, would that affect your plans?
Some context for this: about a year ago my wife and I started planning a trip to Disneyland in California, which would be our first visit to a Disney park that wasn’t Walt Disney World. It’s my life goal to see every Disney park in the world (don’t judge me), so I was jazzed by the idea of getting a second one under my belt. We saved our money, booked a nearby hotel, and had a basic plan for seeing all that Disneyland has to offer. The trip was scheduled for early February 2015, and we had just hit the point of actively pricing out flights when we found out that several attractions would be closed for renovations or refurbishments during the winter. This isn’t uncommon–Disney parks often use their quieter months to get this sort of work done–and while most would be reopened by the dates of our trip there were a few exceptions: Splash Mountain, Soarin’, Matterhorn, and World of Color.
Splash Mountain and Soarin’ are both (as far as we know) very similar to their Walt Disney World counterparts, so we figured that we could grudgingly live without seeing them at Disneyland. However, both the Matterhorn ride and the World of Color show are both unique, and the Matterhorn in particular is an iconic part of Disneyland.
This raised the discussion of whether to:
A) keep things as they were, go on our trip as planned, and miss out on these two attractions. There’s still a lot to see that we’ve never seen before, so how much would two attractions matter? The trip would undoubtedly still be a lot of fun, even with missing out on a couple things that we’re really excited to experience.
B) put the trip off indefinitely. Matterhorn is closed until late May, and we only had a little wiggle room in our dates (forward or back a week or two). Otherwise we really couldn’t try again until maybe Autumn of this year, but more likely it would mean rescheduling for around early next year… and hoping that the same issue doesn’t arise.
C) just not go. I’m not a big fan of this, as it would mean not going to Disney. So that’s not a good option!
We had time and money set aside for a trip, we had our hearts set on going to a Disney park, and given how cold it generally is in New England in February we really wanted to get away to somewhere warm for a few days. So, ultimately, we added and went with option ‘D) switch the trip and go to Walt Disney World instead’. I also considered ‘E) all of the above’ but that didn’t seem possible unless we managed to master time travel. Which I’ve been working on. Unsuccessfully.
We seriously considered sticking with the original plan, missing out on two exclusive-to-Disneyland attractions given that we would still get to see pretty much everything else. At the same time, though, since we don’t know when we could make it out to California again it’s important for us to see as much of Disneyland as possible. That especially includes the exclusive and iconic attractions.
Why is seeing these so important to us? Why would our trip be affected by a few attractions being closed? We were very excited about going to Disneyland, because it’s someplace we’ve never been, and it’s also the first Disney park. We’re such huge Disney fans that going to see where it all started would be a pretty big deal for us. That includes experiencing as much as possible, though, and in particular getting to see things that we couldn’t see in the Florida park. As I mentioned earlier, the Matterhorn is a classic Disneyland ride and one of the things that really sets it apart from other locations (out of all the Disney parks worldwide, it’s actually only in California), so seeing it is important to us. Missing out on something like that would really seem like missing a part of what makes Disneyland so special, so it’s worth waiting in order to get that experience. Even if we’re not sure when we’ll get the chance.
(By the way, I get that opting to go to Walt Disney World rather than Disneyland because of a few closed attractions rates pretty high on the “first world problems” scale).
Of course, once we decided to move the destination from one coast to the other I checked the closures for Walt Disney World. The (fairly) new Journey of the Little Mermaid ride will be closed, and it’s a fun one but we did see it a couple years ago. I wouldn’t consider it one of our favorites, either, so we’re willing to miss it this time. Otherwise it looks like everything important–important to us, anyway–will be running.
Side thought #1: What if we had found out that Haunted Mansion was going to be closed? Or Pirates of the Caribbean? We’ve seen them before, multiple times (thirteen times in one day is my current Haunted Mansion record), but they’re a pretty big part of a Walt Disney World visit for us. Then again, we know we’ll be going back to Walt Disney World, so even if we were to miss a much-loved attraction on one visit we’re sure to have another chance in the future. How about the new Test Track or the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, neither of which we’ve seen yet? Would we then opt to reschedule, or even cancel the trip? I don’t know the answer to that, honestly, but really I think we’d still go. Again, we know we’ll be back eventually.
Side thought #2: it’s interesting that we know we’ll visit Walt Disney World again, but consider Disneyland a rare or even a “once in a lifetime” trip. That would make sense if it were one of the parks overseas, but we’re talking California: financially it’s about the same for us to go there as it would be to go to Orlando, but I guess we really consider Walt Disney World to be our home away from home. My friend TJ (who wrote a guest post you can find here) grew up in Southern California and, though he’s been to others, considers Disneyland to be ‘his’ park in much the same way that we consider Walt Disney World to be ours. People get attached to a location, I suppose.
I am disappointed about not getting to see Disneyland, but obviously I’m really excited for the upcoming Walt Disney World trip. And we’ll try to get to Disneyland in California again at some point, at least that’s my (hopeful and vague) plan. Also Tokyo, Paris, Hong Kong, Shanghai…