Thinking of Orlando and the entire state of Florida today

Today, my heart breaks for Florida. Not because the parks are closed (only the 4th time in the history of Walt Disney World) but because it’s all so sad. Natural occurring events are inevitable. For me in the midwest, we get snow storms that take 5 hours to dig out of, we get tornado warnings, but I don’t think I could ever compare anything I’ve experienced in my lifetime to being through a hurricane. It’s a scary event for those that live there and have to deal with their property, worry about losing power, hoping to have enough food and water. But in my heart, I’m thinking of my home away from home and all of the wonderful people that I have helped get there this week. Timing wasn’t their friend and I’m sad for them. I’m sad for everyone that fees “stuck” there right now. I’m sad for everyone that was excited to get in their car and drive there this weekend or hop on a plane only to find out that their flights were canceled and had to cancel their trip.

It’s just been an emotional roller coaster the last 2-3 days. As the hurricane continued to intensify, earlier this week and fielding questions, contact with Disney cast members (who I’m sure were more worried about their homes and families and didn’t want to be at work but still were and so pleasant and willing to help), and making sure clients were making informed decisions on their planning process. Listening to the absolute heart break of guests deciding to postpone or cancel their trips – some of which who have been planning for over a year. Know that there will be little girls and boys truly “stuck” in their hotel rooms when they were planning on spending it with their favorite character and how scary it could be to be hearing whipping winds and driving rain out your window at the age of 7 or 8. Being a parent that wants to keep your family happy and safe – not knowing what to do in this completely foreign situation and trying to make the best of an impossible situation.

So today I’m just sad. The emotional wall has crumbled which is why I’m awake at 1:30 in the morning. But while I’m sad, I’m also proud. I’m proud to have the job I do to help guests so they aren’t trying to figure out what to do with their plans and avoiding them waiting hours upon hours on hold with Disney. I’m proud of my cohort for braving over 7 HOURS on hold with Disney to help her clients. Dawn – you are an AMAZING woman and I truly appreciate you and I know your clients do as well. I am proud of Disney Cast Members for being as upbeat as they sounded on the phone and for those that are perhaps spending the next 2-3 days in the resorts to tend to guests and be away from their families. I am proud of Disney for taking care of their guests on site. I’m hoping for a little bit of magic tomorrow and over the next few days. I am very thankful for travel insurance for guests. Yes, Disney is allowing guests to cancel their packages with no cancellation fees or make changes to their packages with no change fees, but it’s such a wonderful safety net. And I’m thankful for my family. I’m giving them an extra squeeze today and thankful for being safe.

For anyone that is frustrated with Disney, I understand but guest safety is always their number #1 concern. And given all of the factors, they are doing the best they can. I’m sure as time goes on, things will be a little less strained/stressful but I’m sure even they are a bit on edge and I imagine many of them will not get much sleep tonight and will continue to work. So please have patience and remember that many of them may be experiencing a major hurricane like this for the first time just like you!

And now it’s time for me to sleep. I hope everyone who is away from home is able to get some rest. And make the most of family time for those that are there and feeling a little “stuck”!

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