All about revenge travel at Disney World – what it is, why it’s likely to happen, and what you should do:
There’s a new phrase gaining steam in the travel industry, and it’s called “revenge travel.” Simply put, it’s the idea that a lot of people are going to be traveling in the second half of 2021 and all of 2022 because they want to get revenge on the horrible year of 2020.
Everyone at work knows I’m a huge Disney fan, and one of the questions they keep asking me is when I’ll be going back to Disney World. And my answer right now is as soon as I’m vaccinated. And I add only somewhat jokingly, “As soon as I’m fully vaccinated I’ll be on a plane to Disney the next day!” This isn’t much of an exaggeration – I have a lot of vacation time and flight credits from last year and I miss Disney. And I know I’m not the only one.
We’re still in the early stages of seeing if revenge travel actually plays out, but I think it’s going to be a pretty big thing – especially at Disney World. As a travel agent we are seeing a lot more inquiries and bookings and people seem very eager to get back out there.
I’m happy to over in this post a little bit about why I think revenge travel will happen at Disney World, how it will affect things, and what you should do if you’re thinking about visiting Disney. As always I’m happy to help you plan and book your vacation – all of my planning skills and individualized help is no additional cost if you book your trip through me! And I know things can be overwhelming and unpredictable right now so it’s always good to have an expert on your side.
Why revenge travel is likely to happen at Disney World:
People will feel more comfortable traveling once they are vaccinated. There are a number of reasons people may not have travelled in 2020, but a major one is wanting to stay healthy. Once people get vaccinated they’ll feel a lot more at ease going to crowded places like Disney.
Many people have more money to spend. While we may be facing an economic crisis as a country, like it or not this doesn’t necessarily affect the people likely to visit Disney World. In fact many will have extra money to spend. Either they saved from not going anywhere in 2020 or they’ve gotten stimulus checks that they want to put towards travel.
People are tired of being at home. Yeah, you might have noticed this. Lots of people are already going out because they are just so sick of being at home. Many others are still staying at home but are waiting to get back to “doing things” as soon as they possibly can. One thing many Americans compromised on in 2020 is vacation, so it’s something they’ll be missing most.
Disney has flexible cancellation and refund policies. Even pre-COVID Disney has great cancellation and refund policies, allowing you to change or cancel a Disney package up until a month before going. So it’s easy to just book something right now for May or June, and if we get closer to those dates and it doesn’t seem safe yet you can just push it back a few months.
They are offering discounts right now. Discounts at Disney are good discounts right now. Through mid-April you can get some really great deals (and some reservations even qualify for some great deals through early July). These may continue, or the discounts may get smaller if Disney sees more bookings and doesn’t need to offer them. But a 35% or 40% discount on a Disney resort is a great incentive for people to start planning their trips for this summer.
Flight credit needs to be used. Lots of people who were going to fly in 2020 had their flights cancelled or didn’t need to travel, so they got flight credits. I had 3 or 4 flights booked for April-July of 2020 so now I’ve got a decent amount of money to spend towards flights which expires 12/31/21. So even if it’s the second half of the year I’m definitely going places in 2021 or I lose that money.
People may want to avoid international vacations for another year or two. There is more hassle involved in going abroad right now. Different countries have different restrictions, many requiring proof of a negative COVID test. There is also the fear of getting stuck in another country due to a positive test result or a cancelled flight right now. I think a lot of people will push back their international trips for another year or two and look for places in the US in the meantime.
Disney feels like a true escape. If you’re on this website you probably already recognize this, but Disney is a great escape. It does feel happy there, most of the time. People have always looked to Disney as a way to get away from their problems and enter a fantasyland for just a little bit, and they will need that this year more than ever.
What this means for travelers to Disney World:
Prices are going to go up. This has always been the case with Disney World and pretty much all travel destinations – as demand increases, they can charge more. I promise you Disney does not care if some people in this country are in an economic crisis if there are other people still willing to give them money.
Availability will be harder to get. If you favor staying at a certain resort, more people traveling means that resort may fill up sooner. Same with restaurants, parks (if they continue the park reservation system) and fastpasses if those return.
Crowds will increase. This is just logic, but of course more people going means bigger crowds. However I think it’s important to note that I believe the crowds will increase at times when they may have traditionally been lower. Someone emailed me saying they want to travel this year when crowds would be lowest, and if I have any idea when that would be. Of course I can’t say for certain, but if I had to guess I would suggest that right now is the lowest you’re going to see crowds in 2021. Times that are normally “slower” like September will now (hopefully) coincide with a majority of our country being vaccinated so it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see it really busy that month.
Disney will make it a priority to reopen everything and introduce new attractions. This might sound optimistic but I believe it’s logical too. The more people they get interested in coming, the more they need to have open to accommodate them. Right now there are still a number of resorts closed because they haven’t felt the need to reopen them all due to demand. But as soon as people start filling up those other resorts they’ll get them back open. Same goes for restaurants. And I personally think they will want to get more attractions, shows, and entertainment running as well. Not having everything open with lower crowds means extremely high wait times. Not only does that make for grumpy guests, it also leads to the reason why Disney introduced fastpass in the first place – people standing in line for 2 hours are not spending money on food and souvenirs during that 2 hours.
You’ll have a safe vacation. Whether you felt comfortable traveling in 2020 or not, there’s no doubt that Disney has done an amazing job with safety precautions. You can rest assured in 2021 you’ll be in good hands with Disney.
When will revenge travel really start?
This is all pure speculation, but I think we’ll see the beginnings of it in April or May. Once more people are vaccinated. Especially those essential workers who are towards the front of the line for the vaccine – they are the ones who are going to feel like they need a vacation the most. I have to guess it will only get busier from there, with the fall being pretty busy. With Disney’s 50th anniversary on October 1st a lot of people will target visiting around that time or in the months after. Even without everything opening by that date that was supposed to, they’ll still make a big deal out of it and people will want to be there for that.
I don’t see things slowing down for 2022 either. I think almost everyone will be comfortable traveling by then, especially to a place like Disney World where so much is outdoors. Add on to the fact that there are several really big headliner attractions that are now much more likely to make their debut in 2022, it will get more people there too.
What you should do right now if you’re thinking about traveling to Disney in the next two years:
Email me. I try to mention my travel agent services when I talk about Disney but without being too overbearing about it – but truly I think it is a smart idea to have a travel agent right now. I spend most of my time submersed in Disney news so I know all of the changes and announcements, I can make recommendations, and I can help you out if anything needs to be changed. Plus if you book your trip through me my services are free and you can email me with any questions you might have about anything Disney related. So feel free to send me an email today and tell me what you’re thinking about when it comes to a Disney World trip.
Book something. Obviously I recommend you book through me so I can help you out, but even if you book elsewhere I think you should do it now if you’re looking at 2021. It almost never pays to wait when it comes to Disney thanks to their flexible change/cancellation policies and the fact that you can apply a discount to an already existing reservation – read more about that in my post on why you shouldn’t wait for a discount. If you’re thinking 2022, you can still gather information so you’re prepared to book once it’s available. If you email me I have a list of people who want to go in 2022 and I email them as soon as I hear anything.
Look into cancellation policies and travel insurance. As I mentioned Disney has really nice cancellation policies but it’s still important to be aware of them. Policies differ depending on booking type – dates are different for packages that include resort and tickets or room-only bookings. If you buy tickets separately from the hotel that has its own set of rules. And hopefully this past year has made people realize more than ever how beneficial it is to have travel insurance, but I’m happy to give you more info if you’re curious!
Be realistic. Finally, this is a big point for me – if you’re looking to travel to Disney World in the next two years be realistic and aware that revenge travel will probably be a thing and others will be doing the same as you. I can’t tell you how many emails I’ve gotten from people who are expecting prices to be a lot lower for 2021 than they are. We also need to accept the fact that much of our knowledge we’ve used to make guesses about Disney travel may change. Crowds are more unpredictable right now. Touring strategies will change based on if and when fastpass+ comes back and what it looks like when it does. While I’m confident that Disney will return to being a truly magical vacation experience, that doesn’t mean it will look identical to what it was in 2019.
Thinking about your own trip to Disney World? Check out my Ultimate List of Disney World planning resources to get you started. If you’d like the assistance of a travel agent at no extra cost to you, email me at [email protected] and we can start planning and booking your trip!
Are you tempted by “revenge travel” at Disney World? When will you return?