Current Health and Safety Regulations in Walt Disney World
Disney World officially opened back up in July 2020 after almost a 4-month long closure. Obviously when they reopened a pandemic was still raging at it’s worst (as it basically still is now) and they had to change much about the ways in which they operate and run their procedures.
First things first, and worth noting, so that the rest of these regulations make sense: to comply with social distancing measures as stated by the CDC, many activities, restaurants, and normal Disney park practices are closed. This is to help compliance with social distancing and limiting crowded areas where people may gather in groups.
Another point worth noting is that Disney is constantly changing the rules depending on the current Pandemic climate. For example, recently they’ve extended their mask mandate, and added a few more rules this week.
- Approved masks must be worn at all times by every guest over the age of 2 EXCEPT WHEN STATIONARY AND ACTIVELY AND EATING AND DRINKING.
This means that an approved mask must be worn by every single person over the age of 2 over the nose and mouth at every minute, except when you’re sitting off to the side and eating/drinking, OR you’re seated at a dining table and eating and drinking.
What’s an approved mask? The cloth or paper masks we’ve all become accustomed to wearing that go over our ears. Neck gaitors and bandanas are not allowed.
As of this week they’ve updated their policy to extend the mask mandate to include while also seated at a dining restaurant and not actively eating/drinking, which means when you’re ordering with the waiter/waitress and waiting for your food to arrive. Once it arrives, you’re free to remove the mask.
Also recently, the Disney Park CEO also announced they’ve extended the mask mandate and park pass system until 2023, a full year extension from the previous mandate of 2022. But I think we all knew this was coming with the current pandemic climate, as we’re already into 2021 and masks don’t seem to be going anywhere. Obviously as time goes on, we can hope with vaccinations and such that herd immunity will be reached and we can override these mandates, but as of today, these are the mask rules that stand.
What about during photos? Nope, you can’t even take your mask off for photos. If you do, you’ll be asked to put them back on.
Can you take a “mask break” at all? Yes, at approved and marked “Relaxation Station” locations, positioned throughout the Disney parks (can be found on the map in the My Disney Experience app, or just ask a Cast Member).
- All guests must undergo a health screening questionnaire upon booking verifying they have not had any Covid-like symptoms in the last 14 days or come in contact with someone who did or tested positive for Covid-19.
- All guests over the age of 2 must undergo a mandatory temperature check upon entry of a Walt Disney World park.
- All guests must undergo a metal detector screening, as opposed to a previous bag checks. (Personally I like this rule more now as the bag checks used to be long and tedious).
- Social Distancing Markers have been placed throughout the park, pretty much everywhere. They’re in every line, every restaurant, every queue, pretty much every nook and cranny of the parks and Disney Springs. You are required to wait with your party on line markers. And if you don’t or start to stray away from it, or get too close to the party behind or front of you, there are plenty of Cast Members reminding you to step back onto them. Recently, Disney also added a new rule to this recently stating that party sizes of 10 or more cannot wait on one marker, but must divide the group into 2 and wait on two of them. This is because they found that a greater number of people makes it harder to comply with 6 feet of social distance.
- Hand Sanitizing and Hand Washing Stations have been placed throughout the parks as well as before/after each ride to allow for more opportunities for people to constantly clean their hands, and help prevent the spread of germs.
- As of right now, capacity has been limited to only 35% to allow for social distancing measures in high-traffic places like lines and qeues. This also means that Fast Passes have been discontinued for the time being in order to utilize those lines as well. In order to monitor capacity, Disney is requiring all guests to make a park pass reservation upon ticket purchase. This means that after you purchase your tickets, you have to go into My Disney Experience (either online or in the app) and make a reservation for the day you’d like to visit (and make sure there are reservations available). Park hours have also been decreased to limit capacity and to comply with social distancing.
Within the parks there are also several posted signs and placards throughout reminding guests to comply with all current health and safety regulations, and should any guest not comply for any reason Disney does reserve the right to remove them from the park/property. They’ve also added a voice-over message that plays every 20 minutes or so reminding people of the same.
And the question remains: what if someone has a condition which prevents them from wearing a mask or complying with any of the above regulations? They ask that for now, while the pandemic is in full effect and the rules stated above are in full effect, any guest who cannot comply for any reason simply save their visit for another time when the regulations have been decreased (for example if a guest can’t wear mask, simply save your trip for when masks are no longer a requirement).
It’s worth noting, as I said above, that these regulations are constantly changing depending on the current pandemic climate and CDC regulations. For the most up-to-date information visit the Walt Disney World planning page here.