Disney Parks recently announced major changes to one of the company’s COVID-19 precautions that could make your next vacation look a little different. Effective Feb. 17, there’s a new mask policy at Disney World in Orlando, Florida, and Disneyland in Anaheim, California, which removes mask requirements for certain guests in certain situations. Here’s what to know about the big move, including when you might still need to put on a face covering in the park.
Disney Parks shut down in the United States on Mar. 15, 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, the company reopened a select number of Disney Springs retailers in May 2020, and reopened Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom in July of that same year. The park implemented a number of required coronavirus precautions for the July 2020 reopening, including a mask mandate, temperature checks, limited capacity, and more. Disneyland didn’t reopen until April 30, 2021, nearly a year after its Florida counterpart’s reopening — but when it comes to the most recent changes to the mask plolicy announced on Feb. 15, they’ll apply to Disneyland and Disney World at the same time, albeit with some differences between the two parks.
The Disney mask policy changes come as similar
mask precautions were recently dropped for the upcoming Coachella festival in Indio, California. Here’s what the new Disney mask policy will look like in practice at Disney World and Disneyland.
Disney World Face Mask Policy
Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket/Getty Images
According to a
statement posted on the Walt Disney World website, as of Feb. 17, 2022, “Face coverings are optional for fully vaccinated guests in both outdoor and indoor locations,” per the Disney World website, which also states that the company “encourage[s] people to get vaccinated.” The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that as of Jan. 16, 2022, you’re fully vaccinated after receiving your “primary series of COVID-19 vaccines.” (“Up to date” refers to individuals who are fully vaccinated and received a booster shot.)
For guests who are “not fully vaccinated,” Disney World states they are expected to “continue wearing face coverings in all indoor locations.” This includes attractions and theaters.
Finally, no matter your vaccination status, guests 2 and up are still required to wear a face mask “on enclosed Disney transportation, including Disney buses, monorails, and Disney Skyliner.” Masks are optional for all guests in all outdoor areas, including attractions, queues, and theaters. You can find a full checklist in the Disney face covering policy so you’re totally prepared.
Disney World didn’t specifically point to any changes in COVID-19 case numbers as the reason for the mask policy move — on the website, the park said it was “based on recent trends and regulatory guidance” — but according to
The Palm Beach Post, COVID-19 cases were down 7% in Florida for the week ending Feb. 13, as compared to the week before.
Given the fluctuating nature of the pandemic, the website also states any measures “may continue to change at any time without notice.” Basically, if you’re headed to Florida to visit the most famous mouse of all, keep an eye on the Disney World website.
Disneyland Face Mask Policy
FrozenShutter/iStock Unreleased/Getty Images Disneyland’s updated mask policy is similar, but rather than simply encouraging unvaccinated guests to wear face coverings, per the website, it’s required: “Face coverings are required for unvaccinated Guests (ages 2 and older) in all indoor locations, including throughout indoor attractions and indoor queues.” The West Coast theme park also shares that “the State of California strongly recommends that all Guests be fully vaccinated or obtain a negative COVID-19 test prior to entering the Disneyland Resort.”
Disneyland doesn’t explicitly state masks are optional for fully vaccinated guests, and there are instances where all guests need to wear face coverings, regardless of vaccination status. Those include “certain indoor settings” like Disney shuttles and when in a health setting like First Aid.
Finally, face coverings are optional in outdoor areas for all guests.
California’s positivity rate as of Feb. 16 was 5.6%, per the
Sierra Sun Times, down from a 20% positivity rate on Jan. 4, 2022, as reported by FOX 40 at the time. Disneyland didn’t specifically point to any data to back up the changes, and according to the park website, the company’s “procedures may change as we continue to follow guidance from the state of California and local health officials.” Would-be visitors are encouraged to check the Disneyland reopening page to stay updated with any changes.
While the Disney mask policies changed (mainly for vaccinated guests), both parks still state on their websites that there is a risk associated with visiting Disney World and Disneyland. In full, the warning reads: “An inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present. COVID-19 is an extremely contagious disease that can lead to severe illness and death. According to the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, senior citizens and Guests with underlying medical conditions are especially vulnerable.”
Disney World and Disneyland both list all the precautions both parks are taking — including
sanitization efforts and cashless payment methods — which you can read in full on each park website. There’s plenty to know before you go, so your next vacay might require a little more homework, but it’ll be worth it to make sure you’re following the most up-to-date rules. The CDC recommends traveling only after you’re fully vaccinated and your vaccine has become fully effective . If you’re not fully vaccinated and must travel, check the CDC guidelines before you book. Check your destination’s vaccination and testing requirements before you depart. Don't miss a thing
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