7 Coronavirus Safety Precautions At Disney World To Expect During Your Next Vacation
On Wednesday, May 27, Disney Parks announced a proposed reopening plan for some parts of its Florida theme parks. As of Wednesday, July 15, all four Disney World parks are open in Orlando, Florida. As Florida experiences a rise in cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, the company is implementing even more safety precautions to try to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. Here are seven coronavirus safety precautions at Disney World put in place during the pandemic.
Disney Parks shut down indefinitely in the United States on March 15 due to the coronavirus pandemic, but according to the Disney Parks Blog, the phased reopening came after the company was "encouraged by how [their] guests are responding at Shanghai Disney Resort and Disney Springs." The bigger Disney World reopenings followed select retailers at Disney Springs opening doors to the public on Wednesday, May 21, with several precautionary measures.
Following the initial plan put forward in May, the company first reopened Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom to the public on Saturday, July 11, with Epcot and Hollywood Studios open as of July 15, but a rise in cases in the state has Disney tightening some rules. On Sunday, July 12, Florida reported 15,299 positive COVID-19 cases in a single day, the highest number of one-day cases reported in any state since the beginning of the pandemic. In response to a request for comment on how Disney would deal with a rise in cases, a Disney representative referred Elite Daily to the park’s public commitment to guest safety and information about the reopening phases.
Over the weekend of July 18, park-goers reported new safety signage in the parks. According to images of the new signs in Disney World parks shared online it reads, "Face coverings are to be worn at all times except when actively eating or drinking while stationary and physically distanced." According to the post by Disney Food Blog, this is a change from earlier guidance that allowed patrons to eat and drink without a mask while walking around the parks.
In addition to enhanced health and safety measures, Disney also warns guests of the risks of being at the park, "We have taken enhanced health and safety measures. Follow all posted instructions while visiting Walt Disney World Resort. An inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present."
If you plan to go to Disney, here are the safety measures that will make your trip look a little different from the last time you visited:
1. Face Mask Requirements & Temperature Screenings
Prior to entering the park, guests will have their temperature taken during check-in. Disney World cast members will also receive temperature screenings before they begin their work day. If anyone in your party displays a temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or above, they'll be "directed to an additional location for rescreening and assistance." If you do exhibit a temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or above you won't be allowed entry into the park, and neither will anyone in your party.
Face masks are required for all guests 2 years old and over, as well as cast members. As of July 21, Disney's official face covering requirement instructs park-goers to wear a face covering over their nose and mouth at all times, "except when dining or swimming." Additionally, it points out, "You may remove your face covering while actively eating or drinking, but you should be stationary and maintain appropriate physical distancing." This means you cannot walk around the park while eating or drinking.
As of April 24, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that people wear a face covering that covers your mouth and nose whenever you're out in public.
2. Limited Capacity & Park Reservations
As Disney World is reopened, crowds are significantly reduced. The Disney Parks Blog announced the reopening would mean "limits on attendance and controlled guest density that aligns with guidance on physical distancing." Because of this, Disney World guests will use a new theme park reservation system, which will give guests a reservation for park entry in advance. Without this reservation, you won't be able to enter the park. The reservation system offers a limited number of guests and will be subject to availability.
With the reservation system in place, there will likely be a high demand for guests. So, to give guests with existing park tickets and reservations a chance to take their vacation first, Disney World will forgo new ticket sales and new Disney Resort hotel reservations for the time being, except for Disney Vacation Club members. Those who have park tickets and annual passes will be able to request a reservation before the park resumes new ticket sales.
At a later date, Disney World will resume ticket sales and hotel reservations.
3. Social Distancing & Plastic Dividers
Social distancing measures are in place throughout the park. They include signs with reminders to stay apart from others and ground markings, to help guests better practice the six-foot distancing rule.
There are also some dividers to help protect cast members and guests in areas that are more difficult to practice distancing in, such as around cash registers or in Guest Relations.
4. No Parades or Meet-&-Greets
To help guests and workers practice social distancing, Disney World is limiting its "high-touch experiences." This includes any makeover services, kids playgrounds, and character meet and greets. Disney characters, however, remain in the park, so you can still catch a photo of your favorite princess.
In addition, any Disney-goer knows that the largest crowd gatherings happen during parades and nighttime shows, like fireworks or Fantasmic. Because these draw large crowds, parades and any nighttime spectaculars are on hold for the time being.
5. No FastPasses
Unfortunately, since social distancing measures will require more line space, FastPasses are suspended indefinitely. Disney World is using the extra line space to accommodate for the six-foot social distancing measures and manage its line capacity. Existing FastPass+ selections through the app will automatically be canceled, and there is no confirmed date for the return of FastPasses in the park. Extra Magic hours are also temporarily suspended.
6. Dining Reservations
Since dining capacities are lower, you need a dining reservation to eat at any table-service restaurants in the parks. Dining reservations for hotels are required for day guests, and overnight guests are highly encouraged to make a reservation.
Food kiosks will not require reservations, but you'll need to follow the mask requirements, which means you have to wear a mask to order, and can remove it to eat when you are staying in one place and physically distanced from others.
7. Cashless Transactions
If you're planning to purchase anything on your Disney World vacation, it's best not to use cash. Disney World recommends cashless transactions as to limit person-to-person contact while you're making purchases.
Disney Parks will release further information on Disney World's health and safety measures for reopening soon, and the policies are subject to change as the company receives further guidance. To stay up-to-date with the latest, you can consult Disney's complete guide to Disney World's reopening.
If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and cough, call your doctor before going to get tested. If you’re anxious about the virus’s spread in your community, visit the CDC for up-to-date information and resources, or seek out mental health support. You can find all Elite Daily's coverage of coronavirus here.
Editor's Note: This post was updated on July 21, 2020, to include new safety precautions at Disney World.
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