Due to the spread of COVID-19, Disney Parks around the world were forced to shut down. Some of the theme parks reopened after a temporary closure and stayed open since, others reopened and re-closed and one — Disneyland Resort — hasn’t even reopened yet.
For those parks that are currently operating, they implemented a number of safety protocols to keep Guests and Cast Members safe while visiting during this unprecedented time — including the requirement of a face mask for every Guest over the age of 2 and social distancing measures.
Face Masks at Disney Parks
If you are visiting any of the Disney Parks around the globe during this unprecedented time, you must abide by the several safety protocols implemented, including the requirement of wearing a proper face covering, following social distancing measures, and more.
In case you missed it, Disney recently updated their face covering policy for both Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort to include the rules for “transparent windows” on face coverings. Additionally, the Disney Resorts stated that even those who have been vaccinated must still wear a face mask when on Disney property — and this rule applies to both Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, and Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California.
Will Face Masks Still Be Required in 2022?
During The Walt Disney Company’s Q1 2021 Earnings Call, Disney CEO Bob Chapek discussed how long he expects the pandemic-era health and safety protocol, such as face mask requirements and social distancing measures, to be in place at Disney Parks.
Chapek explained that he expects face masks and social distancing to be in place through 2021; however, he believes that six-foot social distancing and mask-wearing in 2022 will not be the same as it is today, depending on the state of the world next year and the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.
How Can Disney Phase Out Face Masks at the Theme Parks?
With this being said, I began thinking about how Disney Parks could eliminate the face mask requirement over time. We can suspect that this will be done in phases rather than seeing one day this protocol just be eliminated completely. So here is what I, personally, could see Disney doing in the future.
Keep in mind that these are my own predictions and Disney has not yet shared how and when the health and safety rules will change.
Disney Parks could begin by allowing Guests to not wear face coverings while in an outdoor location but still require face masks while indoors (such as when riding an indoor attraction, walking through a restaurant, ordering at an indoor quick-service location, or even while shopping inside of merchandise locations).
I can also see Disney requiring face masks to be worn while walking through attraction queues that are located indoors (such as portions of Tower of Terror and Haunted Mansion) as well as while aboard all Disney Parks attractions.
Once it is safe to do so, I predict that Disney World could implement a new policy that would not require face masks across all of Disney property and they could instead become optional. However, I believe this will likely happen over a longer period of time — such as over the course of several months, and it won’t be a change that takes place overnight.
Additionally, Disney will more than likely not make any changes regarding face masks requirements or even social distancing measures until the CDC states that it is safe to do so. Both Walt Disney World in Florida and Disneyland in California have been following CDC guidelines, while the pandemic-era policies differ between the State of Florida and the State of California. Therefore, it is likely that Disney will continue to follow CDC recommendations when implementing theme park health and safety protocol.
Find up-to-date information on COVID-19 and face masks on the official website for the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Planning a Trip to Disney Parks?
If you are planning to visit a public place, such as Walt Disney World Resort or Downtown Disney at Disneyland Resort, please remember to practice safety and health protocols in order to keep yourself and others safe during this time. Keep your distance from other Guests, wear your appropriate face coverings at all required times, wash your hands often, try to use paperless payment methods, and cover your mouth and nose while sneezing or coughing.
The official Disney World face mask policy reads:
Face coverings are required for all Guests (ages 2 and up) and Cast Members, including those who have received a COVID-19 vaccine. Please bring your own face coverings and wear them at all times, except when dining or swimming. You may remove your face covering while actively eating or drinking, but you must be stationary and maintain appropriate physical distancing.
All face coverings (whether disposable or reusable) must:
- Be made with at least 2 layers of breathable material
- Fully cover the nose and mouth and secure under the chin
- Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
- Be secured with ties or ear loops and allow the Guest to remain hands-free
At this time, based on guidance from health authorities, neck gaiters, open-chin triangle bandanas and face coverings containing valves, mesh material or holes of any kind are not acceptable face coverings.
Costume masks are also not considered appropriate and are prohibited from being worn, in alignment with our existing rules.
Face coverings may have an integrated transparent plastic panel to aid in viewing the wearer’s mouth. These face coverings must:
- Be a fabric face covering featuring a solid plastic panel containing no openings that is attached to the fabric on all sides using tight knit stitching
- Meet all face covering requirements listed above
The use of face coverings is not a substitute for physical distancing.
How do you think Disney Parks will get rid of face masks when the time comes? Let us know in the comments below.