One of the biggest changes that the coronavirus pandemic has brought upon all of us is the implementation of face mask policies at most public places. No matter where you are from, you likely have had to wear a mask at some point to enter a grocery store or to follow a mandate. Theme parks such as Universal Orlando and Disney World have mandated mask rules where all Guests must always wear their appropriate face coverings unless eating or drinking. The mask rules and regulations are typically similar between both Disney and Universal theme parks — but what about their water parks?.
Both Disney World and Universal Orlando are gearing up to reopen their water parks for the summer season! Volcano Bay was open in summer 2020 and closed for the winter, as usual. However, Disney has yet to reopen its water parks during the pandemic. Universal will be first to the finish line, opening Volcano Bay on February 27, 2021. Disney will follow suit shortly after opening only Blizzard Beach on March 7, 2021.
But when it comes to water parks, the main thing Guests would like to know is if masks are required, and to what degree. It is an interesting subject because, in their theme parks, both Universal and Disney implement face covering policy quite heavily, but when you add water into the mix, things can get a little soggy when thinking of how to enforce face coverings.
Although Typhoon Lagoon is not opening up yet, Blizzard Beach will be ready to chill out Guests on March 7, 2021. Considering Disney World has been a “dry” resort since reopening, it is great to see that another Disney park is opening up to Guests. When staying at a Disney World Resort, Guests do not need to wear masks in the water but must have them on as they move around the pool area.
At Blizzard Beach, the rules will remain somewhat similar. According to the website, “Face coverings will be required for each guest age 2 and up, including but not limited to the park entrance and exit, retail areas, and food and beverage ordering areas. Face coverings will not be permitted while experiencing water slides or in the water.” Guests are still expected to continue social distancing while in the water and traveling around Blizzard Beach.
The only unclear part about these requirements is where the designated areas of mask wear areas cover. If a Guest is walking to a water slide, do they need to wear a mask? If so, where would they put that mask when riding? It seems that it may be likely that masks will not be required when Guests are walking to and from a water activity, but that has yet to be stated by Disney.
For example, I previously stayed at Disney’s Boardwalk Resort, and no Guests would wear a mask when walking out of the pool to hop in line for the Keister Coaster.
Universal Orlando Resort
Face coverings are required in restaurants, retail locations and as you enter and exit the park, and we also encourage you to wear face coverings while walking around the park. Face coverings are not permitted on slides and in pools.
It is pretty clear here that although face coverings are encouraged for Guests while they are walking about the water park, they are not mandatory.
Therefore, it seems that both Universal and Disney will likely have similar mandates when it comes to face covering rules and regulations at the park. Unless Disney specifies that masks must be worn everywhere aside from the actual water itself, there will likely be a lot of Guests removing their face masks at both water parks.
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Would you feel comfortable going to Universal’s Volcano Bay or Disney’s Blizzard Beach if other Guests are not wearing a face mask at all times amid the current coronavirus pandemic?