Operating any business during the pandemic has been a learning curve, as these times have been highly unprecedented. In the United States, Florida has had a tough battle against COVID-19; however, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has allowed the state to operate relatively close to “normal,” allowing Disney World Resort to reopen last summer.
This is opposite to what we saw in California for around. California Governor Gavin Newsom has had strict COVID-19 measures in place, which affected Disneyland Resort’s ability to reopen. The Disneyland theme parks only reopened on April 30 after the California Governor revised his state reopening plan in March.
It has been confirmed that Governor DeSantis plans to remove all COVID-19 mandates from the state. According to CBS:
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is taking executive action to suspend all local COVID-19 emergency mandates immediately and is issuing an executive order to outlaw all local COVID-19 emergency mandates in the state effective July 1.
CBS also reports today that the Florida Governor said his administration wants people to “enjoy themselves” and “live freely in the state of Florida.”
Disney World has already been allowed to operate at a capacity higher than 35% and eliminate other pandemic-era restrictions from the theme parks. However, as a private company, it has chosen not to do so. This new update from the State of Florida allows companies to no longer require social distancing and face masks, and many have been waiting to see if Disney would be changing their rules and regulations.
When logging into the My Disney Experience app, Guests may see a notification with a response. Here at Inside the Magic, we have seen several variations of the message regarding look, which we will share with you below.
On an iPhone, the notification appears like this:
We are aware of the state of Florida’s plans announced today to modify COVID-19 guidelines. We will evaluate this latest guidance and maintain our current health and safety measures at this time, including face-covering requirements. We will continue to make thoughtful adjustments to our policy. As COVID-19 vaccines become more available, we encourage people to get vaccinated.
When Guests click “learn more,” Guests can see a more detailed look at the rules and regulations that Disney World has in place.
We also took a screenshot of the same notification as it appeared on a Google phone:
From this, it seems pretty clear that Disney World will continue operating as usual. This means six-foot social distancing in place, mask wear at all times (unless stationary and actively eating, drinking, or taking an outdoor photo and socially distanced), 35% capacity in the theme parks, and temperature checks for all Guests.
That being said, the message also notes that Disney will look at the changes made by Governor DeSantis and evaluate them. So, although Disney is not yet making any changes operationally regarding the pandemic-era rules they have in place, Disney World may do so in the future as part of the theme parks’ phased reopening process amid the pandemic. At the end of the message, Disney encourages Guests to get their COVID-19 vaccine.
We know that Disney has encouraged vaccinations, as Disney World is currently paying employees to be vaccinated if they would like and offering on-property service.
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data, 20.9 million doses have been distributed to the state, and 15.5 million shots have been administered in a state with a population of roughly 21.5 million people.
Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Chapek has stated that regarding park capacity restrictions, for example, Disney will change as COVID-19 vaccines become more widely distributed. However, the company has not provided an update on this since February 2021.
For now, Disney will ensure that all Guests staying at a Disney Resort, or enjoying Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Blizzard Beach, and Disney Springs, are experiencing a safe and magical visit.
Do you think Disney World should return to normal, pre-pandemic operations, or should Disney wait longer before making more changes?