Disney Quietly Meets White House to Discuss Vaccination Requirements

in Disney, Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World

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The return of Disney magic since the pandemic has seen many changes implemented to ensure Guest and Cast Member safety.

The unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic caused every Disney Park in the world to shut down, as well as changes to operations, policies, and in-Park experiences.

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Credit: Disney

Back on July 30, Disney issued an order requiring all U.S. Cast Members salaried and non-union hourly Cast Members to be vaccinated within 60 days of the announcement. All new employees are required to be vaccinated, as well. Disney has continued discussions with Cast Member unions regarding the vaccine requirement.

Disney CEO Bob Chapek has continued to defend the decision to require vaccinations for employees of The Walt Disney Company.

It has been revealed by Reuters that The Walt Disney Company met last week with White House officials to discuss President Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine requirement plan.

united states president joe biden
Credit: @potus on Instagram

Disney is currently requiring vaccinations for Cast Members at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, and Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California. Moreover, the vaccine requirement is for all salaried and non-union hourly Walt Disney Company employees who work across the U.S., in and out of the theme parks.

Salaried or non-union hourly employee must receive the vaccine in order to continue working for the company. New hires must be vaccinated before starting employment. As mentioned, discussions continue between Disney and employee unions.

Disney Vaccination
Credit: Jeff Vahle Instagram

Executives from The Walt Disney Company, United Parcel Service, Inc. (UPS), and other companies met with White House officials to discuss the plan for private-sector workers, amid concerns it could worsen labor shortages and supply chain woes, Reuters reports:

Tuesday’s meetings were disclosed in filings with the White House. Disney did not respond to requests for comment. A UPS spokesperson confirmed the meeting and said it is reviewing what a vaccine mandate means for the company and its employees.

At this time, it is unknown what the outcome of last week’s meeting was, or whether the discussion involved vaccine mandates for Guests visiting Disney Parks. Currently, Guests at Disney’s U.S. Parks — EPCOT, Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Disneyland Park, and Disney California Adventure — do not have to provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result.

cast member mask
Credit: Disney

Disney told Spectrum News 13 that their recent decision on the vaccine mandate was based on the latest recommendations from scientists, health officials, and their own medical professionals:

“Vaccines are the best tool we have to help control this global pandemic and protect our employees.”

Back in September, current Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Chapek attended a White House meeting with United States President Joe Biden to discuss vaccine mandates in the workplace. It is unclear what the outcome of this meeting was.

Over at Universal Studios Hollywood, as of Thursday, October 7,  Guests age 12 and up are required to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination (or, alternatively, proof of a negative COVID-19 test result). The requirements come after a recent mandate by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

Roy Disney statue wearing a face masks, Magic Kingdom
Credit: Reddit user charliezard7

Though not requiring proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test, both Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resort are still requiring face coverings. Recently, Disney updated mask-wearing rules for Cast Members working in outdoor locations. Per the Disney Parks website:

Face coverings are required for all Guests (ages 2 and up) in all indoor locations, regardless of vaccination status. This includes upon entering and throughout all indoor attractions and indoor queues and in Disney buses, monorail and Disney Skyliner, regardless of vaccination status. Face coverings are optional for Guests in outdoor areas.

Keep following Inside the Magic for future updates on theme park vaccination and COVID-19 requirements.

For more information on the COVID-19 vaccine, visit the official CDC website here.

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