New Virus Suggest Disney World Shut Down

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Magic Kingdom turnstiles, parking entry closed

Credit: CNN

When guests visit Walt Disney World Resort, the intention is often to have a magical experience. Many guests also associate the theme parks with safety.

The Mickey and Walt statue in front of Cinderella's Castle inside Disney's Magic Kingdom
Credit: Walt Disney World Resort

If you enter any Disney Park, like Magic Kingdom or EPCOT, you will always go through security and metal detectors that ensure nothing harmful is entering the parks. There is also security at every Disney park, and police are readily available, and sometimes present on location if the authorities ever need to be involved. Lately, we have seen the authorities have to get involved a little more than usual as guest behavior has reached an all-time low. Many have been starting fights in the theme parks, posing a physical threat to the guests around them. Because of this, police have continuously removed many from the most magical place on earth.

Stormy clouds and stormy weather over a Disney World Resort hotel
Credit: Inside The Magic

Although guest behavior may need some fine-tuning, we can see that Disney is doing what it needs to, to keep guests safe and healthy.

This is something we saw during the COVID-19 pandemic as well. Walt Disney World Resort, and every other Disney park around the globe shut down to protect guests from the virus that quickly spread throughout the world. Although this created a huge financial loss for Disney, the company joined the rest of the world and decided it was best not to be the breeding ground for the virus.

disney face masks sign
Credit: Inside the Magic

Even as each of the Disney parks eventually reopened, they did not do as we were used to. There was limited capacity for a long time, entertainment cut, social distancing, and more. Disney put guest safety first.

After COVID-19 and the pandemic, the last thing anyone wants to hear about is a new virus. Unfortunately, that is the case and a growing worry for many Floridians right now, as a mosquito infection is carrying a deathly variant that may put you in harm’s way. The location of this infestation that has just recently arrived in America may also put those traveling to Orlando to visit Disney World, the most magical place on earth, at risk.

huge crowds at Magic Kingdom in front of Cinderella Caslte
Credit: Lee Bailey / Flickr

Now, it seems a new virus has been found in Florida, and it is being caused by a bug bite. Florida health officials are warning residents about the risks of mosquito-borne illnesses after five cases of dengue fever were reported this month in a part of the United States where locally acquired cases are rare.

As we have reported, “Dengue is a viral infection found mostly in tropical and subtropical climates, and mostly in urban or semi-urban areas. It is transmitted by female Aedes mosquitoes that have bitten a person infected with the virus.”

There are four dengue viruses listed by the CDC, and a person can be infected with dengue four times over their lifetime as the post-recovery immunity is type-specific. A second infection with a different stereotype of the virus than the first increases the risk of severe illness. (A possible fifth dengue virus has been reported, but not confirmed.)

EPCOT crowds at Walt Disney World Resort
Credit: Inside the Magic

If bit by a mosquito carrying the virus, symptoms will show up within a couple of days. Normal symptoms include fever, nausea, headaches, vomiting, muscle and joint pain. There are also more severe cases which will result in internal bleeding, shock and organ failure. It is sometimes called break-bone fever because of the severity of the muscle spasms and joint pain it can cause.

Although Dengue does not typically cause death, it can, much like we saw with COVID-19. The virus is not common in the United States, but with cases popping up slowly, it seems that these mosquitos are, unfortunately, taking a liking to the hot climate that surrounds Disney World.

Now, Precision Vaccinations has provided an update, “On August 28, 2023, twenty new dengue cases were reported this week in persons who had international travel. There are now 244 travel-associated dengue cases reported in Florida this year.

Guests walking down Main Street, U.S.A. in Walt Disney World Resort
Credit: Lee (myfrozenlife), Flickr

These dengue-infected visitors primarily came from Cuba (165) and Brazil (13).

Additionally, and more concerning, one new locally acquired dengue was reported last week in Miami-Dade County. In 2023, 16 cases of locally acquired dengue have been reported this year, with Miami-Dade confirmed 12 patients.”

While the U.S. CDC has not issued a travel advisory for these mosquito-carry diseases, various alerts have been issued by Escambia, Jefferson, Nassau, Orange, Polk, St. Johns, Walton, Broward, Manatee, Miami-Dade, and Sarasota counties.

In total, the CDC has confirmed 642 dengue cases in 38 jurisdictions this year, including San Juan, Puerto Rico with 41 cases.

Florida is easily a breeding ground for mosquitos, but Disney does their best to ensure that the swampy landscapes and constant bodies of water are not home to any of the blood-sucking creatures. Mosquitos lay their eggs in standing, stagnant water. This is why the swampland was the perfect breeding ground for mosquitos. So Disney knew that getting rid of any standing water was the first step in eliminating the pests altogether. Therefore, the building of drainage ditches throughout the park grounds would be created to remove any water before it could pool into areas and become stagnant.

Folks enjoying the now-defunct Splash Mountain
Credit: Disney

It’s nearly unnoticeable by Guests unless they’re really looking for it, but water inside the parks is always on the move. It’s either at the bottom of the 50-foot waterfall at the retired Splash Mountain, now Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, in Frontierland (Magic Kingdom) where it is constantly moving, thanks to the splashing that erupts as the log flumes descend the side of the mountain, or it’s located in an area where there are one or more fountains that keep the water churning.

Credit: Inside the Magic

There are no areas of standing water in the parks, which makes it nearly impossible for mosquitos to lay their eggs.

For now, there has not been any closure of the Disney parks announced, and luckily the spread of Dengue is not something that is incredibly worrisome at this point. If the virus did become a major issue like COVID-19 and it was found that more bites were coming from Disney World, we could potentially see some sort of closure announced. That being said, that is entirely hypothetical at this point.

If you are visiting mosquito-filled areas, be sure to wear bug repellent to keep yourself safe.

Are you worried about the spread of Dengue?

If you are looking to visit Walt Disney World Resort for a magical vacation, the Walt Disney World Website can be a great tool to begin planning your trip! You can begin exploring their theme parks: Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and EPCOT. You can also take a look at their water parks where you can splash around in the chill of Disney’s Blizzard Beach (alongside new Frozen characters, Anna, Elsa, Sven, and Kristoff), or hit the waves at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon. When you get hungry or want to go shopping, Disney Springs is the place to be, especially with World of Disney there ready to help you pick up some souvenirs! You can also begin looking for your Disney World Resort! If you are looking to stay at a Deluxe monorail Resort like Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa or a Value Resort where you can hop on the Skyliner like Disney’s Pop Century Resort, it is always fun to begin looking for a room that would best suit you and your party. Plus, it has all the information you need to know on Disney Genie+ so that you will be ready to go on your My Disney Experience app once you download it! Click here to check it out today.

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