Planning to visit Walt Disney World soon? If you haven’t visited since the parks reopened in summer 2020, you’ll soon experience health and safety measures unlike any you’ve encountered on property before.
When can you remove your mask at Disney World? What does it look like to go on the rides now? What distancing policies are in place for riding things like Disney buses or the Monorail? Today, we’re breaking down everything you need to know about Disney World’s health & safety policies so you can be fully prepared for your trip.
Note: Keep in mind, these policies have changed over time and are subject to change again. Keep an eye out for updates AllEars.net and our social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram).
1. Face Masks
If you’re heading to Disney World before February 17th, 2022, you’ll need to wear a face covering at all indoor locations. That policy will be changing on February 17th when vaccinated guests will no longer need to wear a face covering in any outdoor or indoor location, except on Disney transportation.
According to the Disney World website, starting February 17th, “Face coverings will be optional for fully vaccinated Guests in both outdoor and indoor locations. We expect Guests who are not fully vaccinated to continue wearing face coverings in all indoor locations, including indoor attractions and theaters. Face coverings will still be required by all Guests (ages 2 and up) on enclosed Disney transportation, including Disney buses, monorails, and Disney Skyliner.”
However, if you are traveling to Disney World, you’ll need to know that masks are still required in airports and on airplanes. So keep that in mind when you prepare and pack for your next trip.
2. Social Distancing
Most of the physical distancing markers throughout Disney World have been removed, including in attraction lines and in stores.
Disney also updated their policy on physical distancing on their website, removing language that stated guests needed to stay six feet apart. Now, the website says that “adjustments are still in place to promote physical distancing.”
Attractions are not enforcing social distancing in the queues, and most do not have distancing markers anymore.
If you’re trying to avoid lines and promote more physical distancing while shopping, you can make use of Disney’s Mobile Checkout system at some stores on property.
This allows you to buy your merchandise without having to wait in any long checkout lines. Skip the lines and still purchase your favorite Disney items? Sounds like a win-win to us. It’s only available at a limited number of stores right now, though, so keep that in mind.
Many attractions had plexiglass or some kind of other divider in their queue areas before, but these have largely been removed from Disney World rides.
Cast members are continuing to clean the ride vehicles thoroughly, but they no longer close the rides for cleaning throughout the day like they used to.
Additionally, shows that once had rows closed for physical distancing now have all the seating open for guests.
You can read about how every single ride in Disney World is handling distancing right now here.
In terms of food, we’ve already addressed one new thing, which is that guests must wear a face mask inside except while actively eating and drinking. Aside from that, here’s what you need to know now about eating at Disney World.
For starters, there are many restaurants that have reopened, but several (including some popular favorites) are still closed.
In the ones that have reopened, you might find modified or slightly limited menus, so keep that in mind.
Also, some restaurants have changed their eating style. For example, Hollywood & Vine, Chef Mickey’s, and Tusker House all used to be buffet-style meals. All three have now changed and now either serve plated or family-style meals. Also, at Be Our Guest, breakfast has been temporarily discontinued, and lunch is now Table Service, as opposed to Quick Service.
Also note: character dining has been modified. At the moment, you can’t walk up to and hug your favorite characters. But you can still wave at your friends from afar and take socially distanced selfies at the spots where character dining is available.
Right now you can dine with characters at Chef Mickey’s, Garden Grill Restaurant, Topolino’s Terrace — Flavors of the Riviera, Tusker House, Storybook Dining at Artist’s Point, and Hollywood & Vine. You can also see Cinderella for a brief moment at Cinderella’s Royal Table, and catch a quick glance of the Beast at Be Our Guest.
For distancing purposes, Mobile Order is heavily promoted (and in many cases, essentially required) for many Quick Service spots in Disney World.
Keep in mind you can also eat your snacks and food in the park, but you must be stationary and physically distanced from others.
You might be wondering if the restroom experience is any different at Disney World due to the pandemic. Generally, things are the same, except many restrooms have signs that remind guests to maintain an appropriate social distance from one another.
Some also have signs installed reminding guests to wash their hands for 20 seconds.
6. Hand Sanitizers and Hand-Washing Stations
Throughout Disney World, you’ll find many hand sanitizer stations and potentially some hand-washing stations with water and soap as well.
Generally, there are hand-sanitizing stations before you get on a ride and at other spots throughout the parks. Be sure to look for those as you walk around.
7. Temperature Checks
Previously, all guests had their temperatures checked before entering a Disney World park.
Now, temperature checks have been removed, so you won’t be seeing these on your upcoming trip.
8. New Security Screening Process
A new security screening process is also now in place in Disney World. Before, you had to open up your bag and have a Cast Member poke around it as the screening. Now, a contactless system is in place that lets you pass through a metal detector while holding onto all of your items, except any that the signs might specifically ask you to remove.
If one of the detectors goes off, you may be asked to open your bag for security to look through, or your items may be waved down with a metal wand.
9. Health Acknowledgement
The Disney World website specifies a health acknowledgment that you are essentially making by entering Disney World. Specifically, it notes that by entering the Disney World Resort, you are confirming that you and all persons in your party are not experiencing any of the symptoms of COVID-19 identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The website then lists a number of symptoms including fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath, and muscle or body aches, among others.
By entering Disney World you’re confirming that you have not been in contact with someone with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 symptoms without completing a 14-day quarantine and that you are not under any self-quarantine orders.
If you cannot confirm any of those things, Disney’s website indicates that you “must not enter Walt Disney World Resort.” Disney also notes that if at any point during your vacation you can’t meet the above criteria, the guest and their traveling party “will be required to isolate and may be relocated or asked to leave the property.”
It’s important to keep this in mind. You must ensure that you fully meet Disney’s health acknowledgment terms before and during your stay.
If you do stay at a Disney World hotel, they now have enhanced cleaning and some housekeeping modifications. Specifically, Disney has shared that they have increased cleaning in high-traffic areas like public elevators, handrails, restrooms, and more.
Before you arrive, your hotel room will undergo a thorough cleaning with attention to high-touch areas, floors, and more. Inside the room, you’ll find individually wrapped glassware and plastic wrapped around some things like remote controls.
Guests in hotels with reusable shampoo, conditioner, and body wash canisters will see that these nozzles are cleaned between guests. You’ll find a piece of plastic on the nozzles to show they’ve been cleaned.
During your stay, housekeeping will also be a bit different. Generally, your room will get a light cleaning every other day, which includes wiping off some surfaces, removing the trash, replenishing the towels, and vacuuming. You can also decline this service if you want. And the rules are a bit different for Disney Vacation Club Members using their membership to stay. You can read all about this on Disney’s website.
Also, keep in mind that Bell Services will deliver luggage to rooms but is not currently escorting guests. And valet parking is slowly returning so may not be available at every resort.
Disney is also heavily encouraging online check-in for your hotel reservations. Additionally, they have automatic checkout and a virtual chat available with hotel Cast Members — all designed to minimize contact and maintain distancing.
11. Parades and More
As part of Disney’s distancing policies, parades and close-up character meet-and-greets have been temporarily suspended. You can still watch Disney’s character cavalcades, though. These are like mini-parades with no set schedules. A new cavalcade called the Disney Adventure Friends Cavalcade is coming to Magic Kingdom on February 11th, 2022.
Disney did bring back the holiday parade for the after-hours event (and for a limited time during the day), and they’ve also announced that the Festival of Fantasy parade will return to Magic Kingdom on March 9th.
Some characters are also greeting guests from a distance. For example, you can usually say hello to Anna and Elsa in Norway, or wave at some characters as they stand in the Main Street Train Station.
One-on-one character meet and greets have returned as well, although there are still some distancing guidelines for these experiences. You won’t be able to hug the characters or ask for autographs, but you can chat with them and take photos.
You can meet Mickey Mouse in the Town Square Theater in Magic Kingdom, see the Disney princesses at Fairytale Hall, and more.
And that is our full guide to Disney’s health and safety measures. Of course, things are subject to change in the future. So, be sure to watch for any updates from us at AllEars and look for any updated signs around Disney World. We’ll be on the lookout for any changes and keep you informed!
Are you planning to visit Walt Disney World soon? Let us know in the comments.
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