Disney Is Increasing Capacity and Rolling Back Safety Measures
This week has proven eventful for all of us, at least in the United States—the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) just published this visual aid about the pandemic:
— Ed O'Keefe (@edokeefe) May 13, 2021
Yes, those of us who have already received complete vaccination can go about our lives as if the whole thing never happened.
The CDC has declared all activities safe for fully vaccinated Americans, which has opened the door for your favorite theme park.
Yes, Disney is increasing capacity and rolling back safety measures. Here’s what we know.
Changes That Have Already Occurred
Disney quietly updated its official website this week. Here’s the pertinent text:
“Temporary adjustments are still in place to promote physical distancing. While we will reduce physical distancing measures for Guests across many areas with a gradual, phased approach, six-feet distancing measures will continue in all dining locations, merchandise stores and in areas where Guests can temporarily remove their masks.”
I’ve added bolding to highlight the changes. You’ll notice that there’s no mention of theme park attractions.
Folks, Disney is ready to reduce social distancing in line queues to three feet for the time being and possibly even less soon. We’ll get to that in a second.
However, I should point out that the text doesn’t mention most outdoor areas, either. As such, you may not need to socially distance outside, either.
The updated language suggests that Disney primarily worries about indoor areas, especially ones where people might crowd together or remove masks.
So, social distancing will remain at restaurants, places where you take off your mask to eat. And they’ll apply at photo ops, too.
The third place where Disney will enforce social distancing is at stores, areas where space is limited.
Something that hasn’t changed yet is the face mask requirement, but…
The CDC Announcement and Its Impact
The CDC’s declaration means that fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks. CNN summarizes the announcement as:
“People fully vaccinated against Covid-19 do not need to wear masks or practice social distancing indoors or outdoors, except under certain circumstances…”
Friends, if you’re vaccinated, the CDC just basically stated that you’ve survived the pandemic and are good to go. Congratulations!
That game-changing revelation occurred at 3:45 p.m. Roughly 45 minutes later, Disney held its quarterly financial earnings report.
These media events include a combination of Disney executive intel and a question-and-answer segment.
Disney CEO Bob Chapek and his staff answered several questions about the CDC, the pandemic, and the plan for the theme parks for the rest of 2021.
The most interesting update involves park capacity. Chapek declared that Disney is already in the process of increasing attendance.
Sadly, he didn’t answer any questions about FastPass, which could worry DVC members about lines at the parks. I’ll continue to track that for you.
About Disney Park Passes and Face Masks
Chapek also stated that the new information and guidance from the CDC will cause another reevaluation of current park safeguards in place.
The CEO added that Park Passes are updating to include more inventory.
If you’ve been waiting for a sold-out day to re-stock Park Passes, now’s your chance! Also, if it doesn’t work at first, keep trying throughout the next few days!
What’s Next at Disney?
Chapek also responded to a question about impending changes to face mask policies in place at Disney. He stated, “Those that were vaccinated do not need to wear masks anymore, both indoors and outdoors. It’s very big news for us, particularly if anybody’s been in Florida in the middle of the summer with a mask on. So, we think that’s going to make for an even more pleasant experience.”
I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself here or get you overly excited.
Still, I can interpret that statement in only one way: Chapek sounds like he’s ready for Disney to drop the face mask requirements by the middle of the summer, possibly sooner.
Stay tuned, fellow DVC members! Our next Disney vacation may have gotten a lot better!