Disney Updates Mask Policy and More
Are you in the camp who wouldn’t visit Walt Disney World until the face-covering policy ended? If so, this is the update you’ve wanted for a year now!
Yes, Disney has updated its mask policy. Let’s take a look at what the changes are and what’s next at Walt Disney World.
The New Policy
As of right now, you will need a face covering to visit Walt Disney World. I say this for two reasons. The first is that the change doesn’t go into effect until June 15th.
However, cast members have gotten lackadaisical about mask enforcement in many areas anyway. And that’s less than three days away anyway.
The change is this. Face coverings are now totally optional almost everywhere at Disney.
Disney will operate under the honor system, presuming that vaccinated people don’t need to wear masks.
If you’re not vaccinated, Disney expects that you know that you’re jeopardizing your health by not wearing a mask.
Disney won’t even ask for verification about vaccination status. As such, the issue becomes one of personal responsibility now.
For some, that’s what they wanted all along. For others, it’s okay since they’re vaccinated.
The Exception: Transportation
The caveat to the new rule involves Disney transportation. Cast members will expect you to wear a face-covering when you ride the Disney Skyliner, monorails, and boats.
Simultaneously, Disney has relaxed social distancing policies in the places where they’d been maintained until now.
So, the various stores, restaurants, and line queues won’t space out guests several feet apart anymore.
In other words, if you were waiting for Disney to return to pre-pandemic standards before your next trip, that day has arrived.
What Needs to Happen for Disney to Get Back to Normal?
When you’re not riding on Disney transportation, park rules are back to normal. However, some park-based amenities are not.
As a DVC member, you’re likely still awaiting the return of some amenities. Unfortunately, Disney didn’t provide clarity on any of these situations.
Here’s what Disney’s official site states:
“We’re not quite ready to bring back everything yet, but we are optimistic and look forward to the day when Disney pals and princesses are able to hug once again.”
What does this reference? Walt Disney World is currently missing several established favorites such as nighttime fireworks presentations, FastPasses, and character greetings.
We know that other recent changes like Park Passes are here to stay, while others like Park Hopping have returned in 2021.
As I mentioned the other day, several more restaurants are reopening soon, including the wildly popular ‘Ohana, whose 60-day dinner bookings sold out on the first day.
Recent testing and other inside information suggest that fireworks will return at some point in July. Of course, that’s speculation rather than fact, but the timeline makes sense.
The Disney site quote hints that character greetings aren’t far away, either. So I presume they’ll return at some point this summer.
Given recent maneuvers, Disney officials seem to be accelerating plans for summer operations. The end of the pandemic has proven oddly anticlimactic, which has helped.
As for FastPasses, that’s a more nuanced discussion. For example, Disney may introduce a paid version of the system akin to MaxPass instead.
Some rumors suggest that a more expensive paid option akin to the Universal Express Unlimited Pass could replace the old system.
Then, there’s the knowledge that the theme park virtual assistant, Disney Genie, is well into development.
So, we’re all kind of waiting on Disney to pick a lane right now.