Walt Disney World is currently the only major theme park in Florida still mandating masks indoors for its parks, hotels, and retail locations. This summer Walt Disney World, the Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld Orlando and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay all dropped their mask mandates in favor of mask suggestions and recommendations. When infections temporarily went back up, Disney went back to masks, unlike their competitors. Now, as infections have plummeted, Disney holds onto their mandate. When will this requirement end?
Walt Disney World brought back their indoor mask mandate July 30, 2021. They haven’t gone back since. There were 2,319 new cases June 30, 2021 in Florida. By July 30, 2021 there were 38,776 new COVID-19 cases in Florida. Now, as of the latest numbers October 28, 2021 there are 2,021 cases, with the weekly average below 2,000.
Orange County, Florida has ended their Emergency Executive Order which included mask mandate suggestions for businesses. The state of Florida has been outright against enforcing a mask mandate for many months now. But, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) still recommends masks indoors for those who are unvaccinated.
The CDC even goes on to suggest masks indoors for those who are vaccinated in high or substantial community transmission counties. Disney Parks and Resorts have said that they follow the CDC’s guidelines, Disney’s board of health advisors, and local committees to provide a safe park experience.
Walt Disney World also announced that union and non-union cast members must be vaccinated against COVID-19. The Service Trades Council Union, which represents many of Walt Disney World’s front-line cast members, agreed to a vaccine mandate. The Disney and Union contract states, “Employees will be notified of the new requirement and must provide verification of their COVID-19 vaccination by October 22, 2021.” Therefore, we know a majority of cast members at Walt Disney World are now vaccinated.
Walt Disney World has brought back a version of character meet and greets, now called sightings. These character sightings are indoors, where guests must wear masks. But the princesses that guests are meeting do not wear masks. Disney, from the very beginning, has never had one of their characters wear masks. Whereas the Universal Orlando Resort initially had their characters masked up.
This makes for situations where safety is touted as number one, but it appears Disney’s other key of business, show, wins out. Letting the characters remain mask free, but enforcing it upon young children doesn’t seem like a long-term plan. This is another reason it appears Disney may drop their mask mandate. For now, Disney has not changed their requirements.
Do you believe Disney will change this mask mandate soon? Has the indoor mask requirement stopped you and your family from visiting the parks this year? Let us know in the comments below.