Walt Disney World Walks Back Mask Rules, Too

May 14, 2021, 9:52 PM · Shortly after Orange County and the Universal Orlando Resort announced the relaxation of their outdoor mask rules on Friday, the Walt Disney World Resort followed with its own announcement.

Masks will no longer be required at Walt Disney World and its theme parks while guests are in outdoor common areas, including pool decks. (Masks have not been permitted while in the water or on water slides.) Masks will continue to be required outside in any attraction or queue, as well as on all transportation and in all indoor locations, expect when seated in a restaurant and actively eating or drinking.

Note that this change in policy applies only to the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. This evening, the Disneyland Resort in California issued a statement reaffirming that its mask rules remain in effect as before.

"Disneyland Resort's current guidelines, which require all guests (ages 2 and older) and Cast Members to wear face coverings, remain in effect until further notice. Policies will be evaluated in accordance with state and local recommendations as soon as guidance is released."

California has promised new guidance on masks as well as theme park operations as it moves toward the lifting of its current pandemic rules on or before June 15. We will keep you updated.

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Replies (19)

May 14, 2021 at 10:05 PM

Really wondering what will constitute as "queue" in this scenario. Will it be ok to remove the mask while waiting in line at the snack carts or gate entry, but not while waiting outside for Spaceship Earth? Are masks in queues really much better than going maskless during the morning when throngs of guests arrive?

May 14, 2021 at 10:16 PM

I think the rule is basically this - if it's within a defined entry area (such as an attraction queue), then you need a mask. If it's just people forming an informal queue in a common area (such as in front of food carts), then you don't. But we will have to see how Disney enforces this in the days ahead.

May 14, 2021 at 10:17 PM

As weird as this rule is it seems like the only easily enforceable option they have.

May 14, 2021 at 11:25 PM

I feel so sorry for the WDW CMs. Before anyone says anything, I don’t trust most guests when they say they’re vaccinated because I know most of them are lying.

May 15, 2021 at 12:58 AM

@AgustinMacias: Seems some idiots are boasting of "buying" vaccine cards online (yes, spend a few hundred bucks for something you can get for free) so yes, it is harder to figure out who really got it from those just claiming to.

May 15, 2021 at 1:30 AM

They are not going to ask for vaccine cards, everyone has the same rules vaccinated or not.

May 15, 2021 at 2:06 AM

Given the latest CDC guidance, I see no reason for this not to become standard practice across the industry immediately. Even prior to the vaccine being developed, only a tiny fraction of transmission happened outdoors, and with a substantial portion of the population vaccinated that is going to become even smaller. It's fair to be a bit more cautious indoors until the vaccine percentage nationwide is in the 70+% range and/or there's authorization to vaccinate younger children, but now that the vaccine has been available for nearly a month and vaccination numbers are tapering off, it's time to roll back restrictions unless there is hard data that doing so will cause an unmanageable surge. If people choose to keep wearing masks and distancing it's their choice to do so, but if measures are put in place for safety and aren't removed as soon as conditions are less dangerous it quickly erodes trust and could result in a worse outcome than anything the virus could do unassisted.

May 15, 2021 at 9:22 AM

Agree 1000% AJ! A sweaty mask in 100% humid Florida does more harm than good.
I just wish it was only indoor queues with AC, but this is probably the only enforceable option.
Also, if you still choose to wear a mask go ahead and do so.
Based on pictures this morning, many people at UO are still wearing them outside.

May 15, 2021 at 10:52 AM

@the_man

No they don’t. There’s a rule graphic on the CDC website for the vaccinated and unvaccinated and on the unvaccinated side you have you still need to wear a mask in an outdoor crowded area like concerts, sporting events and theme parks.

So no, it’s not the same rule.

May 15, 2021 at 3:12 PM

I went into DHS for a couple of hours today and I’d guesstimate 15-20% of people were wearing masks walking around the park. It wasn’t a stifling hot day so it was relatively comfortable to wear one. I wore mine a few times, especially when I got caught up in the middle of a mass of humanity.

Inside stores, and in the Rise queue, everybody was wearing masks and keeping their 3ft distance the best they could.

Definitely more cars in the parking lot today, but DHS didn’t seem much fuller than it has been. Slinky had by far the longest wait, 70mins when I walked by.

May 15, 2021 at 4:31 PM

Great to hear Makorider! Thanks for the letting us know how’s it going.

May 16, 2021 at 12:24 AM

AgustinMacias, at Disney or anywhere else there is no rule regarding vaccinated guests vs unvaccinated guests. That is impossible to enforce.

May 16, 2021 at 2:13 AM

Virtually everywhere in Florida, masks are optional indoor/outdoor now except when employers require one. Vaccination check seems to make sense on cruises where you are relatively close to a large amount of people for multiple days. International travel is leaning towards vaccination proof as well, which then makes sense for cruise lines to require it.

May 16, 2021 at 8:15 AM

@the_man ... SeaWorld is differentiating between the two. No masks anywhere for vaccinated guests, but they advise all non-vaccinated people to still follow all mask rules ... yeah, right ... LOL

May 16, 2021 at 10:07 AM

Can't wait to get out of NY and go to BG and Be Mask Free!!!!!!!!!!

May 16, 2021 at 2:18 PM

@the_man in my state of Nevada, there are different rules for vaccinated vs unvaccinated guests. But you are 100% correct that it is impossible to enforce, so it's basically a free-for-all right now.

May 17, 2021 at 12:28 PM

The way I look at it, because the CDC did not establish a more secure and verifiable system to ensure people are vaccinated, we're on the honor system. With the new guidance, the CDC has essentially stated "you're on your own", which is pretty much the same stance authorities took when the pandemic started.

As a person who prefers being allowed to make decisions for myself and not having to follow rules with loopholes and differing interpretations and POVs, I'd much rather have this honor system in place. When it comes to vaccination, if you're walking around unmasked and unvaccinated, you're the idiot who is putting yourself and unvaccinated family and friends at risk. The risk of vaccinated people contracting and/or spreading the virus by passing close to unvaccinated and unmasked people is rather low (though not impossible), but it's just not worth the hassle or complexity to establish policies and protocols to verify people's vaccination status every time you see someone walking around without a mask. We don't verify drivers' license status before letting cars onto the road, so doing so with something like vaccination status, which could become problematic if boosters are eventually needed, is just not practicable.

I do think the CDC would do well by emphasizing the risks of acting like you're vaccinated when you're not, and the dangers of spreading the virus to family and friends if you go around maskless without being vaccinated. The new guidance from the CDC was directly aimed at encouraging vaccination by adding the carrot of being able to reenter the world without a mask if you get the vaccine. However, not all people in this country have the same analytical, logical, common sense mindset, and do not respond to carrots when they can bend/break rules/laws with impunity. However, keeping rules/laws in place for the majority to protect a minority that should have half a brain to protect themselves and loved ones would just punish those of us that have done what's been asked. If you have chosen to not get the vaccine, you are at risk, and are on your own, while those of us that are vaccinated can get on with our lives and slowly return our society to normal.

May 17, 2021 at 2:19 PM

Sort of hard to be on an honor system when the people most likely to break it continue to push the entirely dishonorable lie that our President wasn't rightfully elected. A third of Americans are now proudly dishonorable.

That said, I'd be happy to let them kill themselves if kids could be vaccinated. But as long as the kids are still at risk, then we're going to have to keep insisting those sad fools act right and wear their masks inside.

May 18, 2021 at 4:55 PM

Robert, please see the last comment made by the colonel. Regardless of how you feel about anything, being happy for ANYONE to kill themselves is inappropriate. I hope you take action on that comment.

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