Now that all four Disney World theme parks are open this weekend for the first time since the closures, you might be wondering if guests are complying with Disney World’s mandatory face mask rule.
We’ve been very concerned with making sure our own masks have been nice and snug since the parks reopened — even doubling up our masks when entering more enclosed queue areas, the monorail, or indoor rides. But we’re getting lots of questions from readers about how the whole mask compliance thing is progressing — and how Disney World’s staff is addressing the issue when folks AREN’T following the rules!
Disney World can provide a much-needed escape from reality under normal circumstances, but these are unprecedented times. The global health crisis is still prevalent — especially in Florida — and our safety is impacted by the people around us. That’s why Disney has enforced a strict mandated face mask policy, requiring all Cast Members and guests over the age of 2 to wear one at all times.
They’ve even formed a new squad of Health and Safety Cast Members to ensure guests are following the rules. These Cast Members can be identified by their bright yellow shirts and are stationed at various locations throughout the parks.
There are plenty of additional Cast Members monitoring the crowds of guests as well.
Are Guests Compliant?
So far, guests seem to be doing a really good job following the new face mask rule. But the issue we’ve encountered most prominently has been people not wearing their face masks correctly. It’s that “pulling your mask down below your nose” problem. This happens ALL. THE. TIME. Especially toward the end of the day when people are tired and flagging…and when there aren’t any Cast Members around to reprimand them.
Maybe they think the mask is still effective since it’s covering their mouth? But, no — the whole point of a mask is making sure it covers both your nose and mouth…because you breathe out of both…and you can expel germs out of both — so it’s significantly less effective when your nose is free and clear.
When we’ve seen this problem occur, we usually will eventually see a Cast Member ask the guest to fix their mask, and it hasn’t become a larger issue.
So what if a guest flat out refuses to wear their mask? We asked a few Cast Members what sort of training they’ve received and they said it’s really a case-by-case scenario. Ultimately, their goal is to have the guest wear a mask, but if the guest is being stubborn, they’ll be asked to leave. It’s uncommon for a guest to become belligerent, but it happens from time to time.
Social Distancing Protocol and Enforcement
The larger issue for Cast Members now, however, is addressing clusters of guests who are not social distancing. Cast Members are responsible for separating these larger groups of guests when they spot them. We’ve personally witnessed some clusters being “broken up” by Cast Members while inside Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge but to us, it seems like stricter limitations in this land might need to be enforced.
The unique footprint and flow of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge can be disorienting for guests and it certainly has a lot of pinch points. And the foot traffic for two of the park’s most-popular rides (Rise of the Resistance and Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run) is adding to the strain on this rather cramped area of the park.
PhotoPass Protocol and Enforcement
We think it’s also interesting to note Disney World will not issue guests their PhotoPass images if they appear to have removed their face masks. Even when taking pictures, all guests need to keep their face masks securely fastened to their faces…not their chins.
And this is true for both PhotoPass pictures in the parks and on rides. If you take your mask off during a PhotoPass enabled attraction, you may not be able to access your photo.
Mask Protocol While Eating and Drinking, and Enforcement
And you might ask if you can still eat and drink while walking around a newly reopened Disney World theme park, especially since a Taste of EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival is currently underway.
Normally, guests can stroll around the World Showcase — and other areas of Disney World’s parks — while enjoying a snack or a drink. The week after the parks reopened, Disney instituted a rule that guests may remove their masks to eat or drink when in a stationary and socially distanced position, so find a spot to pull over when you want a sip of your Mexico margarita.
Extra tables have been provided at the Food and Wine Festival this year to encourage guests NOT to walk around while eating and drinking. We’ve confirmed with a General Manager Cast Members guests are allowed to remove their face coverings when standing at one of these socially distanced tables.
Removing your mask at a relaxation station, or while seated and dining at a quick service or table service restaurant is also acceptable. Otherwise, your mask must stay on while you munch and sip if your body’s in motion!
Overall, compliance with the new rules in Disney World is relatively high; and Disney World has Cast Members trained to remind guests to follow the social distancing and mask-wearing requirements.
But it remains to be seen what will happen once the new rules aren’t novel any longer. Compliance can break down toward the end of the day when there aren’t as many other guests — or Cast Members — around in certain areas of the parks and in Disney Springs. So we’ll continue to keep an eye on the situation and report back to you!
Would you feel comfortable visiting Disney World right now? Share your thoughts in the comments below.