Disney World’s face mask policy has been a staple health measurement since the announcement that Disney Springs was reopening back in May of 2020. In fact, Disney’s policies regarding face masks predate Disney Springs’ reopening to when Shanghai Disneyland first welcomed guests back on May 11th, 2020.
But since the theme parks reopened in July, those requirements and guidelines have changed. Let’s recap the past few months since reopening and go over the timeline of Disney World’s face mask requirement.
May 7th: Disney announced that the shopping and dining district Disney Springs would reopen on May 20th. During this announcement, the original verbiage surrounding masks was that safety measures would incorporate “the use of appropriate face coverings by both cast members and guests.”
Later that day, Disney Parks Chairman Josh D’Amaro clarified that Disney Springs would be “Requiring both our cast members and guests to wear face coverings.” Still, the original guidelines surrounding face masks were a little vague compared to what it is today.
May 20th: Disney Springs officially reopened! Their face mask policy was enforced from the start, but still vague as to what exactly constitutes a proper face covering.
May 27th: Disney World made their reopening presentation to the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force, and we learned that the parks would reopen on July 11th and 15th. During this presentation, Disney’s face mask policy was largely unchanged from its original iteration: Face masks would be mandatory for all guests, with the exception of when a guest is dining.
At this presentation, Disney also mentioned the idea of “relaxation stations,” a designated area in the park where a guest would be able to temporarily remove their mask.
May 28th: Disney then made one of their first major updates to their face mask policy. Originally, a face covering was required for all guests ages 3 and above. This policy was updated to now requiring all guests ages 2 and above to wear a proper face covering.
June 22nd: Between the reopening of Disney Springs and the reopening of the four theme parks, Disney’s face mask policy remained largely unchanged. With the reopening of the first wave of Disney World Resort hotels taking place on June 22nd, some clarifications were introduced for when guests would need to wear masks at the hotels.
In short, face masks must be worn at all times at a resort hotel when guests are not in their rooms. The exceptions to this rule are when guests are dining, or when they are swimming in a pool.
July 10th: Disney made their first significant update to their face mask policy when it comes to clarifying exactly what is a proper face covering. Before, the rule was rather ambiguous and guests could more or less bring any face covering with them.
Ahead of the parks reopening, Disney specifically updated their policy to state that neck gaiters and open-chin triangle bandanas are not acceptable face coverings. In addition, Disney clarified that a face covering must be secured with ties or ear loops. Based on these initial guidelines, face shields were also not considered an appropriate face covering on their own, although they could be worn in addition to a face mask.
July 11th and 15th: The four Disney World theme parks officially reopened to the public! We got to take a first look at the relaxation stations in each of the four parks, where guests may temporarily remove their face masks. Our first days back in the parks were when we first heard from PhotoPass Cast Members that face masks must be worn while taking photos.
July 18th: Another major update to Disney World’s face mask policy came in the first week of the four parks reopening for guests. The question was raised, specifically during the Taste of EPCOT Food and Wine Festival, if guests could eat and drink “on the go.”
Disney updated their guidelines to include that guests must be “stationary and maintain appropriate physical distancing” while eating or drinking in order to remove their mask. New signage reflecting this policy arrived in World Showcase the following day, and the overhead announcements throughout the parks now included this updated guideline.
July 26th: Disney further clarified what is and is not a proper face mask. The added verbiage includes information that “masks with valves, holes, or mesh material” would not be allowed in the parks.
How many face masks should you pack for your upcoming trip to Disney World? Click here to learn more!
September 2nd: An entire month would pass before we saw any more significant updates to Disney’s face mask policy. This time, the update was noticed in the overhead announcements that play periodically in each of the theme parks. The overhead announcement now reminded guests that face masks must remain on while taking photos.
September 11th: Another update was made to the overhead announcements. Now, there was added information that reminded guests that “face coverings must fully cover your nose and mouth, and be worn at all times except while actively eating or drinking while stationary.”
Will Disney World relax their face mask policy for guests with disabilities? Click here to learn more!
October 9th: New signs appeared in the theme parks that states, “Guests not properly wearing an approved mask will be asked to leave.” This is the first time we’ve spotted Disney explicitly state the consequences of not complying with their face mask policy.
October 13th: The overhead announcements were updated to include the new warning for guests who do not properly wear face masks.
October 16th: Disney World’s website debuts new language telling guests to rebook their trip for a future date if they cannot follow proper face mask protocol.
This shift in Disney’s tone reflects how seriously they are taking their face mask policies, and how over time Disney has trended towards tightening on their guidelines instead of loosening them.
November 2nd: We visited the parks to discover that Disney’s face masks received a HUGE price increase. Previously, face masks were retailing for $6.00 a piece plus tax, but as of November 2nd, they are retailing for $9.99 a piece plus tax.
This price hike did not seem to reach the Disneyland Resort, however. As of this writing, face masks on the west coast are still selling for $6.00 a piece plus tax.
November 4th: There was yet another update to Disney’s overhead announcement, this time for policies that guests must follow while standing in line for rides and attractions.
The announcement says, “Face coverings must fully cover your nose and mouth and be worn at all times while in line,” as part of an updated rule that eating and drinking are not permitted while in line.
There’s no question that Disney is keeping a close watch on proper face mask protocol and have implemented best practices based on current CDC guidelines. We can expect to see more updates to come as Disney continues to keep the safety of their Cast Members and guests a top priority!
Be sure to keep checking in as we will continue to bring you the most up-to-date face mask policies when visiting the parks and resorts.
Looking for the perfect face mask for your upcoming Disney World vacation? Check out some of our latest designs in our DFB shop!
Have you visited Disney World since the parks reopened in July? Share your experience when it comes to wearing a face mask in the theme parks in the comments below!