It’s been a BIG morning in Disney World.
Just last night Disney announced face masks for all guests would not be required outdoors. After almost a year of strict face mask rules in place, we hit the parks early to see this new change in action. Come along with us as we check out life in Disney World (outdoors) mask-free.
Disney made this announcement last night after many guests had likely gone to bed or otherwise been unable to see it. So for many guests at the parks this morning, this news was a surprise! We spotted many guests on their phones looking up what was going on or asking others.
Keep in mind, this policy change isn’t limited to those who are fully vaccinated. As the rule states, all guests can remove masks outdoors. This includes children and adults who have NOT been vaccinated.
We started our morning noting that temperature checks, which Disney had announced would be phased out soon…have been. The tents remained but AdventHealth workers weren’t here checking any temperatures. We saw this at the Transportation and Ticket Center…
…and at Hollywood Studios.
Most guests had masks on getting IN to the parks. In fact, on our trip on the Ferry Boat to Magic Kingdom, a Cast Member was asking guests to please keep them on while on the boat.
In the parks, we witnessed MOST guests wearing their masks as they went through the park entrances. Some were not though. A Cast Member we spoke with said guests are not required to have them on while entering, as they are outside.
Over at Hollywood Studios, a Cast Member with a loudspeaker was letting guests know about the policy change as they entered.
Signage has been updated at entrances to no longer specify masks are required outside but does note guests ARE still required to wear masks indoors and on attractions.
We noticed, of the guests that left their masks on while entering, many stopped to remove them once past the entrance.
Many guests on Main Street were taking theirs off. We’d say we saw probably about 30% leaving their masks on.
We popped in the Emporium in Magic Kingdom to see how the change looked. There, a Cast Member was alerting guests as they entered that their masks needed to be back on.
If you’re curious how bathroom breaks are being handled (they are indoors, after all) most guests we’ve seen have been putting their masks on before hitting the bathroom.
At outdoor food locations though, like Westward Ho, we noticed guests ordering mask-free.
Remember that now, being able to have a mask off outdoors means guests can potentially eat and drink while walking without a mask again. We spotted a number of guests doing just that. This appears to be allowed under the new policy, though not explicitly stated.
However, at places such as EPCOT’s World Showplace, masks are still required, as it is indoors. You will need to wear a mask while walking around and ordering, although you can take it off while stationary and eating.
As for rides, you currently need to have a mask on while in line and riding an attraction. On most rides, we spotted a Cast Member at the entrance altering guests they need a mask on to get in line. We’ve seen a number of guests leaving masks in strollers and having to rush back to get theirs!
We spoke with a Cast Member who let us know the policy, as they understood it, is that masks are not required and guests can eat and drink in line only while in overflow lines but NOT the “real” lines (so basically the long distanced lines extending PAST the real lines are OK). We did see a Cast Member tell a family drinking Starbucks that they had to finish their drinks before getting in line.
Once guests enter the ACTUAL line (so once you go under the gates at Haunted Mansion or once you get in the real line at the front of Seven Dwarfs Mine Train where a Cast Member greets you, for instance) masks need to be used and eating and drinking must stop.
The same goes for shows — if lines are outside but still technically part of the “real” line, masks must stay on. We saw this at Muppet*Vision 3D at Hollywood Studios.
Over at Animal Kingdom, guests were allowed to remain mask-free going through walk-through attractions like Maharajah Jungle Trek, as well as the Bat House and Aviary (as those two structures are basically open-air).
This IS the first day, so answers surrounding where masks need to be used in each line seem to vary a bit from Cast Member to Cast Member. If a Cast Member asks you to stop eating or drinking in line or put your mask on, listen to them. Just know it’s possible it could take a few days for them all to get on the same page for individual rides. This is VERY new to them, too!
Speaking of Cast Members, all of them that we’ve seen have been still wearing masks. We’ve seen Cast Members that work completely outdoors still wearing them so, at this time, this policy change only seems to be for guests.
As the morning has gone on, we’ve seen more guests removing their masks on Main Street, U.S.A..
At the Main Street Bakery, we noted a Cast Member telling guests they could leave their masks off while waiting in the overflow line outside, but once they enter the building, their mask needs to go back on.
At the monorail station, Cast Members were telling guests that once they reach the top of the ramp up to the station itself, masks must be on.
This is a VERY new policy so it will likely take a bit for guests to settle into it. So remember, if you choose to remove your mask and plan to go indoors at all (a gift shop, transportation, or restaurant, for instance) or plan to ride a ride, pop that mask back on! We’ll continue to update you with these new HUGE changes as the day goes on!
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What do you think of this major change? Let us know below.