To ensure we are equipping our readers with all the information they need, we will continue to report on all travel, safety, and COVID-related news that could impact a Disney Parks visit.
If you’re visiting Disney World in 2022 or are considering booking a vacation for 2022, then you’re likely wondering just how large of a role COVID will play in planning and taking that trip!
Disney World has gone through a series of health and safety guideline updates since the parks first reopened in the summer of 2020, and today we’re going to outline what the current health and safety guidelines currently look like for 2022.
One of the health measurements that will have the most immediate impact on your vacation are face mask guidelines. These guidelines have gone through a few changes in the last year and a half, so it’s important to be caught up on Disney World’s current policy.
EDITOR’S UPDATE, 2/17/22: Please be aware that as of February 17th, masks are optional for fully vaccinated guests indoors and outdoors. Disney’s policy does say that they “expect Guests who are not fully vaccinated to continue wearing face coverings in all indoor locations.”
EDITOR’S UPDATE, 4/19/22: On April 19, 2022* the policy was further updated to reflect that face masks are no longer required on any transportation in Disney World. Disney World has updated their face mask rules to note that face coverings are “optional for Guests in both outdoor and indoor locations, as well as Disney transportation.” The new policy does say that it is “recommended” that “Guests who are not fully vaccinated continue wearing face coverings in all indoor locations, including indoor attractions and theaters and on enclosed transportation.”
Please be aware that we have discovered that masks remain required in certain areas of First Aid Centers.
(Prior to April 19, 2022* the most recent policy change happened on March 16, 2022 when the policy was updated to reflect that “Face coverings are still required by all Guests (ages 2 and up) on Disney buses and monorails.” Face masks were previously still required on all enclosed transportation. But this policy change made face coverings optional for fully vaccinated guests on the Disney World Skyliner and for fully vaccinated guests on the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser transport vehicle while traveling to and from the Halcyon starcruiser and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.)
Click HERE to find all of the information on the mask policy that went into effect on April 19, 2022.
Additional health and safety measurements have been reduced or suspended altogether in recent months. Temperature checks are no longer taking place at Disney World, and currently, there is no vaccine mandate for guests wishing to visit the parks.
Social Distancing and Park Capacity
Another health and safety measurement that had a major impact on the guest experience in the earliest days of Disney World’s phased reopening are social distancing policies and overall park capacity. When Disney World first reopened, capacity was very much limited, with six-foot social distancing markers seen throughout the parks, resorts, and at Disney Springs.
These days, however, you’ll find that formal social distancing has been more or less lifted. Disney World also announced earlier in 2021 that park capacity would slowly increase over time, with the parks looking more and more like their pre-pandemic levels in recent weeks. With more entertainment returning to the parks in 2022, it looks like Disney World is continuing to relax their social distancing guidelines even further.
You may find in 2022 that the crowds in Disney World look an awful lot like crowds in 2019, especially at times where crowds tend to congregate, like for the fireworks or at peak times of the day in those areas prone to congestion. While Disney will continue to assess park capacity as it relates to the latest health and safety guidelines, we wouldn’t expect to see wide-open walkways like we did in those first few months after the parks reopened.
The COVID pandemic certainly changed the way we dine out, and this was especially true at Disney World restaurants and dining locations. You may find that many of these changes that were first implemented in the summer of 2020 are still around like Mobile Order, Mobile Dine Check-In, and Mobile Dine Walk-Up Waitlist.
Some dining offerings that were unavailable at first are now coming back to the parks and resorts, including buffets.
Modified character dining has been around since Disney World’s Resort hotels first reopened in June of 2020, with Topolino’s Terrace giving us a glimpse at how interacting with Mickey, Minnie, and our favorite Disney characters would look in the pandemic. Since then, more character dining locations have reopened, and most recently, guests may now approach characters at these locations for distanced photographs.
UPDATE: Character dining has returned to normal in Disney World. Starting on April 18th, 2022, guests can hug, high-five, and take close pictures with characters while dining.
We’re so glad that character dining has returned to the parks, and we’ll keep you updated on any more returning character dining opportunities!
Last but certainly not least, we have to talk about what character meet and greets will look like in 2022! In a time where caution must be exercised when it comes to close contact with other individuals, we haven’t been able to hug our favorite mouse or princess for quite some time.
When the parks first reopened, characters could be seen at all four parks, but from a safe distance. That is still the case, but modified meet and greets are slowly starting to look a bit more “normal.”
Guests still cannot hug characters or get autographs, but character encounters have started to return to the parks in ways that more closely resemble a pre-closure meet and greet. For example, guests can now meet Mickey Mouse in Town Square Theater on Main Street, U.S.A., or the princesses at Princess Fairytale Hall.
UPDATE: Character meet and greets have returned to normal in Disney World. Starting on April 18th, you can hug, high five, and take close pictures with characters in all Disney World parks.
Disney World had come up with creative solutions to these distanced meet and greets, and some of our favorite changes from the past year and a half have been seeing the unique ways characters now appear in the parks!
The only thing that is constant in Disney World is change, and that has been especially true over the past year and a half since the parks first reopened. If you are planning on taking a trip to Disney World in 2022, you’ll want to make sure you follow along so you stay up-to-date with the latest changes in the resort’s health and safety measurements.
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Are you planning on taking a trip to Disney World in 2022? Let us know in the comments.