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.
Although Disney World reopened a little over a year ago, things still aren’t completely back to “normal”. As the pandemic has spread, Disney has updated its health and safety measures to help keep people safe. Recently, we reported that the White House COVID-19 report listed Orange County (where Disney World is located) as a “rapid riser” county.
Now, we’ve got an update to share about the state of Florida amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, the White House labeled Orange County as a COVID-19 hotspot in the latest COVID-19 community profile report.
A community is given the hotspot designation when they have “reached a threshold of disease activity considered as being of high burden,” according to the Orlando Sentinel. This week alone, the Florida Department of Health reported 13,530 new coronavirus cases among Florida residents.
To further explain this update, here is the breakdown between a “rapid riser” designation and a “hotspot” designation:
Rapid Riser County:
- 100 new cases in last 7 days
- 0% change in 7-day incidence
- -60% change in 3-day incidence
- 7-day incidence / 30-day incidence ratio >0.31
- One or both of the following triggering criteria:
(a) >60% change in 3-day incidence,
(b) >60% change in 7-day incidence
Keep in mind that the purpose of the hotspot designation is to identify communities that have reached a threshold of disease activity that is considered as being of high burden.
- >100 new cases per 100K population OR >500 new cases in the past week
- Number of days in downward case trajectory ≤ 7 days
- >50 cases during the past week
- Conditions must hold for at least 3 of the previous 5 days
As the situation changes, we’ll continue to keep a close watch on Orange County, Florida, and provide any further updates as they become available.
UPDATE: According to an article from Newsweek posted on December 13th, “COVID-19 cases in Florida are rising faster than in any other U.S. state.” Date from The New York Times as of Monday showed that Florida had a 185% increase in the average daily COVID-19 cases over the last 14 days. That compares to a nationwide increase in average daily COVID-19 infections of 43% over the last 2 weeks.
If you’re heading to Disney World soon, keep in mind that masks continue to be required for all guests ages 2 and up in all indoor locations, regardless of vaccination status. This includes once you enter an indoor queue and throughout all indoor rides, as well as inside indoor restaurants (except when actively eating or drinking while stationary). Masks are also required in the monorail, on buses, and on the Skyliner.
If you’re wondering about social distancing in Disney World, social distancing has essentially been phased out. Every row and seat is generally being used on rides, single rider lines are open in several spots, and we have seen some large crowds in the parks.
Some things are still not back to “normal” or are still modified in some way, however. For example, character meet-and-greets have returned, but guests must maintain their distance from the characters — a.k.a. no hugs or autographs. Select restaurants are still closed or serving modified/more limited menus. Several experiences (such as specialty tours or special dining experiences) are not available at the moment, and some entertainment offerings have yet to return to the parks. But changes are on the way and select entertainment options and more will be returning soon.
If you’re planning to visit Disney World soon, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Park Passes continue to be required
- Mobile Order is encouraged or essentially required in many spots, so be sure to get those Mobile Orders in early
- Be sure to pack extra masks so you can be prepared for your trip, and consider grabbing a mask chain to help you conveniently carry it around when you’re not wearing it
We’re constantly on the lookout for updates when it comes to health and safety regulations in Disney World or COVID-19 updates from the surrounding area. We’ve already shared updates about the Omicron COVID-19 variant and how it has impacted travel restrictions. Mask mandates in the U.S. on planes, in airports, and more have also been extended, so that’s something to keep in mind. The first cases of the Omicron COVID-19 variant have already been found in Florida and we’re on the lookout for more updates. If you want to know more about Omicron and Disney World, click here for our full post.
In the meantime, stay tuned for more Disney-related news and information.
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