For those wondering why Walt Disney World was still requiring masks on transportation and not anywhere else on property, we were hopefully able to clarify some of the issues in an earlier article. The good news is, in a somewhat surprising update, guests visiting Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida will no longer have to wonder. In a website driven policy announcement regarding the face coverings, we have found that on April 20th, 2022, Disney World has returned to as close as we can get to a pre-pandemic experience.
The webpage indicates face coverings are optional for indoor and outdoor locations; updated to also include masks as optional on all transportation as well. They do recommend masks for all non-vaccinated guests during indoor experiences and attractions, as well as aboard enclosed transportation including buses, monorail and boats. Disney also includes a provision that forbids masks on water slides and in the water. We have yet to witness anyone with a mask in a pool or water park but the clarity on policy is appreciated for those who may be considering a mask for any reason at all.
The Disney update comes just two days after U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle in Tampa, Florida ruled the mandate exceeded the authority of U.S. Health officials. This mandate that required travelers to wear face masks on airplanes, trains and all public transport was recently extended and set to expire on May 3rd. It did not take very long after the ruling for a Biden administration official to announce the TSA will no longer enforce the transit mask mandate, with airlines and other companies quickly following suit with announcements of their own. Disney updated their policy without a major announcement as of yet. The Justice Department stated it will not appeal the Judge's ruling, unless the Center for Disease Control deems the mask requirement is still necessary. In a statement, Justice Department spokesperson Anthony Coley said, officials believe the Federal Mask Mandate was "a valid exercise of authority Congress has given CDC to protect the public health." He also went on to say the CDC would continue to assess public health conditions, and if the agency determined a mandate was necessary for public health, the Justice Department would file an appeal. The CDC is still investigating newer variants and the potential impact on public health with any causes for concern.
According to the Disney website, guests will still need to have a park reservation in addition to an entry ticket to gain access to any of their theme parks. This park reservation policy helps Disney regulate park attendance. Having a reservation initially was launched as part of a safer Disney guest experience during the pandemic to limit the amount of people in the parks, especially when Disney experienced staffing issues. As many Disney fans know, the parks have always had capacity limits in place, but you would find out once you arrived with signage. This system can make planning more difficult but helps alleviate disappointment after the trip has been made.
Disney will also continue its mobile order and touchless technologies through the My Disney Experience App. In our experience, the app has really helped spending less time at quick service restaurant lines and more time seeing and experiencing the park attractions. If you do not have the app, not to worry, there is always a cast member at quick service locations and the Guest Experience blue umbrellas to help.
We hope you feel comfortable enough to enjoy your Disney experience in whatever way you wish. Please let us know below when your next trip may be and what you like best about the Disney bubble.