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Walt Disney World Changes; Distancing, Capacity, and Mask Changes

Polka Dots and Pixie Dust

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Fresh on the heels of the news that Universal Studios Orlando would be reducing their physical distancing requirements from 6-feet to 3-feet, Walt Disney World followed suit. With increased demand in the Disney Parks and the pandemic beginning to slow, Walt Disney World has already made an effort to begin returning things to normal. For Walt Disney World the coming changes at the state and local levels are almost constant. With recent changes to self-service stations, temperature checks, and parking, this distance requirement is just another change on the docket, on the way back to normalcy. Here is the round-up of things changing at Walt Disney World.

Face Masks No Longer Required Outside

Effective immediately, Walt Disney World is no longer requiring the use of face masks in outdoor common areas or pool areas. Face Masks are still required for indoor areas, like restaurants, attractions, theaters, etc. As always keep an eye on Disney's experience updates page for continuing changes.

“…today’s guidance that we got from the CDC in terms of those that were vaccinated do not necessarily need to wear masks anymore, both outdoors and indoors. Is very big news for us, particularly if anybody’s been in Florida in the middle of the summer with a mask on. That could be quite daunting. So we think that’s going to make for an even more pleasant experience and we believe that as we’re now bringing back a lot of people back to work, that it’s going to be an even bigger catalyst for growth in attendance, and we’ve been quite pleased to date.” - Bob Chapek

Physical Distancing Changes

Effective immediately, in alignment with Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings' three-phased plan, theme parks in Florida are allowed to change their six-foot distance requirements to three feet. For Walt Disney World, this means they are "allowed" to lift this requirement, but they will be doing so gradually. As physical distancing measures are reduced across the park guests, this comes with a few exceptions. Six-foot distancing measures are still in place and mean to continue in all restaurants and dining locations as well as all gift shops and retail.

Ride Queue Distancing Changes

One of the biggest things influenced by the physical distancing change is the ride queue lines. If you're been in the parks at all this year or last you know that at six feet apart even the shortest lines weave through the park, affecting the flow of traffic and crowd perception. We don't know how long three-foot distancing will be in place but for the time being this change will help the parks handle increased capacity.

Capacity is Increasing

In an earnings call with Disney CEO Bob Chapek today, he stated that the parks are beginning to raise the previously set 35% capacity limit.

"In terms of the parks, and when we’re going to sort of be able to raise our capacity limits, we’ve actually already started that, given the guidance that just came today, from the CDC, and earlier guidance that we got from the governor of Florida, we’ve already started to increase our capacities, those obviously today’s guidance that we got from the CDC in terms of those that were vaccinated do not necessarily need to wear masks anymore, both outdoors and indoors." - Bob Chapek

Temperature Checks Have Been Removed

Walt Disney World has removed temperature checks in all locations across the parks, including in restaurants. This was a blanket change as a result of the recent state order.

Parking Returns to Normal

Previously allowing cars to park only in every other space, cars parking in any of the Disney Parks parking lots are now able to park in every space, as directed.

Other Changes at Walt Disney World

In addition to all the recent changes, there is also a move across the park to return to normal.
Self-Service Drink Stations are now Open to Guests. Previously, only accessible via a cast member, Disney guests can now get fill and refill their refillable mugs at Disney Resorts. Character Dining returns May 18th at select Walt Disney WorldRestaurants; Chef Mickey’s at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Cape May Café at Disney’s Beach Club Resorts, and Tusker House Restaurants at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Visiting Walt Disney World in 2021

With all the changes at Walt Disney World, be sure to keep an eye on the news, as it's changing fast! And as a reminder, a Disney Park Pass Reservation is required in addition to a valid ticket to enter any Walt Disney World park. If you're visiting Walt Disney World this year, be safe and have fun!

Disney World Changes and Face Mask UpdatesPolka Dot Pixie Dust Blog

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We are Rochelle and Melanie. Sisters and Travelers. Sharing Disney Vacation Planning Tips, News, Resort, and Restaurants Reviews. Covering Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise, Disney Aulani, and more.

Orlando, FL

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