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What is it like at Walt Disney World with the new mask policy?

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What is it like at Walt Disney World with the new mask policy?
Credit: Disney

Walt Disney World recently changed their face mask policy in a BIG way. Check out why this new policy is a bit confusing and liberating at the same time.

New Mask Policy

In April, we received the first change to the face mask policy. Guests were allowed to temporarily remove their face masks while taking outdoor photos. 

Even with this change, the policy still remained that Guests must wear face masks at all other times except while remaining stationary while actively eating or drinking.

As of May 15, 2021, Walt Disney World Resort theme parks, hotels, and Disney Springs no longer require guests to wear masks when outdoors. 

However, masks will still be required at Disney’s theme parks when guests are indoors, when guests are in the queue for attractions, and when guests are experiencing attractions. Masks will also be required while guests are using Disney transportation, including transportation entrances.

This was absolutely great news. My husband and I (Donna) were planning a trip to Walt Disney World on Monday, May 17th. This was perfect timing to be able to enjoy our trip without wearing face masks for the entire trip.

Attraction Queue Confusion

During our trip, it seemed that many Guests, including myself, were a bit confused when face masks needed to be worn. The new policy states that Guests are to wear face masks while they are in the queue for attractions.

This policy sounds very clear, but many queues are located outdoors. Obviously Guests would wear their masks while standing in line indoors for an attraction, but a few attraction queues were a bit confusing.

For example, while standing in line for Tower of Terror, I assumed that I would be able to go without my mask prior to entering through the gates at the FastPass queue entrance. Instead, we were asked to wear our face masks several yards from the entrance to the queue.

At many of the attractions Cast Members friendly reminded Guests that face masks were now required when entering a certain section of the attraction queue.

While waiting in line for the TTC PeopleMover, we were technically in an outdoor queue but we were waiting underneath the covering from the attraction. In this queue line, it appeared that many Guests were just as confused as we were.

The majority of Guests wore their face masks in this queue, but still some did not. A Cast Member was sending Guests up the escalator for the loading area. At this point he reminded Guests to wear their face masks. A Cast Member was not present earlier in the queue for this attraction.

This was a little confusing. Cast Members learned of this new change to face masks at the same time as Guests. I hope that the guidelines for face masks in outside queues may continue to receive further clarification in the coming weeks.

Transportation

The new mask policy states that masks will also be required while guests are using Disney transportation, including transportation entrances. While riding on the monorail, all Guests wore their masks while standing in the queue line.

When we entered the monorail tram, some Guests removed their masks once seated within the partitions of their tram. It is possible that some Guests assumed that with the partitions this would be safe. Many Guests may have not known that face masks were required the entire time inside the monorail.

During this quick trip along the monorail to the entrance to the Magic Kingdom, an overhead announcement was not played reminding Guests that face masks must be worn.

First Look at Safety Measures in Place on Disney Transportation

Along the Disney bus transportation, Guests wore face masks while waiting in line. As we were welcomed onto the bus, the Cast Member reminded us of the new face mask policy for the duration of the bus ride. All Guests were compliant to this new policy.

The Skyliner seemed a bit confusing for Guests. When able to simply walk onto the Skyliner without a line, Guests were able to enter the gondolas without a face mask.

At the Disney Skyliner hub, this was the first location that we were asked to wear a face mask to wait for and while riding the Disney’s Skyliner. This again seemed to be a bit confusing for Guests.

Walt Disney World stated that face masks must be worn while using Disney transportation. This seemed to be a bit confusing on the Disney’s Skyliner and while on the monorail.

Shopping

When entering an indoor store, Guests are asked to wear face masks. I will admit that I often forgot about my face mask prior to entering the indoor stores.

Cast Members were always very kind in reminding Guests to wear their face masks. In outdoor covered shopping locations, Guests were not asked to wear face masks. This also was the case with ordering food in outdoor quick service locations.

Indoor shopping locations require Guests to wear face masks. Outdoor covered shopping locations appeared to not require face masks.

Outdoor Attractions

While riding some outdoor attractions, many Guests removed their masks during the ride either to take a picture or to enjoy the nice breeze. Cast Members reminded Guests that masks were mandatory.

At Dumbo, the amazing flying elephant had a few delays. Many Guests were taking down their face masks to snap photos and Cast Members had to wait for all face masks to be worn properly.

This was a bit frustrating. I am just as excited to take photos without my mask as the next Disney Guest, but there is a way of doing this and being thoughtful of Cast Members and fellow Guests.

For example, there is an adorable Dumbo ride vehicle available at this attraction. Guests could easily take a mask-free photo with their family at this location without creating ride delays.

Keeping up with the Mask

I will admit that at home and in daily life I am fairly organized. Something happens to me when I pass through the entrances of the Disney Parks. I truly become a kid at heart and become completely enveloped in the magic of Disney.

At Disney, I am often so excited about the next attraction or even the next Disney snack that I often misplace things. It was a bit of a chore to keep up with my mask throughout the trip. I ended up wearing my mask on my wrist the majority of the trip to avoid losing it.

I did see many Guests wearing them under their chin. Additionally, some Guests wore a lanyard for eyeglasses but repurposed it for their face mask.

I greatly enjoyed not wearing a mask outdoors, and I am very thankful for this change. What to do with the mask while not in use just seemed to be a bit frustrating.

Also I was surprised to see many lost face masks throughout the Parks. The Disney Parks take great pride for their cleanliness. Unfortunately during our trip we saw many face masks littered along the pathways of the Parks.

I greatly enjoyed not wearing a face mask, but it was a bit frustrating to keep track of my mask while not in use.

My Review

It is so wonderful to experience the Disney Parks without wearing a face mask for the entire trip. This is definitely a welcome change as we enter the hot summer months.

During the next few weeks, Disney will undoubtedly clarify when face masks must be worn. Hopefully this will help clear up confusion and allow all Guests to comply easily.

One of the big changes to come with this new mask policy is that Guests may now walk and enjoy food and beverages. This was such a GREAT change. This was especially nice while waiting in line for attractions.

In January, it was difficult to explain to my kids that they had to be stationary to enjoy popcorn or a drink. They are always eager to enjoy the next attraction and rarely want to sit to enjoy a snack or drink while in the Parks. This change made our trip much more enjoyable.

One of the big changes to come with this new mask policy is that Guests may now walk and enjoy food and beverages.

Although there a few minor frustrations with this new mask policy, it is still a very welcome change.

Have you visited Walt Disney World since the new face mask policy has started? What are your tips to conveniently have access to your face mask? Share your thoughts with us on our Facebook Page.




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