There has been so much going on this week between Disney news and updates with the Florida governor lifting pandemic restrictions, and it’s only Tuesday! So much news is going around we wanted to compile the basics for all of you Insiders so that you can find all the information in one place!
So where to start…
Yesterday we reported that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced during a press conference that he is signing a bill and an Executive Order effective July 1, 2021 that will invalidate existing COVID orders. DeSantis also stated that prior to July 1, 2021 he will suspend local emergency orders that pertain to COVID.
We all were wondering how his announcement was going to affect the theme parks and Disney has now responded.
Disney World has already been allowed to operate at a capacity higher than 35% and eliminate other pandemic-era restrictions from the theme parks, but because they are a private company, they have chosen to not do so. Shortly after the Governor announced this piece of news yesterday, Disney has made it clear that they have heard his message but that while they are evaluating, their health and safety policies will still be in effect.
If you log onto the “My Disney Experience” app, you will now see this message:
We are aware of the state of Florida’s plans announced today to modify COVID-19 guidelines. We will evaluate this latest guidance and maintain our current health and safety measures at this time, including face-covering requirements. We will continue to make thoughtful adjustments to our policy. As COVID-19 vaccines become more available, we encourage people to get vaccinated.
While Disney is making it clear that they are reviewing the new changes that are being made by Governor DeSantis, they have also made it clear that nothing is changing as of right now. This means six-foot social distancing in place, wearing your mask at all times (unless stationary and actively eating, drinking, or taking an outdoor photo while maintaining a social distance), 35% capacity in the theme parks, and temperature checks for all Guests.
Many may have heard the Governors announcement and felt a sense of relief that normalcy is really coming back, while others may be cringing and saying, “it’s not time yet.” I believe Disney wants to get back to normal as quickly as we all do, but with that being said I also truly believe they have everyone’s health and safety in mind and want to continue making sure we continue to head in a positive direction.
While changes are not being made at Disney effective immediately, I believe they will take all the data into consideration and could possibly slowly start making more changes over the summer. We’ve already recently seen a big and exciting change where Disney is now allowing you take a stationary picture or video outdoors, with face masks off!
Let me tell you Insiders, after a year of seeing pictures with face masks at the parks, it’s been really amazing seeing everyone’s smiling faces at the Disney World parks again! If more and more people continue to get vaccinated and we see everything continuing in a positive direction, I can definitely see Disney World relaxing their face masks policy as we continue into the summer!
Now what about the airports? Now that Governor DeSantis is suspending local emergency orders that pertain to the COVID-19 pandemic, are things going to be more relaxed at the airports?
The Orlando International Airport (MCO) has made a response on this as well. According to the Orlando Aviation Media Bulletin, the Federal mask mandate will remain in effect:
The federal mask mandate requiring the traveling public to wear face masks or coverings at Orlando International Airport remains in effect. The mandate, which went into effect in February, applies to all modes of federally-regulated public transportation including airports, at security checkpoints and while traveling on commercial flights.
As the country continues to battle the ongoing public health crisis, the mask mandate was originally set to expire on May 11 but was extended through Sept.13, according to updated guidance issued by the Transportation Security Administration last week.
— Orlando International Airport (@MCO) May 4, 2021
The Orlando airport is currently not changing their policy on face masks, will this decision hinder tourists traveling to Disney World from out of state? Although many have voiced that they are still waiting to visit the parks until things are back to normal, it’s doubtful, especially with the face mask policy being relaxed already for outdoor photos at the parks. This has been a long and hard year for so many, but I think we can all agree that today we are currently doing so much better than we were a year ago, or even just a couple months ago!
We can only hope that everything continues to improve, and hopefully by summer we will be even closer to that feeling of “normalcy” we all are desperately missing. We all need a little Disney magic now more than ever and no matter how long it takes to get completely back to normal, they will continue providing that magic to their Guests day in and day out!
What are your thoughts on MCO and Disney’s responses to the Florida Governor suspending local emergency orders that pertain to the COVID pandemic?