Home Disney, Universal & Other Theme Parks The Problem Disney World Will Have In The Days After Coronavirus

The Problem Disney World Will Have In The Days After Coronavirus

by SharonKurheg

As of this writing, the only Disney theme park in the world that’s open is Shanghai Disneyland. After 4 months of closed gates due to coronavirus, the park is open, but there are limitations. You have to make a reservation for entry day and time because they’re only allowing a certain number of guests into the park on any given day. Guests have to show a green health code on their cell phones. You have to get your temperature taken. Masks are required at all times, unless you’re eating.

Once inside the parks, you must adhere to social distancing which are guided with signs and markers. There are no parades or fireworks, since those draw crowds. Interactive play areas that require touch are shut, and indoor live theater shows aren’t running.

Although there are no signs of when the Disneyland parks in Anaheim, Tokyo, Paris or Hong Kong will open, Walt Disney World is dipping its toe into reopening, starting with Disney Springs, its shopping/dining district, on May 20th. None of the Disney-own storefronts will open that day but a handful of third-party shops and eateries will. That will be followed by more places at Disney Springs, including some Disney-run shops, the following week.

Disney has already posted what is to be expected on May 20th in terms of changes to Disney property, which include:

  • Limited parking and reduced entrances
  • Temperature screenings prior to entry
  • Face coverings required for everyone
  • Physical distancing practices including physically-distanced queues and physical barriers
  • Temporary operation modifications, including reduced hours at select locations and no scheduled entertainment offerings or high-touch interactive areas
  • An increased focus on disinfecting and sanitation, including the addition of hand-washing stations and hand sanitizers in key areas

I suspect when the theme parks are ready to open, the same rules will be in place, as well as several more than probably mirror Shanghai.

Some of these changes won’t make a huge difference in peoples’ visiting Disney. The limited parking and reduced entrances are mainly for Disney Springs, so there’s control of where people can enter the area – that’s so they can get temperature checks done. Temperature checks can be done at the parks when they’re doing bag checks.

But once people are in the parks, I suspect things will be very different.

For better or for worse, Disney has “trained” some of its consumers to the point where the company has enmeshed itself into peoples’ emotions. It’s to the point where some of them see a visit to WDW as going “home.” Anything that messes with those emotions can be a bone of contention, especially when the increasingly-common-in-the-21st-century feelings of entitlement start to come into play. And yes, even, apparently, during a worldwide pandemic and, no, won’t last forever. I’ve seen them on the various message groups on Facebook:

  • “If there aren’t any parades or fireworks, what’s the sense of going?”
  • “If I’m paying that much for a ticket and only half of the attractions are open, I want to pay half price.”
  • “The reason I got an annual pass was so I could go on the spur of the moment and now they want me to make a reservation?”
  • “I couldn’t imagine going to Disney and my kids not being able to hug the characters and get their picture taken with them”
  • “If I spent all that money on a Disney vacation, I want it to be magical. It can’t be magical if I have to watch where I walk and can’t go and do everything like I usually do. And it will really be not magical if I have to wear a mask.”

And that last one? THAT’S going to be the one to watch. There are SOOO many people who won’t go to WDW (or DL, for that matter) because they don’t want to wear masks. You’ve got:

  • the Disney purists who don’t want to wear masks because it will be messing with their magic (“Do they expect us to get our pictures taken with masks on?”).
  • the naysayers who think it’s all a hoax, or COVID isn’t as bad as the media makes it seem to be.
  • the ones who are just not comfortable wearing masks. They claim they can’t breathe with a mask on, it will be too hot in the summer for a mask, or, my favorite, “I certainly hope they have a staff of full time EMS workers and ambulances on hand to carry all those people who faint from heat stroke or dehydration because Disney said they had to wear masks in 100 degree heat.” (paraphrased and purposely keeping anonymous, to protect the drama llama)

I mean, there are already people who are going as far as looking at lawsuits as a way to not have to wear a mask at Disney, using ADA/health related reasons (that way it could be considered discrimination).

So all those people? They’re not coming unless they can go mask-free.

And on the other hand, you have all the people who won’t go to Disney UNLESS everyone is wearing masks. Inside. Outside. All the time unless they’re eating. They’re going to be wearing one, and they’re afraid that others might have the virus and be asymptomatic. So if people cough or sneeze, or even are out of breath and breathing hard and deep after walking up a flight of steps because they’re out of shape, they could be spreading COVID cooties everywhere. If everyone isn’t forced to wear a mask, they’re not coming until masks aren’t necessary anymore.

So you got the guests who won’t come if they have to wear masks, and the ones who won’t come unless everyone wears masks.

Disney is usually the master at keeping a lot of people happy all at once but this is going to be one of those times when a huge chunk of people not only will be unhappy, but just won’t come. When it comes to masks, Disney will be damned if they do and they’re damned if they don’t.

Granted, Disney will started with a limited numbers of people in the parks. With so many people out of work when they were quarantined, WDW may initially be a financial hardship for many. With lots of domestic flights still off on the horizon and international flights even moreso, there will be less people available to go to Walt Disney World, anyway. But still, I see no way for Disney to spin this one to keep most people happy.

What do you think? Should it be Disney with masks, or a mask-free Disney?

#stayhealthy #staysafe #washyourhands

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary



David May 18, 2020 - 3:33 pm

There’s no poll or opinion here. There is no damned if you do and damned if you don’t. It’s there will be masks – period. End of story. Those who don’t like it can stay home. The parks and the people who work there have made it clear and already agreed that employees will not be placed in danger by allowing customers to ask stupidly and selfishly. No one is forced to go to Disney. You follow the rules or you don’t go. If you cannot wear a mask – you will have to wait until they are no longer required because there is no accommodation that can be safely made and no law requires companies to allow anyone, even if they have a disability, to do something that causes a risk to others.

SharonKurheg May 18, 2020 - 3:49 pm

The “damned if they do and damned if they don’t” was in relation to making people happy.

As for people confirming with wearing masks? One would hope that would be the case, Unfortunately, there are a LOT of people out there who feel (A) the whole COVID thing is a hoax or blown out of proportion and (B) a great sense of entitlement. I have no doubt there will be issues. Right now? Maybe not a whole lot – it’s only the shopping area that will be open, not even all of it. Once people are here on vacation and have spent over $100 per person per day, just to get in? Especially in the summer, when they “can’t breathe with this mask on?” There will be problems. There shouldn’t be – people should be respectful, follow the rules and make good choices – but there will.

Me? I live 9 miles away and have an annual pass. I’ll watch the drama from my computer, TYVM 😉

David May 18, 2020 - 4:04 pm

Yes – the self-entitled people will complain. But we shouldn’t pretend this is a situation where all opinions should be taken equally. There is a clear right and wrong answer here. This isn’t a situation where Disney has two competing opinions of equal value and will need to disappoint one side. This is a situation where one side is acting responsibly, showing consideration for their fellow human beings, and being intelligent. The other side is selfish and ignorant. Sure – Disney will be damned if the make people wear masks. But as far as I’m concerned, those people damning Disney don’t deserve the time of day. Right and wrong still exist.

Lisa Rasmussen May 18, 2020 - 4:06 pm

David is the kind of guy that gets sued for discrimination against people that habe weak lung capacity and cant wear masks.

Anne May 20, 2020 - 1:27 pm

lol!, right? How rude can you be?

Brittani May 18, 2020 - 4:25 pm

If people are spending over a thousand for a vacation, I can understand not wanting the experience to be ruined by masks. However, I also understand we are in a pandemic and need to protect staff and all patrons so I’m sure those people will just reschedule. We planned to go end of August but I think we will be postponing until no masks are required. I bought the photo package as it is my first trip to Disney. It is not cheap for me. A thousand for each of us. Masks will ruin all our photos, will make it unbearably hot, and all around will make us miserable. It’s just easier to reschedule and let the locals who don’t mind the masks attend I guess.

Mark May 18, 2020 - 6:05 pm

I wear a mask when I’m around other people. But I don’t see how little kids will abide by it. Little kids run around and play all the time, their masks will be constantly dropping from their mouthes to their necks. Constantly.

cle44101 May 18, 2020 - 6:29 pm

David is the kind of fool that claims “everything is settled and there is no grey area”, despite conflicting data on both sides. He is everything that is wrong with the world, yet can’t see it.

Christian May 18, 2020 - 6:33 pm

From a safety perspective, obviously everyone will have to wear a mask. What I see as a vast problem is the ESA on an airplane situation where everyone wants to be the exception themselves while everybody else has to follow the rules. Accordingly, an impossibly large number of people will suddenly develop some medical reason for not wearing a mask. Never mind that somehow these same respiratory issues are somehow completely a nonissue in Asia while we’re incapable of managing, it’s going to cause vast problems. As you say, it’s an entitlement thing. I’m not sure even Disney is up to making people consistently act altruistically at their US parks.

Amy Aajee May 18, 2020 - 11:36 pm

We’ve been asking ourselves if we want to go when Disneyland reopens because we had to cancel a planned spring trip. It’s a moot point right now as the park is closed and non-essential travel is still banned in our state. However, we think it will be an interesting adventure. The masks will be the hardest part. What if it gets soaked on Splash Mountain? I think we’ll have to bring extras.

Anne May 20, 2020 - 1:35 pm

I realize Disney has an obligation to keep people safe. Reopening without a plan is wrong and it’s not going to happen. The problem I have is if I get 1/2 the experience, then it should be 1/2 the price. That’s a lot of money for a lot that has now been canceled.

Also, there has to be another option for folks not to wear masks. Can you provide proof that you’ve been tested and are negative? That youve taken the antibody test ? What about those with disabilities? I can promise there is no way that I’d go anywhere in the hot Florida sun if I thought I was sick. But, I’m also not going to suffer with a mask, risk heat stroke b/c I can’t breath, fight with my kids token their masks on all day for 1/2 the experience and I know I’m negative for Covid19. I hope Disney andUniversal can come up with other options while still providing a safe environment. If you choose to leave your home and go to Disney, you assume the risk anyway. There needs to be several options to choose from.

Tiffany Lubken May 25, 2020 - 5:30 am

Just going to wait a few years until 2022; when this gets over. Probably better to stay home, I wear face mask working in the hospital do not need to wear one at Disney world. Better to just stay home, save money and do things with family outside so masks don’t have to been worn, since I wear one 40 hours out of the week anyway. The hours not wearing one are more precious now. stay safe, but I am staying home, I will see everyone at Disney in 2022.


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