How guests are responding to Disney World's new mask rules as Disney increases capacity at the parks

May 18, 2021 in "Magic Kingdom"

Magic Kingdom masks and capacity - May 17 2021
Posted: Tuesday May 18, 2021 9:45am ET by WDWMAGIC Staff

We are a few days into Disney's new outdoor optional mask rules at Walt Disney World and at the same time Disney is reducing physical distancing and boosting capacity at the parks - here is a look at what is happening so far.

As each days go by, it appears to us that more and more guests are opting to go mask-free when outdoors in accordance with the new rules. On Saturday it seemed like there were slightly more mask wearers, but as of today it seems to have shifted significantly to no-masks being the majority. A likely explanation is that simply more guests are now aware of the new rules and choosing the option to remove masks. Cast Members at the main entrances are telling guests about the new rules, and reminding those guests who are not wearing masks that they should keep one at hand ready for when they enter attractions, shops or dining.

The new Disney World mask rules state that masks must still be worn "upon entering and throughout all attractions." This one raised a few questions about what exactly is considered the point of entering an attraction. From our observations, you are generally OK to be mask free in outdoor overflow queues until you reach the Cast Member stationed at the main entrance to the queue, which is typically at the sign for the attraction. However, since you are technically in a queue, you may be asked to mask up as soon as you join the line regardless of where the starting point is.

You can see guests here at Space Mountain in the overflow queue in-front of the building with many guests not wearing masks at this point.

A similar situation can be seen here at the overflow line for the Jungle Cruise.

Cast Members are effectively enforcing mask wearing once you reach the main entrance of the attraction, and it appears that guests are following the rules and keeping masks on.

Restrooms remain a gray area, with no clear rules for expected mask use when inside. We have seen some putting masks on to enter and others entering mask-free.

Along with the new mask rules, Disney is also boosting capacity throughout the parks in a phased roll-out.

More and more attractions are loading a greater number of guests per ride vehicle, and reducing spacing in pre-show areas from 6ft to 3ft.

Splash Mountain is now loading more than one party per log, but still retaining an empty row between the parties.

At most rollercoasters, every row is being filled as we can see here at Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, and this has been the case for a while now on these types of attractions.

At the Studios, Ride of the Resistance is reducing spacing in the pre-show areas and transport ship. And at Tower of Terror, more guests are being loaded. At Disney's Animal Kingdom, 'A Celebration of the Festival of the Lion King' has seen its capacity go from about 30% to 50%.

As we head into the busy summer seasons we expect to continue to see see more capacity added to the parks via reductions in physical distancing and higher density loading of ride vehicles.

Stay tuned for more coverage over the coming days and week as the changes roll-out.

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SteveAZee1 hour ago

It seems like the idea, in restaurants, is to keep the spread local to the table as much as possible, conceding that you're eating and drinking there so... particulates all over. Moving from door to table or table to restroom allows you to 'spread the wealth' across all the tables in between... so I sort of understand the logic of maskless at the dining table and masked everywhere else.

Chi841 hour ago

I see almost no masking in restaurants. People wear them walking to and from their table but don’t wear them at all while seated. It’s just the nature of restaurants. I’m not sure how much good mask mandates are doing in restaurants. The servers do wear them so maybe that helps.

SteveAZee1 hour ago

I suppose that's possible, certainly in broader applications. Having mask mandates under controlled environments likely to cause spread (such as airplanes, restaurants, etc), that seems to work. Trying to enforce a mask mandate for the public at large seems difficult.

Tom P.2 hours ago

I do look at the comparative data. Which is why I think mask mandates should all be lifted. There is very little, if any, data to suggest that mask mandates make any appreciable difference. Note that I am referring to mask mandates, not to masks themselves. Effectiveness of masks themselves is an entirely different matter. But having mandates in place does not seem to make any significant difference in outcomes.

Tinkwings2 hours ago

Fixed that above......good point! :p

danlb_20003 hours ago

"Breathe in, Breathe out", that's a sure fire way to spread the virus! ;)

SteveAZee5 hours ago

Yes, it didn't prevent it. Harder to know how much the masks mitigated it, though... could the spike have been worse? You can only infer the answer by looking at other populations that didn't apply a mandate.

Ayla6 hours ago

Zero chance.

SoCalDisneyLover8 hours ago

Cool, anyways. So if you're saying that Delta hit Hawaii as hard as places like FL, MS, TX, AR, TN, then you're still wrong. The fact that Delta impacted everywhere is irrelevant. Hawaii got hit harder during Delta that at any other time of the pandemic. Fine. But to even compare their results with those other states, is so far from reality, it's kind of sad the comparison is being made.

mikejs789 hours ago

Frankly, if politics weren't an issue, the solution would be to require proof of vaccination or wear a mask in any public setting, at least during outbreaks.

Trauma10 hours ago

You make a great point here about a clearly defined goal. It makes it easier to determine success or failure. It also makes it easier to then replicate the goal in other similar settings.

MansionButler8410 hours ago

A goal is better than a vague, “maybe someday,” at least.

mikejs7810 hours ago

We will see how well that works here in MA. We have a universal school mask mandate until October 1. After Oct 1, schools can remove the mask requirement for vaccinated students and staff only, and only if the school reaches an 80% vaccination threshold.

Trauma10 hours ago

Exactly. We can not aim at a target that does not exist. We need a goal. A person who says I want to lose 5 pounds is much more likely to take action that a person who says I need to lose some weight. Yes they are both goals but one is more clearly defined and therefore more likely to be acted upon.