Disney will no longer require masks to be worn outdoors at Walt Disney World theme parks

May 15, 2021 in "The Walt Disney Company"

Posted: Saturday May 15, 2021 9:00pm ET by WDWMAGIC Staff

Disney has moved very quickly to follow the latest CDC and Orange County COVID-19 guidance and will no longer require masks to be worn at Walt Disney World when outdoors.

The new policy comes into effect on May 15 2021 at the Disney World theme parks, Walt Disney World Resort hotels and Disney Springs. Masks will still be required at the Disney theme parks when indoors, including when queuing for and riding attractions. Masks will continue to be required on Disney transportation. Physical distancing will also remain in place, with the original 6ft being reduced to 3ft over the coming weeks.

Here is the updated Walt Disney World face mask policy in full effective May 15 2021.

Face coverings are required for all Guests (ages 2 and up) and Cast Members. Please bring your own face coverings and wear them in all indoor locations, except when actively eating or drinking while stationary and maintaining appropriate physical distancing. Face coverings are optional in outdoor common areas at Walt Disney World Resort, but are still required upon entering and throughout all attractions, theaters and transportation.

Face Coverings Required

  • Upon entering and throughout all attractions
  • All theaters, including theater entrances
  • All transportation, including transportation entrances
  • All indoor locations, including restaurants, except when actively eating or drinking while stationary

Face Coverings Optional

  • Outdoor common areas
  • Pool decks

Although masks will now become optional for guests when outdoors, Walt Disney World Cast Members will continue to wear masks both indoors and outdoors.

Earlier today, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings announced that he is lifting the requirement for individuals to wear masks when outdoors after Orange County reached the 50% vaccination level among Orange County residents.

Yesterday, the CDC went even further and said that people who are fully vaccinated do not need to wear masks indoors or outdoors.

Along with the elimination of masks outdoors, Disney is also beginning to reduce physical distancing from 6ft to 3ft, and we are already seeing those changes at several attractions and shows in Walt Disney World.

This news is a massive boost for Disney as it moves to return the Walt Disney World theme parks to a more normal mode of operation that it has not seen since the parks closed back in mid-March 2020 as the pandemic took hold.

In addition to the changes to the mask requirements, we have also this week seen the removal of a face shield requirement for Cast Members outdoors, and temperature checks being phased out this week for both guests and Cast Members. Also this week the process has begun to once again cover the trash can openings that have remained locked open for the last year to reduce guest contact with surfaces.

Elsewhere, Universal Orlando has earlier announced that it will not require masks outdoors effective May 15 2021.

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SteveAZee5 days 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.

Chi845 days 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.

SteveAZee5 days 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.5 days 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.

Ayla6 days ago

Zero chance.

Trauma6 days 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.

MansionButler846 days ago

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

mikejs786 days 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.

Trauma6 days 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.

MansionButler846 days ago

They don’t WANT to keep the masks, obviously. At the latest, I’m sure they go away for good when respiratory illness season ends next spring.

Tinkwings6 days ago

And while doing so, unless you are all by yourself.....

Trauma6 days ago

At then end of the day when Florida’s numbers drop down to May/June levels Disney will be forced to either change policy or lose business.

Chi846 days ago

Based on their past actions, I personally would not be comfortable predicting what either the CDC or Disney will do regarding masks in the next few months. I would caution anyone planning a trip to take any such predictions with a huge grain of salt.

Touchdown6 days ago

If/When Florida goes to yellow (moderate transmission) then I think Disney will consider lifting the order, however Florida is still very much in the red (severe) range and more then double the upper limit of orange (substantial.) They are unlikely to get there prior to 10/1. Disneyland, more specifically Orange County, CA however, may very well get there before 10/1. Watch to see what happens there to determine Disney’s plan.