Disney World Adds More Precautions, Again [Updated]

Update, July 28, 2020: To experience the magic of Disney these days, you sure have to experience the hassle of Disney, too. After reopening to the public on July 11 and altering its face mask rules on July 18 to close food and drink loopholes that allowed guests to roam the park maskless, Walt Disney World has updated its safety precautions yet again to include mandatory temperature checks whenever guests wish to enter table-service restaurants within resort hotels.  

As noted by WDW News TodayDisney World's "Dining: Know Before You Go" page now includes the following bullet point under the "Health and Hygiene" section:

Guests dining in table-service restaurants at Disney Resort hotels will undergo a temperature screening prior to entering the location. As with other locations at Walt Disney World Resort that require temperature screenings before entry, anyone displaying a temperature of 100.4 F or above will be directed to an additional rescreening. Those with temperatures 100.4 F or above will not be allowed entry; those in their party will not be allowed entry either.

So it sounds like even if you're willing to banish the offending disease carrier from your ranks, none of you are getting served any Mickey Mouse pancakes.

In addition to these added safety protocols, Walt Disney World has, according to WDWNT, updated its signage to specify the types of face masks that are required on site, noting that neck gaiters and masks with valves are insufficient. So, if you take a trip to the happiest place on earth these days, taking every precaution and following every last protocol—as all guests of the resort should—does it still feel "magical" in the slightest? How grim does the outlook have to get before people decide to hold off on their big Disney trip until next year, or the year after that?

Original post, July 20, 2020: On July 11, Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, reopened its doors to the public after being shuttered since March due to COVID-19 restrictions. Many critics have decried the park's reopening as far too risky at this stage, particularly as Florida cases of coronavirus are continuing to surge and set records for positive test results.

Nevertheless, Disney World pressed on, confidently touting its newly instituted safety protocols such as temperature checks at the entrance and mandatory face coverings for both cast members and guests over the age of 2. (This hasn't necessarily instilled much confidence in the employees of the park.) And hey, Cinderella's Castle received a bright new coat of paint! Have you ever seen a lovelier diversion in your life?

Just a week after reopening, however, Disney World announced on Saturday a new rule in order to close a loophole that guests had been exploiting so as not to wear masks as they walked through the park: food and drink may no longer be consumed while on the move.

The intrepid journalists at WDW News Today ("The worldwide leader in Disney Parks news") asked a cast member at EPCOT about this new precaution and were told, "Guests are now being asked to find a safe spot six feet from other guests before removing their masks to eat and drink." That means no strolling around with Mickey-shaped pretzels and Num Nums Cookies (yes, that's their name, and they're incredible). You've got to stay firmly planted while maskless.

Disney World's policy now states, "You may remove your face covering while actively eating or drinking, but you should be stationary and maintain appropriate physical distancing... The use of face coverings is not a substitute for physical distancing."

Standing at forced intervals from one another in the Florida heat to down a Dole Whip before the socially distant line gets too long to snag one of four limited-capacity seats on the Jungle Cruise sounds like less than an amazing time, but some people are apparently just that desperate to inject a little magic into this strange, restrictive year. And if they can find a company that's desperate enough to sell it to them, this is the reality we're left with.

If you'd like some lighter reading, here's the official mask policy that Disney World has always had in place—costume masks, that is. Did you know that Disney has historically had to discourage adults from entering the parks in full costume, so as not to be mistaken for cast members? There's something endlessly amusing about this phrase: "While costumes may not be worn by Guests 14 years of age or older, some outfits inspired by Star Wars may be permitted. Learn more about dressing for Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge."