By James Hall
Last Month in December, I had the opportunity to travel with a few of my ConciEARS colleagues to Walt Disney World. Our reason for being there was to better understand the new guidelines and what it is like wearing a face mask within the Disney bubble. In this article I will be covering my overall experience wearing a face mask as well as where you can take breaks and having your mask off for a short while.
Even now, having a mask on all day is not a familiar experience for many of us, and Orlando’s humid weather makes it harder. Guests are required to wear a mask at all times unless they are in a designated area where the mask can be taken off. Disney World converted some areas in the parks to relaxation stations where your group can take a break and take off your masks. Each park has two to three locations where this is possible: Galaxy’s Edge Outdoor Space located next to Rise of the Resistance in Hollywood Studios, Pete’s Silly Sideshow in Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom, Pizzafari in Discovery Island at Animal Kingdom, and the restaurant Akershus has been converted into a rest location at Epcot. Those are just a few of the places you can take advantage of stopping to take off your mask.
Other places you can remove your mask are of course any restaurants or quick service tables as enjoy your food. At restaurants, Cast Members take extra precautions by wearing not only a face mask but a face shield as well. Since these are designated spots where your mask can be off, it is okay to take pictures showing the entirety of your face. When you are carrying around drinks or snacks you are required to step off to the side away from people traffic. All of these options allow you to break up your day so you don't have to worry about your mask being on your face for the entirety of the day.
I also observed Disney made frequent recorded announcements on the speakers throughout the parks. Cast Members were around to remind everyone to keep their masks on if they weren’t following the guidelines. Examples of this include trying to take a picture of the castle with masks off, not having a mask above your nose, or snacking/drinking while walking. What made this pleasant is none of these reminders ever felt forced. People were gladly correcting their mistakes and moving about their day because Disney still wants to make sure they are providing an exceptional service to its guests. On rides, I was pleasantly surprised that not once did I have to worry about my mask falling off needing adjustment. The only thing I had to worry about was making sure I didn’t lose my glasses!
Let’s go into details about pictures. I worried if you can tell if someone is having a good time due to a mask covering up their face, not able to see a smile. If you look at any of our pictures during the trip you can tell that we are all enjoying ourselves thanks to the excitement in our eyes. This feature is not new but it’s something we don’t pay attention to because we are so focused around the mouth area of our faces. I have had many people seeing how happy I was even though my face was half covered. The same goes for any of our ride pictures. Of course as mentioned before we were able to take pictures of ourselves without a mask while we were sitting at our tables at eating establishments.
One thing I would definitely recommend to people is make sure you bring multiple masks for yourselves. You don’t want a mask to feel dirty on your face! Also, try on all your masks before you leave home and make sure they fit well and are comfortable while walking and talking. My masks did not hinder my enjoyment from being at one of the happiest places on earth. Please feel free to message us at ConciEARS so that we can share our experience and help you plan your own trip. The Disney Magic is here to stay and I am thankful I got to witness it for myself!