Any of us who are fortunate enough to write about Orlando’s theme parks are often asked “is it safe?’ Safety is such an important factor and I personally am very conscientious about painting a realistic picture without saying “Yes, it is safe” or “No, it isn’t.” I feel safety can be relative to one’s comfort and tolerance.
I personally feel safe at Walt Disney World, but with certain extra measures taken by me. It takes a lot of personal responsibility to create the feeling of being safe, depending on your comfort level. We have multiple members on our team who have visited Walt Disney World many times in the past month, and they are still comfortable doing so. I myself have only visited twice, but do have plans to visit this week.
Walt Disney World has been open for just over one month. Are the stringent safety measures still holding up? Let’s examine some observations from our field team’s recent visits. A note of reference, the photos in this post are from the past 7 – 10 days.
Physical Distancing is Dependent on Floor Markers
Major theme parks have learned that large crowds need visual cues to direct them. This is true with physical distancing. Wherever markers are visible, such as markings on the floor showing where to stand, compliance is good. Are there occasions in which guests miss the mark? Of course, but our team has witnessed Cast Members doing a good job of directing guests.
Physical distancing can become a problem when an attraction’s line extends beyond the physical queue and lacks distancing markers. It can also be an issue on walkways, especially in narrow areas. My suggestion, if this is a concern for you, is to be aware and adjust where you are walking, or your speed to allow you to create the space you need.
I also feel the arrival experience and each park’s main street area is rough for physical distancing. Perhaps it is because people haven’t dispersed throughout the park yet. Just something to be aware of.
Mask Compliance is Strong
Universal Orlando and Walt Disney World made their mask policy even more stringent a few weeks ago. Face coverings with exhalation valves, with mesh, or without the ability to be fully secured, like a bandanna or neck gaiter, are no longer allowed. This enhancement to the policy made me very happy, and proved to me their continued commitment to safety.
During my visit in mid July I did notice a very small amount of guests who did not have a mask covering their nose, and it did make me uncomfortable for a moment, but that occurrence was rare. Also at the parking lot many guests are still getting ready for their day in the park as they walk toward the entrance, and therefore do not have their mask on yet. Furthermore, without the markings, physical distancing can be an issue in the parking lots. This is something to be aware of if you have strong concerns about masks and distancing, like me.
Our field team who has visited a fair amount in the past two weeks reports that mask compliance continues to be strong. Compliance is assisted by Cast Members and park leadership who continue to enforce the policy.
Overall Cleanliness is Excellent
Over the past month of visiting the parks since the reopening, our field team feels Disney has stepped up their cleaning and sanitizing so that it is near constant. Nearly everywhere you look at any given moment you’ll probably see at least one Cast Member cleaning and sanitizing.
Personally, I still bring my own hand sanitizer wherever I go these days, including the theme parks. Disney does have lots of hand sanitizing stations around the park, but there are still moments I experienced when I was thankful I had my own spray.
Disney has always made safety its top priority. In internal training there are the four keys, which are Safety, Courtesy, Show, and Efficiency. The order is important. Without safety none of the rest can happen or even matter. In the end, the concept of safety is relative. But, Disney certainly is continuing to do all it can to ensure the safest environment possible.
If you have significant concerns about safety, you will need to be very aware of those around you. I am not too keen on doing anything indoors, for example, so I plan my visit around outdoor activities. You may find yourself needing to move on to a different area on occasion due to physical distancing or mask compliance, but it is rare. In the end, Disney and Universal are both doing a strong job in maintaining their safety procedures, though our team does feel Disney is doing a better job at this point. Our team commends the hard work of all the front line Cast Members and Team Members for upholding these important practices.
Have any questions about COVID-19 safety at the parks? Let us know in the comments.