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A Message about Disney Parks from Chief Medical Officer Dr. Pamela Hymel

Dr. Pamela Hymel

by , Disney Parks Chief Medical Officer

Dear Guests, 

As you may have heard at Disney’s Q2 FY20 Earnings Results Webcast, our CEO Bob Chapek announced that Shanghai Disney Resort will begin the phased reopening of Shanghai Disneyland on May 11 – an encouraging sign for Disney parks and retail locations all over the world. After so much time at home, I know many of you are eager to enjoy the magic of a Disney parks visit, and we can’t wait to welcome you back.

I’m fortunate to work with Disney’s extraordinarily talented team of health and safety experts who are some of the most experienced in the industry. Together, with our colleagues in operations, and local health and government authorities, we’re evaluating several new and enhanced safety measures to do our part towards helping us stay well while we work, stay, and play at a Disney resort and a Disney store. I’m also working closely with the US Travel Association on a set of guidelines the travel industry may tailor to their individual businesses to help demonstrate that safety of travelers is a top focus.

To that end, I want to share an update with you about our plans and considerations as we prepare for the reopening of our parks, resorts and stores. At Disney, we’re exploring:

  • Phased reopening: We’re looking at all of our locations and how best to begin the reopening process, including a gradual reopening and/or partial reopening of certain locations. For example, the opening of retail and dining locations prior to the opening of our theme parks.
  • Physical distancing and capacity measures: As you can imagine, managing guest density in queues, restaurants, hotels, ride vehicles and other facilities throughout the park and across the resort is a major focus, as we implement physical distancing guidelines based on guidance from health authorities, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and appropriate government agencies. This will likely include implementation of guest capacity measures to comply with state and federal guidelines. We’re also exploring ways to use technology to aid us in these efforts, like with our Play Disney Parks App and through virtual queues at Disneyland and Walt Disney World.
  • Cleanliness and sanitization: We’re planning increased cleaning and disinfection, determining where that should take place (for example, in high-traffic areas), and the cleaning products and processes we’ll use.  
  • Screening and prevention support: We’ll follow guidance from the government and the medical community regarding enhanced screening procedures and prevention measures, including those related to personal protective equipment (PPE), such as face coverings. Some measures, like adding hand sanitizers and hand washing stations across our resorts, have already been implemented.
  • Cast training: We’re further emphasizing our strong culture of health and safety amongst our cast members, and will continue to provide new training and reinforcement as we get closer to reopening.

These are just a few examples of the many areas we are developing plans for, so please keep an eye on our online channels, where we’ll provide more details as we confirm and begin to implement our plans. Given the constantly changing global health environment, these practices may evolve as we consider the latest guidance, but we will share more information with you as we look towards reopening.

In the meantime, our focus remains on the health and safety of the entire Disney community – including the wellbeing of the Cast Members who are caring for and securing our parks and resorts during the closure. We have already implemented a number of enhanced health and safety measures, such as increasing the frequency of cleaning and disinfection in work areas, adjusting practices to promote physical distancing, and providing Cast with access to necessary PPE, including face coverings. We continue to learn from these experiences and will carry these lessons into reopening and beyond.

Finally, I want to recognize the medical professionals working to bring care and comfort in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. We will continue to do what we can to help support the medical community and our local communities during this time.

We’re looking forward to welcoming all of you back to our Disney parks, resorts and stores. Until we are together once again, we wish you and your families health, hope, and happiness.

Thank you,

signature of Dr. Pamela Hymel


  • 14,715,412 have recovered from this virus so far, and several vaccines have been tested in clinical trials. From my time watching Who Framed Roger Rabbit, I know that Mickey and the other Toons CAN’T get diseases like COVID-19.

    When the pandemic is over though, PLEASE keep the enhanced sanitation procedures in place.


    In addition, why can’t Toons from other animation studios be acknowledged by characters in the parks?

  • I have concerns for the cast members’ oxygen levels wearing masks and shields in the heat and humidity. In most cases, they are physically distanced from people. Is there a clear face shield they could wear that would protect both people when they are both outsides? Plus the hearing impaired could read their lips.

  • How long does it take to get the hotels in order? Park reservation? its worse than getting a fast pass. I got the 3 scattered park reservations quick then I saw the enter times REALLY…9.11.and 10 am. so much for getting an early start….Maybe a refund it the way to go. season pass holder since 1970

  • I am very surprised that Disneyland has elected to call PPE (face/eye covering and disposable suit) a costume, when this will allow vulnerable, and those that live with vulnerable people with minimal risk of contracting the virus, even if some snotty nosed kid runs around and starts coughing in people’s faces.


    Please change the policy. Thanks.

  • Some people just are afraid to not be afraid. Face coverings…extra sanitation…hoping for a vaccine…blah blah blah. Most of my family is medically exempt from face coverings, but we all still have a right to public access of anything the rest of the public has access to…essential and non-essential. I could really care less about this virus. It has received so much attention – too much most likely – but has been finally revealed as nothing better or worse than any other flu strain with/without pneumonia. Regardless, I want to know what Disney intends to do to accommodate customers who are medically exempt from face coverings. It will make all the difference in whether we spend our money to include Disney this year or at other destinations.

  • Wearing a mask is not only for personal protection it protects others. Therefore, it is not about an adult decision to choose, but the adult decision to do the right thing and comply. If a person and their family cannot wear the masks, then they simply should not go – and just wait for less complicated times. I won’t be going, not because I would be at risk, but if I catch someone from these non-mask protesters, then my 80 year old father in law could get sick. If we don’t all protect one another, then those we love most are at risk. Why is it even a question as to whether or not to wear a mask or choose not to go when there is a potential to save lives in the balance? It may be that masks are not enough protection – but if you want to be a responsible citizen, wear the mask because there is a chance it provides personal and public protections. Why are so many people refusing to be grown-ups about this?

  • My family can wear a mask. But don’t know how long my 2 and 6 year old will bear them, we had plans and bought our tickets before the pandemic, will we be kicked out if at some point of the day our children refuse to keep wearing their masks? I don’t want them to have a traumatic experience on their first visit to Disneyland. Can I get a refund for our tickets if we decide not to go?

  • From what we are hearing having a current hotel reservation will not guarantee a park reservation. The first thing we will do if we can’t acquire an admittance to a park will be to cancel the hotel reservation. What are you thinking WDW. Yearly ticket holders.

  • Thank you for requiring masks. It’s proven they slow the spread of the virus and that people who may appear healthy may be asymptomatic spreaders without knowing it.

  • Disney,
    You have quite a task at hand and you are taking every precaution necessary, leaving nothing to chance. You are considering the well-being of all, cast members and visitors alike along with keeping the magic of Disney. We also need to do our part. We need to follow the rules set forth and should not be grumbling about it. (Leave that to Grumpy). Everything that will be decided is factoring everything and everyone. We need to be examples for our children and follow the rules remembering that it is not just about us, it is about everyone.
    Those that can’t or won’t comply need to respect the decisions or revisions made. Visit when it meets your expectations. The sooner we can get over this mess, the sooner things can get back to normal (or new normal). Let’s work as a team. Let’s help keep the magic of Disney special and alive by keeping a positive attitude and moving forward.

  • I am so very excited that Disneyland is finally open again. Would you consider taking temperatures? Knowing that, sick people might stay home.

  • People wear mask to protect themselves and others. I am a nurse and work at a hospital and we protect each other by wearing mask. I will be putting my mask all day of needed because I do not want to get the virus or give the virus to others. Each person needs to be responsible about keeping away from each other 6 feet apart and wear mask to keep everyone safe. People could have the covid virus without symptoms, so that means that I should get the virus because someone can not wear a mask. that is very selfish trying to give others the virus.

  • Dear Mickey,
    I just want to say that things are not happy without you !! I visited Walt Disney World when I was a child the first Fall that it was opened and go at least four times a year to this Happiest Place on the Earth .
    But Mickey, are your employees thinking of all the children that have some form of disability, maybe it is not seen or even diagnosed but possibly an inner anxiety or fear that may be enhanced by the facial coverings. What about the elderly that are on oxygen and the older guests that need to have their faces uncovered? Have they thought about the loss of humanity in no smiles, no facial expressions that are such a part of the Magic at Disney . Some guests visit for the smiles and laughter alone . Yes there is a virus yes there are legal and medical issues to consider. Yes we need to protect one another and wash our hands. But let’s take some more time to consider everyone. Let’s take a look at the medical conditions that could arise from face coverings in an 8 hr day of 100 + degree weather Disney is supposed to be where we can relax There are even some adults that hold conditions of varied anxieties that love to find the solace that Disney normally offers and will be robbed if they are made to wear something on their face. Please ask Disney to stop And be more aware of everyone and everyone’s issues that need to be taken into consideration. Medical doctors do not agree on facial coverings for long periods of time and apparently even the masks sold at your stores have a disclaimer tag saying so. Some key element is missing here . Signed: Keep the Magic

  • If people want to wear masks let them. If they don’t then let them decide. We are adults and should not be treated like children.

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