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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


  • I applaud this,

  • Thank you Dr. Hymel!

    My family and I are looking forward to being in Walt Disney World again. We know things will be different, and we are when you are-with our Disney Parks Masks 🥰 (how could we resist those?!

    Thanks again for working hard to reopen the parks & resorts so we can visit our happy place again soon we hope!

  • Thank you, Dr Hymel. We appreciate you and all the Cast Members. Stay well.

  • Thank you so very much. As recently retired Cert. Surgical Tech and Infection Prevention person, I know WDW will do the right thing.

  • When the parks re-open will guests have to wear mask?

  • Welcome to the blog Dr. Pamela!

  • great to hear some news regarding disney going forward

  • Perhaps we shouldn’t all be sharing the same shampoo and conditioner bottles in the resorts? Thanks for keeping everyone safe. We miss Disney!

  • In the past Disney Parks have asked guests not to wear costume masks. Will the wearing of PPE masks by guests be ok?

  • It’s hard to say this but maybe for now there all Annual Pass Holders should make appointments to go to Disneyland. And ALL rides should hand out numbers for each household.

  • There are lots of Nurses who are Disney fans. This update is a nice gift for Nurse’s Day. 👩🏻‍⚕️
    Not surprised Disney is thoughtfully planning the reopening of the places we love so much. Looking forward with hope and prayers for all ! 🙏🏼❤️

  • Was surprised to learn Disney had a Chief Medical Officer. Would love to see you on an episode of “One Day at Disney” to learn more about what you do. Thank you for your hard work.

  • I am glad that Disney Springs is opening soon. How will pin trading be handled?

  • Please consider the usage of masks for guests as encouraged but not mandated. Disney has always accommodated people with special needs wonderfully and some of your guests have special needs pertaining to the use of masks.

  • Hi, what is “One day at Disney” and where do I find it? Thanks!

  • Is Disney going to REQUIRE the use of masks? I have enough problems wearing one grocery shopping. Can’t imagine having to wear one in the heat for hours on end. I know Florida doesn’t require the use.

  • Will Disney world be following Shanghai with the mask being required? If so how will this be enforced? I understand and don’t mind wearing the masks. I just want to know what I’m getting into when I do finally decide to return to the park.

  • Keep in mind with the virtual queues that not all guests have smartphones.

  • For those of us who are DVC members, we have spent a lot of money on something that we haven’t been able to take advantage of. When Disneyworld and Disneyland open, will we be given any consideration for rooms and rides? It will be a madhouse trying to reserve DVC rooms – even worse that it is now and it’s very difficult now – and we stand to lose a lot of points that we pay for every year in the form of fees, dues and taxes.

  • How about a “soft opening” for passholders, so any kinks can be worked out before opening to the general public?

  • Please Do Not force guests to wear face covering, especially children. It should be optional.

  • This is great news of re-opening. Perhaps there is some silver lining in all this. Limiting the number of people let into the parks would certainly alleviate having to wait HOURS in line for a ride. This is by far the most area needed for improvement.

  • It will be very difficult to require masks with the FL heat and humidity. Doesn’t make any sense since most attractions are outside.

  • Made plans for 1st of Nov. staying at pop century do you think everything will be open and will the sky liner be running? I would think they can social distance easier on this than the buses. Stay healthy and safe

  • I would hope that mask requirements would only be while indoors- as what is consistent with the science of covid spread, and outdoors be optional.

  • Make mask required

  • While our family appreciates all the health guidelines you are following to keep employees and guest safe, I am not sure how feasible it is to make face masks required. I don’t feel most children can handle wearing them all day as well as adults in the heat. I would agree with others who have commented to make this optional and not a requirement.

  • I live about two hours away from WDW and my family visits almost monthly. I understand that Disney will be quite different when it reopens and precautions must be taken however I am extremely concerned about the face mask requirement. I can’t imagine myself wearing a mask for 10 hours a day in the FL heat. And what about my 3 year old child? Disney is our happy place but I don’t know that I can justify spending thousands while being miserable under a mask the entire trip.

  • If masks are required will there be medical exceptions or will we have to stay away until masks are no longer required? With my allergies and asthma I can not wear a mask for 10 min on a regular FL day.

  • Our family loves to vacation with Disney, however, we would not be interested in going if masks were mandatory, or if it will be a lesser experience in general, especially when you consider the high cost of these trips.

  • I hope that masks are required when the parks open up, and that hand sanitizers are utilized similar to cruise ships where they spray your hand before entering any of the restaurants.

    I’m also interested to find out how the limited capacity measures will be implemented. Will it be first come first serve, or will there be a virtual queue for park admission? If park access is denied to a pass holder due to capacity limitations, will they be compensated with extra days added to their pass?

  • Thank you for your update Dr. Hymel. I am a long time Disney fan, Passholder and DVC Member. Also a retired Healthcare Professional. I understand Disney must follow local, state and federal direction. that being said. I would most certainly be opposed to required Masks for guests. Even the Surgeon General has expressed his concerns in this area. Where temp scanning, virtual ques and limited crowds are certainly reasonable measures, I don’t feel that Masks would work very well in the climate Florida offers.

  • Our family is looking forward to Disney World opening with all the the safety measures described by Dr. Pam Hymel, your Chief Medical Officer. We started to visit Disney in 1971 and haven’t missed a year since you opened. We used to love our days visiting the Magic Kingdom and staying at the Polynesian. As part of our Disney Journey, we joined your “Vacation Club” in 1991 and have enjoyed the flexibility it provides. We have also taken at least four Disney Cruises and plan to take the member cruise in 2021. Over time, our children, grandchildren, and one great grandchild have enjoyed many visits to Disney Adventures. I hope we can be part of your opening this year. We really miss Mickey. Bill & Sharon

  • I am 100% in favor of wearing masks since they are shown to keep everyone safer from this awful virus. I would be more likely to visit often if masks are required. Like smoking, you endanger others when you choose not to wear a mask.

  • No masks for guests!!!! MANY guests will not come. It is WAY too hot and not realistic for children. We typically come 3 times a year and will not come if this is the case.

  • I think wearing a mask is a small price to pay to be able to go to the happiest place on earth!
    We miss Disney

  • I love that Disney is putting the safety of the guests in the forefront of their plans. I understand some guests may be hesitant to wear masks, but since that is a precaution that protects others, it is necessary. It is much appreciated!!

  • Masks help us keep others safe and others to keep us safe. I will be happy to comply with the safety requirements Disney puts forth. Safety requirements bridge the gap between staying at home in isolation and when things are back to normal due to a vaccine being developed. It won’t be forever. I am looking forward to my next trip to the parks and my next Disney cruise, even though that one might be a little more down the road.

  • Masks are not necessary! I am a medical professional, I wear a mask every day, and the public does not know how to wear them. They end up,touching their face 75% more. Cast members, fine, still does no good. We will cancel our trip in September if masks are required.

  • As someone who caught covid-19 grocery shopping and spent nearly a month quarantined, I think masks for everyone is prudent until there’s an effective vaccine or at least an effective and generally accepted treatment for the virus.

  • Mandatory Masks!
    Best of Luck!

  • I’m all for masks and hand sanitizer stations and maybe they can have block hours like they do with the special events! The tickets are not as expensive as a full day and they always sell out. They could give the workers 2 hrs in between for cleaning and shift change. There could be special nights a few times a week (tue, thrus, su) for pass holders only. Most AP holders don’t spend a whole day there any ways.

  • I’m ready visit now. But please, no masks. They are hard enough to breathe in inside with the air on. The humidity here is too much to add that. I think if guests want to wear a mask, its up to them but don’t make it mandatory.

  • I’m all for prevention measures. Put hand sanitizers out, clean more. Go for it! However, let the public take control over their own health. If I want to wear a mask, let me. If I don’t, don’t criticize me. My family LOVES Disney, but, if forced to wear a face mask in 100 degree Florida weather, I’ll be rethinking any future trips to WDW.

  • There are medical professionals across the world who are wearing masks, face shields, and gowns through their entire work day. They do this to protect themselves and their patients. If they can do that through their harried work day I think people who spend their leisure time at Disney can make the sacrifice to wear a mask most of the time while they interact with other people at the parks. Come on!

  • Please make mask wearing required. It shows common curtesy to other guests and cast members they too need to be protected from this deadly virus

  • Requiring guests to wear masks is not practical. With the need to regularly drink water or risk dehydration, the mask would be quickly contaminated. Masks will be constantly on and off due to people walking around eating snacks and dining in restaurants. Not to mention the hassle of having to sanitize masks every day. Emphasizing common sense hygiene is the best approach. Guests should wash hands or use hand sanitizer frequently, don’t touch the face, and take care of yourself and family members, while being mindful of others and respecting their space. Disney did a great job just prior to the closing. There were no major outbreaks reported from park visits. Follow similar protocols and we’ll all be fine.

  • I believe mask wearing should be up to the guests and the staff. If someone is concerned, they can wear a mask. Florida heat is nothing to play around with and having a mask on in it will cause lots of problems.

  • I am in shock that people are questioning wearing masks. Yes, as a Florida resident, I know it is hot and humid practically all year long, but the masks are instrumental in protecting individuals and preventing the spread of the virus. I would be more inclined not to go to the park if masks weren’t required, than vice versa. Yes to masks and Mickey ears!

  • Our family is anxious to return to the Happiest Place on earth. We are DVC(2001) and Annual Passholders. Thank you for your update. Our concern is wearing masks at all times. We believe masks should be worn while indoors. 8 to 10 Hours in the Florida heat is not sustainable. It will create more issues than they resolve.

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