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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


  • Disney cares. they will protect their guests . if you want to go, you follow the rules. Since I know that Disney is one of the most caring and charitable organizations in the U.S. getting the Halo award many times which is the highest honor in the U.S. for giving and creating social programs: including
    make a wish
    400 million to non profits
    23 million books to kids and schools
    VoluntEARS serving communities in need
    employees donating 5 million hours of volunteering
    Disney hospital care package program
    toys for tots
    Disney ticket donation program
    Points of Light inspiring families and communities.
    and on and on…..

    the spirit of Disney is about community, standing by, standing up and standing for each other……especially in a pandemic…
    I choose to wear a mask or whatever i need to do, in order to continue to support Disney, which enables them to do all they do, and care about my fellow disney goer guests in the process… no matter what…… Because that is the spirit of Disney. when the going gets tough…..the tough get going…some just go.

  • youre “soured” on the Disney experience because of Disney following the CDC and expert guidelines in an effort to keep their guests, being you, healthy, in order to open during a global pandemic?

    And they’re not even open yet, so your “sour experience“ hasn’t even been experienced yet.

    there’s a lot of other great vacation destinations. no sour pusses allowed at the happiest place……

  • there’s no doctor or nurse I know that’s in this coronavirus fight that would simply not bother using masks themselves NOR would they say ignore the medical expert guidelines and CDC experts and local medical regulations in a world pandemic…..

    doctors and nurses use masks to protect themselves AND to protect the patient! and contagious or possibly contagious people wear masks.

    masks are for all of us, for the same reasons, used the same ways, and offer the same protections.

    At disney, no matter what reduced percent of capacity they allow in, there will be a lot of people, coming from a lot of places, with a lot of conditions and temperature checks won’t weed out the contaminated stage, some sick or the carriers.

    at Disney, masks would at least add another layer of protection for both the wearers and non wearers.

    today new updated projections of deaths by this summer in the U.S. went up 50,000 more casualties due to the openings and relaxing mitigation efforts. And they updated confirmations that children are not immune, they are victims too.

    Disney, protect the kids and don’t open yet.

  • Whine,whine,whine. This is a matter of life and death not big brother, nor taking away our Constitutional right. Stay home and come back later. My 5th grade students all said one day,”I don’t t get it. Why are adults being so selfish. Don’t they care about anybody but themselves? Even we know you have to do what the scientists say to be safe.” “If we don’t everything, everything will get worse and we will start over again. From the mouth of babies to your ears. Please be safe and let’s tackle this problem as a united nation. Let’s listen to science.
    Thank you

  • I’m incredibly saddened that disney will require masks. If anyone thinks this is temporary you are so wrong!!! Disney will NEVER be able to remove this mask requirement!! If disney fans dont take a stand now, this will be forever!!! I want everyone to look at your disney photos …maybe dig deep and look at the really old ones, please take a sharpie and cover your mouth and nose, because all your new photos your expressions, will be gone…that smile will not be seen. Our little ones faces will be emotionless…incredibly sad!! I’ve read plenty of studies to understand that the masks are not fool proof, aresoles do escape the mask, and let’s not forget the majority of people wearing the masks are CONSTANTLY touching there face, and more so for young children…the one thing that will really get you sick!!! I will not be taking my young kids to disney if this is the road they are going down. I’m extremely sad, our beloved happiest place on earth just got a mask covering its ‘happiness’:((((

  • Hmmmm… All of the posts from individuals who seem very anxious about the mask wearing debate; that those not wearing masks will potentially infect THOSE WEARING MASKS??

    I am a nurse, if you are wearing a mask, you are protecting yourself from those who aren’t wearing a mask. Furthermore, masks have a limited “use life” when a mask becomes wet, which it will, it is no longer an effective barrier.

    It is all just too much jumbled info, Disney would be wise to remain closed.

  • Like Diane Post’s; Keep posting them!

  • I have some pretty strong feelings about the economic and social carnage occasioned on our Nation by lab coats, their models and reckless public policies based on fear of social media rebukes. That’s for another day and those panic-driven, midnight comments.
    I’ve (for our family) arguably spent way too money over the years at WDW and on WD products. I did no because I felt the entertainment experience and products were worth it. Indeed they were. The re-opening information describes a Disney experience that I don’t want to taint, diminish or affect my relationship with the happiest place on earth. I’m afraid we’re in for a sour memory maker under these restrictions, etc. Sadly Nana, I and the Granddaughters will pass.

  • so if you don’t like masks, don’t want to wear a mask, can’t get the kids to wear theirs……you shouldn’t be going to a place like Disney.

    the mask isn’t just for you. it protects the rest of us from you and your kids that can be carriers of coronavirus and not even know it.

    we need to all work together, it doesn’t work as an effective mitigation effort, to stop the spread and making this worse, if only half the people do it.

  • SLOW down Disney.
    Dr. Anthony Fauci, a leading member of the coronavirus task force, cautioned in congressional testimony today that a rushed lifting of coronavirus lockdowns could lead the virus to return with redoubled force.

    No one wants this worse or to go on longer but a little more patience could mean doing this just once and doing it right.

  • Ok. So I wear a mask. And I make my kids wear masks. Now I’m touching my face to take a drink of water (I drink tons of water throughout the day), I could never wash my hands as many times as I take a drink of water. Also, it’s impossible to get kids to stop touching and fiddling with the masks, IMPOSSIBLE. Now they’re touching their faces way more often than they would otherwise. And let’s be for real, they’ll be yanking on it and trying to take it off all the time. Not to mention, if you walk fast and your winded at all, you’re now increasing the amount of expelled carbon monoxide you’re in-taking. recently, three children in China died while doing physical activity in school because of carbon monoxide poisoning. On top of that, the rate of respiratory infection and lung infection from hot, damp enclosed mask use is absolutely a factor worth taking into consideration.
    I think it’s logical to also take into consideration the statistics of this virus on healthy, non immune compromised individuals.

  • Does CDC recommend the use of facemask or face coverings to prevent the coronavirus disease?
    In light of new data about how COVID-19 spreads, along with evidence of widespread COVID-19 illness in communities across the country, CDC recommends that people wear a cloth face covering to cover their nose and mouth in the community setting. This is an additional public health measure people should take to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in addition to (not instead of) social distancing, frequent hand cleaning and other everyday preventive actions. A cloth face covering is not intended to protect the wearer, but may prevent the spread of virus from the wearer to others. This would be especially important in the event that someone is infected but does not have symptoms. A cloth face covering should be worn whenever people must go into public settings.

  • the surgeon general not only DOES say to wear facial masks, he went on tv and showed everyone how to make one! it’s not perfect, but still adds extra protection for you and others. The CDC also does state to wear them. local governments in the Disney area requiring the same. Do you think any of them, let alone all of them would say wear masks if there wasn’t a seriously good reason to? the reason: global pandemic, most contagious and approaching most deadly virus, kills healthy, kills kids, kills doctors and nurses, not just killing the vulnerable.
    there’s no vaccine. its not comparable to the flu. the experts are saying that too.

    U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams posted a video demonstrating how to make a face covering from a T-shirt as he and the CDC recommends that all Americans wear a such a cloth covering in public settings. U.S. Surgeon General.

  • all of the first responders, frontline workers and medical personnel will also be visiting Disney, so if you are really thankful for them and really care about them, wear your mask and don’t put them at risk or infect them!

  • no wonder you don’t want to wear a mask, if you really believe this coronavirus is “just another strain of flu”!

    ignorance isn’t just bliss, it’s deadly about this issue!

    get informed, your lives and everyone else’s lives depend on it.

  • Hello!
    As we now know facemasks do not help unless you are feeling sick or are in the risk pool according to the Surgeon General. If feeling sick, I would hope people would not be in a park. It also makes you 47% more likely to touch your face. Will there be an age range exempt from not wearing a mask? Now knowing what the Surgeon General has said about masks, will that be reexamined? He does encourage the social distancing, just without the masks. I look forward to your response.

  • Thank you Selina for posting what you did, I work with nurses that feel the same way! Thank you to all of the first responders, frontline workers and medical personnel for all you do!
    Have a magical day everyone!

  • Dr. Pam,
    Thank you and all your staff for the hours and hours of work dedicated to the number one unseen requirement by Walt Disney safety for the employees and guests. Without that parents would not be able to allow their children to be a part of the magic. The difference between the Great generation and others is most of them were grateful and didn’t complain about the smaller issues. All generations have defining moments some more than others, but it is our response that becomes our legacy. Again thank you for putting over 200,000 employees and millions of guest priority over profits.

  • I find it remarkable that the same people that will wear ridiculous ears, hats, costumes, robes etc in the Florida heat are takings issue with wearing a face covering. This is a global health crisis please be adults and follow the rules for your own safety as well as your families, friends, and fellow human beings. If you can’t then do go to to Disney at this time, this will not last for ever but irresponsible behavior may make things worse.

  • doug and others commenting “ we want to move on with our lives”, yes, everyone does,
    we all want to move on with our lives and not die! you need to wear your mask so you don’t unknowingly spread the virus and kill us.

  • Disney is in Osceola County and Orange County, Fl. mandate in those counties for reopening requires everyone to wear a facial covering while in public. I dont know if Disney is considered public, but the mandate is for a health emergency reason and if that’s needed opening anything, it’s needed especially opening Disneyworld.

  • read these comments! please just don’t open back up till we have a vaccine to protect us, because no one else will.

  • I feel sorry for people that don’t get the facts about this virus and pandemic and mitigating methods on how to protect themselves and their family and others. They may end up a statistic in these horrible climbing numbers of casualties.

    If Disney opens, every possible precaution needs to be in place, the rules need to be enforced and if numbers of virus cases start to climb here from opening too soon, they’ll need to close again.

  • nate YOU wearing your mask keeps your coughs, sneezes, spit and germs to yourself so we don’t get sick or die in a darn pandemic….

    us wearing our mask is protecting you and your family.

    this isn’t about comfort, it’s to stop the spread . you and i can be spreading without even knowing we are sick.

    if you don’t want to stop the spread here in Florida at Disney , then please do go somewhere else.

  • i wear my mask to keep my germs to myself and not let them get on you or on surfaces you might touch, then making you sick.

    But you don’t want to have to wear your mask to keep your germs to yourself and not make someone else sick?

    how is that just YOUR CHOICE?
    that’s making a choice to make me sick. I have a say in that.

    everyone has to wear masks to keep their germs to themselves.

    and that still won’t solve everything, but it will limit the spread and it’s the least we can do for each other sharing space as guests of Disney World or anywhere else……

  • As an AP and DVC member with three 2020 trips on the books, we will cancel if masks are required. I would likely wear one anyways in enclosed spaces, transportation etc. but not outside when social distancing is possible. It’s too hot. I’ll bank my points, save the Money and try to support Disney financially in other ways. I personally feel like people who are so overly concerned about the virus should stay home until they feel safe going out. Not the other way around. Vacations are an expensive luxury that shouldn’t be forcibly spent in misery.

  • I first trusted that Disney would make sure they did all they could to keep guests as safe as possible if opening in a pandemic. So with masks on our faces, we would go!

    Now, after reading all these blogs, with so many people just not getting it, and not willing to comply for everyone’s safety, we decided we won’t be going. Disney won’t be the problem, those guests will be.

    It doesn’t feel completely magical with dreams coming true there anymore. 1/2 trying to keep everyone healthy, safe and alive, the other 1/2 not.

  • It’s a great big beautiful tomorrow, shining at end of every day, it’s great big beautiful tomorrow just a Mask away!!!!!

    I love the Ride!!! Once you ride it cant stop singing it. Love that Walt guy.

  • For those that don’t want to wear a mask and want a refund,
    “WDW Senior Team”
    Please refund you don’t want them infesting your Parks, Cast Members and Guess.
    50 Year visitor…

  • This is serious, it’s not just about your vacation…’s life or death.
    learn about pandemics, look at the hot spots, check out the numbers of daily cases of sick and dying everywhere! and learn about the benefits of wearing masks, who they actually protect and how they add protection..
    then if you decide you just won’t wear a mask, whatever your reason is, you should wait till the pandemic is over before coming to Disney or going anywhere! Because the virus is here and not gone. And you will be spreading it. masks keep any germs you have from getting out onto other people or surfaces. you can be a carrier and not even know it or infected with no symptoms yet.
    These theme park Openings are contingent on following rules to keep everyone from getting sick or dying. if Disney opens without all the precautions they can put in place and numbers climb of virus cases, there’ll be another shut down and then no one will be happy.

  • Masks are meant to protect the other people, I could care less about those that don’t want to wear them,
    It stops personnel secretions from coughing and sneezing flying in the air 25-30 feet,
    Prevents in the air secretions from talking and from landing on other people and surfaces! this virus is carried and transmits even without symptoms.
    Those who don’t want to wear a mask are non-educated.

  • No I should not be told to wear a mask to protect others, I do my part by washing my hands frequently, covering my sneezes & coughs, practicing good hygiene. Wearing a mask does not equate safety! Masks are being worn improperly as it is, people wear them below their nose, constantly pull the mask down & back up, adjusting on their face – all that is resulting in is more touching of the face, which is the bigger problem, especially when people are not washing their hands properly! So i feel like wearing a mask is actually putting me at more risk when at some point I will have to adjust the mask to eat, or get some fresh air, etc. so I will have to touch my face more when normally I wouldnt if I wasnt wearing a mask. I am fine with having my temp checked or any other precautions that may be required of me, heck I’ll even get a coronavirus test done daily if that was needed, but I do not think I should be told to wear a mask! This will add to making my disney experience very unenjoyable & really makes me reconsider future visits & passholder renewal if this is required. I shouldnt be forced to be miserable, uncomfortable not being able to breath well in the Fl heat to make someone else feel safe, again I do my part practicing good hygiene. If you are so scared by this blown out of proportion strain of the flu, dont go to WDW, stay inside & be afraid of living, or you wear the mask, if you feel it really is so great & needed, it should protect you, but I should not be told I have wear one & be uncomfortable & putting myself at more risk. I was at the parks every month before it closed as well as millions of other people, pretty sure this virus didnt just show up in the US in March, I didnt catch it back then & I’m not worried about catching it or spreading it now

  • I can say with certainty, that should Disney REQUIRE masks, our family will schedule a different vacation. Make masks available and optional for all who want them. If you feel they work, use one. Forcing another family to wear one for your comfort is not ok.

  • masks are meant to protect the other person! it stops your secretions from coughing, sneezing even talking from landing on other people and surfaces! this virus is carried and transmits even without symptoms. so you don’t know if you are carrying and passing it or not! so we wear masks and keep our secretions to ourselves in our own masks. if youre a medical person, you know that! i do not believe any medical person would want more cases overwhelming them and taxing the hospitals, doctors and nurses and risking them and their families they go home to without taking all the precautions possible, which includes using masks in a pandemic.
    if you’re not going to help this pandemic, you do not have a right to spread it, making it worse. so wear a mask or stay away from other people. And guidelines certainly DO require masks under specific conditions and certainly Disney is one of them.
    I am hoping Disney does what’s right.

  • I think if you don’t want to wear a mask, you should simply stay home. It seems many of us have forgotten that living in a civilized society is a social compact. That means we adhere to norms of decency and civility because it creates a better quality of life for all.

    I’ll be back as an AP as soon as possible and I’ve already ordered my three sets of Disney masks. I can remove a mask to eat a couple times a day or to drink some waters in order to do my part in not spreading Covid-19 to our more vulnerable populations.

  • I have an upcoming vacation with my son before he starts college. I can’t wear a mask due to a medical condition. If masks are going to be required, will I be allowed to have a refund of our AP or get it extended until next year when hopefully we can go next summer? I’m also curious as to how masks are going to work in the pools, or with kids (even adults) constantly touching them especially if they are walking around and eating & drinking. This will contaminate masks very quickly. I just don’t see how masks are going to work in those instances.

  • Nancy – Wearing a mask is to protect US from YOU! If you do not want to a mask – we do not want YOU here. Abide by the rules to keep everyone safe! It’s that simple. None of us like the protocols but we all must do our part.

  • “you stay home, no you stay home. I have rights, Its my choice, i’m cancelling, i want my money back, we won’t go, too hot, too uncomfortable, me,me,me,me” then the ration of misinformation attached.

    In a Pandemic:
    Disney rules.
    Disney will be responsible for their guests.
    Disney will follow the guidelines and laws.
    Guests have to comply to be admitted.
    Guest choices are to go or not go.

    it’s that simple

  • Masks. (that protect the rest of us from you) if you won’t wear one , you stay home.

  • It is selfish to go in public and not wear a mask. I hope Disney will enforce masks until we know more about the virus. Can’t wait to be back.

  • stop with the “individual choice” claim about wearing a mask, in a pandemic….it’s not just an individual choice, your mask keeps your germs from spreading to other people! your mask isn’t about protecting you. it’s protecting us from your germs. Disney is opening in a pandemic, the virus spreads without even knowing. They have rules in order to open. wear a mask and stop the spread coming from you. that helps so things don’t get worse, so Disney can stay open . Masks or no admittance. your individual choice will be to stay home or go to Disney and wear a mask . you have that responsibility to protect all the guests and employees, as we all do, if we choose to go. choosing to go is the only “individual choice“ involved here.

  • So to everyone with very strong opinions good for you.. but the judgment of others is totally unnecessary. Unless you need it to feel better about yourself. But that’s another issue. If Disney requires we wear masks I will comply. If they don’t I won’t be wearing one. I’ve been a Nurse for 30 years. 10 of them here in the Great state of Florida and have worked throughout this pandemic. It will be difficult for those of us who actually live in this state because at this point we are not required to wear them. That said if you feel strongly about it certainly wear them. But stop with your hysteria already. If we here in Florida felt as you do we wouldn’t want you here at all.. now please have a Magical Day!

  • All of this talk about masks and no one brought up the checking of bags with Disney Cast members putting their hands from one bag into the next at the bag check line. This has been is a real concern of mine for years. This is the easiest way to pass germs among your guests. Also checking in at the gate holding your pass up and then putting your finger onto the electric eye. These are another two sites that need to be considered for constant cleaning as they are definite contact points. Hopefully these two items will be changed for the future at Disney World. We purchased our annual passes a few days after the park closed as we had a discount if purchasing prior to the renew date. We are seniors who would love to return during the next year, but uncertain if that will be possible if no vaccine before our annual pass runs out. I am hoping that Seniors have an option of having their annual passes extended way past the opening date.

  • Its not about me people , its about we! Wear the masks!

  • We don’t need the government making decisions for us. People can employ common sense and if one is uncomfortable then he/she can stay home. However, when you open just simply open. We don’t want to wear masks and we understand that we can’t stay 6 feet apart at WDW, so permit your guests to move on with our lives.

  • I am stunned by the complaining I’m reading here over face masks and safety precautions. Unless WDW is prepared to ensure All Guests follow proper physical distancing (yes, I’m calling out those of who feel you should be exempt from public health rules), masks should be 100% required in all parks, and strictly enforced. Safety should outweigh discomfort – every.single.time.

  • Thank you Disney for putting people before profit. Thank you to fellow guests that put people before convenience. We all want and need Disney, especially at a time like this.
    Disney has been our life’s celebration place since it’s grand opening for graduations, birthdays, anniversaries, great report cards, to recover from loss, family reunions….
    and to celebrate my grandsons yearly healthy life after a heart transplant as a baby.
    We sat and held his baby hand in the NIC Unit telling him someday we would take him to a place called Disney, he would eat mickey bars, he would hug mickey mouse, feel the happy magic…..and that day did come!
    His 16th birthday is December and it’s a milestone in his life and of course he chooses that celebration to be at Disney.
    So, We hope if there’s still risk of virus, that Disney continues with precautions and everyone complies and wear masks to protects the other person….that other person is a little boy that fought hard for his life and needs Disney as much as you do, and do it for every other person that has their own personal reason and need to be there.
    thank you

    grandson that had a heart transplant as a baby 15 yrs ago, was

  • Wearing a mask should be an individual’s choice. If we’re required to wear masks on our Walt Disney World vacation this summer, we will cancel our much anticipated trip. Temperature checks, hand sanitizer and distancing if alright. But mandatory masks in the summer heat in Florida, no thank you. Masks are a deal breaker for our family.

  • No mask. If you are worried and need a mask, stay home.

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