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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


Comments

  • I would gladly wear a face covering/mask to visit WDW!!! These people giving you are hard time about the masks are nuts, don’t listen to them. I’m so glad disney is taking this seriously. We travel to WDW from Houston TX each year and would do so again gladly with the entire family wearing face masks.

    Thank you Disney!

  • People need to stop saying “masks are too hot or whatever” it’s a very small price to pay to both enjoy Disney’s and help stopping this pandemic.

  • Thank you for the information and I know Disney will do everything they can to make a trip to Disney World safe and enjoyable. I have been visiting Disneyworld as often as possible for years and as I just became a Florida resident, I purchased an annual pass in hopes of visiting even more often. Visiting Disneyworld has become quite expensive over the years but I know everything goes up in price and it is so much fun and there is always so much to do, this justified the cost. All that said, if masks become mandatory anywhere in Disney, I will no longer visit. I am a nurse and it is very difficult to wear a mask for even a few minutes. I cannot imagine wearing one on any vacation but especially in the Florida heat and humidity.

  • It has been stated many times in the medical community that mask do very little in providing health and safety to the general public. We need to stop allowing politicians and media to fool our population into believing everything they say. Businesses such as Disney will do anything they can to make guest feel comfortable, instead of informing them that this is a false sense of security and does nothing for there health.

  • We really don’t think the mask will protect us from anything. That being said we want to come and get back to some kind of normal, so if mask are required this is what we will have to do

  • What about my my annual passholder I have no intention of visiting this year do I cancel it

  • please, no masks for guests. I cannot breathe in them, and due to ptsd I have a panic attack when I become claustrophobic. We are all consenting adults. We went to disney before knowing the risks, and we will go back again.

  • We love WDW – go several times a year and are annual pass holders from Maine. Unfortunately, if masks are required we will not be visiting. Wearing a mask in Florida heat would be miserable and that is not how we want to be at the happiest place on earth.

  • Thank you for taking thoughtful measures for your staff as well as for the guests who care about them and others. Happy to have those who refuse masks stay out of the park!

  • We are annual pass holders at Disney World and remain confident that Disney will lead the industry in ways to protect its customers as they phase in the openings of Disney Parks. The planning areas mentioned by Dr. Hymel appear reasonable and comprehensive. Wearing a mask at all venues is not an option for us and won’t be visiting if masks are mandatory. My choice – what a concept!

  • While I don’t mind wearing a mask in general, what about the heat and those with medical conditions that make a mask difficult. A mask may seem fine while indoors but add that Florida heat and surely people will start to have trouble breathing. Additionally, what about rides, what if the mask blows off on a ride? How does that work? I mean, I’ll be there no matter what, keeping clean is the thing, masks or not.

  • Masks should be OPTIONAL for guests!!!

  • Thank you Dr. Hymel!
    Just booked a day trip in August. Looking forward to the future changes. Keep up the good work.

  • Will Disney have extra medical staff around to help those who are over come by the heat and not able to breathe because of the required masks?

  • Making masks mandatory for cast members is one thing, but they absolutely should not be mandatory for guests. I have a family of 6, we visit WDW multiple times a year. I have an autistic boy who this would make things very difficult for and I myself get claustrophobic. Social distancing, hand washing, sanitation, all good things, but masks should be optional. Also with what has happened in areas that have tried to make it mandatory with people getting persecuted over it, I would hope Disney has enough sense to reconsider this.

  • I have no idea how wdw will manage the amount of people safelly. And about Star Wars? Oh boy! It is still too way soon. The cases in Florida keeps going up, imagine when Disney decides to open the doors. This has to be very well thought out otherwise catastrophe will be in the future. US needs to give an example of responsability. The world is not same as last year, we need to change our ways to be part of this new sad world. At least until a vaccine is available. Just saying…

  • Also what about outerwear? If we have the virus on our clothing or personal items it maybe transmitted from chairs or rides. Will you be handing out the protective gear or will there be a booth handy for Disney logo PPE?

  • Thank you for thinking of both cast member and guest safety! We are passholders and DVC members. It’s awful to hear of so many people’s refusal to wear a mask. I was there the week before up to the day before closing. It was a much different experience leading up to the closing and obviously will be a much different experience after. Yes, masks can be uncomfortable and Florida is hot. But it’s a safety concern for what I think would be obvious reasons in a very high traffic area. Its for the safety of those more vunerable, not just th healthy who may feel its uneccesary.

    All of the measures your considering are absolutely necessary and appreciated! We look forward to visiting again when safe to do so.

  • Please let us know when guests will not be required to wear masks.
    We will visit at that time.

  • I hope the masks are required. Though there are people that claim to be medical professionals that discourage their use, the fact is that they keep larger carrier particulates produced from coughing from entering the surrounding area, or at least reduce the amount that makes it out. When both a potential COVID-19 carrier and uninfected person are wearing some sort of face protection, the chance of transmission is in fact reduced.

  • Will Disney have additional medical staff available to care for guests who faint and injure themselves and others from wearing a mask for several hours in the Florida heat and humidity?

  • No mask. They keep saying they don’t help and people are more apt to get it because they aren’t getting fresh air…plus opens up for criminal activity because they can’t be recognized. If people want to wear them…fine, if not that’s fine too!
    Check their temperature upon entry and have plenty of hand sanitizer entrance and exits of all attractions. Limit the “capacity amount”. But remember…This too shall pass…

  • I’m all in favor of masks. How do you social distance the crowds at the tram areas and on the tram? Same would go for monorail queuing and limiting people on the monorail.
    I have a lot more but will leave it at that for now,
    Oh one more thing. What about seniors who want to go to the Parks with their grandchildren but are technically considered high risk?
    Lastly I believe Disney has to make the parks a little more user friendly for seniors.

    Bill

  • If masks are required then they should be N95, and then give a class on how to properly use them. Otherwise it’s just a false sense of security. NO MASK! Should be optional.

  • You have to wear a seatbelt, you must buy car insurance. You can’t drive down the middle of the road. You can’t shoot a gun in the middle of a crowd. Everyone already is part of many small social contracts for the good of society. Wear the mask, if you are blessed enough to be able to go to Disney, follow the rules. Or don’t go.

  • I’m a physician and I strongly support mandatory masks. The masks available to the general public don’t help much to protect the wearer from exposure to illness – what they do is protect others if the wearer has an illness. This is only effective if there is widespread use. If you don’t want to wear a mask to protect others, I hope you do stay home. If you want to be able to reopen parks and businesses, put on a mask when you go out.

  • I will only visit if people wear masks. People nowadays have no manners and will cough and not cover their mouths. Especially children. I would feel super uncomfortable standing in line with people breathing on me. Because frankly, people don’t know personal space. I think the people who don’t want to visit Disney with a mask are acting like spoiled children. If the CDC mandates you wear a maks, then wear a mask! Stop being so difficult. It’s people with that kind of mentality that spread the virus to begin with. I think Disney is taking reasonable measures to protect others from spreading this thing around.

  • I am currently wearing a mask 12 hours a day working with the sickest Covid patients! Wearing a mask is a small request in the realm of what could be; as a huge Disney fan “ yes, I will wear a mask to have some fun and some mental health time again!”
    Thanks Disney for keeping your employees and quests a top priority during these unsettling times!

  • Masks in no way should be required. They are proven to not work and can cause harm, especially in hot weather. If someone is scared they should stay home.

  • As a passholder, I hope Disney World does not make masks mandatory. We will not be visiting if they are required. So, if it comes to that (and I hope it does not), please allow an option for passholders to have their passes suspended during that time for those unable or unwilling to wear masks.

    Looking forward to returning to our happy place!

  • People should really stop emphasizing on how hot it will get wearing a mask in the park. I’ve been leaving in FL for 13 years and yes, it does get hot. But if preventing the spreading of any kind of disease requires a little help of everyone by wearing a mask, then it’s part of our responsibility to contribute with that. I’ll go to Disney with or without a mask!

  • I know the Disney Company is looking to make the Disney Parks and Resort the Happiest and Safest place on Earth. Dr. Hymel and team – thank you for your thoughtful efforts. Disney – makes the Magic – and if I can help keep the Magic safe for other guest and those hard working Cast Members – I’ll be more than happy to keep a little distance and wear a mask. Thank You!

  • I have PTSD and wearing a mask sends me into an anxiety and panic attack. If masks are required please allow the doctors to determine if we should be exempt.

  • Make the need to use a Mask fun by offering character Masks to use at the parks. we would not mind using a Donald or Daisy mask in the parks. i rather wear a mask and be able to visit the parks safely than not being able to visit at all.

  • When you open we want to feel safe and confident that we will not be leaving with the virus brought in from other visitors. We know that is Disney’s and your goal, as well. We will adhere to any requirements you place on visitors to achieve that goal. We will be happy if people that are not willing to take your precautions stay away, so that it will be safer for the rest of us.

    Thank you for all the thought you and your team are putting into this. We are looking forward to safely returning.

  • We have been DVC members and annual pass holders for years. Love Disney, but anyone who believes wearing a mask for a disease, that when all the true numbers come in will end up having a .01% mortality rate, is ridiculous. I have more of a chance of getting injured or killed driving to the parks. We have flattened the curve- now we need to flatten the fear.

  • Sorry can’t wear a mask due to medical reasons. So I guess no more Disney.

  • Growing up in Florida as a child taking annual family vacations done 1974, and now with a family of my own and being an AP, Disney world has been our “happy” place and our escape, and place to make beautiful memories. While we can’t wait to get back, won’t go if masks required. That would be not a vacation in this heat but a horrible experience.
    The benefit to being an AP, is the flexibility. I can make last minute trip and in 4 hours be there. Pre registering to go to Disney World parks defeats the whole purpose of being a Passholder. Very disappointing. Hope that will not be a condition. A fallacy that AP’s don’t stay in WDW resorts, Florida is a huge state, we always stay on property.

  • I do hope that my annual pass will not be wasted now. It is far too hot out to be wearing masks. I can only imagine the heat stroke cases Disney Parks will have on their hands. Additionally, I work in a medical office and have had zero break from the mask all this time. I feel like I’m suffocating every day and that’s in a freezing 69° office. It has brought back my skin disease ten fold, my eyes are red and burning from the constant air pushed up from exhaling into the mask, etc. I need a break. Is there no option to “resume” my annual pass after the mask order is over? I absolutely could not enjoy being smothered by a mask in 95° Florida summer heat in the parks. Thank you.

  • Come on people, WDW is visited from those on every continent in the world. Please think of others and make masks mandatory until things zero out.

  • My family and I will gladly wear masks if that means to keep our family and others feel safe and to endure comfort during visits to the parks. It is such a small sacrifice to do our part for all the healthcare workers who have worked tirelessly on the frontline, and to be mindful for others. We shouldn’t feel embarrassed to do so.

  • Masks protect others from you infecting them!Yes they can be uncomfortable in heat/humidity but the discomfort is nothing compared to effects of virus on people.If anyone is adamant about not wearing mask then stay home until virus wanes and there is a vaccine.Limits on number of guests is also a excellent idea now.I am sure Disney will be as fare as possible with guest numbers.Not everyone will be happy with Disney plans but this is unique territory for all.

  • On an optimistic note, wouldn’t a “mask required” rule do a beautiful job in both lowering crowds and ensuring the people who do go are the cautious, well-informed, responsible types? I’m all in favor of that!

  • Let’s make it the safest place on earth.

  • Please no on the masks for guests. As a doctor this is nothing but pandering to the people in fear. Everyone touching everything around them then touching their heads and masks. It’s not helping and you as a doctor also know this.
    Please make it optional.

  • I know Disney will do the safest possible opening & we are on board with whatever needs to be done to make it work, as AP & DVC. However, I think the mandatory masks are impractical for several reasons, drinking & staying hydrated, those with asthma or many other conditions that will make this difficult, the humidity & heat index is a factor. Not saying it can’t be done but it’s not realistic for a day at the park…perhaps while in the que? Those saying people not taking it seriously because they find a mask difficult aren’t realistic either. I’m a nurse & cannot wear one for longer than a few minutes, I get very lightheaded. Please give thought to these things , especially the hydration issue

  • We would be there tomorrow if you open the gates!
    But no guest mask please! We have a trip planned the last week in June through the first week of July! Our grown children & our grandchildren are planning to be there with us! Two our grandchildren have autism, they would never wear a mask! According to our medical doctor no children should wear mask. Per The White House Task Force they showed several graphs with temperatures over 75 degrees & humidity the virus dies in seconds. It does not survive on any surface. We have no concerns with coming to the parks. The only thought I had was on fireworks, every time we start sitting in a spot on the ground (sitting on beach towels) waiting for the show to begin. Everyone is spread out sitting comfortably and then we get the message stand up and squeeze together! Every time I think Why? It’s hot, we are comfortable, everyone sits, everyone can see just fine! The kiddos in the strollers can’t see when everyone stands & squeezed together. Then they have to be picked up and held, again it’s hot! And sure enough done people start putting kids on their shoulders and guess what no one can see! I thought with the new open plan in the front of the castle it is great & perfectly made to sit like a picnic to watch the firework show (great socially distancing & way cooler)! We look forward to hearing the news that parks are open at Walt Disney World, we will be there!

  • Oh my gosh! Get a grip, I am immuno-suppressed & wear a face mask at Disney anywhere & everywhere to keep myself safe no matter what month of the year it is. Put one of their cold, wet clothes around your neck or something else inexpensive if you feel you will die from the heat. Your body adjust very quickly. Think of someone other than yourself, there are always small children there with life threatening diseases. Have a heart, be thankful & get on your knees & thank God everyday that it’s not one of your children, grandchildren, yourself or anyone you know that needs to be protected & want to live as normal a life as they can.

  • Make Mask wearing fun by printing our favorite characters. we would not mind wearing a Donald and Daisy mask to be able to visit WDW again.
    consider, expanding the fast pass from 3 to 12 depending on the park. this way you can avoid long lines and enforce social distance.
    wearing a mask is a small price to py to be able to visit main street again.

  • Please mandate masks as they absolutely help. My mask will not protect me but it will protect another’s persons special loved one. It is an uncontested fact that asymptomatic people infecting others is one of the reasons our country’s numbers are so abysmal. People whining over a slight inconvenience have yet to feel the pain of losing a loved one. I will not be the one to do that to anyone.