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Reopening Disney Parks – Our Continued Focus on Health and Safety

Dr. Pamela Hymel

by , Disney Parks Chief Medical Officer

An Update on Disney Parks from Chief Medical Officer Dr. Pamela Hymel

Dear Guests,

As we continue with the phased reopening of Disney locations around the world, I wanted to update you on our plans and the principles that guide us as we welcome guests back to the magic.

Josh D’Amaro, our Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, said it best when he spoke about the trust you have in the Disney brand. As we prepare for the reopening of our destinations, this is a responsibility we take very seriously. We know what a privilege it is to continue to earn your trust every day.

Our domestic theme parks were among the first to close earlier this year and Walt Disney World will be among the last to reopen in Florida when guests return on July 11 and 15. Disney parks have always been places for families to gather, to celebrate important moments in their lives, and to make memories that will last a lifetime. This legacy of integrity, care, and community is what guides us as we prepare for the return of our cast members and guests.

What to Expect at Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort

We’re taking a multi-pronged approach to our reopening, after considering the guidance of various governmental authorities and health agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and recommendations from our team of health and safety experts. We’re also actively working with industry groups and research universities  to discuss best practices.

At both parks, our plans include reducing capacity, with the help of our new park reservation system; temperature checks for guests prior to entering our theme parks; increasing cleaning and disinfecting, especially in high-traffic areas; adjusting experiences to accommodate physical distancingrequiring face coverings for guests 2 and older; and empowering our guests with options like contactless payments and easy access to handwashing and hand sanitizer locations.

Our deliberate and phased approach at Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort emphasizes multiple layers of health and safety measures. And as always, our cast members are at the center of our approach. We’ve already adopted a number of important guidelines for cast members at work at the Walt Disney World Resort, such as increasing the frequency of cleaning in work areas, adjusting our work practices to promote physical distancing, requiring temperature checks and wearing face coverings. We are also working with our unions to responsibly and thoughtfully implement these health and safety at the Disneyland Resort. As reopening approaches, we’re providing our cast with additional training on both new health and safety measures and the continued importance of personal health best practices, such as handwashing, covering coughs and of course, staying home when ill.

Promote Safety Together
Many of the actions we all take in our daily lives to help reduce the risk of spread of COVID-19 are designed to help protect not only ourselves, but others as well. For example, I wear a face covering in public spaces because it may help protect you, and in turn, you wear a face covering because it may help protect me.

When you wear a face covering during your visit, wash your hands frequently with soap and water, or even make the important decision to reschedule to another day if you’re not feeling well, you help make the experience safer for everyone.

This shared responsibility is an important strategy to help reduce the risk of infection. And so, when you join us for the first time after reopening, you will find not only enhanced health and safety measures, but also a special group of cast members that are trained to share information about our new policies. They will be available to explain our new procedures, answer questions guests may have, and encourage everyone to follow these measures so we can all have a safer visit to the parks.

We hope you’ll also be interested in our new Incredibles-themed health and safety campaign . This campaign spotlights healthy behaviors that can help everyone have a magical experience, featuring beloved characters from the Incredibles animated movies.

The Magic Returns
We are looking forward to celebrating the reopening of Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort with our cast members, our guests and our communities.

As exciting as this moment is for all of us, we are still in the early days of our phased approach. We will continue to monitor the situation and make adjustments based on the guidance of local government and health authorities. And in the coming weeks, we will share additional details about the policies and procedures that our guests can expect when we reopen our domestic theme parks.

We will do some things differently when we return, but what has not changed is the special Disney magic that awaits you at each of our destinations around the world.

On behalf of the entire Disney family, be well and take care. We can’t wait to welcome you back very soon!

Dr. Pamela Hymel
Chief Medical Officer
Disney Parks, Experiences and Products


  • I wanted to ask our special needs children going to be mandated to wear face masks or are they exempted like two and under children

  • To the person who wrote about how security will be an issue with intense touching of bags, the rumor is that technology is coming to the parks to scan the bags while you’re walking in. I think the days of stopping and having someone look through your bag are over. I don’t know when, but I think soon.

  • @Stephen According to the CDC, everyone should be wearing masks to stop the spread of Covid-19. At the beginning of the message you can see that Disney chooses to take advice from the CDC, not the WHO. Also, while you may not believe in this virus, many others do. Everyone is required to wear masks even if it’s a minor inconvenience. And they do it to feel safer and decrease the risk of contracting the virus. By not wearing a mask, you’ll seem like a danger to people who know the significance of wearing a mask.

  • The guidelines for a reopening of Disney World are very encouraging. However, going through security is one area that I have concerns. Security usually goes through the backpacks, bags and other carry throughs. My concern is having security going through my bag with their hands, even if they have gloves on. This does not strike me as safe. I am thinking about putting whatever I need in a clear vinyl zip bag and opening my bag wide for security, or even turning inside out if I can. What other ideas can be done for this situation? I am all for security but not having them go through my bag. Thank you for making us all safe so we can return to the place that gives us happiness!

  • We are so grateful for the thoughts in science behind all your actions and look forward ecstatically to returning as soon as we possibly can! Although I may not be the same, I think we’ve all learned that the same may not be what we want and the new normal will at least include the wonderful rides, the smells and sites and sounds that are the magic of Disney for us!

  • While I’m glad for the increased sanitation, which should have been happening all along because we flu season hello! This virus is no deadlier then the flu. Haha! Good luck trying to get a hot, sweaty, 2 year old to wear a mask in hot, humid Florida! According to the World Health Organization, healthy people should NOT be wearing masks! There is no magic when you can’t see your child’s smile when they go to the park for the first time or getting to see their favorite character. I hope you lose business with this mask rule. It should be optional, not mandatory. Bring the fireworks and character meetings back soon!

  • @Chris, I do believe I read somewhere within Disney faq, if you reach out to Guest Services provisions are allowed to accommodate certain situations. I hope you too can get back to Disney sooner than later!

  • We will be putting on hold our next few visits planned for this year. We typically visit anywhere from one to three times a year for four to ten days each. However, everything we love about Disney is currently off the table. All of the magic is gone. Character meet and greets and spontaneously deciding each morning which park we want to hit are changes that make a trip no longer worth our money or time. Having to commit to a park well ahead of time is not our idea of a relaxing and enjoyable Disney trip. At my age and after more trips than I can count since 2001, character pictures and meet and greets are the highlight for me. I have an excess of 20,000 character meet and greet photos. I cannot imagine a Disney trip without them.
    Face masks cause communication issues with our family as we have a member who cannot hear well and she reads lips to “hear” what everyone is saying. We have another who only communicates by mouthing words without sound due to losing his voice box to cancer.
    Hopefully things will get back closer to normal and the Disney magic will be restored soon. Until then, we sadly have no choice but to pass.

  • Can they improve the WiFi/data network so the mobile ordering etc actually works? Biggest problem I have with the app is that the internet in the parks and hotels is terrible

  • Thank-you for all of your efforts to get the MAGIC back in ALL of our lives! We so desperately NEED our Disney more than ever!
    We are cognizant of the risks and the measures to minimize risk, and we know it is our final say in either coming back this year or not.
    My family and I are looking to coming back this season with a resounding YES!

  • I am so glad to hear your logical explanation of face masks and how they are meant for mutual protection. We would not be planning to visit UNLESS face masks were required.

  • How will that be enforced for kids? You know they won’t wear one all day and it states elsewhere that kid under a certain age should not wear one.

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