It’s been a big few weeks for changes in theme parks, particularly those located in sunny Orlando, Florida. Over the past few weeks, both Universal Orlando and Walt Disney World have made changes to their mask policies as more people have gotten vaccinated and new guidelines from the CDC have been revealed. Even though new mask policies were created just a few weeks ago, it looks like both major theme parks are looking to revise some of the rules (again).
First and foremost, Disney World’s four theme parks -- Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom -- made mask policy changes back in April that noted guests could have have opportunities to remove masks while out of doors, and not just when eating, but also for activities including photo opps. As time passed, face coverings have still been required while entering attractions, while indoors and while on transportation; however, largely while outside people have been freer to remove the face coverings. This week, the Disney parks also made a change: Guests who are going to outdoor theaters are able to continue going mask-free, per Disney's official website.
Universal’s two major theme parks -- Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure -- also had similar mask guidelines in place, with previous mask rules being lifted a few weeks ago so that guests who are vaccinated do not need to wear them in outdoor settings. Last week, however, an addendum was made so that vaccinated guests no longer are required to wear masks at all. At the time, Universal had its employees continue wearing masks, but it seems like that is being revised now, as well.
When it comes to changes Universal is making, it’s more on the employee end. A new report over at News 6 Click Orlando mentions that this weekend cast members who were fully vaccinated did not need to wear masks in outdoor or backstage settings on the theme park campus, marking yet another change to the mask rules. In the past, we've seen Universal Orlando make changes before Disney followed suit, so we'll have to wait and see whether or not the same thing happens here.
Now, if you live closer to California, Disneyland and Universal Studios Hollywood won’t likely receive the same treatment soon. That’s because new guidelines in California currently say mask-wearing will be in place past June 15, with recent reports indicating they could continue until August, September or October. We’ll let you know if there are any updates on that front.
The mask wearing is not the only sign that pandemic protocols are starting to wane in theme parks. Temperature checks have largely gone by the wayside and other restrictions, including social distancing, have slowly relaxed. Now, theme parks are looking to add capacity in the coming months. So if there was a time frame you wanted to visit either Universal or Disney and the opportunity isn’t currently available, keep your eyes peeled. They'll likely be even more changes in the coming weeks and it can be difficult to keep up.