Disney World Mask Policy Changes: Masks Optional Outdoors

by | May 17, 2021 | WDW Blog, WDW News

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Masks at Disney World are now optional outdoors. Here’s what it means for your next visit.

On May 15th, Walt Disney World announced the biggest change yet to its mask policy: Masks are no longer required when guests are outdoors. 

This news comes on the heels of the latest guidance from the CDC, detailing that regardless of vaccination status, Americans can safely move about outside without a mask.

Our reporter, Tina Chiu was there on the first day of the Disney World mask policy change. Here’s what to expect if you’re headed to the parks soon.

What is the New Mask Policy?

Masks at Disney World Policy Changes EPCOT May 16 Chiu

Guests roam EPCOT without masks on May 16. Photo by Tina Chiu

  • Guests are required to wear masks while inside an attraction, moving about inside a dining location, and any other indoor area.
  • Guests are not required to show proof of vaccination for any reason at the parks.
  • Guests 2 and under are not required to wear masks.
  • Florida does not have a state-wide mask mandate. As private property, Disney World continues to enforce its own company policies.
  • 6-foot physical distancing will still be enforced indoors but will be phased out of outdoor walkways and seating areas.

Eating and Walking is Back!

Frozen-Violet-Lemonade-Pineapple-Promenade-EPCOT-2021-Flower-and-Garden Festival-menu-Blanken

Frozen Violet Lemonade. Photo by Rain Blanken

Previously, Disney Parks had stated that eating and drinking while walking was prohibited, as masks had to be in place at all times while walking.

This made EPCOT festivals particularly daunting, as the entirety of World Showcase seemed designed for drink-and-munch activities between food booths.

Now with the relaxed mask rules, EPCOT guests can take up a fork and stroll from booth-to-booth with ease.

Be advised that food booth lines are a courteous place to wear a mask while in close proximity to other guests.

We are so glad to be sippin’ and strollin’ through the parks again!

Are Relaxation Stations Still a Thing?

Relaxation station at akershus back at epcot

The relaxation Station at Akershus in Norway. Photo by Kelli Wosick

Previously, Walt Disney World had reserved large outdoor locations to offer guests a respite from wearing a mask.

Among these were Pizzafari, Pete’s Silly Sideshow, and Tomorrowland Terrace.

Relaxation Stations have been shifting and closing throughout the past year, including a former location at Woody’s Lunchbox which reopened for operation in November, and a station in Galaxy’s Edge that was moved to the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular in February.

These locations will be phased out as mask policies change and the attractions and shows at these locations are restored.

How is Mask Compliance?

Disney World Mask Policy Changes Outoors Chiu

Guests at EPCOT on May 16th were not required to wear masks outdoors. Photo by Tina Chiu

Tina said, “Walking into Epcot I admit that it felt weird to see so many maskless guests walking around instead of being stationary for eating or taking pictures.

There is definitely a much larger number of guests without masks than those wearing masks but I was still able to find places to distance myself. “

And with guests taking off and putting on their masks more often now, there was some speculation over the weekend that it would be difficult to get guests to unmask and re-mask between indoor and outdoor environments.

But Tina saw compliance among guests,I also did not observe any difficulty with guests having to put on their mask when required to do so. Cast Members were great at reminding guests to have masks on hand and also giving them notice on when they will need to put them on again.”

“From what I observed, the majority of the guests seem happy with the new mask policy change and I just hope we all continue to show kindness and respect to fellow guests and especially the Cast Members.”

Disney World Mask Policy Changes

While this is a major shift in policy, this announcement is just part of the ever-evolving COVID-19 protocol at the parks.

-Previous rules stated that Walt Disney World guests could temporarily remove their masks when actively eating and drinking (stationary and away from others), and while swimming at resort pools.

-In June of 2020, Disney World further refined its mask policy to exclude gaiters and allow stationary eating and drinking.

-In April, WDW announced that guests could briefly remove their masks outdoors for photo opportunities.

-On May 13th, Disney World announced changes to physical distancing requirements throughout the parks.

-May 16th also marked the end of temperature checks for guests when entering the parks. Previously, every guest and Cast Member was checked prior to entering the park.

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Written by Rain Blanken

Rain Blanken is a published author and leader in digital media. A DVC Member, WDW Annual Pass holder, and former Disney Vacation Planner, Rain would live inside Boma if they would just stop checking under the tables at night.
Rain Blanken

Written by Rain Blanken

Rain Blanken is a published author and leader in digital media. A DVC Member, WDW Annual Pass holder, and former Disney Vacation Planner, Rain would live inside Boma if they would just stop checking under the tables at night.