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Social Distancing at Theme Parks
All Orlando area theme parks, including Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort, implemented social distancing guidelines from the time of their reopening, last year. The practice continues at local theme parks with the ongoing pandemic. The social distancing measures within Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando include staying six feet apart from other parties while in queue lines, sitting down at quick-service restaurants, while in line at a merchandise shop, and more.
The approval from Orange County gives Disney World and Universal Orlando the ability to reduce social distancing guidelines to 3 feet from 6 feet.
Orange County Approves Reducing Social Distancing
Orange County Mayor Demings held a press conference, this morning detailing updates regarding the coronavirus within Orange County, Florida.
Demings stated that social distancing will now be allowed to reduce from six feet to three feet in “all settings”, effective immediately. He also confirmed that he has been in communication with the local theme parks regarding the changing recommendations.
“I believe the adjustments they will make will be based on keeping guests safe. As they manage the lines for those outdoor settings… and even indoor, they’re able to increase capacity as a result of that.”– Mayor Jerry Demings
Orange County Face Covering Ending
As you can see in the above Tweet, Mayor Demings also outlined the process for ending the mask mandate in Orange County. Once 70% of Orange County residents aged 16 and older have received their first dose of the COVID vaccine and/or the County’s 14-day rolling positivity rate falls below 5%, all mandates will be lifted. This includes the face covering mandate.
Theme Park Response to Updated Guidelines
At this time, neither Universal nor Disney World have updated their guidelines or released statements responding to the updated restrictions from Orange County.
The official Disney World website states the following when it comes to social distancing at the theme parks:
Temporary adjustments are in place to promote physical distancing.
Physical distancing measures may include:
Signage and Ground Markings: Please follow directional signage and ground markings, which have been installed throughout Walt Disney World Resort to help Guests better navigate common areas while practicing physical distancing.
Physical Barriers: Physical barriers have been added in select places to help promote proper separation between people, including in queues and on transportation and attractions. Barriers may also be visible, for example, in areas around cash registers or at Guest Relations.
Party Size: Guests traveling in parties of more than 10 are asked to split into smaller groups in queues, dining locations and other areas around our parks and resorts to better allow for physical distancing.
Parking: Cashless payment is recommended at the auto plazas. Cars will be directed to park in every other parking space at the theme parks.
Training: Cast Members are trained to engage with Guests and promote physical distancing guidelines in common areas and queues.
Universal Orlando’s website states:
Social distancing at all locations through the parks, to include attractions, shows, restaurants and merchandise locations.
We are implementing social distancing procedures within our attractions. We are limiting the number of guests allowed in the queue, and there is social distancing signage throughout. Please note that some queue experiences may be slightly altered as we implement our new procedures, and wait times may be longer than usual.
The health and safety of our guests and team members will always be our top priority. To ensure proper social distancing, we are implementing new procedures in our indoor theaters, including appropriate spacing between travel parties and assisting our guests with seating and exiting the theater to avoid congestion. These procedures mean that our show capacity will be limited and wait times may be longer than usual to experience the show. We are also increasing our already-aggressive cleaning procedures and will be sanitizing high-touch surfaces between each show. All guests are also required to wear a face covering while experiencing all indoor and outdoor shows.
You can watch the full press conference from Orange County, below.