When at Disney World, you will be wearing a mask — even if you’re not wearing a mask.
When the Walt Disney World theme parks in California and Florida reopened in July, they enacted COVID-19 health and safety protocols, including the requirement that guests must wear face masks at all times, wrote WDW News Today, which identifies itself as “the worldwide leader in Disney parks news.”
“Face coverings are required for all Guests (ages 2 and up) and Cast Members,” said the Disney guidelines. “Please bring your own face coverings and wear them at all times, except when dining or swimming. You may remove your face covering while actively eating or drinking, but you should be stationary and maintain appropriate physical distancing.”
According to the guidelines, all face coverings (whether disposable or reusable) must “be made with at least 2 layers of breathable material, fully cover the nose and mouth and secure under the chin, fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face, be secured with ties or ear loops and allow the Guest to remain hands-free.” Neck gaiters, open-chin triangle bandanas and face coverings containing valves, mesh material or holes of any kind were not acceptable face coverings.
To win compliance, guests who did not properly wear their face masks on attractions did not receive their on-ride PhotoPass photos. But then the parks reportedly started to digitally superimpose masks on visitors, WDW reported.
“In a photo posted by Tony Townsend on the Facebook group Disney World Junkies, we see the first instance of this practice aboard DINOSAUR,” WDW reported over the weekend. “While everyone in the front row seems to have their face masks on correctly, the riders in the back apparently did not. You can see the slightly oversized, digitized face mask edited onto the woman on the left—it almost looks like face mask clip art.”
Not only will these new digitally-applied face masks allow for guests to enjoy their full PhotoPass benefits, but it will also encourage compliance, reducing the “monkey see, monkey do” thought process that may lead guests to erroneously believe it’s okay to remove their masks while on attractions. So far, these digital face mask enhancements are available on Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin at the Magic Kingdom and aboard DINOSAUR in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. We expect to see them rolled out to all on-ride PhotoPass opportunities in the coming months.
But on Monday, after backlash, Disney World announced it will stop adding masks for on-ride photos. “In response to guest requests, we tested modifying some ride photos. We are no longer doing this and continue to expect guests to wear face coverings except when actively eating or drinking while stationary,” Disney World said in a statement to WDW.