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It’s now become a well known fact that there are intricate Disney World face mask requirements. Disney has taken an aggressive stance towards health and safety measures since reopening (Updated July 29, 2021).
The Disney face mask rules have already changed several times. Also, make sure you’ve read my article taking a look at whether or not now is a good time to go to Disney World. There are many things all guests need to take into consideration.
Finally, I’ve put together some first person tips for traveling to Disney during the pandemic based on my family’s experiences.
Update 7/29/2021: Starting July 30, 2021, face masks are once again required on all Disney transportation, indoor locations, and in and on all attractions. This is regardless of vaccination status.
Table of Contents
Why Do I Need to Wear a Face Mask at Disney?
Disney has pretty closely followed the recommendations of the CDC throughout this ordeal. So when the CDC recently came out recommending that everyone should once again wear masks indoors, Disney followed suit.
Even as Disney starts to loosen the rules for face masks, they are still a reality for a Disney vacation. So if you plan to go, let’s find out all we need to know about face masks at Disney World.
What are the Disney World Face Mask Rules?
While I think we all know what a face mask is at this point, what are Disney World’s face mask rules? This is a very important question because face coverings certainly come in all shapes and sizes these days.
Here is Disney’s official definition of a face mask:
- Face coverings must fully cover both the mouth and nose and secure under the chin
- Be made with at least 2 layers of breathable material
- Must fit snugly and comfortably along the side of the face
- The mask must secure with either ties or ear loops to be hands free
Recently, Disney updated their policy to include specific parameters for face masks which have clear plastic panels so you can see the mouth, like these face masks here.
The rules for this style of face mask is as follows:
- Be a fabric face covering featuring a solid plastic panel containing no openings that is attached to the fabric on all sides using tight knit stitching
- Meet all Disney World face mask requirements listed above
As always, check Disney’s updated face mask rules before your trip.
What Does NOT Count as a Face Mask at Disney?
Clearly, the definition above paints a very specific picture that not all face masks are created equal. Disney has a very specific idea as to what they want. And what they want is the most secure type of of mask possible.
Tying a bandanna around your face won’t cut it. Nor will wrapping a scarf around your face. Though I don’t know why you would want to do that one in Florida…
To be even more specific, Disney identifies the following face masks as non-compliant with their face mask rules:
- neck gaiters
- face coverings with valves
- masks with mesh or holes of any kind
The most controversial of these restrictions is in regards to neck gaiters. Neck gaiters have become an increasingly popular option for face coverings. But, based on Disney’s definition of a face mask, they don’t quite make the cut.
In fact, as I wrote this article, Disney went ahead and updated the language they use in their face mask requirements to specifically state that neck gaiters and bandannas are not permitted.
Why Might Neck Gaiters Not Be Allowed?
First and foremost, the gaiters are thin and very breathable, which is exactly why people like them so much. But I think that’s a bit reason why they aren’t allowed. They are simply too breathable.
The whole point of the mask is to block particle transmission from person to person. The CDC has identified the 2 layers of fabric is the best option. Neck gaiters are only one layer. They simply don’t offer the amount of protection required.
Second, I think the words “hands free” and secure come into play. No matter how you slice it, those neck gaiters just aren’t as secure as a mask with ear loops or ties.
Tim Tracker tested out a bunch of face mask options on rides at Sea World to see what worked best. Do you know what he found out? His neck gaiter repeatedly fell off his face on the ride. Masks with ear loops stayed nice and secure.
I know they make neck gaiters with ear loops and filter pockets. Might those be allowed? I don’t know, but I personally wouldn’t take the chance.
How Strict is Disney About Masks?
I think this question is a moot point by now. However, it’s important to understand that any situation that Disney DOES require a face mask (aka on transportation) expect them to be strict.
Disney has been very strict about enforcing whatever face mask rule is present at the time. So if they say it’s required on transportation, they mean it.
Who is Required to Wear a Face Mask at Disney?
Disney requires all guests ages 2 and older to follow the current face mask rules.
When Do I HAVE to Wear My Face Mask at Disney?
These requirements/recommendations have changed several times over. Frankly, it’s hard to keep track. But these are the latest requirements for ALL guests, as of July 30, 2021.
|Face Coverings Required||Face Coverings Optional for all guests|
|Upon entering and throughout all attractions||✔️|
|All theaters, including theater entrances||✔️|
|All transportation, including transportation entrances||✔️|
|All indoor locations, including restaurants, except when actively eating or drinking while stationary||✔️|
|Outdoor common areas||✔️|
Face masks our now optional in outdoor common areas for ALL guests, regardless of vaccination status.
Taking Your Mask Off While Eating and Drinking
One major benefit to some of the loosening of the mask rules is the ability to eat and drink as you walk around the parks. Not being able to drink water at will led to a whole lot of dehydration during my trips.
However, their previous policy on face masks while eating and drinking remains the same when dining at restaurants or anywhere indoors.
Basically, if you are indoors, even at a restaurant, your face mask should be on unless you are actively eating and drinking. NOT as soon as you sit down on the table.
How Long Will Disney World Require Masks?
I don’t think anyone knows the answer to this question, even Disney’s CEO, Bob Chapek.
Disney has become progressively less restrictive in their mask requirements. In fact, they were basically at the point where it was mostly optional.
However, the rapid spreading of the Delta variant has led to a bit of a regression in that progress. I think it’s safe to say that masks will be around in some capacity at Disney World for a while longer.
Tips for Face Masks at Disney World
Now that we know all about face masks at Disney, let’s take a look at some tips to help make the whole situation a little more bearable.
Bring Extra Masks
Whatever you do, don’t show up with one mask for each person and call it a day. I guarantee you’ll have to buy masks while you’re down there. In fact, you’ll probably need more than one per day, per person.
Between sweating, dropping them, getting food on them and who knows what else, it’s pretty safe to say you aren’t going to want to re-wear the same one without washing it first.
And that’s not even factoring in the possibility of losing the mask during the course of the trip. So do yourself a favor and pack a lot of options.
Bring Face Mask Lanyards
Well there’s a sentence I never envisioned myself typing. But these are strange times.
Face mask lanyards are an absolute game changer when it comes to long days in the parks. These are simply some straps with clips on the ends to attach to your face mask.
I think face mask lanyards are even more important now that Disney’s face mask rules have begun to relax. Think about all the times you transition from outdoors to indoors.
You want easy access to your face mask for you and your kids. If it’s already dangling around your neck it simply makes it easier.
The lanyard loops around the back of your neck. When it comes time to go outdoors take the mask off your ears and drop it to hang like a necklace.
This allows you to always know where the mask is. No worrying about it falling on the ground, falling out of pockets, or standing around while digging everyone’s masks out of a bag.
The face mask lanyards pictured above are the exact ones my family used on our last trip to Disney. When we went a few months earlier, this was an item I quickly added to my list for the next trip.
Trust me, having the masks on a lanyard made everything so much easier.
I like that these have an adjustable toggle on the strap so everyone can customize it to their preferred length. And they’re super cheap for a set of 4!
Test Out Your Masks Before Your Trip
I don’t think this tip is as necessary as it used to be. We’re all pretty used to wearing masks at this point.
However, if you are someone who still feels more comfortable wearing the masks outside in crowded conditions, make sure you are prepared with masks that work well in heat and humidity.
This is especially true if you are going during the summer or early fall. It is oppressively hot and humid in Florida during the summer. That factor makes wearing a mask much different than wearing one in air conditioned comfort.
But seriously, give yourself, and perhaps more importantly, your kids, plenty of opportunities to get used to what to expect on your trip.
Find a Comfortable Face Mask
Along those lines, make sure you have masks that feel comfortable. Well, as comfortable as a mask can possibly feel, anyway. This advice stands for life in general right now, not just a trip to Disney.
Again, most of us have already done this simply to live our day to day lives. But unless you have a job that requires you to wear your mask for long periods of time, you still need to pay attention to this.
Even with Disney’s relaxed face mask rules, you’ll still wear the face mask more than you would in the course of a normal day. The mask that works well enough for a quick run to the grocery store might not be comfortable enough for more frequent wear in hot and sunny Florida.
This is why comfort is so important. Does elastic behind your ear hurt? Do you prefer being able to tie the mask on? What about a wire versus no wire? Lots of things to consider.
Train the Kids Now
Any child who’s been physically in school should be pretty used to this by now. However, if your child has done distance learning, or is too young for school, this tip is huge.
Asking kids, especially young ones, to suddenly have to wear a mask is a huge adjustment. Kids don’t always react well when you thrust something upon them in the moment, especially if they’ve had minimal experience with it before.
Now, here’s the behavioral health professional in me coming out. Even if you aren’t planning a Disney trip, this is important.
Take the opportunity now to get the kids used to wearing face masks. Try different styles to see which ones they tolerate best.
Give them the opportunity to pick patterns or characters they are drawn to. The more they like the design, the more they’ll be willing to cooperate.
Also, explain to them what they should expect, whether it’s a day at school or a day at Disney. While they might not understand all the nuances of the situation, they often understand more than we give them credit for.
Think of it as Another Cute Disney Accessory
Let’s face it, part of the fun of going to Disney is planning everyone’s Disney themed outfits! From shirts, to ears, to full on Disneybounding, everyone likes to put a little something extra into their Disney ensembles.
Considering getting a Disney face mask, or one that matches the theme of a Disneybound outfit to take your game up to the next level.
Again, comfort is the most important factor, so always pay attention to that first and foremost. In the same way you shouldn’t wear heels to Disney, no matter how good they match your Disneybound outfit, an uncomfortable mask in the name of fashion is a bad idea.
The good news is there are so many places you can find cute Disney themed masks!
Where to Get a Cool Face Mask for Disney
With all of this being said, where can you get a cool face mask for Disney?
If you want official Disney face masks, you can buy them at shopDisney or in the parks. Disney has expanded their design and fabric options over the course of the year.
I haven’t personally tried them, but I’ve heard many people say they are quite comfortable and very breathable.
What if you just want a basic disposable face mask by the dozen? If that’s the case, Amazon of course has you covered. There are so many different disposable face mask options to be found.
But this particular face mask has the highest reviews and the best price.
I hope this post was helpful to help clear up the policies for face masks at Disney World. I do expect Disney to continue to make adjustments to their face mask rules. I’ll keep this posted updated as much as possible.
As I mentioned, this post isn’t about agreeing or disagreeing with face mask policies, it’s simply designed to try to make the experience as seamless and easy as possible.
I would hate for someone to show up at Disney World without fully understanding the face mask policy.
Sharing is caring my friends!
Did the article help make the mask policies a little clearer? I sure hope so. Have you found some great masks you’d like to share with people? Sound off in the comments below!