Disney Modifies Pandemic Rules and Brings Back Character Meals
Facing mounting pressure from some Florida locals and vacationers, Walt Disney World finally made a call about its pandemic procedures.
Here’s what we know, along with an unexpected bit of good news about some Disney Vacation Club resort meals we were missing.
Temperature Screening Update
As I mentioned the other day, some recent rulings placed Disney in a defensive position.
Florida’s governor canceled all local regulations regarding pandemic safety.
Around the same time, the Orange County Department of Health determined that temperature checks didn’t do enough to justify the aggravation.
During the pandemic, we’ve learned that a temperature check rarely reveals whether someone has contracted COVID-19.
So, Orange County dropped the requirement, and the governor’s ruling would have negated it anyway.
As Disney has done all along, it liaised with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding the issue.
After receiving the proper feedback, Walt Disney World healthcare executives have determined that temperature checks aren’t necessary.
Disney will phase them out in Orlando, starting on May 8th. Cast members will no longer need to pass a temperature test then.
On May 16th, Disney will drop the temperature test requirement for park and resort restaurant guests.
Disney’s Official Announcement
The official website has been updated to reflect this information. Here’s the pertinent text:
“Since reopening, we have considered guidance from public health authorities, government agencies, and our own team of health and safety experts as we assess and update health and safety measures to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
As this guidance continues to evolve, and with the support of local health and government officials, we are making some additional adjustments. Following the advice of the CDC and our local health officials, we will phase out onsite temperature screenings at Walt Disney World Resort for Cast Members beginning May 8 and Guests on May 16.
We will continue to follow the guidance of health and safety leaders going forward and most importantly encourage people to get vaccinated.”
Since I know you’re wondering, Disney hasn’t changed its face-covering policy beyond the ones we’ve previously discussed.
So, unless you’re taking a picture or eating/drinking, you must wear a face mask for the time being.
Please note that Disneyland Resort employs different rules. The official site still indicates that guests must pass a temperature check to enter certain areas.
Given that the park only reopened last week, you can expect these Disneyland policies to remain in place for a while longer.
As has been the case for the past year, Florida and California continue to take different approaches to the pandemic.
By the way, if you’re doing a joint vacation, Universal Orlando Resort has also dropped temperature checks.
In fact, that park has taken an extra set. It has reducing social distancing requirements from six feet to three feet.
That’s probably an upcoming step at Walt Disney World, but it’s sheer speculation on my part.
DVC Resort Restaurant Updates
Three beloved DVC resort restaurants are undergoing changes soon.
At Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Chef Mickey’s will finally bring back its dinner service. The announced return date is May 16th.
Until then, Chef Mickey’s remains open for a breakfast character meal. However, the restaurant will return to its full operating hours next week.
At Disney’s Beach Club Resort, Cape May Café hasn’t reopened during the pandemic. Capacity limits reduced Disney’s need for all its restaurants.
Well, your favorite seafood place will come back on May 18th. On that date, Cape May Café will serve breakfast and dinner once again.
Please be aware that meal service has changed to family-style rather than a buffet for obvious reasons.
Disney also confirmed that another character meal, Tusker House at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, will return this summer. It didn’t state an exact date, though.
In less happy news, The Wave… of American Flavors will close for an undetermined length of time this summer.
The Contemporary Resort restaurant will receive refurbishments as Disney perfects its monorail resorts before the 50th-anniversary party.
Disney didn’t list a closing date or return date. We’ll track the latter story carefully, as one site has suggested for ages now that The Wave is going bye-bye.
If they’re correct – and nobody else has confirmed the story – a steakhouse themed to The Incredibles is in the offing.
Given the low-key popularity of The Wave, especially among DVC members, that seems like a risky decision.
However, the Contemporary has recently re-themed some of its rooms to The Incredibles. So, a complementary restaurant makes sense. Stay tuned!
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