Walt Disney World has announced that guests can start posing for maskless photos starting on Thursday, April 8th. Disney World travelers got the long-awaited update today, as Disney announced the following on their official site: "Face coverings are required for all Guests (ages 2 and up) and Cast Members, including those who have received a COVID-19 vaccine. Please bring your own face coverings and wear them at all times, except when dining or swimming. You may temporarily remove your face covering while actively eating, drinking or taking an outdoor photo*, but you must be stationary and maintain appropriate physical distancing during this time. (*Beginning April 8)".
Disney was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, as theme parks and cruises were forced to close and/or operate under strict restrictive parameters that cut profits and services. Disney has several theme parks still waiting to reopen /open, but that rollout has already begun.
Disney World was booked to capacity for Spring Break 2021, and the company has been working diligently through the pandemic to adapt its procedures with every bit of new knowledge gained about preventing infection and contamination.
When some Disney parks first re-opened last summer, Disney Parks chairman Josh D'Amaro spoke of "the new normal" for how things would work:
"We are in a new normal right now, so what's happening outside of the gates of Walt Disney World is our new world," D'Amaro told CNBC. "I think you know we were one of the first theme parks to close, and we'll be about the last to open. And we spent every minute of every day thinking about how to operate in this new normal that we're in.:
"We figured out a way to really push hard on technology, really accelerate some of the ideas that we've had for a long time," D'Amaro explained to Dow Report. "So you think about things like reservation systems in the parks that we can manage capacity and therefore guest experience a little bit better. It's working exceptionally well for us."
"Things like mobile order, Roger. So you can walk up to a restaurant, have your meal ready for you when you arrive. Things like queue reservations systems that we're executing in different ways," D'Amaro added. "Or even how you might pay for merchandise, but without transacting with a credit card. And this technology, it doesn't only help us during a time of a pandemic, but I think it actually leads to a better cast and guest experience. And so, these are things that are helping us now, but I think they're here to stay."
Add taking photos to the list of things that are going to be very different at Walt Disney World from now on.