Disney’s New Mask Policy: A First-Hand Dining Experience
Quietly, with no official announcement before or after the update, Disney made a significant change to their mask policy last week. According to the new verbiage on Disney’s website, guests must keep their face coverings in place until they receive their food and/or drink when they sit down at a restaurant. And, that face covering must return to your face when you are not actively eating or drinking. Here’s the exact wording:
I had already made dining reservations for myself for that week, and as soon as that policy update was released, I realized I was going to be dining on Disney Property the FIRST day the new policy was in place!
This is a first-hand account of my experience dining at not one, but TWO Disney restaurants since the mask policy has been updated! Please keep in mind that the following accounts are what I personally experienced- Disney reserves the right to ask any guest at any time to wear a face covering while in their restaurants, Theme Parks, and on their Property.
On the first day the mask policy was updated, I had a reservation to check out the newly-reopened Big River. Being that I’m a DisneyWorldLocal, I have been dining at Disney restaurants since the reopening of Disney Springs last May. To say that I have experience on how Table Service dining has been working since the phased reopening is an understatement! Like I mentioned, the new policy’s wording led many guests- including myself- to believe that unless I was currently taking a sip or a bite, I’d have to put my mask on.
Now, I am a firm believer in showing every possible courtesy to my server. Since the beginning of the pandemic, I have always kept my face covering on while I browse menus and order my food without fail. That’s how I like to do it. Some guests- like members of my travel party- prefer to take their mask off as soon as they sit down. That’s how they like to do it. And either decision has been a-ok by Disney all along.
At Big River, there was seemingly NO change from past dining experiences I’d had! I left my mask on as per my usual proceedings, but other folks in my party immediately removed their masks upon being seated. Neither our waiter (nor manager who passed by our table) had any issue with our behavior.
I also noticed some other tables hanging out after they had finished eating sans mask and they were not asked to put their face coverings on until they left their table. So, on the very first day of this ‘update’…seemingly nothing had changed.
Terralina Crafted Italian
Fast-forward to three days later. There are rumors all over the internet about this mask policy change by now. The changing of a few words on Disney’s website that has everyone in a tizzy. Instead of adding fuel to that fire, I made myself a reservation at Terralina to check out how things were being handled over at Disney Springs for myself…
Again, I found the dining experience and policies on mask-wearing while dining unchanged at Terralina. It seemed to me that Disney updated their website verbiage as a precaution, and I don’t blame them.
If someone is blatantly disregarding the mask policy and using a Table Service dining reservation as an excuse to sit mask-less for hours at a table, Disney now has the new disclaimer to fall back on should they need to enforce it. If you are aware of the current climate and show basic courtesies to your server and surrounding guests, you’ll be good to go!
If you’re someone who is hesitant to visit Walt Disney World since reading the update to the mask policy, I hope my experiences have helped ease your mind. Table Service meals should be a relaxing and leisurely time for your travel party, and in my experience- it’s just as magical and relaxing as it was in weeks and months past! What do you think of the updated mask policy? Leave me a comment and let me know! For even more Parks and Resorts content, visit me on YouTube at DisneyWorldLocal for the latest ride POV’s, restaurant reviews, and updates from WDW from a Disney World Local!
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