MickeyBlog News for August 2nd, 2021
Hello and welcome to what is a special edition of MickeyBlog News for me!
Today marks my fourth anniversary as a writer here, and MickeyBlog News was one of the first articles I ever pitched for the site!
Alas, I wish that the fourth-anniversary edition included happier subject matter. Yes, Disney just restored face-covering rules at the parks.
So, let’s talk about what’s going on.
It’s Starting to Feel like May of 2021 Again
On May 14th, MickeyTravelers cheered one of the best moments since the start of the pandemic. On that date, Disney rolled back some of its face mask mandates.
Specifically, guests no longer needed to wear face-coverings while walking outdoors. Instead, we only had to mask up while indoors or on Disney transportation.
Then, on June 15th, Walt Disney World took an additional step by completely eliminating the need for masks at the parks.
At the time, daily COVID-19 infections had dropped so dramatically that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) declared face masks unnecessary.
Alas, the fine print here stated that the ruling applied to those who had taken the vaccine. Thus, the CDC expected unvaccinated people to follow the rules for their own safety.
Sadly, that hasn’t happened the way that we’d all expected. Instead, infection rates have soared, especially in Central Florida.
A(another) State of Emergency
To wit, Orange County Mayor Jerry Deming stated last Monday that the area had entered a “state of crisis.”
On Tuesday, Orange County confirmed 1,371 new cases, a staggering total that rivals the worst days of the pandemic.
Even worse, Dr. Raul Pino of the Florida Department of Health made a shocking declaration:
The doctor revealed that Orange County reported 1,031 new cases on July 22nd. Remarkably, each and every one of those sick people hadn’t taken the vaccine.
So, those numbers are unsettling on several levels. Orange County has averaged about 1,000 daily cases recently, including a record high of 21,683 reported Saturday.
Frustratingly, most of the patients haven’t taken the vaccine, which makes them exponentially more susceptible to severe illness or death.
In fact, Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy indicated unvaccinated people suffered 9,950 of the last 10,000 COVID-related deaths.
Yes, only 50 out of the 10,000 dead were unvaccinated.
Friends, please take your shots. I don’t want you to die.
Orange County State of Emergency
Last Thursday, Mayor Deming called on Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort to restore face mask rules at the parks.
He also declared a state of emergency for Orange County. However, he lacked the power to force Disney and Universal to do anything, at least officially.
For Disney’s part, the company cared the most about the CDC. As a result, the parties have worked together throughout the pandemic.
Your beloved Disney won’t do anything to jeopardize the health and safety of guests, for which I know you’re grateful.
So, the mayor’s request mattered less than the CDC’s reversal on the subject of masks.
After watching the surge in infection rates, the CDC recommended that people go back to wearing masks indoors.
This rule applies even to vaccinated people since they can get COVID-19 and infect others.
Those who have taken the Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines are unlikely to suffer serious maladies. Still, they’re a risk to the unvaccinated.
The endgame right now is to lower the number of daily infections again. The CDC believes that indoor mask requirements will do that.
When the CDC modified its policy, I presumed that Disney would follow suit, and that’s precisely what happened.
Disneyland and Walt Disney World have updated their park rules to require face-coverings in all indoor areas and on Disney transportation.
The company published the following statement:
“We are adapting our health and safety guidelines based on guidance from health and government officials, and will require Cast Members and Guests ages 2 and up to wear face coverings in all indoor locations at Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort beginning Friday, July 30, regardless of vaccination status.
At Walt Disney World Resort, this includes upon entering and throughout all attractions and in enclosed transportation vehicles, including shuttles, buses, monorails and at Disney Skyliner.”
So, anyone two and up must wear a mask up again.
I realize that this sounds worrisome, but please have some perspective here. A park visit tomorrow will work the same as one on June 10th.
Unless you’ve visited Walt Disney World over the past six weeks, this change isn’t even one that you would notice.
Overall, you still don’t need to wear a mask outdoors at Walt Disney World. You can do all the stuff that you were doing last week.
The modified rule only applies when you’re indoors, which mostly means attractions, line queues, restaurants, and the like.
You’re not masking up while walking outside in the Florida/California heat. As such, it’s really not a big deal.
I say this as someone who wore a mask all day in 90-degree weather back when they were required everywhere.
The whole thing gets blown waaaay out of proportion in my experience. It’s just a mask and only for some of the time.
Disney Restaurant News
In park and resort news, Disney brings back several restaurants this week. By the time you read this, Catalina Eddie’s is back at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
At Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Pizzafari reopens on Monday, while Columbia Harbour House finally returns on August 5th.
The Yachtsman Steakhouse is also accepting bookings for its August 5th reopening.
Folks, let me tell you that it’s weird for Disney’s Yacht Club Resort to be open without Yachtsman Steakhouse. It’s like Te Fiti is missing her heart.
Fans of rooftop dining are also in business, as Toledo – Tapas, Steak & Seafood returns to Coronado Springs on August 5th.
So, if you’re dining at Walt Disney World this Thursday, you’ve got several new options!
Alas, the same isn’t true at Disney’s Contemporary Resort this October. California Grill, the linchpin restaurant here, no longer allows reservations for the month.
When you pull up the official site, it states:
“California Grill is currently unavailable for bookings after October 2 as we create a special dining experience for the 50th anniversary celebration of Walt Disney World Resort.”
Other Disney News
Disney also announced that employees must take the vaccine to continue employment. I covered that in this week’s Disney Headlines.
Similarly, if you want to know about Scarlett Johansson’s lawsuit against Disney, you can read it in MarvelBlog News, which will be live soon-ish if it’s not already.
Oh, and Disney is hiring if you have taken your shots and would like to be the next Black Widow.
Okay, Florence Pugh holds that title already, but you could play her at Disney California Adventure!
Finally, Disney has posted the showtimes for Harmonious and Disney Enchantment this October.
Starting on October 1st, EPCOT’s Harmonious will launch at 9:45 p.m. EST.
Disney Enchantment at Magic Kingdom initially plays at 9 p.m. on October 1st through October 4th. Then, starting on October 5th, it switches to 8 p.m.