Disney Parks Faces Backlash for Requiring Guests to Wear Face Masks

It may be known as the happiest place on earth, but some fans aren't feeling the magic after Disney Parks announced it would require guests to wear face masks upon the phased reopening of Disney Springs. After the Lake Buena Vista, Florida theme park closed in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, it was announced earlier this month that it would begin a phased reopening on May 20, something that would bring with it a few controversial measures to ensure the safety and wellbeing of both staff and parkgoers.

In a post on its official theme parks blog, the Walt Disney Co. wrote that "as we continue to monitor conditions, and with the health of guests and Disney cast members at the forefront of our planning, we are making several operational changes." Those changes, described as "enhanced safety measures," include increased cleaning procedures, limited-contact guest services, additional safety training, and, what proved most controversial, "the use of appropriate face coverings by both cast members and guests."

In a separate update, it was announced that face coverings would be required for "all guests 3 years of age and older, along with cast members and third-party operating-participant employees." Encouraging parkgoers to "please be sure you have an ample amount of face coverings for yourself and your party before you arrive," the company explained that "this is an important part of protecting both our guests and our cast," though some believed that wearing face coverings should be up to individuals rather than mandated.

The comments section of the blog post quickly filled with outcry from people opposed to the requirement, some even threatening to never visit a Disney theme park again while others said they would allow their annual pass to lapse. In one such comment, somebody said that "masks are a deal breaker," adding that "people can decide for themselves whether or they should or shouldn't go and if they want to wear a mask." Another person commented that "if face masks are going to be required, we will be canceling our trip."

The new policy did, however, gain plenty of supporters, with many coming to Disney's defense. In one such comment, somebody even invoked the words of Mrs. Incredible herself, writing, "this is not about you!"