How Special Needs are Handled During the Disney World Covid-19 Reopening


Disney World has reopened, and we’ve got some answers to questions about the handling of special needs in the parks. Although things can change swiftly at Disney, here’s what’s happening now.

Thank you to Autumn Barnes, Gordon LaGrow, Janey Schell, Grace Flanary, and many others in my Facebook group Walt Disney World Made Easy for Everyone for researching and generously sharing!

Are masks required, even if there is a disability that makes it difficult to wear one?

Yes. No exemptions. Even if you’re wearing a face shield, a mask is required. Bandanas and Gaiter masks are not acceptable. The same is true for those with hearing aids, and any other type of special need. This has been confirmed by several people, and of course, things can change at any time.

Disney is enforcing this policy. If you remove your mask inappropriately in the park, a Cast Member will come to you to tell you to put it on. Those who are not compliant will have to leave the park.

Masks can be removed when eating or drinking, swimming, or in Mask Relaxation Stations. See more below. Visit here for more details on the types of masks that are acceptable. Here’s Disney’s latest statement on what’s required:

“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)”

What are mask Relaxation Stations?

In these special areas set aside by Disney, you can remove your mask. Disney sets up the area so that guests are socially distanced. There are places to sit, and the seating areas should be grouped so that each party can be 6 feet away from any others. However, we did hear that in some Relaxation Stations, the groupings were not necessarily 6 feet apart.

Most of these areas are outside but there are some that are inside.

While you’re in the area, you must stay seated. You can not stand up, or move around the area unless you put your mask back on.

Is Disney still offering the DAS (Disability Access System)?

Yes. It’s still exactly the same. Occasionally a different attraction entrance may be used. Even if you have registered in the past for a DAS, you’ll need to register again.

Is security no-touch?

It appears so. Disney is doing everything they can to keep everything no-touch as much as possible, including security. When you go through the security checkpoint, Disney takes your temperature with a no-touch thermometer. They may ask you to remove your hat or push back your hair to get a better read (Disney Food Blog).

If a bag sets off a metal detector, they might give the guest a plastic bag to put their belongings in so they can visually inspect the guest’s items. They can do this at will as well. Or they may just ask guests to open their bags and move things around inside so they can see. They can also use the wand detector.

Is Disney still handling special dietary needs the same way?

Yes. Disney is still accommodating special dietary needs just as they have in the past. Visit our Disney World and Special Dietary Needs section for details.

Are wheelchairs and scooters still handled the same way?

Yes, exactly the same way. Guests may be given a return time, or they may need to use a different queue than may have been used in the past. However, the procedures are the same.

With all the social distancing and the parks running far below capacity, using a scooter or wheelchair might even feel easier than usual. Check out this series for details on how to use scooters or wheelchairs at Disney World.

For more details on the changes that Disney made in the parks and Disney Springs, visit this article:

Disney Re-Opening! What You Need to Know! Including Updates

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About Author

I'm Stephen Ashley. My wife and I are huge fans of Disney World. I'm the author of Walt Disney World With Disabilities. I also wrote a book called Walt Disney World Made Easy for Everyone, but rather than have it published, at this point we've decided to place all the material from the manuscript on this website so everyone can have access to it! I hope you enjoy it, and I hope it makes your day just a little bit brighter and easier.

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