Coronavirus Column: Going to Disney World during a pandemic

“As much as I understand people wanting to have fun during these hard times, is it worth going to Disney with the risks associated with it?” asks Staff Writer Richard Pereira.


Art by Michelle Rodriguez.

Richard Pereira, Staff Writer

I did not know what to expect when I visited Disney’s Epcot and Animal Kingdom on Aug. 8 and 9 during a global pandemic.

What I did know was I was taking a risk going there with the number of people who went, and how some people might conduct themselves throughout their time there, and those were my initial concerns by the time I got there.

After my visits, here were the observations I made about the way employees enforced rules for safety and social distancing, the issue I saw with people (even though they had masks on), and the advice I would give to people who want to go to Disney despite the pandemic.

Employee’s Efforts

Nothing can describe how hard Disney employees are working to keep the safety of everyone assured.

Measuring everyone’s temperatures to make sure they’re not sick, having hand-sanitizing dispensers all over the place, making sure everyone is wearing masks at all times unless they’re eating or drinking, keeping everyone at a safe distance in the lines for the attractions, and cleaning the tables each time people are done using them are the many things I saw from them.

The question now is whether having no reported cases, keeping everything clean, and having people continue wearing masks can be sustained over long periods of time. As they will reduce their park hours starting in September, that question will be answered sooner than we think.

If there’s anything I can’t stress enough to everyone, respect Disney’s employees for all they are doing to keep us from getting infected. If anything happens, they should not be blamed as they are only doing what they are told to do to keep the park open.

Inconsistent Distancing

Masks being worn by everyone was something I did not have to worry about during my time there; what I did worry about, however, was the inconsistent social distancing people had from each other.

There were times when people followed distancing rules, especially for the attractions lines, but then there would be times when those rules would be ignored as people were too close to each other in restaurants and did not separate themselves far enough from others whenever they walked around the theme parks.

Even if they are wearing masks to prevent the spread of the virus, the effectiveness of the masks would be void if social distancing is not being enforced enough for everyone to keep themselves safe.

What I’d encourage Disney to do is to show social distancing as an effective method of keeping everyone safe as frequently as possible so people can see the importance to do so.

Entertainment Over Safety?

Honestly, I get why people would want to go to places like Disney even though we are still going through a pandemic.

They are just wanting to have fun amidst all the chaos going on all over the world as it’s their way of temporarily escaping these issues.

As I say that, criticism is warranted. As much as I understand people wanting to have fun during these hard times, is it worth going to Disney with the risks associated with it?

With COVID-19 cases continuing to rise in Florida and seeing people not distancing themselves enough from other people in places like Disney, it is not worth risking the lives of many people. These occasions can be done at a safer time when we are not going through a pandemic. Our safety matters as it should be the most important thing for us to take care of right now.

For those who still want to go to Disney despite the pandemic, the advice I’ll give is this: Keep your mask on as long as you’re there, clean your hands as many times as possible, and distance yourself from others as far as you can.

As far as we know, this pandemic is here to stay for the foreseeable future, so we must make the right adjustments to our lifestyles to maintain our health and keep everyone around us safe.

Richard Pereira is a staff writer for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @Rich26Pereira.