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Theme Parks Update Their Mask Guidelines

Headed to a theme park this summer? Here's what you need to know.

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There’s nothing better than summer at a theme park. But with an end to the pandemic in sight, theme park guidelines are constantly in flux. Are you supposed to wear a mask? Will there be fireworks? Can you meet your favorite characters? Here’s what we know about the current rules at some of the most popular theme parks.

Disney Parks

Walt Disney World has been open and operational for almost a year, while Disneyland only recently opened its gates. While there are similarities between the park rules and guidelines, each park does have its own policies that you should be aware of.

Disneyland

In Disneyland, guests who are vaccinated do not have to wear masks while they’re in the parks. Masks are, however, mandatory when riding the shuttle from the parking lot. You do not have to produce proof of your vaccination status. Guests who are not vaccinated are encouraged to continue wearing their masks while indoors. Social distancing will not be enforced, and temperature checks have been discontinued.

While character meet-and-greets and parades have not returned, fireworks shows are expected to make a comeback with “Mickey’s Mix Magic” in July. You can still see characters throughout the park, but they must be at a distance.

Before you visit the park, you must make an online reservation in addition to purchasing a ticket. Disneyland’s capacity levels are unclear at the moment, but they are expected to gradually increase capacity over the summer.

Walt Disney World

Walt Disney World has also dropped its mask mandate for vaccinated guests. Guests who are vaccinated do not have to wear masks while they’re in the parks, but masks are mandatory on transportation like the monorail, Disney buses and the Disney Skyliner. Disney does not require proof of vaccination, and unvaccinated guests are encouraged to continue wearing their masks while indoors.

Character meet-and-greets and parades have not returned, but characters can be seen from a distance and during surprise mini-parades called character cavalcades. Both of Walt Disney World’s fireworks shows, “Happily Ever After” in Magic Kingdom and “Epcot Forever” in Epcot, are returning in July. These shows will run until Oct. 1, when they’re set to be replaced by the nighttime spectaculars celebrating the park’s 50th anniversary.

Before you visit the parks, you must make an online reservation in addition to purchasing a ticket. Walt Disney World’s last update about reservations claimed that the parks were capped at 35% capacity, but it seems that they have been gradually increasing the capacity to around 50% since then.

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Universal Orlando Resort & Universal Studios Hollywood

At both Universal Orlando Resort and Universal Studios Hollywood, masks are no longer required for vaccinated guests, although the use of masks indoors is recommended and encouraged. Unvaccinated guests must wear masks while on park property, except while eating and drinking. Proof of your vaccination status is not required. Social distancing is still being encouraged, and there is hand sanitizer available for use prior to boarding ride vehicles.

Character meet-and-greets are still available, though the characters have to stay at a slight distance. Recently, Universal photographers returned to their former meet-and-greet posts to help guests take photos with their favorite characters. Universal Orlando Resort is also slowly reintegrating live events like parades into its parks.

Online reservations for the Universal parks are no longer required, though it’s probable that they’re still trying to keep capacity lower than usual.

When you’re ready to dive back in to all your favorite things, remember to save with AAA Tickets. Get savings of up to 40% at concerts, theme parks, virtual events, museums, attractions and more! Go to AAA.com/Tickets for exclusive tickets and savings.

Have you been to a theme park recently? What was it like? Would you go now? Let us know in the comments below! 

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