ORLANDO, Fla. – ***8:41 p.m. 3/12/2020 Update***
Walt Disney World theme parks are set to close at the close of business on Sunday, according to park officials.
With coronavirus spreading across the U.S., prompting the cancellation of numerous major events, including professional sports games, a lot of people want to know if it’s safe to go to theme parks, including Disney World in the Orlando area.
Disney Parks chief medical officer, Dr. Pamela Hymel, issued a detailed statement about the measures underway at the company’s theme parks to keep guests safe.
As of Thursday, Disney World, Universal Orlando, SeaWorld Orlando and most other major area attractions remained open to the public despite the virus being declared a pandemic.
According to Themed Entertainment Association’s 2018 annual report, Magic Kingdom’s Disney World is the No. 1 attended theme park worldwide.
[CORONAVIRUS BRIEFING: ClickOrlando.com newsletter | RELATED: Hand sanitizer map]
“We are carefully monitoring the evolving coronavirus situation and are in regular contact with health agencies for information and guidance,” Hymel said. “Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort are open and welcoming guests and we continue to implement preventive measures in line with the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as state and local health agencies."
Hymel listed said additional hand sanitizers have been placed throughout the park, and Disney has increased the frequency of cleaning and disinfection in high-traffic areas.
Hymel said Disney is also providing good hygiene practices and illness prevention to guests and cast members.
Here’s the full statement from Hymel:
A Message about Coronavirus/COVID-19 from Chief Medical Officer Dr. Pamela Hymel
As you may know from the news, COVID-19, commonly known as novel coronavirus 2019, has become a more widespread concern. Our thoughts are with those affected and we want to share more information with you about our efforts to help keep our guests, cast members, and communities safe and healthy.
We are carefully monitoring the evolving coronavirus situation and are in regular contact with health agencies for information and guidance. Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort are open and welcoming guests and we continue to implement preventive measures in line with the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as state and local health agencies. For example, we have added additional hand sanitizers throughout the park, increased the frequency of cleaning and disinfection in high guest contact areas, and are providing information about good hygiene practices and illness prevention to our guests and cast members.
Walt Disney World, Disneyland and all of our parks and resorts around the world have high standards of cleanliness and health and safety protocols in place, such as:
- Training for cast members, with ongoing reinforcement on a regular basis
- Defined cycles for frequent cleaning and disinfection of targeted areas
- Easy access to handwashing facilities and hand sanitizers
- Quick response to spills, trash and other situations
- End of day sanitation procedures for restroom, kitchen, and other facilities
- Frequent cleaning and “wash down” of outdoor locations, including walkways and queues
Additionally, a list of First Aid and hand sanitizer locations is available in the Walt Disney World/My Disney Experience and Disneyland apps.
The CDC recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses like coronavirus/COVID-19, such as staying home when sick, washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, following proper respiratory cough etiquette, avoiding close contact with people who are sick and avoiding touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. We continue to communicate about these recommendations, as well as other important health information, to our cast.
The CDC provides more detailed coronavirus information on its website and your personal physician is a valuable resource for specific medical questions you may have.
As always, our focus is on the health and well-being of our cast members, guests and the larger community, and we look forward to welcoming you at our parks very soon. If you have any questions about visiting Walt Disney World Resort or Disneyland Resort, or about our response to coronavirus, you can learn more on the Walt Disney World, Disneyland, or Disney Cruise Line websites, or call 407-WDisney.
Pamela Hymel MD
Chief Medical Officer
Disney Parks, Experiences and Products