A lot of things have changed very quickly in the last few days revolving masks and when people need to wear them, who still needs to wear them and the age of those people. These changes for people in their daily lives also meant changes for guests at theme parks. How is Walt Disney World, Hersheypark and Dollywood handling the new guidance? Turns out, all very differently. I've looked into some of the most popular theme parks up and down the East Coast to see how they are adjusting their policies and my findings are somewhat surprising.
Theme Park Mask Policy Updates | Walt Disney World, Dollywood, & More
I'll start by saying I have not looked into every theme park and some of these parks have multiple locations across the US and depending on state guidelines each location has the potential to hold different policies. I have decided to focus my research on the east coast.
I've gathered this information right from each park's official website, as always when planning your trip I suggest you go the official website as changes to policy can happen quickly and as we've seen recently, almost overnight.
Theme Park Mask Policy Updates | Hersheypark
The park to strike first (that I saw) after the new CDC guidelines around masks was Hersheypark.
They came out with a tweet on May 13th timestamped as 6:27PM that stated, "face coverings and social distancing for guests who are fully vaccinated will no longer be require effective immediately".
Of course this was met with A LOT of questions. How could they differentiate who was vaccinated and who wasn't? Would they even try to distinguish people (could they even if they wanted to?)
Hersheypark's current Health and Safety Guidelines:
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Theme Park Mask Policy Update | Dollywood
Dollywood also decided to free vaccinated guests from their masks completely while visiting. Policies that were updated on May 14th allows all vaccinated guests to go maskless and states that they no longer need to social distance.
In what I think is the highest age requirement I've seen from a theme park, Dollywood's new policies also allow children up to the age of 12 to visit Dollywood without a mask.
Dollywood's current Health and Safety Guidelines:
You can find Dollywood's guidelines on their Play Safe page.
Theme Park Mask Policy Update | Universal Orlando
Universal decided to drop the masks for all while outside and keep them required for all while inside regardless of vaccination status. Masks are also required on attractions from the "moment the queue begins until the end of the experience".
These new policies went into effect on Saturday, May 15th.
Universal Orlando's current Health and Safety Guidelines:
You can find all of Universal Orlando's policies on their official website.
Theme Park Mask Policy Update | Walt Disney World
Walt Disney World took a similar route as Universal Orlando.
Walt Disney World announced on May 14th that face coverings are now optional for ALL guests while outside. Like Universal, masks will be required indoors and on all attractions beginning at the queue entrance for everyone 2 and up.
Not too long ago I wrote about Walt Disney World dropping temperature checks at the gate and now this mask update is another step closer back to normalcy.
Walt Disney World's current Health and Safety Guidelines:
Be sure to read up on all of Walt Disney World's policies on their Know Before You Go page.
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Theme Park Mask Policy Update | Kings Island and Cedar Point
In a move that can only have people asking if Cedar Fair knew something before everyone else, Kings Island and Cedar Point both updated their mask policies on April 26th. Both of their opening weekends happened to be the weekend of May 14th.
Both parks made face coverings outside optional for ALL and required indoors for ALL, 10 years of age and older.
Both Kings Island and Cedar Point are located in Ohio. As of now, Dorney Park, also a Cedar Fair park located in Allentown, PA (less than 90 minutes from Hershey) has not made any changes to their mask policy, even after the new guidance.
Theme Park Mask Policy Update | Busch Gardens & SeaWorld
Busch Gardens and SeaWorld have taken the same route as Hersheypark.
They are no longer requiring FULLY VACCINATED guests to wear face coverings but are still requiring face coverings for non-vaccinated guests ages 2 and up.
Busch Gardens & SeaWorld Health and Safety Guidelines:
Read all of Busch Gardens policies on their official website.
Read all of SeaWorld's guidelines on their official website.
Theme Park Mask Policy Update | Sesame Place
Sesame Place is owned by SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment and as a park that is geared towards preschoolers and toddlers, Sesame Place has yet to announce any changes to their safety protocols.
Sesame Place still requires face coverings for all guests, ages 2 and up - indoors and out.
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