**Updated 12 Mar 2020** There is a significant amount of information being distributed about COVID-19/Coronavirus right now. The most common question we’re being asked is, Should I cancel my Disney vacation because of Coronavirus? With the Disney parks in Asia (Tokyo, Hong Kong, and China) already closed it was announced on March 12, 2020 that Disneyland Resort in CA would close on March 14, 2020 and remain closed through the end of the month. Beyond canceling people are wondering if they should even plan a trip. We’ve pulled together some factual information for you to be a bit more informed while making these decisions.
I’ll start with my disclaimer here: I am not a doctor, healthcare professional, or public health expert in any capacity. All of the information presented here is cited from more credible sources such as: the World Health Organization’s basic protective measures against the new coronavirus (COVID-19) and advice for the public, the U.S. Department of State’s Alert Bulletin about the Current State of Novel Coronavirus, Centers for Disease Control’s Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Situation Summary, and the Florida Department of Health. Additionally, Disney’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Pamela Hymel has issued a statement.
My preference is to always refer to a source rather than something posted by an anonymous person on the internet. With that said, I suggest reading the above-referenced websites for yourself to make your own decisions. I will, however, do my best to highlight the important points for you below.
Disney Parks and Resorts Questions about Coronavirus/COVID-19
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
That gives you a good idea of the response that they’re taking within the Parks and Cruise Line. The World Health Organization has already made the statement that airplane cabins are not anymore conducive to transmitting the virus than other situations. Proximity to other people does matter. It is suggested to wipe down surfaces and try not to touch your face. Paper surgical masks have not been shown to significantly reduce transmission but they are effective at reducing your ability to touch your mouth and nose, here is guidance for use. For a good representation of the current impact, I’ll reference Information is Beautiful. They specialize in data visualization and have put charts together with COVID-19 / Coronavirus information.
Keeping or planning a trip to Walt Disney World or Disneyland in the immediate future, to me, comes down to your own comfort and personal risk tolerance. If you are older, have a chronic medical condition, or already immunocompromised the situation presents a much more significant risk to you than others. As has already been shown by existing data.
Obviously, there are many personal questions that only you can answer. We’d like to emphasize that there are currently no travel advisories or restrictions concerning domestic travel. We encourage everyone to approach the decision rationally without being overcome by paranoia or hysteria. We also recognize that traveling in a state of fear is not going to be fun, either.
My perspective is different from others and I recognize that I have a high tolerance for risk in this instance. The idea of not traveling within the U.S. had not occurred to me until questions started to surface. To me, this is a matter of personal risk assessment which is something we all constantly do on a daily basis. Everything we do is a measured risk.
I am not attempting to minimize COVID-19 / Coronavirus. Dr. Nancy Messonnier, Director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, has warned that if person-to-person spread picks up, further measures might need to be taken, including school and workplace closures, voluntary home quarantines, implementing cleaning measures, and other things. Which as of today (March 11, 2020) some Universities have announced extended spring break closures, some extending for the remainder of the Spring semester.
Our recommendation is to trust public health experts and agencies. Please use the information provided by the organizations above to come to your own conclusions. It is my hope that this article provides you access to neutral sources of information to make the best decision for yourself. There are ongoing investigations to learn more and this remains a rapidly evolving situation. Information will be updated as it becomes available.
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