As many of you know, I made it a priority to get to the Orlando area theme parks in 2020 when attractions re-opened following Safer at Home closures. I felt I needed to be your "boots on the ground" to see what my clients would be experiencing during their travels. Below, I will hit some highlights of what I saw and experienced.
June: LEGOland This trip occurred prior to the July COVID spikes. Also, LEGOland is located outside of Orange County where Disney and Universal are located. We were color banded each day of our trip for having passed a health screening including temperature checks. Masking policies at the time of our travel were very lax. Social distancing and frequent sanitation were the only protocols. We chose to mask as a family in confined or crowded areas.
November: My family and I spent a long weekend at Walt Disney World. WDW had stringent masking policies in place and required temperature checks upon entry. Masks were to be worn full-time except for when being stationary to eat or drink while away from others (i.e. no walking around sipping a beverage or eating a snack). Markers indicated where people would stand to ensure social distancing of six feet apart in the ride queues. Additionally, the traditional parades were replaced with Character Calvacades which are impromptu floats featuring beloved characters. This method prevents the large crowds standing all together but keeps the characters available to guests in a safe way.
December: My mother accompanied me on a FAM (familiarization) Trip to Universal Studios-Orlando. I was invited and hosted by the parks to experience their hospitality and sanitation practices. Along with health guidelines set by the COVID Safety Task Force for Orange County that all Orlando Area Theme Parks were following: temperature checks, social distancing, and frequently cleaning high-touch areas, Universal went a step further. They had an employee at the boarding area of each attraction squirt hand sanitizer into your palm and watch you rub it in prior to being allowed to board the ride.
January: Our extended family took a trip to the Smokey Mountains. I will say, this was the destination I felt most unsafe at during our travels post COVID. We went to the Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies where our family were among the only ones to mask appropriately. Signs would say "Masks Required" but there was no enforcement by employees. I encountered this same attitude at the Pittsburg Zoo & Aquarium in March 2021.
I understand that there are varying opinions on masks and that different families have different health concerns. If you communicate those concerns with me, I will do research to find the most up-to-date policies and assist in finding the best destination for your travel party.