What it's Really Like to Wear a Mask for a Week at Disney World
Mar 10, 2021
Tips and tricks provided by our favorite Disney Guru, Only Magical Days
We just returned from an eight day vacation to Walt Disney World where both my husband and I and our 3 year old daughter wore masks every day. So what is it really like to wear a mask for a week at Disney World?
When Disney reopened in July, one of the biggest precautions that they put in place was that masks must be worn by any visitor age 3 or older unless stationary and actively eating or drinking or in designated relaxation zones. Many life-long Disney fans were not happy. The thought of wearing a mask all day for a week long vacation seemed daunting and, well, less than magical. Parents also lamented the strict mask guidelines for young children and swore that they wouldn’t return to the most magical place on Earth until the mask mandate was lifted.
As we continue living with COVID, I think we have all gotten a little more used to the idea of wearing masks. We’ve toyed with how to continue living life while still making sure that our loved ones and us are as safe as possible. This reality has a lot of people rethinking vacations and weighing whether or not they can manage the mask guidelines in order to visit Walt Disney World. Here are my biggest takeaways from our week in Disney World.
THERE’S NO GETTING AROUND IT
Disney isn’t messing around. Before you go, you should know that this is a strict rule that is enforced across all 4 parks, Disney Springs and all Disney resorts. They require you to wear a mask both indoors and outdoors and require the mask to cover your nose and your mouth. If you think you can get around it or find a loophole by wearing your mask improperly, think again. There’s no getting around it. If you feel like you can’t abide by the mask guidelines, please do not visit right now. Cast Members are the ones who have to enforce these rules and not following them makes their jobs harder than they need to be.
If you are worried about a young child wearing a mask, I did find that they were a little more gracious with very young children who were close to the age break. They still reminded my daughter to pull her mask above her nose a few times when I hadn’t noticed. There were also a few times when my daughter was in the stroller with the canopy drawn and she pulled her mask down to drink water or share a snack with her brother who was under the mask age requirement. Cast members didn’t point it out or ask me to fix it. I don’t say this to say that your child can just ride around without a mask on but to let you know that everyone is there to help your child wear their mask as best as possible. As long as you are trying your best to encourage mask wearing and abide by the guidelines, there is some grace for your toddler. I did see a Cast Member point out to a family with an older child (possible 6 years old) that having a snack in a stroller isn’t allowed and they need to be stationary.
IT’S A LITTLE OVERWHELMING . . . AT FIRST
The four hour flight to Orlando was the hardest part for me. I was more strict with not removing my mask while on the flight and I wore a KN95 mask which are little heavier (here’s a link for the ones I bought). You are also exclusively indoors with no option to get fresh air. I also wasn’t used to wearing masks continuously for hours so the first day was a little bit of an adjustment.
After the first travel day, I found wearing a mask all day to be much less bothersome. I noticed my comfort level while wearing a mask increase and found that if I needed a break while in one of Walt Disney World’s four parks, I could easily find a place to socially distance and grab a drink of water. Meals were also a nice respite from mask wearing. I found it easy to get a table that was socially distanced and in an open air environment to feel safe while not wearing a mask. Mask wearing was less cumbersome because you are outside for most of your trip. The fresh air helped with any claustrophobic feelings.
The flight home was not as bad. Probably because I was more used to wearing my mask continuously.
BE PREPARED WITH OPTIONS
Spending a lot of time in your mask may cause your ears to hurt. It’s good to have a few options of masks so that you can give your ears a break. Having options means that you won’t be stuck with a mask that is uncomfortable or causing you unnecessary pain. After a few days, I found that the 3-ply disposable masks were the most comfortable to wear but always brought a fabric option in case I needed to switch it up. Here are the masks that I preferred during our trip.
It was cold during our trip and I found that my nose would run from being out in the brisk air. It was good to have back-up masks to swap out so that I wasn’t wearing a wet mask. Alternatively, when it is warm, I tended to sweat in my mask and the same rule applies. I found that having two back-up masks in my bag was sufficient but if you are there in the dead of summer, I might pack more.
I found that wearing a mask during our trip had a few physical effects on me that I wasn’t prepared for. One was that I found that wearing a mask made me warmer than I normally would be. I’m not sure if it acts like a beanie for your face but it definitely would warm me up. Wear layers so you can peel some off if you are over heating and just be aware that you might feel warmer than usual while wearing a mask.
It also made me more motion sick than I normally am. I have ridden Expedition Everest and Flight of Passage before with no issue but this time I got a little extra queasy. It just felt like I couldn’t get sufficient fresh air and it contributed to a sour stomach. I took a little break and had a snack and felt much better. If you get nauseous on rides normally, I would be extra carefully with a mask on.
STRESS & ANXIETY
The times when I found wearing my mask was the hardest was in moments of higher stress or anxiety. Most of the time it centered around my kids having a melt down or me getting frustrated over something. In these moments, find a spot away to take break. If you can’t find a relaxation zone, drink some water to make sure you are obeying their guidelines. Which brings me to my next point . . .
Something about having your mask on makes you drink less water. I walk on average 8-10 miles per day that I am at Disney. Staying hydrated is super important. Take time to step aside and social distance from others to grab a drink of water. You’ll get a small break from your mask and you will stay hydrated during your trip.
Masks and pores don’t really make good friends. You will probably have some wickedly clogged pours after a week in a mask non-stop. Make sure you gently exfoliate your face at the end of every night and do a deeper masque when you get home to clear your pores. Got to let that skin breathe!
SMILE WITH YOUR EYES
I heard a mom saying this to her kids while taking their photo in front of the Tree of Life and it was our motto throughout our trip. You become a master at smiling with your eyes when at Disney! All the selfies and ride photos still require you to keep your mask on so smiling with your eyes has become the new duck face.
Wearing a mask for a week long vacation in Disney World wasn’t bad at all. Sure! There were much needed breaks here and there but it didn’t stop me from enjoying the magic of Disney. I would definitely go back while the mask guideline is still in place. I am glad that masks didn’t stop me for enjoy my family and making memories.