Due to COVID-19, many people are now more concerned than ever about how to stay healthy in theme parks. But the bottom line is that we should always be practicing good health and wellness in the parks. Sickness is the souvenir nobody wants to bring home from their vacation! Theme parks have many visitors from all around the world, which can mean exposure to germs. That means taking steps to protect our own families and protecting others, as well, by not visiting when we don’t feel well. Here are a few tips that you can put into use when traveling and visiting theme parks.
Follow these tips to stay safe in theme parks during the pandemic and for your general health now and in the future.
Tips for Practicing Good Health and Wellness in the Theme Parks
There’s nothing better for washing germs away than good old soap and water. Disneyland recently posted signs advising guests to wash for at least 20 seconds. Come up with a song to sing while you wash! Fun fact: Maui's rap from "You're Welcome" lasts the recommended 20 seconds (thanks for the tip, Dwayne Johnson!). All the theme parks are increasing the use of hand sanitizers and increased hand-washing opportunities throughout the parks and theme park shopping districts.
Bring Masks, Tissues, Disinfectant Wipes, Hand Wipes and Hand Sanitizer
If a bathroom is inconvenient, use some wipes and hand sanitizer to clean up. You especially want to clean hands before eating. You should avoid touching your face — eyes, nose and mouth in particular. But anyone with a toddler knows that’s nearly impossible for little ones to follow, so your next step is to keep those hands as clean as you can. You can also use wipes to wipe down surfaces of tables when dining.
Face coverings are required at Orlando-area theme parks such as Disney World, Universal Orlando and SeaWorld as well as at both Disney Springs and Universal Orlando CityWalk. Once them parks reopen in California, they will all require face coverings. Hop over to our post on wearing masks at theme parks for hopful tips and the mask policies for various parks. Be sure to pack extras because you'll want to swap out dirty or sweaty masks throughout the day. You can remove the masks when seated to eat and drink. Also, some parks offer mask relaxation areas where you can remove the mask to take a breather and cool off.
You can find some cute Disney, Star Wars and Marvel masks at ShopDisney.com and craft sites such as Etsy. The theme parks sell masks, but you'll need a mask to get in and purchase. Themed masks are more fun, although we have found the Disney masks to be warmer than others we've tried. Wearing a mask is an important step for preventing spread of COVID-19 for yourself and others. At Disney World, all cast members and guests (age 2 and up) are required to wear a face covering.
If you are particularly vulnerable, do what you need to do to minimize your risks (including delaying your visit until it is a safer time). Wearing a mask protects yourself and others from you, as it's possible to have COVID-19 and not show any symptoms. When people wear masks, it can help keep them from unintentionally infecting others. Wearing gloves and properly removing them and disposing of them can help you avoid touching surfaces, as long as you do not touch your face and personal items with the gloves. But if you frequently wash hands or use sanitizer, gloves are not necessary.
Avoid Touching Things
Keep an eye on your little ones. They put their mouth on everything, and they touch everything and then put fingers in their mouths, introducing germs right into their body. Keeping tadpoles in strollers and carriers can limit their access to hand rails and door handles. Pay attention when you are on rides, too, as it can hoppen in the blink of an eye. Babies touch everything so quickly!
Also, plan for contactless payments in the parks. Some parks, such as Disney World will have contactless and cashless payments. Bring other forms of payment besides cash, and get set up for mobile ordering by downloading park apps and loading credit cards in advance. Pay attention to floor markings to denote where to stand, and expect Plexiglass dividers to limit exposure between you and employees.
Bring Your Own Stroller
You can reduce your tadpole’s exposure to germs by bringing your familiar stroller. The stroller also acts as a barrier between your baby and the rest of the park. Keep your tadpoles' hands busy with bubble wands as you stroll so they aren’t tempted to reach out and touch other surfaces. Attach a pacifier clip to your child's clothing so the pacifier never falls to the ground. Bring toys that attach the stroller so they do not end up on other surfaces. Read on for tips on using a stroller at Disneyland and Disney World.
Refrain from Visiting When You Don’t Feel Well
Practicing good health and wellness in the parks means being considerate of others too. You don’t want to share your germs, so opt out of visiting if you have any illness so you can avoid infecting others and wearing yourself out. Be sure to cover your coughs and sneezes, even if they are from allergies. Give your elbow a good dab move to keep those germs contained. Stay home if you have a fever. Some stomach bugs are still contagious for up to three days after you stop vomiting, so give it a few days before you return to the parks. Expect many theme parks and resorts to use thermal scanners to check guests' temperatures before entering.
Start your day with a good breakfast. Keep your immunity up by eating plenty of fruits, veggies and protein while in the park. You’ll have better energy (not to mention your mood!) if you eat nutritious foods instead of filling up on sugar and other junk. While we love our theme park snacks, we do follow guidelines for healthy eating at Disneyland and other theme parks. Just remember to wash or sanitize your hands before you eat!
Drink Plenty of Fluids
Bring reusable water bottles and stay hydrated. Don't let a mask keep you from drinking frequently. A well-hydrated body can best fight off illness. We are seeing more water bottle filling stations around the parks, especially in Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge. You can always get free ice water from restaurants.
Use Sun Protection
Wear hats, sunglasses and sunscreen to protect your skin. Remember to reapply! We bring a small umbrella to shade us as we wait for parades and outdoor shows.
Avoid Overheating or Getting Chilled
Dress in layers so you keep your body from getting too hot or too cold. Take breaks in the heat and add a sweatshirt when nights turn chilly. Don't go on that water ride in the late afternoon in the winter. On rainy days, bring an umbrella, raincoat and waterproof shoes or boots with you.
Bring Medications and Inhalers with You
Don't froget to pack any health essentials you'll need! Bring those allergy meds, other medications you take, insulin supplies and inhalers with you when you visit.
Visit First Aid When Injured or Not Feeling Well
If you do not feel well, hop into First Aid. First Aid gives you a place to rest, provides over-the-counter meds or refers you for more serious treatment. If you fall down, the nurses can clean your wounds, provide antibiotic ointment to prevent infection, give you bandages and provide ice. You want to keep your wound clean, in addition to keeping your bodily fluids to yourself.
Protect Your Back
Carrying the family's supplies — those water bottles, snacks, sweatshirts, cameras, umbrellas and more — can take a toll on your body. Put heavy (but replaceable) items in the stroller to protect your back. You can also rent a locker to store items you do not need at the moment.
Know Any Health Condition Restrictions Before You Ride
Some rides are not safe for pregnant women or people with heart or back conditions. Some rides cause motion sickness. Read the safety information before you hop in line. Not every ride is right for every person, and that's toadally OK.
Rent a Wheelchair When Necessary
If you have a chronic illness, are recovering from a long illness or have a disability that can wear you out more easily than others, you can save yourself from overdoing it by renting a wheelchair or ECV. Theme parks involve lot more walking than you might do at home. You can prevent falls from people bumping into you or overtiredness, and avoid standing for long periods. You don’t have to use it the whole day, but it can keep you safe and make your day more manageable. Have an upcoming trip and thinking about renting a wheelchair? Hop over to these posts:
- Using a Wheelchair at Disneyland
- Using a Wheelchair at Universal Studios Hollywood
- Guide to Using a Wheelchair or ECV at Disney World
Ask for Help When You Need Assistance
Every theme park has programs in place to help make the parks accessible for people with disabilities and chronic illnesses. These programs can help people who have trouble waiting in a standard queue. Whether someone in your group has cognitive disabilities, mobility issues, health issues or disabilities that are not visible, hop over to this guide to visiting the Southern California theme parks and zoos with special needs for guidance on staying healthy in the parks. Or check out even more blog posts about disability travel.
Wear Proper Footwear
Protect those toes and toenails by wearing closed-toed shoes and socks that wick moisture. Bring moleskin or bandages if you are prone to forming blisters. We find hot weather to lead to more issues with our feet. Getting your toes stepped on or run over by a stroller can certainly put a damper on your day.
Expect That the Parks May Operate Differently
All theme parks have implemented changes to keep guests and employees healthy during the time of COVID-19. Hop over to our posts on Walt Disney World Reopening and Universal Orlando Reopening reopen to see what measures have been put in place there to keep guests safe. Most theme parks have similar measures.
Keep hopping back for all the updates, but here are some of the measures you might expect at the theme parks. The parks in Orlando have already reopened with reduced capacity and temperature checks in place, and that will carry over to the hotels. The same can be said for proper face coverings and social distancing. Face coverings are required at Disney World and Universal Orlando (including CityWalk and Disney Springs). LEGOLAND Florida has a looser face covering policy.
In California, all parks require face mask and will have a number of new healthy and safety measures, and limited capacity, to keep all guests and employees safe. Downtown Disney reopened as part of a phased Disneyland Reopening with required face coverings, social distancing measures and virtual queues for popular shops. Universal CityWalk has also reopened with new safety measures. The San Diego Zoo and Safari Park have reopened as well. We enjoyed plenty of physical distancing space during our visits. Here's a look at what to expect when the California theme parks reopen.
In general, you'll see more hand sanitizer or hand-washing stations throughout the parks. Attraction lines and shows operate differently with spacing for social distancing. Ride vehicles have modified seating to allow for physical distancing. Parades, fireworks and character meet and greets are delayed in returning to reduce crowds and high-touch experiences. Even if we can't get close, we have enjoyed experiencing the new ways to see characters in the parks! The parks are sanitizing frequently touched surfaces. Employees are be in masks, and most parks require guests to wear masks. You may encounter different procedures in your hotel stays, such as contactless check-in as well.
We hope you’ve found these easy tips for practicing good health and wellness in the parks hopful. Stay healthy out there, and be sure to share any tips your family follows for good health and wellness in the parks in the comments below.