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Have you been watching the news 24/7? Have you been curious why Disney would keep their Paris (France), Orlando (USA) and Anaheim (USA) parks open to the public while all 3 Asian parks have been closed until at least April?
Disney’s Statement on Coronavirus/COVID-19
Disney’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Pamela Hymel, broke the silence and posted a message on the Disney Parks blog. In it she made several key statements:
- 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
- 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.
- As always, our focus is on the health and well-being of our cast members, guests and the larger community.
Who Is At Higher Risk of Coronavirus (COVID-19)?
According to the CDC, the following groups are at greater risk of getting Coronavirus and should avoid crowds as much as possible (which would include Disneyland):
- Older adults
- People who have serious chronic medical conditions like:
- Heart disease
- Lung disease
I am one who suffers from a serious rare lung disease, Pulmonary Aveolar Proteinosis, and the 3 doctors I consulted have all cautioned me away from Disneyland and similarly large crowded areas in the strictest words possible. While 98% of people seem to be unlikely to suffer from any worse than a mild case (hence why public craziness should not be encouraged nor tolerated), those of us who are elderly and/or have a serious chronic medical condition should be avoiding crowded places such as Disney Parks.
Disney Guest Services Refuses to Put Annual Passes on Hold
Since Disney is open for business, I called the Guest Services line (407-WDisney) to see if there was a way to put my new Disney Annual Pass on hold until Coronavirus is contained in the United States. I spoke to 2 cast members on the telephone (one a supervisor) who were very kind and yet their hands were tied. They explained that Disney is not making any exceptions on annual passes as they have in the past. I even mentioned how someone I knew had his pass put on hold while he underwent chemotherapy treatment. The supervisor I spoke with admitted they had shown grace before with those holds but policy has changed and they are not making any exceptions on passes during these circumstances since Disney Parks are open to the general public.
Despite my circumstances as one who has higher risks of COVID-19 and cautioning by CDC to avoid large crowds, Disney would not make any exceptions nor offer any alternatives for the month(s) I must stay away from the parks due to the Coronavirus. I even asked if they’d let me transfer my pass (paid in full) to someone who is healthy and can go in my stead. Nope. The answer to any option I tried to suggest was a strict NO.
Hence the reason for the post’s title. If you are like me, someone who is at higher risk of serious illness, I would highly suggest you postpone your plans to activate a Disney annual pass.
If you have not yet activated your pass – you have up to a year’s time to do so (from when it was purchased) – and it would be prudent to hold off until you can safely go into crowds again. Even with a mask, gloves, wipes, you are still putting yourself into danger by going into crowded places such as Disney Parks.
If you are like me and have already activated your pass, I sadly cannot offer you an alternative so you will not be out of money. It seems likely you will lose money. But your health is far more important.