Surely I am not the only one who has noticed this. As Disney Parks have reopened around the world, they’ve gone to great lengths to ensure the safety of their guests and cast members. They’ve added many new safety procedures such as new cleaning protocols, social distancing markers and enforcing all guests and employees to wear masks at all times with no exceptions.
As it turns out, there is an exception to Disney’s mask policy. It seems that if you are a Disney “face character”, you are not only exempt from the policy, it seems that you can’t wear one at all. For clarification, a “face character” in theme park speak, is someone in entertainment who shows their human face. This is opposed to a cartoon character that is in a fiberglass head.
To be clear, this policy of Disney face characters not wearing masks exists globally. Between Paris, Orlando, Shanghai and even the now reclosed Hong Kong Disneyland, we have yet to see a photo of a Disney face character wearing a mask.
Keep in mind, whenever these characters do appear throughout the parks, they seem to be six feet or more away from guests. However, that doesn’t mean they are that far apart from another cast member. Take, for example, the photo above. Pocahontas rides around the rivers of Animal Kingdom in a pontoon boat. The cast member driving the boat is wearing a mask, where Pocahontas just a few feet away is not.
This begs a few questions. Are there any other situations allowed to go mask free? Is the safety of the entertainment department valued differently than others? If you, as a guest, decided to take off your mask if you are more than six feet away from other guests… is that allowed?
Finally, look at the optics of the situation. Let’s say you have a 5-year-old daughter. Before heading to the park, you tell her that she has to wear her mask all day. She arrives at Epcot and sees Anna and Elsa not wearing a mask while riding through World Showcase. Shen then asks why they don’t have to wear one and yet she still has to. As a parent, how would you answer that question? How does Disney answer that question?
By no means are we saying that Disney’s face mask policy for their characters is unsafe. However, it does feel that if you’re allowing a handful of your cast members to go without a mask while not allowing others, it is a bit hypocritical. More importantly, the message it sends to guests who visit the parks (and see photos online) is mixed at best. What are your thoughts?
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