Restrictions put in place to help curb public health during the COVID-19 pandemic have largely been lifted across the country now, but a testing requirement still remained for international travelers visiting the United States.
Today, the Biden administration announced that the U.S. federal government is lifting COVID-19 testing requirements for international travelers coming into the country, which could have major impacts to Walt Disney World’s visitation as well as to the travel and tourism industry as a whole.
Previously the requirement stated that travelers from most other countries would need to produce a negative test prior to their departure (either one day prior or three days prior depending on their vaccination status) for flights arriving in the U.S. The federal mandate will expire this Sunday, June 12, 2022, beginning at 12:01 a.m. EST, meaning any passengers departing after this time will no longer be subject to the testing requirement.
The requirement applied to all passengers taking non-essential travel from a number of countries in nearly every continent with the exception of Australia and New Zealand. In terms of visitors to Walt Disney World, passengers from European and South American countries will be the most affected by the restrictions lifting as historically large numbers of Guests at Disney Parks and Resorts are visiting from these areas.
The last major restriction to lift prior to this one, came about two months ago when the CDC alongside the federal government lifted mask requirements on public transportation. While these restrictions have now been lifted, the CDC still recommends masking in crowded enclosed areas, especially in counties that are still considered high-risk for COVID-19 transmission (including Walt Disney World’s Orange County).
It is certainly possible that Walt Disney World will begin to see increased crowds as more international visitors begin to feel comfortable traveling with limited restrictions remaining. Crowds are of course not something Guests would hope for, but in recovery from a global pandemic, they could have some positive consequences.
Increased visitation, especially those from overseas who typically spend more at Walt Disney World than their domestic counterparts could mean the return of pre-pandemic experiences. For Guests visiting from the UK, Disney is already offering a replacement for the still-paused Disney Dining Plan, so we would certainly be interested to see if other changes come out as a result of increased international Guests.
At Walt Disney World, some pre-pandemic experiences and attractions might be missing, but restrictions are now lifted. We still recommend traveling with a mask or two in case you prefer to continue to wear one indoors, or in case your travels bring you to a location where they are still required.
Be sure to confirm all travel arrangements before setting out to visit Walt Disney World or any destination, and have a magical trip!