COVID-19 Walt Disney World

CDC Returns Walt Disney World’s County to High Risk Status for COVID-19 Transmission

Restrictions have now long been lifted at the Walt Disney World Resort, and any lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic at Disney Parks and Resorts are more in place due to staffing challenges than health and safety reasons at this point. Still, COVID-19 cases are once again on the rise not only in the Orlando area but in numerous locations across the country.

As a result, the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) has once again moved Orange County to the highest risk category for COVID-19 transmission rates.


Credit: Disney

What exactly does the high-risk category mean? The CDC groups counties into various categories based on data gathered from hospitals and medical professionals to determine how quickly COVID-19 is spreading.

Recommendations from the agency have changed over the course of the pandemic based on things like which masking supplies were available and access to vaccines. Currently, people who live in or are visiting high-risk counties are instructed by the CDC to:

  • Wear a mask indoors in public
  • Stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines
  • Get tested if you have symptoms
COVID risk cdc

Credit: CDC

Masks and face coverings are no longer required at Walt Disney World, and a vaccination requirement was never in place for Guests. While some Guests are still choosing to voluntarily wear Guests indoors at Disney Parks and Resorts, it is no longer required, but now recommended given the CDC’s latest update.

Even without extra masking at Walt Disney World, and with the virus being something that we as a society are going to have to live with going forward, we wanted to make you aware of the CDC’s change so you can plan accordingly if you feel you should take any extra precautions.

Credit: Disney

There is no “consequence” for testing positive for COVID-19 during a Walt Disney World vacation at this point, other than the risk of feeling sick yourself or spreading illness to others, however, we are seeing increased cases of Guests aboard Disney Cruise Line and at certain overseas vacations having to entirely alter their travel plans if they test positive during their trips.

While Disney has been covering added costs that ensue from quarantines when Guests test positive on cruise ships, this has not been the case for every travel company, so the higher risk category from the CDC may simply be something to consider especially depending on how you would be traveling home from Orlando.

As always, plan to stay home from Walt Disney World, or any public spaces if you feel sick, and stay safe out there so you can spend more time in “The Most Magical Place on Earth!”

About Brittany DiCologero

Brittany is a New England-based writer focused on the history of the Walt Disney World Resort. She is the author of "Red, White, and Disney: The Myths and Reality of American History at the Walt Disney World Resort," and "Brittany Earns Her Ears."