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Walt Disney World, Universal Studios to end temperature checks for guests

As temperature checks end, coronavirus safety measures such as face coverings and social distancing requirements will remain intact.
Image: Visitors pass through Sleepy Beauty Castle at Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., on May 3, 2021.
Visitors pass through Sleepy Beauty Castle at Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., on May 3, 2021.Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Walt Disney World Resorts announced this week that it will begin to phase out temperature checks at parks and facilities before the end of the month.

The theme parks and related resorts will end temperature screenings for cast members on May 8 and for visiting guests on May 16, according to an announcement on Disney's website. The change comes as Florida begins to make adjustments to its local coronavirus regulations.

On Monday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an executive order suspending the state's remaining Covid-19 public health restrictions. Private businesses can still mandate face coverings and physical distancing, among other safety measures, at their discretion.

Walt Disney World Resorts' Covid-19 precautions have been in place since they reopened in July of 2020, according to Disney's statement.

"Since reopening, we have considered guidance from public health authorities, government agencies, and our own team of health and safety experts as we assess and update health and safety measures to help prevent the spread of COVID-19," Disney said in the statement.

"As this guidance continues to evolve, and with the support of local health and government officials, we are making some additional adjustments. Following the advice of the CDC and our local health officials, we will phase out onsite temperature screenings at Walt Disney World Resort for Cast Members beginning May 8 and Guests on May 16. We will continue to follow the guidance of health and safety leaders going forward and most importantly encourage people to get vaccinated."

Disney said on its website that guest requirements to wear face coverings and for social distancing will remain intact. Guests are also still required to make reservations prior to visiting the park of their choice to limit overall capacity.

As Florida lawmakers move to get rid of remaining coronavirus precautions and emergency orders throughout the state, Disney is not the only major park that has decided to roll back safety measures.

Universal Orlando Resort announced that they are ending temperature checks for guests altogether, effective immediately. They will also reduce physical distancing requirements between parties from six feet to three. (Universal Orlando Resort is part of NBCUniversal, the parent company of NBC News.)

"Still, most of our original safety protocols remain unchanged — from wearing face coverings across our Resort to our ongoing dedication to cleanliness and sanitization," the theme park said in an announcement.