This guide to face coverings at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure details official mask rules, info & tips, our recommendation for the best masks, recent policy changes, and answers to frequently asked questions on wearing masks in the theme parks, hotels, and Downtown Disney.
This is being published in August 2021 just two days after both Disneyland Resort in California and Walt Disney World Resort in Florida reinstated their indoor mask rules. That policy change occurred after both simultaneously dropped indoor mask rules back in mid-June for the fully vaccinated while also ending enforcement for everyone.
The return of indoor mask mandates to Disneyland and WDW is prompted by new indoor mask guidance for the fully vaccinated from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC called on everyone to wear masks indoors if they live in counties with substantial or high levels of transmission. Orange County, California is one such place with a high level of transmission as of August 2021.
Now let’s take a look at Disneyland Resort’s face mask rules. Here’s the current official face covering policy from Disneyland.com:
Face coverings are required for all guests (ages 2 and up) in all indoor locations, regardless of vaccination status. This includes upon entering and throughout many attractions and in enclosed transportation vehicles, including shuttles and buses. Face coverings remain optional for Guests in outdoor common areas.
While guests will not be required to show proof of vaccination, all guests must attest that they are aware that: 1) the State of California strongly recommends that Guests be fully vaccinated or obtain a negative COVID-19 test prior to entering the Disneyland Resort, and (2) all Guests (ages 2 and up) must wear face coverings when indoors, including on many attractions and in enclosed transportation vehicles.
All face coverings (whether disposable or reusable) must:
- Be made with at least 2 layers of breathable material
- Fully cover the nose and mouth and secure under the chin
- Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
- Be secured with ties or ear loops and allow the Guest to remain hands-free
Costume masks are not considered appropriate and are prohibited from being worn, in alignment with Disneyland’s existing rules.
Face coverings may have an integrated transparent plastic panel to aid in viewing the wearer’s mouth. These face coverings should:
- Be a fabric face covering featuring a solid plastic panel containing no openings that is attached to the fabric on all sides using tight knit stitching
- Meet all face covering requirements listed above
Next, let’s address some of the more frequently asked questions about face mask rules at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure…
When will Disneyland’s indoor mask policy end?
Disney has not set a specific date for when it’ll drop the mask rule once again at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure.
The good news is that the the CDC has provided quantifiable metrics based on local positivity rates and cases per 100,000 people. The new guidelines either automatically apply–or don’t–based on those numbers for each county in the United States.
Currently, Orange County, California has a test positivity rate that would qualify it for the moderate tier (and no masks). Unfortunately, its cases per 100,000 puts it in the highest tier. You can see these numbers on the CDC graphic above.
However, keep in mind that Disney won’t necessarily drop Disneyland’s indoor mask rule the instant that Orange County, California qualifies. There’s likely to be some lag–and it’s also possible that the company will maintain continuity of rules between the California and Florida parks. We cover the metrics for the rule change and when it could end based on historical precedent, data trends, and more in When Will Indoor Mask Rules End?
Should we cancel our Disneyland trip?
That’s obviously a personal decision and one we cannot make for you. For us, not having to wear masks outdoors during the hottest part of the year in Southern California is a huge relief. This means you’ll be able to get normal family photos and enjoy the atmosphere of the parks without face masks. With that said, the “indoor” mask rule does apply to some outdoor lines (see below), so you will be wearing face masks in some outdoor locations.
Conversely, you might be concerned about the lack of masks outdoors, especially given the prevalence of the more highly transmissible Delta variant. There have been countless studies demonstrating that the risk of transmission is dramatically lower in outdoor settings, with the single biggest risk factor being time spent indoors. In another systematic review of outdoor transmission, researchers concluded that less than 10% of reported cases occurred in outdoor settings and that the odds of indoor transmission are 18.7 times higher than outdoor transmission. (Keep in mind that these studies were pre-Delta.)
What’s the best mask for Disneyland?
That depends upon your goal. If searching for a face mask for personal protection, you should aim for something higher quality. Our recommendation for this is the Powecom KN95 Face Mask. The CDC has provided guidance on their use and testing results for over 120 KN95 masks.
The Powecom masks offer high performance (over 99% filtration efficacy in testing results) and scratch-off anti-counterfeit label on the package that provides codes to verify authenticity on the company website. Additionally, they’re comfortable, offer a snug fit, and are relatively inexpensive by KN95 standards.
Any other face mask recommendations?
If you don’t really care about personal protection and are just wearing a mask to satisfy Disneyland’s rules, you should go for something more comfortable. Just keep in mind that cloth masks are only effective as source control, meaning that they are protecting others from you, not the other way around. (The theory being that your mask protects others, and vice-versa.)
Our favorite “middle ground” option is from Suay LA. These are still a great, breathable option, especially for hot weather when the KN95 mask might be more uncomfortable. These are constructed from medical grade non-woven polypropylene surgical wrap and have a nosepiece. They should offer a degree of protection to the wearer. Both of us prefer the small. It’s a snugger and cleaner fit, especially above the nose and under the chin.
How do we know when to put on face masks at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure?
Admittedly, it can be confusing. Disneyland’s official rule states that face masks are required “upon entering and throughout many attractions.”
While it’s referred to as an indoor face mask rule, technically, many attraction entrances are outdoors. How you’ll know when masks are required is the above sign, which is positioned at the point in every queue at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure when guests need to put on face masks. The greeter at each attraction entrance also reminds guests of this.
Can masks be removed while waiting in line outdoors?
We’ve typically found that face masks are required while in line from the actual entrance of the attraction and beyond. This means that even in outdoor lines, you’re required to wear a mask once reaching this point. However, if the outdoor line is long and extends into an overflow area outside the main entrance (or attraction marquee), you are not required to wear it in the extended area.
In practice, we’ve noticed that actual enforcement varies from ride to ride, and queue to queue. Commonly, masks rules are not enforced in outdoor queues (and there are many of these at Disneyland) until passing through the attraction marquee or physical entrance. This can be very hit or miss, though. Please do whatever the Cast Member requests even if inconsistent from attraction to attraction; they are just doing their best, and enforcing these rules is more stressful for them than it is for you.
Do many guests wear face masks outdoors?
In outdoor common areas, we’d estimate that roughly 25% of all guests are wearing masks.
There has actually been a fairly significant increase in the last week or so as cases have surged. During our visits back in June, the percentage was around 10% or lower.
What are the mask rules outside the parks?
Masks are required pretty much everywhere at Disneyland Resort. Beyond the parks, shops and restaurants at Downtown Disney require masks indoors. Common areas outdoors do not, and you’re also not required to wear a mask while seated at a restaurant.
Disneyland Hotel, Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, and Paradise Pier Hotel require face masks in all indoor common areas, including while entering and exiting restaurants, using the elevator, walking through the hall to your room, etc.
Is Disneyland offering any medical exemptions on the mask policy?
Nothing beyond the clear panel rule mentioned above. It’s worth noting here that the ADA requires no “reasonable accommodation” for face masks, as doing so would pose a direct threat to the health or safety of others. This comes directly from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
The basis for this is that cloth face coverings protect other people from a wearer who is unknowingly infected but does not have symptoms. Meaning that these masks are not PPE, but rather for the benefit of others, and are mutually beneficial when worn by both parties to an interaction–which means that guests wearing masks help protect Cast Members.
Does Disneyland sell masks?
Yes. Numerous stores around Disneyland & DCA, resorts, and Downtown Disney sell a range of character designs and fun patterns.
There are also vending machines in the parking structures that sell generic masks if you’re in a pinch.
Are the face masks sold by Disney any good?
It really depends upon your goal, as referenced above. These are cloth masks that will confer minimal benefit to the wearer, so if protection is your priority, they’re not the best option.
However, if comfort is key–or your comfortable with others’ masks protecting you and vice-versa, the masks sold by Disneyland are adequate. Plus, there are some fun designs like Baby Yoda and the classic Disneyland marquee.
Any other mask-related accessories worth carrying?
Essentially anything that will help cool you down. Another absolutely necessary accessory is the Frogg Toggs Chilly Pad. We’ve been praising these things for years, as they’re basically some sort of mix of science, technology, and magic. Great for keeping cool. If you want something dryer, the GAIATOP Personal Neck Fan is an exceptional option. This device looks almost like headphones that you wear around your neck, but with targeted blasts of air that hit and refresh your face.
Another must-have accessory is the Life Straw Go Filter Water Bottle. Drinking fountain water at Disneyland can taste stale, and this removes that funky flavor. The bottle is also BPA-free! It also uses a 2-stage activated carbon filter to reduce odor and chlorine, leaving zero aftertaste! (If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative, Brita Filter Water Bottles are great, too.)
Another essential accessory that we highly recommend is this external battery charger. It doesn’t relate to masks in any way, but you can thank us later. This is one of the main recommendations in our Unique Disney Packing List, which is where you can find our all-purpose top picks for things to pack for visit to Disneyland.
Planning a Southern California vacation? For park admission deals, read Tips for Saving Money on Disneyland Tickets. Learn about on-site and off-site hotels in our Anaheim Hotel Reviews & Rankings. For where to eat, check out our Disneyland Restaurant Reviews. For unique ideas of things that’ll improve your trip, check out What to Pack for Disney. For comprehensive advice, consult our Disneyland Vacation Planning Guide. Finally, for guides beyond Disney, check out our Southern California Itineraries for day trips to Los Angeles, Laguna Beach, and tons of other places!