I have to start by saying I think my kids wearing the mask is 50% following some easy steps to help and 50% luck. Masks just don’t happen to be a big issue for my kids…believe me they have plenty of other reasons to throw tantrums at the park. That being said, I’ll give you my best tips for getting your kids to wear a mask at Disney World all day.
Practice Makes Perfect
Practice at home first! Try it out in air conditioning, in the hot sun, and even in the rain. Walking through the gate at Walt Disney World shouldn’t be the first time your child has ever worn a mask.
Be a Leader
Above all else it’s important to set the example. If you’ve been a bad-mouthing mask-wearing at home, your kids hear you and mimick you. We don’t love wearing masks (who does?) but we knew it was important and also mandatory in order to visit WDW. We talked about it a ton at home before we went. If you ask my two year old why she has to wear a mask she will say, “Rona virus” or “it’s the rules.”
Comfort is Key
Find a mask that fits comfortably. This won’t be the same for each kid. You may want to purchase a few different kinds. Disney requires earloops and your mask must cover your nose and mouth. Gaiters and face shields are not acceptable.
The masks Disney sells are super cute but they are thick and hot. However, I will say if you go for their masks labeled, new fabric, it’s so much lighter and doesn’t hold the sweat and heat like the original design. The Disney face masks also run very small. My 2 year old daughter has a size medium. She loves it because it is pink and has Disney princesses on it. The thickness doesn’t seem to bother her at all.
My son is 8 and he couldn’t bear the heat of that type of mask. He wears a mask that was homemade by his grandma. He picked out the pattern. How the mask looks is important to both of my kids. I can’t sew to save my life so if my mom wasn’t so handy, I would definitely be checking Etsy or other sites. I personally like a really thin strap around my ear because it’s cooler and there’s room for my sunglasses to go behind my ear with it.
If your child wants to wear sunglasses or Minnie Ears, you can put the mask’s ear strap around that and give her ears a break. There are also loads of ear saver mask straps over on Etsy.
Collect the masks from your kids at meal time! Otherwise they will be on the table, the ground, used as a napkin, or lost. Kids have no concept of germs, keep the hand sanitizer flowing!
Don’t Skip Breaks
Allow frequent snack/drink breaks. We try to get the kids coordinated to want a snack at the same time since you can’t walk and eat, but we don’t say no to water breaks. I know I’m grumpy when I’m hungry or thirsty and kids are too. Stay hydrated and you will stay cool. If you are social distancing, standing still, and have a drink or food in your hands, you can have your mask off. Those little breaks really help!
Explain to your kids that their mask will go on as soon as they get out of the car in the parking lot and it won’t come off until they get back in the car. (Aside from meals and the breaks mentioned above.)
Going in with these expectations helped my 8 year old realize pretty quickly that he would not be able to sneak it under his nose or try to take it off when no one was looking. Little ones might be too young to understand but the older kids get it.
This might be an unpopular opinion but you can use bribery and threats, depending on what works for your kids. For example, (before I’ve lost my patience) “if you keep your mask on, we can ride the teacups” or (toward the end of the day when my patience is gone) “if a cast member corrects you one more time, you won’t be riding the teacups with us!” Keep that mask on…over your nose and under your chin!
Come with Backup
I always bring 2 or 3 masks for each of us in case something happens to one or if we just want to change them out to feel fresh again. I have made it a full day at the park with one mask, but it’s good to be prepared with a backup just in case.
Quick Face Mask Do’s and Don’ts
DO – Practice wearing your mask for a few hours at a time in similar temperatures. (The weather in the Mid-South right now is very similar to Central Florida) Remember this includes kids age 2 and up.
DON’T – Come into Disney thinking you will put it on at the entrance and then sneak it off. There are cast members literally everywhere making sure guests are complying with the rules. Their number one priority is keeping everyone safe!
DO – Find which mask is most comfortable. There are hundreds of different kinds. Things to consider: fit, shape, thickness, ear straps, and of course style 😉
DON’T – Expect to wear your neck gaiter, fishing mask, or vented mask. They are not allowed. Rules are strictly enforced.
DO – Pack a few extra masks for each day. They could get wet, sweaty, or dirty. Your child might accidentally take a bite of her ice cream bar without taking it off (yes, that really happened)
DON’T – Take your mask off when walking around your Disney resort. Masks can be removed at the pool and restaurants, but they should be worn in all other guest areas.
DO – Drink plenty of water and take breaks in the “Relaxation Stations” located in the parks.
DON’T – Let masks keep you from enjoying the Most Magical Place on Earth!
Want More Information?
Tiffany Holmes is an Authorized Disney Travel Agent with Magical Travel. Based out of Florida she has all the local insider information. You can reach her to book your next trip or ask more about her experience at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can even give her a call at (901) 489-4389. She has expertise in vacation at WDW, DCL, Disneyland, Aulani, and Adventures by Disney!
Tiffany has been an agent with Magical Travel for six years, living just outside of Memphis, TN. She recently relocated to central Florida and enjoys being a Walt Disney World Annual Passholder. As a new Florida resident, she is excited to explore all that central Florida has to offer and pass her knowledge on to her clients. Her favorite part about her job is customizing vacations to fit her clients’ personal needs. Whether she’s booking a “staycation” for her local friends or an elaborate trip for those coming from miles away, she can’t wait to help you plan your dream getaway! You can follow her adventures at facebook.com/tiffanysmagicalvacations.