As Walt Disney World Resort gears up for “The World’s Most Magic Celebration” in honor of their 50th Anniversary beginning October 1, COVID is increasingly creeping into Central Florida. Due to the rise in COVID cases, Walt Disney World has returned their face covering requirement for indoor locations throughout their Disney Park and Resort property. Orange County (which much of Walt Disney World resides in) is under a state of emergency due to the COVID climb. Even Disney’s firefighters are battling a COVID outbreak. As Disney continues to push on with news of incoming experiences like the Disney Genie, new nighttime spectaculars at both Magic Kingdom and EPCOT, and even the return of buffets – we’ve heard some uncertainty from Disney Guests which is likely why we’re seeing surprising things such as low wait times in the Parks and even availability for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance boarding groups late into the day. If you’re staying in or around Orlando, you’ll want to know there is an urge for less water usage as there is a liquid oxygen shortage due to the coronavirus patient increase.
As reported by OrlandoSentinel: “The city of Orlando and its water utility made an urgent appeal Friday afternoon for residents to cut back sharply on water usage for weeks because of a pandemic-triggered shortage of liquid oxygen used to purify water. If commercial and residential customers are unable to reduce water usage quickly and sufficiently, Orlando Utilities Commission may issue a system-wide alert for boiling water needed for drinking and cooking. Without reductions in water usage, a boil-water alert would come within a week, utility officials said. Medical authorities have reported that along with a spike in hospitalizations for COVID cases, hospitals are relying increasingly on treatment involving high flows of supplemental oxygen for patients. That has spurred a nationwide shortage for liquid oxygen, which has been exacerbated by a lack of available tanker trucks and drivers.”
“Orlando Utilities Commission’s (OUC) process requires liquid oxygen to produce ozone gas. The gas is injected into the water to oxidize, or burn away any naturally occurring discoloration and rotten-egg smell in water pumped from the Floridan Aquifer. Because OUC uses ozone to get rid of the organic compounds that cause color and taste, the utility is able to reduce the usage of chlorine for disinfection to the state’s legal minimum. But without ozone injection, OUC’s process is not able to add enough chlorine to disinfect water to meet state standards for purity.”
Unlike other local Theme Park competitors (such as Universal) in the Orlando area, Disney has updated their mask mandate to require masks indoors once again in the midst of the resurge in the COVID 19 pandemic. Recently, Disney has begun requiring Cast Members receive the COVID 19 vaccine. Disney is encouraging Disney Guests to get the vaccination as well but is not requiring Guests to be vaccinated to visit the Parks.
Are you making plans to visit Walt Disney World in the near future? If so, has the rise in COVID 19 cases in Central Florida altered your plans at all? We’ll keep you posted as we learn more about this urge for water reduction and how it may affect Walt Disney World.