Bob Iger Suggests Temperature Screenings For Guests May Be Instituted When Disney Parks Reopen Following COVID-19 Pandemic

Jessica Figueroa

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Bob Iger Suggests Temperature Screenings For Guests May Be Instituted When Disney Parks Reopen Following COVID-19 Pandemic

Disney Parks have been closed indefinitely for weeks now due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. While right now, the biggest question might be when the parks will reopen, there’s the inevitable follow-up question: What’s it going to be like when the parks do reopen? With social distancing guidelines in place and likely to be extended, plus face masks quickly becoming the new norm, one has to wonder what a post-pandemic park will look like. In a recent interview with Barron’s, former CEO Bob Iger shed light on what the future of Disney Parks might be like upon reopening.

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Bob Iger and Bob Chapek

In his interview with Barron’s, Iger prided himself in the fact that once this all ends, the parks will be a place “for the public to enjoy and escape to––maybe in ways they will appreciate it more than they ever have.” However, knowing the new health and safety regulations in place, there may well be some changes. Iger spoke on the status of the parks after they reopen post-pandemic:

“One of the things that we’re discussing already is that in order to return to some semblance of normal, people will have to feel comfortable that they’re safe. Some of that could come in the form ultimately of a vaccine, but in the absence of that it could come from basically, more scrutiny, more restrictions. Just as we now do bag checks for everybody that goes into our parks, it could be that at some point we add a component of that that takes people’s temperatures, as a for-instance.

We’re studying very carefully what China has been trying to do in terms of their return to normalcy. And one of the things that’s obvious is they’ve conscripted a large segment of their population to monitor others in terms of their health. You can’t get on a bus or a subway or a train or enter a high-rise building there—and I’m sure this will be the case when their schools reopen—without having your temperature taken.

So we’ve asked ourselves the question, let’s prepare for a world where our customers demand that we scrutinize everybody. Even if it creates a little bit of hardship, like it takes a little bit longer for people to get in. Just as the case after 9/11 where people ultimately lived with the notion that in order for them to enter a building, if you’re in an office building you have to show a picture ID or get your picture taken and be screened. Or in order to enter a park you have to put your bags out there to be checked and you go through some kind of metal detector. Or certainly what’s going on in airports with the TSA.”

Many park guests may remember heightened safety restrictions throughout the parks after 9/11. Currently, guests at Shanghai Disney Resort are required to undergo temperature screening procedures upon their arrival. Them must also present their Health QR Code when entering dining venues, and are required to wear a mask during their entire visit. Guests are also reminded to maintain social distancing at all times while in stores, queues, and restaurants.

Iger also stressed the notion of ensuring that guests feel safe, and rebooting the company as efficiently as possible upon reopening:

“I don’t think we’re ever going to see a return to business as usual in the sense that, I can’t speak for all companies, but Disney will take this opportunity to look for ways to run our businesses more efficiently when we come back. So what we’re doing is thinking, OK, as things start to return, one, what must we address in terms of making people feel safe, but secondly, what must we address in terms of running the company more efficiently, given what we believe business conditions will dictate.”

How this will all be implemented in a place where guests have long been conditioned to “fill in all of the available space” is unknown, but if it means adapting to a new form of existence within the parks, we’re sure many guests will be quick to learn just to get back into their happy place.

Iger also commented on other pending topics, such as the current state of films already in production. While they’re opting to simply “wait for slots” for some of their bigger films, “there may be a few more” films that end up getting released on Disney+, as we’ve already seen with Onward, and soon enough, Artemis Fowl. You can read the full interview here.

How do you feel about temperature checks and other health and safety measures at the parks?

25 thoughts on “Bob Iger Suggests Temperature Screenings For Guests May Be Instituted When Disney Parks Reopen Following COVID-19 Pandemic”

  1. My question is would this work well in Florida? I feel like a lot of people will show up with a fever but they’re actually just hot from being outside

    • Exactly. They need the Abbot test. Takes 5 min. Half of all people show no symptoms and the ones that do are asymptomatic for days. So what good is a temperature reading?

      • Rick, while I agree with you that people may be contagious (ie, shedding the virus) prior to being symptomatic, the Abbot test would not be the answer. Disney would have to acquire a massive amount of machines, which each can only run 10 tests simultaneously. While a positive test, meaning enough of the virus has been amplified from your sample to be read as positive, may be potentially detected in around 5 minutes, this testing process has still not been vetted thoroughly and we don’t know the rate of false positive results or false negative. Also Disney is NOT a health care provider, and improper nasopharyngeal specimen collection may also lead to false negatives. You would have to get consent for the semi-invasive testing as well. How many kids would want to have a swab shoved up their noses? This would not be logical, nor available as these machines, the ID NOW, are used currently in the health care setting for rapid detection of RSV, flu, strep. The SARS-CoV-2 (actual name of the virus, covid-19 is the disease) testing will only be used in these health care settings. I can see thermal scanning units (such as those used in airport security) being installed at park security as people come through the metal detectors over people being swabbed in their noses. Better to take personal responsibility and stay home if contagious and continue with your plans if not, even with a fever such as in the case of a child with an ear infection who would not be contagious even though febrile.

        • I WISH people would take personal responsibility and stay home of they or their kids are sick, but they just don’t. :( My children have gotten sick at the end of our vacations at Disney quite a few times. Once it was Hand,foot and mouth disease – when we came home and got diagnosed, I mentioned it in Facebook groups, and a person commented and said that they knew someone whose kids had that disease knowingly, before they went to Disney, and went anyway!!!
          It’s so hard, because as a mother, I already try very hard to keep them safe with sanitizers, washing hands, trying to not let them touch nasty things, but it is in no way fool proof with young kids. :/

  2. Checking temperatures assumes all people have a normal temperature of 98.6 which isn’t true. My normal is 97.5 so at 98.6 I am full degree above my normal which is the definition of a fever. My brother’s normal temperature is 99. Will he be allowed to enter the parks? And what about days when his allergies bump his temperature to 99.6?

    • Exactly. Half the people never even show a symptom and the ones that do are contagious days before. 5 min abbot test. problem solved.

  3. Great news! I think that and requested distancing in the parks are the best route to returning to a somewhat normal.

  4. I think required temperature checks are a fantastic idea. They are not invasive and don’t take more than a couple of seconds. People’s rights to “liberty” end at another’s right to life. Its as simple as that. You don’t have the right to potentially infect hundreds or even thousands of people because you feel you have some inherent right to absolute privacy in a public sphere. This is a simple, fast, and highly effective way to make the parks safer, protect people, and allow for a more comfortable and easy return to enjoying Disney.

  5. So much to ponder. Not sure checking everyone’s temperature is the best approach. It would lead to a false sense of security. People can be contagious with various viruses, not just COVID-19. and not have a temperature. They are often contagious for days prior to showing any symptoms, plus fevers can often be controlled with medication. This also sets up some potentially difficult situations when one family member shows an elevated temperature. Does the entire family have to stay out of the parks? There will be a lot of guest fits when they’ve paid for a vacation in advance, only to find out they are stuck in a resort room. The current ticket system would have to change to accommodate entry denials. Making everyone wear masks isn’t going to work well, with all the festivals and constant eating and drinking, they’ll be off more than on with lots of face touching. Everything is going to open up at some point in the near future, because the current situation is not sustainable. Maybe try to keep the parks cleaner, limit admissions, have extra hand cleaning stations, and remind guests to take care of themselves and family members, while being aware of people around them. It really boils down to personal responsibility and being mindful of one’s own habits and health situation.

  6. I’ll happily submit to having them screen my temperature. But I am concerned that this might not be all that helpful since people can carry coronavirus and not show an elevated temperature.

    Before I resume travelling, we may need to have vaccine in place and/or the spread of this has stopped. I’ve lost count with how many TSA officers have tested positive, which proves airports are a great transfer point for this virus.

    I hope this gets under control so we can get everyone back to working and playing as soon as possible.

  7. That’s great if they’re symptomatic. I think they should have the 5 min Abbot test in line with the cars before your parking pass. No contact with others and notice will given before you even get on the tram. otherwise, it’s a big waste of time. Half the people show no symptoms and the ones that do are asymptomatic for days. So what good is a temperature reading? If Disney goers can handle a 2 hour ride waits, 20 min Starbucks lines, I think a 5 min test is gonna be ok.

    • that is all well and good, but abbot themselves specifically say that the test itself can take up to 13 minutes for a negative result. not to mention, you would need to have trained cast members (or, preferably, medical personnel) on hand to collect samples and run them through the test stations. then there’s the whole cost issue of getting machines + testing supplies + hiring additional cast members, etc. there are just too many logistical problems to make this a viable solution. while i think it’d be good if disney would just stay closed until a widespread vaccine is available, i understand that they probably won’t be able to…so i think the temperature screening, along with implementing a strict park/bus/tram/etc. occupancy restriction would be the best way to go about things if they do reopen before a vaccine is available.

  8. Half the people show no symptoms and the ones that do are asymptomatic for days. So what good is a temperature reading?? I say do the quick Abbot testing while you’re in the car in line for parking. Separates people in their cars, takes 5 min and guarantees nobody has it. I think Disney goers can handle a 5 min wait.

  9. Assuming they want to do this at WDW, how is that going to work in the dead of summer? If I am walking from Epcot to Hollywood Studios in 95 degree heat then I’m gonna register hot. I am 100% fully in favor of social distancing at this point, and even posted many negatives about WDW / DL staying up for as long as the did. With that said, once we are past our peak and almost to the end of the downtrend of the bell curve we are going to have to go back to some normalcy. That means being around people.

    • Not until there’s a vaccine or a better cure. Otherwise you risk starting another wave. People are trying to fast to get back to “normalcy” and don’t see the big picture. There’s a reason the parks are closed. There’s a reason we want people to stay home.

  10. The whole reason this disease is so scary is that people are contagious before they ever show symptoms. They’re trying to get back to making money as quickly as possible.

  11. I think the temp. check will not work for Florida in the summer. High temps and humidity will give a lot of false reads. Also after watching on tv how people in NYC ignored the six foot rule when the hospital ship came into NYC, I don’t have much faith in people not rushing the castle for parade and fireworks best spots. Orlando needs to be very careful, with tens of millions of people from all over the world we easily could have been as bad as NYC if we didn’t respond quick here. People not affected by Corvid-19 will rush the airlines, cruise ships and theme parks. People who have worked, lived and lost. I don’t know if they’ll ever return.

  12. How is taking peoples temps going to work in the summer time at Disney. I am a person who steps out in the Florida weather and automatically start to sweat and cheeks turn red. I don’t believe this will work at all.

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