Disneyland, Disney World to relax social-distancing rules, reintroduce character greetings

Guests at Disneyland, Walt Disney World, Disney Cruise Line and Aulani Resort will be able to once again hug Mickey Mouse.
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Guests at U.S. Disney theme parks, resorts and cruise ships will once again give Mickey Mouse a hug.

Starting as early as April 18, Disneyland, Walt Disney World, Disney Cruise Line and Aulani Resort in Hawaii will start reintroducing traditional character greetings, Disney Parks announced Wednesday.

"It's been so great to see live entertainment returning to our theme parks, resorts, and cruise ships, and today, I'm thrilled to tell you about another quintessential Disney entertainment experience that's on the way back," Shawn Slater, senior communications manager of Disney Live Entertainment, wrote in a Disney Parks blog post. "We know many of you have missed these special moments, and your Disney character friends have missed you, too!"

Not all locations will be available immediately, but the company "anticipates reopening in phases throughout the spring and early summer," according to Slater.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Disney introduced several health and safety protocols to curb the spread of the virus. Many have since been relaxed, including mask requirements for vaccinated guests at Disneyland.

The theme parks on Wednesday released a teaser video about the possible change to their COVID-19 social-distancing rules.

The clip shows a hand unlocking a velvet rope and Mickey Mouse waving for people to come inside and giving out hugs.

"The moment we've been waiting for Check the Disney Parks Blog tomorrow for more details!" the post read.

"HUGS ARE BACK," one commenter responded.

"I'm literally crying thinking about my girls getting to hug all their favorite characters," another commenter added.

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