Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando and SeaWorld Entertainment will start distributing free insect repellent Sunday , as the threat of mosquito-borne Zika looms.
Tourism experts and Gov. Rick Scott applauded the theme parks’ move.
Disney will offer free pump bottles and towelettes at its theme parks, Disney Springs and ESPN Wide World of Sports. Hotel rooms will have aerosol bug spray. Signs at the resort will inform visitors that repellent and protective clothing can help them avoid mosquito bites.
At Universal, visitors can obtain repellent—most likely in spray and pump form—at guest services locations. SeaWorld will provide it at its three Orlando theme and water parks, along with Busch Gardens and Adventure Island in Tampa.
The companies said they were providing the repellent “out of an abundance of caution.” They stressed they already have extensive mosquito prevention and monitoring programs.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that “the best way to prevent Zika is to protect yourself from mosquito bites” — thus, the need for effective insect repellent. The CDC also recommends dressing in clothing that covers the arms and legs, especially for children. Covering a stroller with mosquito netting provides protection, as well. Mosquitos carry a wide range of nasty stuff, too, so even if you’re not worried about Zika, it’s never a bad idea to do what you can to avoid the bugs.
Among other events, such as the mass shooting earlier this year, attendance analysts are speculating that this will cause an even bigger drop in theme park attendance.
What do you think?
Would you avoid the Orlando theme parks as a precaution against Zika. Let us know in a comment below.