Shanghai Disneyland, one of 14 Disney theme parks globally, reopened yesterday, making it the first Disney park to resume operations since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic forced entertainment venues around the world to close their doors.
The House of Mouse in Shanghai had some noticeable differences upon reopening. Guests and employees must wear face masks (though Disney princesses and other characters are exempt from the requirement). The park has also limited the number of daily visitors to one-third of the usual 80,000 capacity, and guests have to have their temperatures taken before entering and flash their mobile “health code,” a government-sponsored system showing citizens’ health status based on big data. Only those who have a “green code,” meaning the person is healthy, are allowed in.
Visitors are also required to sit one row apart on rides such as Pirates of the Caribbean, while some rides also allow only one group of people per car to avoid having people sit with strangers. For attractions like Buzz Lightyear’s Planet Rescue, players have to wear plastic gloves when they’re shooting at targets.
Some of the park’s hallmark events, however, such as parades, night fireworks, and theater performances, have been suspended, in order to avoid too many people gathering.
Visitors seemed undaunted by the new rules and flocked to the park, with local media reporting that tickets to the park for its first day of re-opening were sold out within three minutes online on May 8 online.
Worldwide, over 100,000 Walt Disney employees have been furloughed due to the outbreak. The reopening of Shanghai Disneyland could provide a glimpse of hope that some semblance of normality can return in the future, even if it’s a little less magical.
Opened in 2016, Shanghai Disneyland is a joint venture between Walt Disney and an entity under the Shanghai government. The park attracted 12 million tourists last year and 66 million in total since it opened, according to the company.