For the first time in over 3 months, Shanghai Disneyland opened its gates and welcomed thousands of guests. China’s park was the first to be re-opened by the Walt Disney Company after everything came to a screeching halt because of COVID-19.
Although there are several new guidelines; mandatory face masks, temperature checks, social distancing markers, etc, visitors to the park noticed several things were also missing. Mickey Mouse and pals may have welcomed the sold-out crowd, but there was no character meet and greets. Images surfaced of Cast Members walking alongside the characters and when the characters stopped, the Cast Members formed what looked like a barrier in front of them.
Shanghai Disneyland also indefinitely shutdown all interactive children’s play areas and indoor theatre shows. For the most part, all of Shanghai’s attractions, restaurants, and shops are open to guests.
Social distancing markers have also been added to areas, assisting guests, and making sure they follow all social distancing guidelines. The most common areas to feature the markers are shops and entertainment areas. Guests will sit every other row when it applies to certain attractions, and are being asked to space out when sitting next to each other. The park has regularly scheduled audio announcements, that remind guests to maintain social distance.
Parades and fireworks were also noticeably absent from the park, but guests didn’t seem to mind. Shanghai Disneyland passholder Kay Yu, told CNBC, “I think (these measures) make tourists feel at ease.”
Disney has requested that Shanghai Disneyland Annual Passholders reserve an entry time, at least one day in advance. I wonder if this is a glimpse into the future for Walt Disney World Annual Passholders?
Monday’s guests, mostly parents with children or young couples, were greeted by waving park staff as they walked in, Cast Members and guests all wearing masks. China is operating with a QR color-coded system, and guests were asked to show a green QR Code upon entry.
Although the magic seems to be back, Disney was faced with some criticism when announcing the re-opening of Shanghai. The re-opening comes after a weekend that brought China’s first confirmed case of coronavirus in well over a month. The new case comes out of Wuhan, the city all medical professionals named as ground zero for the virus. Regardless of the new case, Disney is confident that they’ve exhausted every resource and have set in place the proper guidelines to protect their Cast Members and guests.
The world continues to watch as Shanghai Disneyland remains open and eager to welcome guests. Both, Bob Chapek, and Bob Iger, have said Disney is specifically watching Shanghai and using it as a way to gauge the re-opening of Disney domestic parks.