Shanghai Disneyland Reopens With Coronavirus Precautions


The elephants are flying once more.

On Monday, one of many Walt Disney Company’s 14 closed theme parks, Shanghai Disneyland, reopened to guests on a restricted foundation, providing a primary peek into the form of escape Mickey Mouse can supply within the age of face masks, social distancing and disinfectants.

“It has been an emotional morning,” Joe Schott, president and common supervisor of the Shanghai Disney Resort, stated in a telephone interview. “There is light at the end of the tunnel.”

From a enterprise standpoint, Shanghai Disneyland can be working far under its potential. The Chinese authorities has restricted capability on the park to 24,000 individuals each day, fewer than one-third of its pre-outbreak capability. Bob Chapek, Disney’s chief executive, said last week that Disney would reduce ticket sales even further — “far below” the government’s limit, in his words — to make sure that employees can enforce new safety rules, including temperature checks for ticket holders upon arrival. Fewer ticket sales mean decreased food and merchandise sales.

Time will test the ability of Disney’s theme parks to program out negative aspects of life and emphasize the positive.

“Life can get you down,” Mr. Schott said. “Our brand is about hope.”

To safely reopen, however, Shanghai Disneyland had to allow some of the grimness of pandemic life to puncture the utopian fantasy. All guests and park employees must wear face masks. Costumed characters are the only exception, and they now pose for photos from afar. The park is dotted with garbage cans dedicated solely to used face masks.

Parades have been suspended because people crowd sidewalks to watch them. Theater shows also remain closed. For now, Shanghai Disneyland will offer an evening castle show but no fireworks. To discourage people from bunching up in line as they wait for rides, Disney has placed purple social-distancing mats on the ground.

Attendees noted the muted atmosphere. Online they wrote that the park felt empty and that the line for the Tron Lightcycle Power Run, one of the most popular attractions, was only five minutes long instead of the typical time of more than an hour.

Noting the canceled attractions, some people said they would stay away. “I planned to go to Shanghai Disney for a third time, as flights from Xian to Shanghai are super cheap, but I’d rather wait,” a Disney fan from northern China said. Said another, citing safety concerns and the city’s shuttered elementary schools, “How come Disney can open again while schools in Shanghai are still closed?”

But some fans were delighted. “The princesses who fled can go home now,” wrote one.

The Shanghai Disney Resort began to reopen in early March. First, an adjacent shopping mall, Disneytown, resumed operations. Lego, Build-a-Bear, Swatch, Nike and Starbucks have stores there. Two other areas of the resort, a lakeside area called Wishing Star Park and the upscale Shanghai Disneyland Hotel, also gradually reopened before the theme park itself.

Disney owns 43 percent of the $5 billion resort, with the majority stake held by a Chinese state-controlled consortium. Disney owns 70 percent of the management company that operates the property.

It is unclear when Disney’s other theme parks may start to reopen. But Disney has signaled that its vast resort in Florida could be next. The shopping mall there, Disney Springs, will begin phased reopening on May 20.

Lin Qiqing contributed research.



Source link Nytimes.com

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