You can’t keep a good mouse down: The Walt Disney Company this week reopened its largest resort in Asia after a four-month shutdown. Shanghai Disneyland is now allowing limited numbers of visitors—all of whom must wear face masks, take a temperature test, and adhere to social distancing rules, to enter the park.
Disney venues in China—where the COVID-19 pandemic is believed to have originated—closed in late January. Tokyo Disneyland and locations across the US and Europe followed suit. Now, Mickey Mouse & Co. are coming out of lockdown. “We have been deeply moved by the encouragement from our guests and Disney fans,” Joe Schott, president and general manager of Shanghai Disney Resort, said in a statement. “Today, we are extremely pleased to reopen Shanghai Disneyland thanks to the unwavering efforts of our cast members and our community. Today’s celebrations will be remembered with joy, as we look forward to welcoming our guests back to this happy place.”
One of the world’s most prolific purveyors of entertainment, Disney has already spent $1.4 billion on virus-related costs, reporting a 91 percent dip in profits last quarter. It’s hoping to recoup some of those losses from Shanghai Disneyland visitors, many of whom funneled into the park today dressed in Little Mermaid, Mulan, Minnie Mouse, and Snow White costumes.
The traditional queues may be gone (for now), but in their place are strict guidelines, including labels on pathways ensuring folks leave enough space between each other. Rides are also limited to one group of family or friends per car in an effort to keep strangers apart. Restricted to only a third of its usual 80,000-person capacity, the park sold out of Monday’s tickets (priced at 399 yuan [$56]) in minutes, according to the South China Morning Post.
Guests are required to show government-issued ID and use a contact-tracing smartphone app to track their health and alert anyone they may have been exposed to novel coronavirus. These measures are reportedly based on Disneytown, a Shanghai Disney retail park that reopened recently.
Walt Disney World, meanwhile, has announced a phased revival of the Disney Springs outdoor shopping, dining, and entertainment complex, starting May 20. There is no word on which businesses will be part of the first phase. Matt Simon, vice president of Disney Springs, last week ensured “enhanced safety measures,” including increased cleaning procedures, face coverings for cast members and visitors, limited-contact guest services, and additional safety training for employees.