The Walt Disney Company announced that Shanghai Disneyland will reopen to the public on May 11 — the first Disney theme park to do so since March 16.
“As residents in Shanghai and its neighboring provinces have returned to more normal life – including at workplaces, schools, shops, restaurants, and entertainment destinations – I’m excited to share that Shanghai Disneyland will also be reopening to the public on May 11,” said Shanghai Disney Resort president and general manager Joe Schott in a statement.
As the novel coronavirus began its deadly spread across China during the Lunar New Year celebrations, Shanghai Disneyland closed its gates on January 25. The day after, Hong Kong Disneyland also suspended operations.
And when COVID-19 became a global pandemic, all other Disney theme parks followed suit.
Last to close were Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, USA, and Disneyland Paris in France on March 16.
However, over the past few months, operations of Shanghai Disneyland went through a phased reopening, said Schott, though the main park itself remained closed.
“As we welcome guests back to the park [...] we will implement new and enhanced health and safety measures reflecting the guidance of our local health and government authorities,” Schott continued.
Among these measures will be limited attendance and enforced social distancing in lines, rides, and restaurants. Masks will also be required, except when eating. “Close interaction and close-up photos with characters” — for many children, a highlight of the Disneyland experience — will also be prohibited for the time being.
In an earnings call, Disney CEO Bob Chapek said that the Chinese government is restricting attendance to just 30 percent of the park's maximum capacity — or around 24,000 guests of the total 80,000 it can usually accommodate.
There will be no on-site ticket sales. Guests must purchase dated admission tickets in advance, which will go on sale on May 8.
They will also be required to present a green “Health QR Code” — a Chinese government measure that uses color-coded digital codes that indicate a citizen’s health status.
Before entering the park, guests will also need to submit their personal information, including name, phone number, ID type and ID number, to Disney.
“While some things will look a little different, know that that a magical experience awaits you at Shanghai Disneyland,” said Schott. He also assured the public that other Disney theme parks around the world are also preparing their own reopening plans.