We Just Learned How Shanghai Disneyland Will Look When It Reopens
Since Disney announced the imminent return of one of its parks, countless fans have wondered how the process would work.
Today, Shanghai Disneyland invited several members of the press on a tour of the updated facilities. So, we now have a better idea about the new processes.
Here’s everything we just learned about how Shanghai Disneyland will reopen. Read on for the exciting details.
Andrew Bolstein is the Senior Vice President of Operations at Shanghai Disneyland. In a video posted on New China TV’s YouTube page, Bolstein proudly displays the state-of-the-art safety measures in place at the park.
As the first park to close due to Coronavirus, Shanghai Disneyland has suffered the longest. However, this negative has proven to be a positive for park officials.
The management team in Shanghai has had the most extended amount of time to determine hygienic practices during a pandemic.
Bolstein understands that the entire world of Disney fans will watch his park carefully over the next few weeks. So, he wanted everyone to visualize the steps underway to protect guests.
The Start of the Tour
The Senior VP begins inside the park. He acknowledges that he’s skipped two steps by starting here.
“So, at this stage, our guests would have already gone through temperature screenings, and they would have already shown their health QR codes.”
Since American Disney fans won’t have health QR codes, he didn’t feel the need to demonstrate the process. As for temperature screenings, you can watch a video of the process here:
Bolstein starts with the QR code redemption process, which again won’t apply to Americans. However, it’s required for park admission as one of the precautionary steps in China.
Entering the Park
Afterward, the cast members show one of the most significant changes. Line queues are behind Bolstein. He points out the surrounding banisters and the drawings on the ground.
As we’ve noticed in other images, the line queues now contain illustrations. They’re a bit counterintuitive, as yellow squares tell guests where NOT to stand.
These measures are proactive attempts to enforce social distancing.
The VP comments that Disney performed many tests and learned that it’s easier to show people spots to avoid than proper places to stand. I have no logical explanation for this.
At this point, Bolstein pats a cast member on the shoulder. It’s a friendly gesture that I’m mentioning because some people will cringe at the sight of it.
Neither party is wearing gloves, and I only notice a handful of Disney employees doing so in the full video.
Thankfully, the security and admissions teams are both doing so. And they’re waving and smiling like the wonderful cast members they are!
Bolstein then shows off the final step in the admission process. Guests reach the entry gates, where guards ask them to step through metal detectors.
The security check process appears nearly identical to the one at Walt Disney World.
The cast members do check people’s bags for dangerous/suspicious items. Since they’re wearing gloves, it’s not a concern, though.
In case you’re curious, guests aren’t required to wear gloves. I only notice a couple who are during the entire 15-minute video.
Inside the Parks
Bolstein confirms that character meetings aren’t possible during the pandemic. He brags that Disney has invented new and creative ways for characters to surprise guests during the day.
At one point, a pair of parade floats randomly appear. The VP states that they will appear randomly, which sounds pretty freakin’ awesome.
Imagine walking down Main Street, U.S.A. and realizing that Chip ‘n’ Dale are riding straight toward you!
The grounds at Shanghai Disneyland have markings on them. The strategy is to show guests where to stand safely in a designated viewing area.
The idea is brilliant. However, the four-minute mark of the video is infuriating.
The various journalists violate every known aspect of social distancing to take videos of the markers. Use some common sense, people!
By the castle, Disney has introduced markers for where to watch the stage show. This idea appears incredibly effective and is one Disney should continue keeping afterward.
As the journalists walk, cast members hold up signs. These messages remind guests to maintain social distancing. Apparently, they’ll hold these signs throughout the day.
The next part of the tour takes place at a restaurant. The VP shows the railings, which now have a yellow stripe at various spots.
These stripes show guests where to stand to maintain social distancing. The journalists act a bit confused by the process here.
Image Credit: Shanghai DisneylandA multi-dimensional camera angle demonstrates the brilliance of this practice. The markers are different in each row, giving guests even more space.
For example, a row by a ramp has a marker in the middle. On the slope, the marker is higher, separating the guests as much as possible between the two rows.
Rides and Other Hot Spots
Bolstein takes a little boat ride at this point. He asks the cameraperson to capture the seating process on an adjoining boat.
These vessels are similar in design to the ones for Jungle Cruise. The VP shows how guests don’t sit in the middle section. Instead, they look for yellow markers on the sides.
If a guest doesn’t see a yellow marker, they’ll know that it’s not a place to sit. The spacing still appears a bit cramped, but it seems reasonable enough.
I would describe the capacity as roughly one-third of maximum.
The group visits Pirates of the Caribbean next. Bolstein describes the line queues by stating that each row is roughly one meter apart.
To honor social distancing, cast members direct guests to every other row. This step streamlines the loading process, too.
Guests leave the line queue and enter the boat more efficiently than when capacity is maxed out. The drawback is that the vessel is only running at a tiny throughput.
By my calculations, one boat can hold 30 people. This one boards only nine.
That’s only 30 percent of full capacity. You can tell how much social distancing guidelines will impact park operations for the foreseeable future.
The Rest of the Tour
Disney has placed hand sanitizer dispensers near the exits of all rides. When you watch guests grabbing the banisters and ride cart rails, you’ll appreciate the necessity of it.
Bolstein walks into the adjoining gift shop…but not for the reason you’d expect! He wants to show that if/when the line queue grows too large, Disney has a plan.
Guests can wait in line for the ride within the gift shop. It’s a secondary measure to maintain social distancing.
Similarly, Bolstein states that restaurants will run at a maximum occupancy of 50 percent for now. The yellow markings are visible outside of the restaurant, too.
The VP adds that they have secondary line areas they can employ if the primary one grows too long.
However, Bolstein notes that the parks will open at less than mandatory occupancy, which we know is 30 percent. So, large crowds are unlikely at first anyway.
Inside the restaurant, the yellow symbols show where not to stand. There are more of these signs due to the tight nature of the interior.
In other words, you’ll have more space but fewer signs outside at the parks. In tight quarters, Disney will discourage bunching by adding more ground symbols.
Disney will also encourage contactless payments at first. Even so, it will accept cash and other forms of payment.
To allow for this problematic necessity, Disney has hand sanitizer at the restaurant counters.
After watching the video, I’m more optimistic than ever about Disney’s ability to manage an extremely trying circumstance.
I’d encourage you to watch it as well. You’ll feel much better about the return of the parks!