What The Reopening of Hong Kong Disneyland Tells Us About the Reopening of Disneyland Resort in California
As Disney parks both domestic and abroad look to reopen, Disney insiders are watching closely to see what sort of insights can be gleaned from those parks already open like Hong Kong Disneyland and Shanghai Disneyland as a way of anticipating what we might be able to expect at Disneyland and Disney World both of which will start reopening this Summer.
Hong Kong Disneyland opened last week (Thursday, June 18th) with additional health and safety measures put into place including face masks, temperature checks, a cap on attendance, social distances and increased sanitation.
Next up to bat will be Walt Disney World which will begin its phased theme park reopening on July 11th. Disneyland and Disney California Adventure will be hot on their heels with a proposed reopening of July 17th.
Shanghai Disneyland in China was the first Disney theme park in the world to reopen after the COVID-19 outbreak. It started to welcome back guests on May 11, 2020.
As a recent piece in the Orange County Register suggests, the reopening of the theme parks particularly in Hong Kong offers a unique glimpse of the “new norm” visitors can expect when Disneyland theme parks reopen.
When Hong Kong first opened up its gates last week, crowds were relatively low with reduced capacity and advanced reservations required. Mickey and Minnie were on hand to reopen the park and Cast Members lined up along Main Street U.S.A. wearing white Mickey Mouse gloves and waved as visitors entered the park for the first time since January. Face masks were mandatory.
Similar to the parks stateside, work is being carried out at Hong Kong Disneyland and appears to have made progress in the lead-in to reopening starting with the iconic Castle of Magical Dreams. The iconic castle has been expanded with taller turrets and is getting a new paint job. It continues to be a work in progress but is expected to officially reopen soon.
Other projects at Hong Kong Disneyland include the creation of a Marvel-themed area in Tomorrowland and a new Frozen-themed land.
According to reports, construction has also resumed at the Disney parks in Anaheim with crews working to get caught up on the new Marvel Avengers Campus coming to Disney California Adventure as well as Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway which will be opening at Disneyland theme park.
So what does the new normal look like at Hong Kong Disneyland? Fans had to clear temperature screening tents before entering the parks. Signage throughout entrance and parks encouraged guests to maintain social distance. There were also no standing signs on the ground to keep guests from gathering too close.
Social distancing markers could also be found in attraction queues and limits were placed on how many guests could be in shops and restaurants at a time. Parades, fireworks shows and any other activities where crowds typically gather have been suspended during the initial phase of reopening. Up close interactions with characters like those at meet and greets have also been suspended for the time being.
Disney has been clear from the get-go that reopenings would happen in phases meaning things are constantly evolving. We can already see evidence of this at Shanghai Disneyland where attraction and entertainment offers are continuing to reopen. Some examples are the Frozen Singalong, Avengers Training Initiative and the Captain Jack Sparrow stunt spectacular.
When Shanghai Disneyland first opened, attendance was limited to 24,000 guests a day (about 30% of capacity.) Disney CEO Bob Chapek previously said in an interview with CNBC that he planned on increasing the attendance numbers by 5,000 a week.
One area that we know for sure will be different is that Shanghai Disneyland has been using a virtual queuing system for rides like their TRON coaster as well as Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. The new Disney Standby Pass online reservation tool allows visitors to create a queuing schedule using Shanghai Disneyland’s digital smartphone app.
However, as we previously reported here at MickeyBlog, Disney World has already informed cast members that a similar system WILL NOT be used at Walt Disney World. No word yet on Disneyland.
This is a time of such immense change that we here at MickeyBlog think the best way to keep up top speed is to keep following along with us for the latest news and updates!
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