Shanghai Disney Keeps The Theme Park Momentum Going As COVID Cases On Rise in USA
With COVID-19 cases on the rise in the US, Disney has still not opened its Disneyland theme parks and is getting pushback on its continued gradual reopening of the four theme parks that make up Walt Disney World which opened mid-July. However, over at Shanghai Disney Resort, the theme park is coming up to a three month milestone having reopened on May 11th when COVID-19 cases started to decline rapidly in China.
Crowds continue to remain smaller at Shanghai Disney, a deliberate move on Disney’s part to make sure that guests maintain proper social distancing. However, it’s been a slightly different story with other theme parks, case in point Hong Kong Disney which had to close the theme parks on July 15th (less than a month after it reopened) due to a resurgence in cases.
Shanghai Disney remains a bit of a case study in how to reopen the theme parks. As Asian Review tells us, since May the resort HAS NOT seen any hiccups in reopening. Cast Members play a pivotal role in this, reminding guests to use their face masks and maintain a safe social distance before each ride.
The resort was shut down on January 25th at the start of China’s Lunar New Year which was expected to be one of the busiest times of the year for Shanghai Disney. This resulted in a three month lockdown that a Disney spokesperson described as “very difficult and challenging.” However, Shanghai Disney Resort President Joe Schoott commended the government support the company was receiving saying, “We’re very fortunate to be here in Shanghai where the government has provided great support.”
It should be noted however that as part of social distancing practices, a few attractions including the Ignite the Dream Nighttime Spectacular and interactive walkthroughs like Star Wars Launch Bay are for the moment off limits to visitors. Character meet and greets and the popular “Meet Mickey” photo sessions are likewise on hiatus.
So how are guests feeling about the parks being reopened and the changes made to combat the spread of COVID-19? According to the piece in Asian News, guest David Wu said, “It is a blessing with fewer people.”
Upon reopening, admission to the resort has been capped at 16,000 visitors a day which is about 20% of the usual capacity. However, under the phased reopening more guests will be allowed into the parks week-on-week as long as the number of COVID-19 cases in the country remain down. However, at the moment it remains unclear regarding the impact that rising tensions between the US and China will have on the future of the theme park.
It’s also worth noting that it isn’t just the theme parks that were impacted by the COVID-19 shutdown in China. The film industry is also taking a massive hit. Disney’s live action version of Mulan which was expected to be a massive release in the country has been subjected to several delays as theaters worldwide struggle to reopen. Last month, Disney also announced the closure of Disney English learning centers in China as a result of what the company called a shift in consumer preferences toward online learning experiences. Disney English was targeted toward children between the ages of 2 and 12 years old using Disney characters to provide language lessons. The company had 44 centers in China and had been in operation since 2009.
We will continue to follow the situation of all Disney parks worldwide. Readers are encouraged to keep following along with us for further news and updates!
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Source: Nikkei Asian Review