Shanghai Disneyland reopens with timed entry and social distancing

After three and a half months of closure following the initial outbreak of the Covid-19 coronavirus, Shanghai Disneyland has reopened its doors to visitors.

Normally, the park has a capacity of 80,000 people and 12,000 cast members — Disney parlance for employees. But for reopening day on May 11, the cast members far outnumbered the guests, who were at less than the recommended 30% capacity.

“We have a very dedicated team of custodial cleaners that we’ve increased the number of those throughout the park that are constantly wiping down all the surfaces,” explains Andrew Bolstein, SVP of Operations for Shanghai Disney Resort.”We’ll be able to strike that right balance between the safety and health and confident side, and then the magic that we’re able to deliver every day.”

Visitors to Shanghai Disneyland are now required to wear masks, have their temperatures taken and socially distance.

Due to current travel restrictions, the visitors were primarily residents of Shanghai and the surrounding provinces — some Chinese locals and some foreigners who live in the country. In order to visit, guests must book timed entry tickets online to space out the crowds.Hundreds of cast members lined up to greet their guests. They stood waving and saying, “Welcome back!” in both Chinese and English.

The majority of the park’s rides and attractions were open, except for the children’s play area and other interactive attractions that tend to involve touching surfaces.

No longer can guests give a high-five or big hug to characters in costume. Instead, they must rely on a safe selfie distance for a photo.

“There’s different environments for different phases of the epidemic, but I think what we have could be a model,” Bolstein said.

He added: “I’m just looking to see children smile and people have a good time and enjoy the park.”

At present, Shanghai Disneyland is the only one of the company’s parks to reopen, but there have been small signs of change in other locations. Orlando’s Disney Springs complex will see some of its shops and restaurants begin reopening their doors on May 20.

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