Shanghai Disneyland Kicks Off Theme Parks' Return

May 11, 2020, 11:47 AM · Shanghai Disneyland this morning welcomed its first guests since closing in January. Shanghai Disney Resort President and General Manager Joe Schott reopened the park with a ceremony in front of its "floral Minnie."

Reopening ceremony at Shanghai Disneyland
Photos courtesy Shanghai Disney Resort

"Since the reopening of Disneytown, Wishing Star Park and Shanghai Disneyland Hotel in early March, we have been deeply moved by the encouragement from our guests and Disney fans," Scott said. "Today, we are extremely pleased to reopen Shanghai Disneyland thanks to the unwavering efforts of our Cast Members and our community. Today’s celebrations will be remembered with joy, as we look forward to welcoming our guests back to this happy place."

A limited number of guests were admitted to the park this morning, as Disney is keeping capacity low to accommodate social distancing restrictions, including inside attraction, shops, and restaurants.

Guests return

The park detailed its new operating procedures during a press tour over the weekend. Initial reports from the park seemed to be positive, with wait times low to nonexistent on almost all rides due to the lower number of guests in the park.

Shanghai Disneyland

Shanghai Disneyland is the first of Disney's theme parks to reopen following the pandemic shutdowns around the world. It is currently the largest theme park in the world, ranked by previous annual attendance, to be open to guests. Disney has not yet announced an opening date for any of its other theme parks, though the Disney Springs shopping and entertainment district at the Walt Disney World Resort is to begin the first phase of its reopening on May 20.

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If you're in China and looking for tickets to Shanghai Disneyland, please visit our international travel partner's Shanghai Disneyland tickets page.

Replies (18)

May 11, 2020 at 12:12 PM

I am so looking forward to seeing how the domestic parks adapt and adjust what Shanghai has done. The Asian Disney parks have one thing that the US parks just do not have - size. Sure The Magic Kingdom is dramatically larger than Disneyland in California, but if you've been to Tokyo Disneyland you know how much wider that park's walkways are even to The Magic Kingdom.
Sure, you can limit the number of people in queues by using virtual systems for waiting in line, but then where will all of those people go to wait their turn.
Parks can of course limit capacity, but where is the profit line? There has to be a certain number of flips of the turnstiles before expenses are met and profit is being earned. We are in for some interesting days, weeks and months ahead.

May 11, 2020 at 12:37 PM

I hope that the measures they institute are successful. I like that Disney took a step back and decided to have a lower capacity then that of the government mandate.

I think they will do okay as long as food and merchandise purchases slowly start to tick up.

May 11, 2020 at 1:23 PM

Bob Chapek on CNBC (Could someone put him in a better setting and get him a jacket, please?)

Also, Joe Schott should succeed Chapek as Parks Chairman.

May 11, 2020 at 1:38 PM

The TL;DW?

Mask requirements are coming, everyone. Be ready.

May 11, 2020 at 1:39 PM

Rob brings up the point so many ignore on size. Also how Asian culture and practices differ from the U.S. so that can be a shift too. If nothing else, it's a fascinating thing to watch unfold before us.

May 11, 2020 at 1:40 PM

@RobertNiles: If Disney isn't already set to unleash packs of character-themed masks for kids, I'll eat my mouse ears hat.

May 11, 2020 at 2:10 PM

@Robert - But what kind of masks will be acceptable, and if you don't bring one (or one that meets Disney's requirements) will you be given one or be forced to buy one? This is a HUGE issue, because there's a wide range of what different communities/industries are deeming an acceptable face mask. Heck, even places that have supposedly establish strict regulations are all over the place in terms of execution. I've been so desperate for live sports content that I actually watched a good chunk of the ACL Saturday (that's American Cornhole League for those non-tailgaters out there). During that event, the players maintained a decent amount of social distancing with minimal staff and no spectators. In fact, the players were often seen glancing over at the TV broadcast table because they could hear everything that was being said about them over live television. However, the face coverings were all over the map. Some players were wearing bandanas, others wore Survivor-style "buffs" over their mouth and nose, others were wearing homemade masks, while a couple were wearing legitimate-looking medical-grade disposable masks, and even a couple were wearing clear face shields without anything covering their mouth and nose. If the ACL can't get a group of 30 or so players to pull in the same direction, how in the world is Disney going to get thousands of guests traveling from all around the world to show up with an acceptable solution.

That's why I think masks need to be distributed upon arrival, with guests expected to arrive wearing some type of face covering when they show up to receive a new mask at the gate. I think that's the only way this is going to work and for Disney to create any chance of 100% compliance. Now getting guests to properly wear their masks will be another story.

May 11, 2020 at 5:35 PM

Am I wrong to believe that guests will have to reserve dates for entry into a WDW park? If they do have to book their visit the reservations host will advise guests in advance of all requirements -- including face covers.

May 11, 2020 at 5:49 PM

TH Creative, as much as I don't like the idea of having to "lock in" your vacation and not be allowed to be spontaneous with the FastPass+ system at WDW it seems to be the perfect fit for this. When you make your selections your ticket is tied to the selection and the date, Disney knows exactly how many people are planning on attending on any given day. So, just for calculating, if the capacity is to be limited to 25 percent they can do their allocations as follows, 10 percent to on-site guests, 10 percent to off-site guests and 5 percent for walk ups.

I don't know if this is a system that they would use but the FastPass+ system is perfectly suited for this situation whether you like it or not.

May 11, 2020 at 6:12 PM

Well, look how far ahead of us the Chinese are: you have to show your QR code to get in the park. (For those who don't know, they track your movements through your phone, and if you come within a certain distance of an infected person, your QR status changes from green to yellow until after the incubation period.) So, if you go to Disney Shanghai, you can at least feel comfortable that the people in the park with you are mostly virus free. Not perfect, they could have contracted it in the last couple of days you might not know, but still, a VERY big reassurance.

Contrast that with the US, where we have no federal or unified path for reopening, where we have no testing, generally speaking, and where we sure as heck have no unified contract tracing, let alone something as sophisticated as QR tracking. So when OUR parks open, you go, you're 100% trusting in hope and prayers that there aren't literally DOZENS of infected people in the park with you. Fever check means nothing. You have NO IDEA.

Because America's inept, craven government has refused to enact established protocols, we cannot open safely like other countries, and we cannot begin ensure consumer confidence, as the Chinese have done, that you're at least generally safe. By contrast, Americans are walking into a potential hot zone. It's absurd.

May 11, 2020 at 6:28 PM

@thecolonel or the PRCbot or TheTrollOfTheDay

Please, just move to China. Embrace the totalitarianism if it makes you feel safe. You are clueless about reality.

And by the way - your usage of CAPS is asinine.

May 11, 2020 at 8:32 PM

Oh TH, you should know by now that vacationers don't follow rules, especially in theme parks.

Russell brings up a great point. I have three face coverings, one issued by my employer, one a relative made for me, and a bandana I cut out of a pillow case. Chances are, most families use the latter two, and if they bring those expecting Disney will allow them, it could be a guest relations nightmare if they're denied entry or forced to buy new ones.

May 11, 2020 at 10:15 PM

@timhillman I have no idea what you mean but you're not very nice calling names.

May 12, 2020 at 12:01 AM

@James you're right. And Disney knows this well (they put the bamboo pole and "don't pull the rope" rope in the Temple of the Forbidden Eye at Disneyland knowing that guests will do anything you tell them not to do).

From everything I've read, things went smoothly in Shanghai, but we have such an entitlement culture here that I don't expect things to go as smoothly. Cast members are going to have their work cut out for them, no matter what the restrictions end up being.

I've got several homemade masks (most Disney themed). That way, when I am able to go back to work, I can wear different masks and wash them between uses. And with Disney selling masks themselves on shopdisney dot com, I would assume those would be allowed. But if not, I would imagine they would have a supply of disposable masks available at the security checks before guests get into the heart of the resorts.

May 12, 2020 at 5:19 AM

>>Please, just move to China. Embrace the totalitarianism if it makes you feel safe.


I want you to understand one important thing. Nobody wants these restrictions to go on for one minute more than they have to. Nobody wants any totalitarianism. I would like to think that you don’t want more deaths than neccessary. Can I suggest we would all do better If we started being a bit more charitable?

Where it stands, we have three choices

1. We remove all restrictions. The death count goes back to skyrocketing and we do nothing about it.

2. We suppress it for a short period then open up early or fast, and risk it skyrocketing, resulting in us having to slam in the brakes again hard, as well as a higher than neccessary death count (but not as high as 1)

3. We suppress it a little longer than 2, less people die overall and the chances of us having to slam on the brakes again are reduced.

I would submit that 3 is best for the economy long term, despite the short term pain. It allows when the economy restarts to operate with more confidence, and there’s more people capable of participating in the workforce as there’s less need to self isolate and/or shield.

As it stands, China is now beginning to see new breakouts. One city has had to slam on the brakes in the north east, and over the next 10 days all 11 million people in Wuhan are going to be tested.

The new Wuhan outbreak has been linked to an asymptomatic person. That tells us that simply relying on symptoms isn’t enough.

Where do you stand, with this in mind?

May 12, 2020 at 5:44 AM

@Chad H. - I think by now you pretty much know where I stand. I'm in favor of Option #3 above, but I'm not sure it's possible considering that China is having more outbreaks despite their draconian containment procedures (and that is assuming you can believe a darn thing coming from the government over there). I think we as a society are doing to have to learn to live with the damages that this virus causes for a long time.

@thecolonel - Your words define you. Expressing obsequious admiration for the PRC in the way that you do makes me believe that you're in the employ of the government there. If you aren't, then you've been drinking the kool-aid. As far as me not being nice, why be nice to somebody who is on the side of a country that is our enemy - militarily, economically, and socially? You deserve far more disdain than you got.

May 12, 2020 at 10:43 PM

Well that escalated quickly

May 13, 2020 at 5:29 AM

Heres one of the particular tragic examples regarding mask ignorance (wrapped in a case of particular ignorance overall):
"March 25 one of his daughters gave him a face mask to wear at the plant, where he operated boxing and loading equipment near the entrance and was often the first person to greet arriving co-workers. “He was always so respectful,” a shiftmate says. Two days later, Benjamin told his kids a supervisor had ordered him to remove the mask because it was creating unnecessary fears among plant employees.

On Saturday, April 4, Benjamin called in sick. So few workers had shown up the day before that he’d had to do the work of three people, he told his family. By Monday his cough and fever were much worse. The next morning he could barely move. An ambulance took him to the hospital.

While he was in the emergency room, Cargill shut down the Hazleton plant to disinfect everything, install barriers between workstations, and give employees time to heal. Later that week, the union said 164 workers had been infected. The local testing center, running low on supplies, was refusing to test most Cargill employees. If you work at the meatpacking plant, they were told, assume you’re positive.

Benjamin was admitted to the intensive care unit and spent his work anniversary on a ventilator. He died on April 19. "

Asians always had a point with those masks.

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