Shanghai Disneyland Reopens, Becoming The Company's First Theme Park To Do So

Kristen Markel

Shanghai Disneyland reopened Monday, May 11, three months after the COVID-19 pandemic forced its closure, CNN reported. The park is the first of six shuttered Disney properties to reopen.

According to the report, the Shanghai Disneyland experience will not be the same as before the January 25 closure, with many new social distancing measures put into place. The park will initially host 20 percent of its daily capacity, which is well below the strictures of the Chinese government. Disney employees will outnumber the visitors in the initial reopening stages.

While characters will still be roaming, meet-and-greets are currently canceled, as are parades and fireworks. Disney has also closed interactive children's play areas and all indoor live theaters.

"The vast majority of its rides, as well as most of its restaurants and shows will be open. More might reopen in time to come depending on the situation and government regulations," Reuters reported, citing Andrew Bolstein, the park's senior vice president of operations.

With travel bans in place all over the world, a majority of the visitors will be locals. Annual pass holders were required to reserve the date and time of their visits in advance. Reservations filled immediately after they became available online last week. Time slots were only available for Monday and Tuesday.

All guests will be required to wear masks except while dining and must have their temperatures checked before entry. Bright, yellow tape marks have been placed 6 feet apart on the ground to show where people should wait in line for rides. Guests will be asked to put empty seats or rows between them while riding, and frequent announcements will be made to remind guests to remain socially distant.

Even with the measures in place, visitors were excited to be back in the park. Guests included families with young children dressed in costume. All were greeted by characters waving and saying "welcome back" in both Chinese and English.

Many are looking to the Shanghai experience as a possible view of what other parks will be like after reopening.

"We're evaluating several new and enhanced safety measures to do our part towards helping us stay well while we work, stay, and play at a Disney resort," Dr. Pamela Hymel, Disney's chief medical advisor, said in a recent statement on the company's website.

Disney Springs in Florida announced that some retail shops and restaurants are set to reopen on May 20. No other parks have made any similar announcements.

Disney, like other companies, has been hit hard by the current pandemic. Park closures have the company set to lose $1.4 billion in profit. Over 100,000 Disney employees have been furloughed.