Disney has revealed details on what the reopening of Disneyland could look like.
In the company’s Q2 earnings call on Tuesday, Disney announced that it will begin the phased reopening of Shanghai Disneyland on May 11, but stopped short of setting a reopening date for its other theme parks. The announcement is an encouraging but sobering sign of what’s to come stateside — where both Disneyland and Walt Disney World have remained closed since mid-March.
The Shanghai Disneyland reopening plans finally give us a preview into what Disney is preparing for the rest of its properties. Here’s what the reopening of Disneyland may look like when it happens…
A phased reopening
Disney is currently planning on reopening its theme parks in phases, with a gradual reopening and/or partial reopening of certain locations. This means that retail and dining locations, like Downtown Disney, could reopen before the parks do.
Limited capacity and distancing
Park attendance will be reduced to comply with state and federal guidelines, as Disney faces the challenge of reining in normally crowded walkways and long lines. You may even be required to make a reservation before visiting the park. Shanghai Disneyland will implement an “advanced reservation and entry system” to control attendance, and capacity at reopening will be limited to under 30 percent. Disney CEO Bob Chapek also said that a dated ticketing model — in which guests purchase tickets in advance for a specific date — will be introduced in China, but could not confirm if such a policy would be implemented elsewhere. Domestically, guests are already familiar with a number of reservation systems for attractions and dining. Just last year, Disneyland launched a new annual pass that even requires passholders to make an advance reservation before visiting on certain dates. More recently, reservations were also widely used following the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
We can also expect social distancing to be the new normal at Disneyland once the park reopens. Disney says it will follow physical distancing guidelines to manage guest density at restaurants, hotels, the lines for attractions, park entrances, and even on ride vehicles. That means that we could see spaced seating on certain rides.
Face masks required
Disney says face masks or coverings will be required for all guests and employees at Shanghai Disneyland. The only exception will be for face characters, who will be at a distance from the crowds. This policy has already been implemented at many public places here in the U.S., including at Costco stores, so it would make sense that masks may soon be a requirement to visit theme parks.
Screenings and temperature checks
Along with masks and social distancing measures, Disney will implement temperature checks, contact tracing, and other detection systems (perhaps thermal cameras?) for the Shanghai Disneyland reopening. It’s still unclear if any of these measures are planned for its U.S. theme parks.
“We’ll follow guidance from the government and the medical community regarding enhanced screening procedures and prevention measures, including those related to personal protective equipment (PPE), such as face coverings,” Disney Parks Chief Medical Officer Dr. Pamela Hymel said in a statement. “Some measures, like adding hand sanitizers and hand washing stations across our resorts, have already been implemented.”
More sanitation and training
Disney says it’s also boosting its cleanliness and sanitation policies at its parks, as well as providing more cast training on health and safety.
“We’re planning increased cleaning and disinfection, determining where that should take place (for example, in high-traffic areas), and the cleaning products and processes we’ll use,” Disney said. “We’re further emphasizing our strong culture of health and safety amongst our cast members, and will continue to provide new training and reinforcement as we get closer to reopening.”
When do you think Disneyland will reopen? What do you think about the measures and policies? Be sure to let us know in the comments below!