Shanghai Disneyland’s Reopening Could Serve as a Model

Shanghai Disneyland reopened today, with plenty of eyes watching. As parts of the world attempt to emerge from lockdown and stay-at-home orders, onlookers wonder how opening the gates to large destinations like Disneyland will unfold, particularly with parkgoers.

Early reports from CNN say Shanghai Disneyland yields an experience a bit different from the norm—the park usually holds 80,000 visitors and 12,000 "cast members" at capacity. It will operate at 30 percent capacity, however. In addition, there will be plenty more changes to provide safety for parkgoers.

Safety Checks

For example, all guests now are required to wear masks, have their temperatures taken at entrance and practice social distancing. They must also show a green QR Shanghai health code, which allows for government contact tracing. At ride lines, yellow tape measures 6 ft. spaces to help riders safely distance. And guests can no longer hug or touch characters, but are allowed to pose for non-contact selfies.

"While some things will look a little different, know that that a magical experience awaits you at Shanghai Disneyland," said Joe Schott, president and general manager, Shanghai Disney Resort on the Disney Parks blog.

Communicating Safety

While magic certainly is needed during these dismal times, Disney is taking precautions to let visitors know they are safe. The Disney Parks Blog also shared content from its chief medical officer. Dr. Pamela Hymel detailed a plan and procedures taken to ensure a secure environment, with a nod to possible changes.

"Please keep an eye on our online channels, where we’ll provide more details as we confirm and begin to implement our plans," Dr. Hymel wrote. "Given the constantly changing global health environment, these practices may evolve as we consider the latest guidance, but we will share more information with you as we look toward reopening."

The Message is Clear

Disney Parks offered very clear messaging, and allowed media access to provide imagery and specifics. Because Disney is a very large global corporation, it has the means to provide a model for other institutions. Disney knows the world is watching. In fact, Dr. Hymel wrote she also is working with the U.S. Travel Association on a set of safety guidelines for possible use throughout the industry.

Regardless of statements and precautions, there are many unknowns, and only so many factors lie within the Park's control. Rather than announce that this is the first rollout of many openings, it may be wise to define it as a pilot program that the brand is monitoring closely. That way, if Disney is found to be the source of a spike in cases, it has the ability to say “Well, unfortunately, this didn’t work. We’re closing again.”

For Disney the best things to keep doing during this reopening are close monitoring of employee health and well-being, as well as continual sharing of facts and knowledge gained from the experience. It's important to place an importance on "not going back to normal," but adapting with changing times.

This article is part of PRNEWS' ongoing daily COVID-19 coverage