The Walt Disney Company is currently hosting its second quarter earnings call, and new CEO Bob Chapek just confirmed a rumor about the Shanghai Disneyland reopening date. The park will open this Monday, May 11, 2020, becoming the first Disney park to reopen in the face of the global coronavirus pandemic. But things won’t be business as usual when the gates reopen.
During the call, Chapek announced that Shanghai Disneyland will be undergoing a phased reopening, and new restrictions will be put in place to help keep guests safe. Some of those restrictions include limited attendance, the use of masks for both guests and cast members (the only people who won’t wear masks are face characters, who will be standing at a distance from everyone else), temperature screenings, contact screenings, and early detection systems for anyone who is potentially infected. He also specifically mentioned advanced reservations, something Six Flags has already instituted.
Later in the call, it was revealed that COVID-19 has caused $1 billion in lost revenue in Disney’s theme parks division alone, but it’s still too early to tell when the rest of the parks could potentially reopen. But according to the Disney Parks blog, the following measures are being developed for Shanghai and whenever the day comes for the rest of the Disney parks to reopen:
- Phased reopening: We’re looking at all of our locations and how best to begin the reopening process, including a gradual reopening and/or partial reopening of certain locations. For example, the opening of retail and dining locations prior to the opening of our theme parks.
- Physical distancing and capacity measures: As you can imagine, managing guest density in queues, restaurants, hotels, ride vehicles and other facilities throughout the park and across the resort is a major focus, as we implement physical distancing guidelines based on guidance from health authorities, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and appropriate government agencies. This will likely include implementation of guest capacity measures to comply with state and federal guidelines. We’re also exploring ways to use technology to aid us in these efforts, like with our Play Disney Parks App and through virtual queues at Disneyland and Walt Disney World.
- Cleanliness and sanitization: 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.
- Screening and prevention support: 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. Some measures, like adding hand sanitizers and hand washing stations across our resorts, have already been implemented.
- Cast training: 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.
The virtual queue technology through the Play Disney Parks App had already been implemented for Rise of the Resistance at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in Disneyland and Disney World before the parks closed because of the pandemic, so it appears that technology will be used across more popular attractions (and maybe even every attraction moving forward).
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