Shanghai Disneyland officially reopens, could serve as a model for Walt Disney World's reopening, expert says

Shanghai Disneyland has officially reopened, becoming the first major theme park to reopen following the global coronavirus pandemic.

After announcing its reopening on May 11, tickets for Shanghai Disneyland’s first available dates were reportedly snatched up within minutes of going on sale Friday. The Chinese theme park has been closed since January 25.

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With the park reopening, President and General Manager of Shanghai Disney Resort Joe Schott said that “new and enhanced health and safety measures reflecting the guidance of our local health and government authorities" will be implemented. Crowds will be limited to 30 percent capacity and tickets will only be available by advance reservation on a specific date. Tickets for annual passholders are being set aside for guests.

A man wearing a face masks visits the Disneyland amusement park in Shanghai on May 11, 2020. - Disneyland Shanghai reopened on May 11 to the public after being closed since January due to the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. (Photo by Hector RETAMAL /

In addition, "people have to have apps on their mobile device with a QR code that shows that they are not currently sick and you have to be able to show that in order to get into the area," Robert Niles, editor of, told FOX 35 Orlando. Guests will undergo a temperature check at the gate and must wear a mask at all times, except when eating.

Social distancing will be promoted as well, as posters on the ground guide guests to keep six-feet of distance between each other. Signs will even explicitly say 'don't stand here.' No close-up photos or interactions with characters will be permitted and parades have been suspended as well.

SHANGHAI, CHINA - MAY 11: Tourists queue to enter Shanghai Disneyland after its reopening on May 11, 2020 in Shanghai, China. Shanghai Disneyland has reopened its gates following months of shutdown, offering a potential model for other mass entertain

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Schott added that other Disney parks around the world are preparing for reopening, citing that "when the time is right, they will be able to once again welcome guests."

"There's a huge pressure on Disney at this point because they don’t have the roadmap from anyone else, this is Disney’s task to come up with the plan, not just for itself, for its own theme parks but for the whole rest of the industry," Niles said. "A lot of new things are going to be happening in Shanghai that we can look forward to at some point happening here in the United States."

He went on to describe what Shanghai Disneyland is doing as "a little bit of an experiment" and warned that "if something goes wrong there, if people don’t show up, because they don’t feel safe, if operations break down and people aren’t getting that Disney magic in any form and worst case scenario, if this leads to some kind of second wave outbreak, if any of those things happen, it’s going to set back the cause of reopening any American theme parks, substantially."

However, if successful, Walt Disney World’s reopening may look very similar.

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Shanghai’s Disney Springs equivalent has been open for about a month, practicing social distancing and spacing out tables. Disney Springs will be the first attraction at Walt Disney World Resort to reopen.  It will happen in phases, beginning May 20.


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