With other parks likely to follow suit over time?
During the second-quarter earnings call, it was announced that Shanghai Disneyland is set to once again open their gates on May 11th, but with strict guidelines in place for park capacity and social distancing. With this park having been closed since late January of this year due to the outbreak of COVID-19 aka the Novel Coronavirus, it could serve as an example for all other Disney parks going forward.
As announced, the first guideline focused on limiting park capacity to 30% of its normal total occupancy. This means rather than the usual 80,000 guests that this particular the park can typically accommodate, the maximum occupancy will be set at 24,000 for the foreseeable future. As a result, it will help ensure guests are properly spaced out at all shows, theaters, and restaurants along with in line for the rides. While waiting in line for a said ride, park goers will be expected to in queues with temporary ground markings in order to keep each party equally distanced from the one in front and behind them.
With the new capacity in mind, park operators can better follow the second guideline of having guests make reservations in advance of their trip. In this way, the potential spread of this deadly disease can be better controlled. Prior to the pandemic, Disneyland in Anaheim, California had already made this a condition for guests who purchased their Disney Flex Annual Passport. In other words, Disney is no stranger to this type of regulation. For the time being, they are simply expanding it to another park with the others likely following suit as they eventually return to operation.
Even once the reservations are made and guests begin to arrive, they will have to follow the third guideline to ensure everyone’s safety. That is, requiring all visitors to have their temperature taken before entering the park. Whether this will take place at the bag check, the park gates, or even both, is currently unknown. It is also currently unknown if guests sweating from the outside atmosphere rather than a potential fever (more so as this measure spreads to other Disney parks and resorts), will be denied entrance.
After finally entering the park, Disney patrons will then be required to follow the next guideline of wearing a mask covering their nose and mouth at all times outside of dining. How this will work should an individual lose their mask on rides such as Space Mountain, Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train, or even Slinky Dog Spin and Woody’s Roundup is unknown at this point. The best guess is that Disney will be selling their own inside the park for a markup. You can’t be seen inside the park without your mask after all. One solution, however, is to bring multiple so in the event one is lost, you have more.
If all goes well with Shanghai Disneyland, the Disney company is expected to open the rest of their parks across the world throughout the rest of this year with similar measures in place. Should anything change, please look to The Future of the Force for the most accurate information.
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Megan Rickards is a prolific Staff Writer for The Future of the Force. Aside from being extremely passionate about Star Wars, Batman: The Animated Series, and the Arrowverse, Megan holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Literature and Writing. Follow her on Twitter @FindingHerSpot where she channels the Force frequently and @FAAPOV where she hosts her own blog.