Shanghai Disneyland to reopen amid Disney's $1.4B loss

By Zhang Rui
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, May 10, 2020
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Shanghai Disney Resort announced on Wednesday that Shanghai Disneyland theme park will officially reopen to the public on May 11, 2020.

Following China's all-out efforts to curb and control the epidemic, the Shanghai park will become the first Disneyland to reopen in the world while all other Disney parks remain closed until further notice.

Shanghai Disneyland gets ready to reopen. [Photo courtesy of Shanghai Disney Resort]

The Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Chapek said during a conference call with analysts on Tuesday that after reopening, guests and employees will be required to wear masks. Chapek said that the theme park, which closed in January, typically sees 80,000 visitors per day but will reopen with a guest capacity of 24,000 per day for the first few weeks.

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the park was shut down since Jan. 25 in China, the very first day of Chinese Lunar New Year. To celebrate the Year of the Mouse, a perfect match with Disney's icon, the park had prepared many new programs, activities, decorations, and food.

According to a press release put out by Shanghai Disney Resort on Wednesday, the initial park reopening will demonstrate a deliberate approach, drawing on the experience from the successful reopening of Disneytown, Wishing Star Park, and Shanghai Disneyland Hotel in early March and implement enhanced health and safety measures.

During this initial reopening phase, the park will institute new measures and procedures, including opening with limited attendance with an advanced reservation and entry system, accommodating social distancing in queues, restaurants, ride vehicles, and other facilities throughout the park, and implementing intensified sanitization and disinfection measures.

On May 11, the majority of Shanghai Disneyland's attractions, rides, some shows, and shopping and dining locations will resume operations with controlled attendance. Some interactive attractions and experiences, such as children play areas and theater shows, will remain closed.

To accommodate social distancing, parades and nighttime spectaculars will also return at a later date. During the initial reopening phase, a special Disney character procession, Mickey and Friends Express, will take place several times daily, and the Enchanted Storybook Castle will come to life with light and music at dusk each day with Evening Magical Moments. At the same time, Disney characters will appear in the park in a new way, as they make appearances in each of the themed lands, greeting and welcoming everyone back to Shanghai Disneyland. Close interaction and close-up photos with characters will be suspended. 

A photo shows the iconic but lone Shanghai Disneyland castle. [Photo courtesy of Shanghai Disney Resort]

The resort said in its release that the frequency of sanitization measures will be increased to augment the standards of cleanliness already in place throughout the park, and hand sanitizers will be available at attractions, restaurants, and stores.

Ticket sales will be available via the resort's official online channels and official travel partners' channels beginning at 8 am on May 8 with a limited number of tickets available each day during the initial reopening.

However, the 2020 Spring Disney Inspiration Run, which was scheduled to take place from April 18 to 19, was canceled and became a virtual event. The event was designed for participants to be surrounded by Marvel-themed fun as they run, jog, or walk through Shanghai Disney Resort.

The Walt Disney Company announced on Tuesday in the second-quarter earnings report that its second quarter net income dropped 91% to $475 million, sharply down from $5.4 billion a year earlier. Overall, the company said that costs related to COVID-19 cut Disney's pretax profit by $1.4 billion. Disney's Parks, Experiences and Products division revealed that Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resort lost an estimated combined revenue of $1 billion as a result of theme park closures forced by the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, despite the loss, Disney rose 21% and earned $18 billion in total revenue, mostly because of its previous purchase of 21st Century Fox's entertainment assets.

"While the COVID-19 pandemic has had an appreciable financial impact on a number of our businesses, we are confident in our ability to withstand this disruption and emerge from it in a strong position," said Bob Chapek, "Disney has repeatedly shown that it is exceptionally resilient, bolstered by the quality of our storytelling and the strong affinity consumers have for our brands, which is evident in the extraordinary response to Disney+ since its launch last November."

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