What the reopening of Hong Kong Disneyland could mean for Disney parks in California – Orange County Register


The reopening of Hong Kong Disneyland after an extended COVID-19 shutdown is expected to serve as a model for U.S. Disney theme parks as they prepare to open in mid-July.

The Hong Kong Disneyland theme park reopened on Thursday, June 18 with additional health and safety measures, including face masks, temperature controls, reduced attendance, social distancing and improved disinfection.

Walt Disney World in Florida plans to begin a phased reopening on July 11. Disneyland and Disney California Adventure in Anaheim have offered to reopen on July 17 pending government approval. Shanghai Disneyland in China was the first Disney theme park to reopen on May 11 after the company’s 12 parks around the world were closed earlier this year amid the global pandemic.

The reopening of Hong Kong Disneyland offers a glimpse of the “new normal” Disneyland visitors can expect when Anaheim theme parks finally open after a 124-day closure.

Crowds were relatively small when Hong Kong Disneyland reopened with reduced capacity and required advance reservations, based on live video footage from local news agencies.

Mickey and Minnie rolled up in a vintage cab and greeted fans at the entrance turnstiles eagerly awaiting the doors opening. Disney actors lined up along Main Street USA and wearing Mickey Mouse white gloves waved visitors into the park for the first time since January. Fans wearing mandatory protective masks posed for selfies in front of the renovated Castle of Magic Dreams.

It was the first chance for fans to see the updated Magic Dream Castle up close which has been enlarged vertically with taller turrets. The refreshed castle is expected to reopen soon after the work is completed.

Further work continues at Hong Kong Disneyland with planned expansions that include a Marvel-themed area at Tomorrowland and a new “Frozen” themed land. Construction has resumed at Disney’s Anaheim Parks with crews working on the new Marvel Avengers campus at DCA and the Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway dark ride at Disneyland.

Visitors to Hong Kong Disneyland were greeted with the new normal of a visit to a Disney theme park in the post-COVID-19 era from the moment they arrived at the resort. Fans walked through temperature control tents set up to scan hundreds of visitors per minute. The queues were littered with “please maintain social distancing” and “no stand please” signs on the ground.

Once inside the park, visitors found more social distancing markers in attraction queues and limits on the number of people allowed in shops and restaurants. Parades, spectacular fireworks and some shows were suspended during the initial phase of reopening. Close interactions with Disney characters were prohibited. Restaurants made digital menus accessible via QR codes using the Hong Kong Disneyland mobile app.

The first visitors to Hong Kong Disneyland were greeted with a reopening ceremony featuring Disney characters and confetti. The park marching band performed a short set on Main Street USA designed to provide a touch of entertainment without encouraging crowds to congregate.

Shanghai Disneyland has started expanding its attractions and entertainment offerings after being reopened for more than a month.

Shanghai Disneyland’s initial attendance was limited to 24,000 visitors, or about 30% of the park’s 80,000 capacity. Disney planned to increase attendance by 5,000 visitors each week while awaiting clearance from the Chinese government.

Shanghai Disneyland has picked up some shows since it reopened in mid-May, including Frozen Singalong, Avengers Training Initiative, and Captain Jack Sparrow’s spectacular stunt performer.

A new virtual queue system for tested attractions at Shanghai Disneyland has been extended to include the Tron Lightcycle Power Run and the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train roller coaster as well as the new “Disney Color-Fest” stage show, according to WDW News Today. The new Disney Standby Pass online reservation tool allows visitors to create a queue schedule using the Shanghai Disneyland digital smartphone app.

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