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To no one’s surprise, having people across the world stay home hasn’t been kind to Disney’s theme park business — especially when the Happiest Place on Earth hasn’t been able to greet a single guest in weeks. But at least one park is set to open its doors soon.
On an earnings call Tuesday, Disney reported a near $1 billion setback to its parks revenue for the first quarter of 2020, by far the biggest part of the $1.4 billion overall loss that the company has felt from the social distancing fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, according to Variety. All of Disney’s theme parks worldwide have been closed due to the pandemic, with Disneyland Shanghai the first to shut its doors beginning Jan. 25. But the Mouse House announced Tuesday it plans to reopen its park in China’s largest city on May 11.
Of course, there are some caveats ensuring things will be different, as the company deploys a number of precautions aimed at mitigating the risk of transmitting disease. Those precautions could look like a preview of what U.S. guests might expect, once Disney welcomes them back to its parks in California and Florida.
Disney didn’t indicate when it might reopen its Stateside parks as part of its Shanghai announcement on Tuesday. But according to Deadline, visitors to Disneyland Shanghai can expect some highly-visible changes. Those include limited and “pulsed” admittance to the park via “an advanced reservation and entry system,” ride queues that have been restructured to maximize social distancing, the mandatory wearing of face masks for all guests (except while eating), guest temperature screenings, frequent sanitation of all high-traffic contact surfaces (like ride handlebars, hand rails, and turnstiles), and liberal availability of hand sanitizer at the entries and exits of all attractions.
For tons of stir-crazy fans antsy with cabin fever and spurred by the arrival of spring, it at least appears there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Here’s hoping guests stay safe as they set off down Main Street once again.