Shanghai Disneyland reopens -【AGV, Logistic, Air Cargo, Supply Chain, Warehouse, ERP system, Logistic Management, Chinese Market】

By HE WEI in Shanghai | China Daily Global | Updated: 2020-05-12 09:23

A visitor takes a selfie at Shanghai Disneyland on Monday, when the theme park reopened with strict safety procedures. [Photo by GAO ERQIANG for CHINA DAILY]

Capacity limited, safety measures in place, but return to business seen as 'a beacon' of hope

Shanghai Disneyland officially reopened on Monday, becoming the first Walt Disney theme park worldwide to welcome guests again following novel coronavirus-related closures.

Tickets for the inaugural day, with the number of visitors limited under government regulations to around 30 percent of the park's daily capacity of 80,000 visitors, sold out in minutes after bookings started on Friday morning. Other new safety measures and procedures are in place during the initial reopening phase.

Still, the brisk pace of sales was considered a sign that Chinese customers are willing to pull out their wallets as the nation has had encouraging outcomes in controlling the epidemic and economic activities are steadily bouncing back.

During a reopening ceremony in the park featuring 30 Disney characters and cast members, Joe Schott, president and general manager of Shanghai Disney Resort, thanked guests for their passion, "which ignites the magical dream within all of us".

"We hope that today's reopening can serve as a beacon of light across the globe, providing hope and inspiration to everyone … and can demonstrate that we can overcome any challenge together," Schott said.

The first group of customers, many of whom wore Disney-themed apparel, entered the park at around 9 am. They were greeted by waving park employees as they walked in, having been asked to show a green code on their phones to prove they were in good health.

All entrants need to have their temperatures checked, wear face masks and maintain social distancing, as mandated by park regulations.

"It's just so thrilling to be back on the first day," said Tang Jiatian, who managed to get tickets for himself and his girlfriend. "We cannot wait to take the Roaring Rapids ride again, a symbol of adventure and courage."

During the initial phase, not only will there be limited attendance but also a requirement for advanced ticketing and reservations. The park has also introduced social distancing across facilities and increased the frequency of cleaning and sanitizing.

Decals on sidewalks and at lines for attractions show visitors where to stand to maintain separation. Many rides are limited to one group of visitors per car.

"I've booked the half-day tickets later this week to take my daughter there," said Gao Juanwen, who said she is comfortable going to the park, thanks to the many precautionary security measures.

The park was shuttered on Jan 25 during the height of the COVID-19 outbreak in China. The resort reopened adjacent facilities, such as Disneytown, an entertainment and catering complex, on March 9.

The other 11 Disneyland parks remained closed, with Disney Springs-an outdoor shopping, dining, and entertainment complex outside of Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, in the United States, set for phased reopening on May 20.

Walt Disney stock jumped 1.73 percent as trading closed on Friday on the New York Stock Exchange. But the company had previously reported a plunge in quarterly profit of 91 percent, largely owing to the virus-related closure of the majority of its businesses.

Constructive epidemic control measures have created enthusiasm as the pent-up demand of Chinese consumers is released, said Li Qian, an assistant professor at Shanghai University of Finance and Economics who specializes in the tourism economy.

"The tourism and entertainment segments represented by Disney are a huge boon to consumer confidence and a positive stimulus to overall economic recovery," Li said.