Hong Kong Disneyland officially reopened its gates after a five-month closure due to the coronavirus outbreak back in January. The theme park rejoiced its opening as hundreds of visitors queued to enter the park.
Disney announced in a statement that it will reopen the second Disney-branded theme park in Hong Kong publicly from June 18th with limited guest attendance and measures for social distancing. In May, Shanghai Disneyland became the first Disney park to reopen globally, admitting only 30% of its daily capacity. Hong Kong records relatively lower COVID-19 infection numbers than mainland China with only 1194 cases and seven deaths.
The reopening witnessed visitors lining outside the park in the morning, many with families and children. The guests were required to make online reservations seven or eight days in advance to monitor crowd control. With the park’s annual pass holders getting first priority for booking reservations. “In the past few months I missed coming here so much,” said an annual pass holder.
Temperature screenings are done upon arrival by management, and guests are also made to fill out health declaration forms. Visitors are mandated to wear masks onsite at all times. Social distancing requirements are enforced in queues, restaurants, rides, and other facilities; following which, up-close experiences of meet and greet with popular Disney characters are no longer permitted. Shopping and dining facilities have reduced capacities. High guest contact areas are frequently disinfected, and hand sanitizers are made available to visitors.
In a statement, the management wrote that they draw learning from the reopening of Shanghai Disney Resort and Disney Springs at Walt Disney World. “We will also implement new and enhanced health and safety measures following the guidance of our local government and health care officials,” said Stephanie Young, MD of Hong Kong Disneyland.
The management offered upgraded new visuals of the Castle of Magical Dreams, which is still under construction and is expected to open by late 2020. “We’re thrilled to share a sneak peek of magic in the making as we enter into the final stage of our Castle of Magical Dreams transformation, which will be a magnificent centerpiece of the park,” said Young.
A ‘Frozen’ themed section is also in the making at Hong Kong Disneyland, with an area themed around Elsa, Anna, Olaf, and the other characters from the world-famous animated film.
Disney World, Disneyland, Tokyo Disney, and Disneyland Paris plan to reopen in July with more emphasis on limited attendance and physical distancing. Disney has estimated a USD 1 billion loss in operating income due to its theme park closures across the world.
The Hong Kong Disneyland, which has reported losses in the last few years and with no tourists, will have to rely on its domestic market for survival.
Ocean Park, the city’s other theme park, reopened in the same week for the public. The government is the majority owner of both parks.
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