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The recent outbreak of coronavirus certainly has international health officials concerned, leading to significant measures to attempt to curb the spread of the virus. Precautions were taken even before the virus started claiming lives, but now that things seem to be getting more serious, some more serious decisions have been made. China's movie theaters closed down over one of their traditionally massive box office weekends, so as not to become a hub for disease transmission, and both Shanghai and Hong Kong Disneyland has done the same.
In an official statement on the Shanghai Disneyland website, the closure has been announced. While the shut down is being described as temporary, no projected date of reopening has been announced, because that will be determined by Chinese health officials. Guests who had purchased tickets or reserved rooms at Shanghai Disney Resort hotels will be given a refund. The refund option also exists for guests who purchased tickets to the Mandarin production of the Beauty and Beast Broadway show.
As a precautionary measure in line with prevention efforts taking place across China, we are temporarily closing Shanghai Disneyland park out of consideration for the health and safety of our guests and Cast Members. We are in close contact with health officials and the local government about the situation and will announce a reopening date once they determine it is advisable. In the interim, we will be providing refunds to guests who have booked tickets to the park or rooms at our resort hotels.
The day after it was announced that Shanghai Disneyland was being closed, it was announced the same thing would happen to the Kong Kong park. However, one change there, is that the hotels in that resort will remain open, though refunds for either park tickets or hotel stays will be honored.
Theme parks, due to their popularity, can become major hubs for disease transmission simply due to the massive number of people, potentially from all over the world, who visit the parks each year. The issue isn't simply that a disease like the coronavirus might spread to more people, but because Disney Parks see a lot of international visitors, those people could then spread the virus to new parts of the world that thus far have remained unaffected.
While Disney's North American Parks have remained the flagships of the theme park business, international expansion has become a bigger and bigger part of the division in recent years. The building of a theme park resort in Shanghai was a major coup for Disney that took about a decade to accomplish. Shanghai Disneyland is a park that many Disney fans try and make a trip to visit. As the newest Disney Park, it has some of the most technologically advanced attractions and uses 60+ years of theme park experience to make a unique, and yet familiar Disneyland.
Hopefully these closures won't last two long, if only because that means that coronavirus transmission is getting under control.