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It's been more then three months since the first Disney theme park closed down and almost two months since the last one closed down. For many the closure of the theme parks has been emblematic of the difficult times we've all been facing, but if that's the case, then maybe there is now hope that things might be starting to head towards normal. Shanghai Disneyland opened today (several hours ago local time) for the first time since January, and while, in many ways, it doesn't look like it used to, it's going to be a welcome sight for a lot of people.
Masks are required for any guests visiting Shanghai Disneyland as well as all the cast members who are working. The parks maximum capacity is also being held artificially low to aid with social distancing. The result is a park that looks a bit empty, but the people who are there certainly looks to still be having a good time.
As seen in the video from CBS above, there's a new station set aside for temperature screening in order to be sure that everybody entering the park is at the very least not running a fever. That, combined with the social distancing and the masks is all going to help reduce the spread of disease, and thus, hopefully will keep the visitors safe.
The only people inside Shanghai Disneyland not wearing masks are the costumed cast members. However, they are being kept safe, and keeping others safe, by not allowing up close interactions the way they normally would. There's no chance to give Mickey Mouse a hug or to pose with your favorite superhero, because costumed characters are being kept at a distance.
Shanghai Disneyland had no trouble selling out of the limited number of tickets that were made available for opening day, so there are certainly still a lot of people willing to visit the park despite whatever risks may technically still exist. Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Chapek revealed that China was asking Disney to hold the park to about one-third of maximum capacity, and Chapek said Disney's plan was to keep attendance even lower than that to start out.
While there's no particular time table or list of expectations that we have for what it will look like when Disneyland or Walt Disney World reopen, one has to assume that the steps being taken in Shanghai are something of a test run for the other parks. This means social distancing will be in effect in one of the places where it will be most necessary, theme park queues. Here's a look at what that looks like in China.
With all the uncertainty that we've all been dealing with, it's understandable that may are going to want to visit places like Disneyland simply because they make us happy, and we could all probably use some of that. The reopening ceremony for Shanghai Disneyland certainly provided that for many.
While Shanghai Disneyland was the first to close and is now the first to reopen, it doesn't look like we'll see parks reopening in quite the same order they shut down. Hong Kong Disneyland only closed a day after Shanghai, and there are no current plans to reopen that park. Walt Disney World is getting ready to reopen Disney Springs, which might be a sign that park is closer to reopening, though no official announcement has been made.