The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) announced this week that it will re-open its Shanghai theme park after months of closures due to the coronavirus. The May 11 re-opening date marks the first time since January that the park will be open in full, with rides and attractions open to the public.
However, the parks capacity will be operating at just 30% capacity for the time being—around 30,000 patrons in a single day. Additionally, Disney will require all guests and employees to have their temperature checked upon arrival to the park. Those that do not clear the temperature check will not be allowed to enter, and face masks will be required inside the park.
Disney prepares to open its Asia parks under new guidelines
Disney CEO Bob Iger, who resumed his position with the company following the outbreak after having previously stepped down, said in previous interviews that temperature checks would likely be part of Disney’s future for its parks segment. Following re-openings throughout China, Disney has closely followed what is and is not successful in easing back into some semblance of normalcy.
Now, as the company begins considering how it will open its other parks, it’s likely that it will mimic any successful measures in Shanghai. Among those options are a phased re-opening, which will see businesses like hotels, restaurants, and shopping centers opening up before the theme parks and rides.
When will the U.S. parks open?
Right now The Walt Disney Company will begin a gradual re-opening of certain areas of its Orlando, Florida properties starting on May 20th. The company will slowly re-open portions of the resort, beginning with the Disney Springs shopping area before any hotels and theme parks are allowed to open once again.
Even then, customers and staff will be required to wear masks in public areas, and capacity for each venue will be diminished significantly to allow for proper social distancing. Once the resorts open up once again, social distancing guidelines could remain in effect for the foreseeable future. Capacity may be significantly lower, but socially distant ride lines and additional space in between seats could be a reality for theme park attendees at the start.
Regardless of what the plan is, Disney has not announced any official plans to open its U.S. parks in the near future.