The Shanghai Disney Resort is set to reopen on Thursday after suspending operations for more than three months in response to China’s worst COVID-19 outbreak since the early days of the pandemic.
The Walt Disney Co. said the resort will resume ticket sales on Wednesday and attendance levels will be capped during the first phase of reopening, part of a “cautious ramp up of operations.” Some attractions, such as Marvel Universe and Explorer Canoes, will initially remain closed. All guests will be required to present a negative PCR test result received within 72 hours to gain entry, Disney added.
The theme park has been closed since March 21, when the resort shut down amid a surge of omicron cases in Shanghai, ultimately leading to a total lockdown for the city’s 22 million residents . Shanghai officials lifted the stay-at-home order on June 1, and some entertainment facilities began opening in the weeks that followed. Universal Studios Beijing Resort resumed operations on June 25 after withstanding a two-month lockdown.
But Disney and local officials have chosen to play it safe in Shanghai’s case, reflecting the severity of the recent outbreak and the aggressive public health posture behind China’s “dynamic COVID-zero” policy. At the height of the local outbreak, Shanghai set a series of national records for daily infection rates, with new cases repeatedly exceeding 15,000. In the fall of last year, Shanghai Disneyland was closed with 30,000 guests and employees still inside after a single positive test result was attributed to a guest who had recently visited the theme park. All visitors then had to take PCR tests before being allowed to return home. The drastic response is likely to be repeated if a positive result is again assigned to the park.
For now, the public health situation in China seems to be moving in the right direction. Beijing and Shanghai reported no new COVID-19 infections on Tuesday, the first time the two cities were simultaneously in the clear since February. China has also reduced the quarantine time required for inbound travelers – from 14 days to 7 in centralized government facilities, with an additional 3 days at home – to which local markets responded positively, stock exchanges in Hong Kong and of Shanghai registering daily gains.
The Shanghai Disney Resort is the second largest physical Disney entertainment venue in the world, behind Disney World in Orlando, Florida. The Chinese park is a joint venture between Disney and a state-backed entity known as the Shendi Group. The Chinese company has a 57% stake, while Disney retains creative and operational control.