Shanghai Disneyland Has Reopened And It Shows Us How Coronavirus Will Change Theme Parks

Since China was the first nation to tackle the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, they're also among the first to make attempts at resuming business as usual. However, when it comes to large crowded areas, things aren't exactly as people remember them, especially when it comes to theme parks.

Shanghai Disneyland is reopening today, giving theme park fans in the United States an idea of what it will be like to return to the most magical place on Earth when Disneyland and Walt Disney World are allowed to reopen. It should come as no surprise that there are plenty of social distancing guidelines in place when it comes to rides and outdoor shows, but there is also a health screening checkpoint to enter, limited capacity all over, and much more.

Here's the instructional video Shanghai Disneyland provided to explain how the park will operate:

Preparing to Enter the Park

First of all, in order to return to Shanghai Disneyland, you must make an advance reservations. For now, you can't just show up to the park to buy a ticket and walk in. Advance tickets for opening day (which stands at somewhere under 24,000, or 30% capacity, as dictated by government restrictions) sold out in minutes. These tickets are dated, and you won't be allowed inside the park on any date other than the one that appears on your ticket. Even annual pass holders must have a dated ticket reserved in advance.

But don't head out to the park without making sure you have all the proper items. You need a valid government ID, and no print or digital copies will be accepted. You'll also need a Health QR Code generated on the day of your visit. That's not necessarily something US citizens will have to worry about since that technology isn't commonplace in our healthcare system yet, but perhaps there might be some other kind of check required when the time comes. You must also have your own mask, which is said to be required the entire time you're inside the park except when dining.

However, contrary to the video, it seems there might have been a separate official announcement that says face masks won't be required at all times. According to an update from Inside the Magic, Shanghai Disneyland may be allowing attendees to take off their masks temporarily for photo ops while inside the park.

Entering the Park

Once you've entered Shanghai Disneyland, you will have to pass through a health screening point. This is where you must be wearing your mask and will start to see social distanced waiting line areas, providing ample space between guests coming into the park.

Part of the health screening point will be walking through a temperature screening booth. Attendees won't have their temperatures taken individually, but there will be a "fever-screening room" where body temperatures are detected and displayed above each person's body. In order to be allowed entry, your temperature must be lower than 37.3-degrees Celsius, or roughly 99.1-degrees Fahrenheit.

After that, you'll go through the standard security clearance, which will include a check for the Health QR Code, as well as bag searches and ticketing, all with social distancing lines in place telling you where you can't stand very clearly (as seen above).

Inside the Park

Once you've made it inside the park, attendees will find that not all aspects of Shanghai Disneyland are up and running. Indoor performances, daily parades, and the children's play zone are still shuttered, though Andrew Bolstein, Senior VP of Operations for the Shanghai park, said (via The Hollywood Reporter) there might be a couple floats appearing throughout the day to surprise the guests, but no huge processions. The big attractions, shops, and restaurants will be open for business, though like the park, but they will have a reduced capacity within them.

There will also be precautions in place for outdoor gatherings, such as little shows featuring cast members and characters and the big outdoor castle shows with fireworks and water hologram displays. As you can see at this experience involving Chip and Dale, there are squares that dictate where people can stand to observe to ensure they stay a safe distance from each other (though you'll see some couples and family members standing together in them as well).

Not only will all the attraction lines and outdoor shows continue the social distancing practices, but ride vehicles aren't being totally filled. For example, Pirates of the Caribbean is being loaded every other row, and smaller ride vehicles will only be loaded with one person each.

On top of that, guests will find that rides have had new hand sanitizer dispensers installed when exiting the attraction.

Also keeping their distance will be the various cast members and characters around the park. That means there won't be any up close and personal greetings from the likes of Disney Princesses, Marvel superheroes, Pixar Animation characters, and classic Disney icons like Mickey Mouse. However, they're still out and about in the park, typically on a stage or a balcony waving from a distance.

If you're planning on visiting Shanghai Disneyland, you'll find that the theme park experience has improved in at least one regard. The wait times for all of the open attractions in the park were all only between 5-10 minutes, as evidenced by the park's wait time app:

As Shanghai Disneyland's Bolstein noted, "With our limited numbers of attendees every day, we believe everyone will be able to see almost everything they want." That's quite an upbeat outlook for such a grim situation, but that's what Disney has to do in order to make attendees feel better. If you'd like a more thorough ground-level walkthrough of what the Shanghai Disneyland experience will be like at first, which could be what Disneyland and Disney World look like once they reopen, watch this video:

Honestly, I'm a little shocked that tickets for Shanghai Disneyland sold out so quickly. But I suppose people are sick of being stuck at home and just want to get out to do stuff. I'm not sure starting with a trip to the theme park is the best idea, though maybe all these precautions are making people feel more secure about going to places like this, especially with the limited capacity. I'm sure there are plenty of people in the United States who would be happy to run back into Disney theme parks if only to enjoy the short wait times for attractions. Star Wars Galaxy's Edge will certainly be infinitely more peaceful once the parks reopen with fewer crowds. But we're still not sure when that might happen, so fans in the US will just have to be patient.

If you'd like to see the reopening ceremony for Shanghai Disneyland, you can watch it in its entirety right here: