It is still unknown when Disney parks in the U.S. will reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic

By Claudia Harmata
May 13, 2020 03:00 PM
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HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty

The reopening of Shanghai Disneyland in China gave the world a glimpse into a very different theme park experience — one that Disney CEO Bob Chapek says guests should expect at U.S. parks as well.

In a recent interview with CNBC, Chapek said that as Disney looks to begin reopening other locations across the world and in the U.S., they plan to be “very conservative,” and enact new rules to ensure the safety of their guests and staff.

"Along with social distancing, one of the things that we are likely going to require is masks for both the cast and the guests," Chapek told the outlet. "And I think the masks for the guests will be something that, culturally, is different."

"In Asia, as you know, it's fairly commonplace, even before COVID-19, for folks to walk around in public with masks on," he said. "That is not the case in the U.S. So that will be something that will be a little trying for some of our guests, particularly in hot, humid summers that we tend to have."

On Monday, Shanghai Disneyland opened for the first time in over three months. Tickets for the first few days sold out immediately on the Friday morning before opening.

Guests at the Chinese park are required to wear face coverings, and undergo temperature screenings at the entrance. Per the city's orders, the park is also limited to operating at 30 percent of its normal capacity.

Chapek said that it will be mostly up to Disney guests whether Disney parks will be able to get back up to 100 percent.

"Right now, a lot of that depends on the guests, and our [Shanghai] guests have been extraordinarily diligent in maintaining that social distancing so far," he said. "So if the guests continue to behave in the way that they have, I think we might be able to approach that."

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Chapek was unable to give a specific date for when any of the U.S. parks will begin reopening, though he said they are "very encouraged by what we see in Shanghai," and are hopeful for a smooth reopening of Disney Springs in Orlando.

The shopping and dining destination will be the first Disney attraction in the U.S. to open back up to the public after Disneyland and Walt Disney World closed indefinitely in March.

Disney Springs will begin a phased reopening on May 20, though the rest of Walt Disney World — including theme parks and resort hotels — will remain closed for now.

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