Shanghai Disneyland announced it is re-opening some venues following the coronavirus epidemic to 24,000 visitors per day. Credit: AFP.

You can’t get a close-up photo with a cartoon character, but Shanghai Disney Resort will become the first Disneyland to reopen in the world amid China’s all-out effort to curb and control the Covid-19 epidemic.

Shanghai Disneyland theme park will officially reopen to the public on May 11, 2020, while all other Disney parks remain closed until further notice, reported.

The Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Chapek said during a conference call with analysts that after reopening, guests and employees will be required to wear masks.

Chapek said that the theme park, which closed in January, typically sees 80,000 visitors per day but will reopen with a guest capacity of 24,000 per day for the first few weeks, the report said.

Due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the park was shut down since Jan. 25 in China, the very first day of Chinese Lunar New Year.

Meanwhile, the Walt Disney Company announced its Q2 net income dropped 91% to US$475 million, sharply down from US$5.4 billion a year earlier, the report said.

Overall, the company said that costs related to Covid-19 cut Disney’s pretax profit by US$1.4 billion. Disney’s Parks, Experiences and Products division revealed that Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resort lost an estimated combined revenue of US$1 billion as a result of theme park closures forced by the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, despite the loss, Disney rose 21% and earned US$18 billion in total revenue, mostly because of its previous purchase of 21st Century Fox’s entertainment assets, the report said.

According to a press release put out by Shanghai Disney Resort, the initial park reopening will demonstrate a deliberate approach, drawing on the experience from the successful reopening of Disneytown, Wishing Star Park and Shanghai Disneyland Hotel in early March and implement enhanced health and safety measures.

On May 11, the majority of Shanghai Disneyland’s attractions, rides, some shows and shopping and dining locations will resume operations with controlled attendance, the report said. Some interactive attractions and experiences, such as children play areas and theater shows, will remain closed, the report said.

To accommodate social distancing, parades and nighttime spectaculars will also return at a later date. During the initial reopening phase, a special Disney character procession, Mickey and Friends Express, will take place several times daily, and the Enchanted Storybook Castle will come to life with light and music at dusk each day.

At the same time, Disney characters will appear in the park in a new way, as they make appearances in each of the themed lands, greeting and welcoming everyone back. But interaction and close-up photos with characters will be temporarily suspended, the report said. 

“While the Covid-19 pandemic has had an appreciable financial impact on a number of our businesses, we are confident in our ability to withstand this disruption and emerge from it in a strong position,” said Bob Chapek.

“Disney has repeatedly shown that it is exceptionally resilient, bolstered by the quality of our storytelling and the strong affinity consumers have for our brands, which is evident in the extraordinary response to Disney+ since its launch last November.”