As predicted, Hong Kong Disneyland will open quickly and without much warning. The park will open on June 18th.
Hong Kong Disneyland will be the second Disney park to reopen, but it is the fourth the make an announcement. If you’ve been following my coverage of the Disney parks, you know I’ve predicted that Hong Kong’s park will open quickly and without much fanfare. And, well, here you go. It’s doing exactly that.
Hong Kong Disneyland will be open on Thursday, giving potential attendees just three days’ notice, whereas the US-based parks have about a month of lead-time between the announcement and opening. The Shanghai park had about a week, which also felt rushed at the time. Back in mid-May, we saw a lot of clues that an opening would be imminent, but nothing was official until today. I can’t say I’m all that surprised by this. We sort of saw this coming.
When the park opens, it will have many of the same restrictions we saw at the Shanghai park. There will be no in-person character meet and greets, you’ll need to be temperature checked prior to park entry, and you have to wear a mask. You’ll also need to make a reservation about a week in advance due to limited park capacity. This seems to be the standard for Disney parks, now, so if you plan on visiting one during the pandemic you best get used to it. If you can’t bear the thought of wearing a mask or keeping physically distant, just stay home.
I don’t expect that Hong Kong Disneyland will be overwhelmed with attendees at this time. There are tough restrictions in place in Hong Kong due to the pandemic, so if you aren’t already there or aren’t comfortable with the strict quarantine procedures, you won’t be going to this particular park. The park itself is also the least popular Disney park to begin with. Granted, it’s still the 13th most popular park in the world, so it’s not like it’s completely abandoned. I just don’t expect it to be in as high of demand as many of the others.
However, I’m still generally supportive of this move. In fact, I’m maybe even more comfortable with it because of the smaller crowds! Hong Kong has also been incredibly on top of things in regards to the pandemic. As of writing this, they only have 1,110 confirmed cases and four deaths, which is incredibly low for a city with a population of nearly 7.5 million people. They shut things down quickly and have maintained heightened sanitary precautions throughout the duration of the pandemic. Even their protests were fairly safe.
I think they will be able to open with minimal problems, but I can’t say the same for the parks stateside.
We recently discussed the reopening date of Disneyland and were somewhat surprised at how soon it’d be happening. Orange County doesn’t have mandatory masks rules in place at this time, despite having 7,600+ confirmed cases and 185 deaths. While Disneyland itself will likely require masks, having tourists wandering about nearby with no restrictions is bound to lead to a spike. Even within the park itself, guests won’t be wearing masks constantly as they are allowed to lower them to eat or drink, so transmission will be fairly easy.
While I’m fairly comfortable with both Shanghai and Hong Kong, Disneyland’s reopening concerns me quite a bit. It seems a lot of people agree with this, and a petition has been started to request a delay with the opening dates:
The Disneyland Resort put out a statement on June 10th, 2020 to reopen the parks on July 17th, 2020. As you know, Covid-19 cases are rising and have not dropped. Many people have lost loved ones due to this pandemic and by reopening the parks they are endangering cast members and guests to be exposed to Covid-19. There are more cases now than when the parks closed on March 13th, 2020. Health Officials have stated that the 2nd wave of Covid-19 will be worse. So reopening before the 2nd wave even hits us is irresponsible and greedy. I understand everyone is rejoicing for the reopening of the parks but not during a pandemic where people are DYING, now is not the time.
On March 27th, 2020 Disney Parks released a statement, “the safety and well-being of our guests and employees remains The Walt Disney Company’s top priority.” The solution would be to reschedule Disneyland to reopen the parks at a later date when cases of Covid-19 drop and Health Officials state it is safer for everyone but to still practice social distancing.
For full disclosure, I have definitely signed this petition and very much encourage you to do the same. I’ve been straight forward about the fact that I will not be visiting any theme park for a while, and I personally know many cast members at the California park, so it was an easy choice for me. It’s too soon, here. We do not have the same statistics as Shanghai or Hong Kong, nor does our population seem ready to comply with safety measures.
A similar petition started for Walt Disney World, but it hasn’t been nearly as successful. The Florida parks seem to have less public push back on opening, which is interesting. I’m frankly not sure why. Florida isn’t exactly doing great in the pandemic arena right now. And this is with them shutting out scientists who wouldn’t downplay the severity of the outbreak (and one scientist went on to publish their results online even after being fired, thankfully).
There’s still no word on Tokyo Disney or Disneyland Paris. We’ll see how that shakes out. With Europe easing restrictions across the board and Japan lifting it’s emergency declaration, we could have news soon. Both parks have been tight-lipped about potential reopening dates, so I frankly have no idea what to expect.
But for now, all eyes are on Hong Kong. Good luck, Hong Kong. I’m glad your residents get a little bit of Disney magic in all the madness.
Author: Angel Wilson
Angel is the admin of The Geekiary and a geek culture commentator. She earned a BA in Film & Digital Media from UC Santa Cruz. She’s contributed to various podcasts and webcasts including An Englishman in San Diego, Free to Be Radio, and Genre TV for All. She’s written for Friends of Comic Con and is a 2019 Hugo Award winner for contributing fanfic on AO3. She identifies as queer.
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