After closing its doors for nearly five months when Hong Kong confirmed its first coronavirus case, Disneyland Hong Kong reopened to the public last week, but with new safety precautions including mandatory face masks for all guests, temperature controls, and measurements. safe distancing.
CNBC attended its reopening day to see what theme parks would look like in the post-pandemic world.
Hong Kong Disneyland is only the second of the Disney parks to reopen. It follows in the footsteps of Shanghai, which reopened its park last month to 30% of capacity, due to government mandates.
Similarly, Hong Kong is operating at reduced capacity. However, a Hong Kong Disneyland spokesperson told CNBC that the capacity of Shanghai is significantly less than his, but did not elaborate.
Disneyland, Disney World, Disneyland Paris and Tokyo Disneyland plan to reopen their parks in July with similar measures. Similarly, Universal Studios Parks & Resorts is also gradually reopening in phases at limited capacity.
Guests arrive at Hong Kong Disneyland, after nearly five months of park closure due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Reservations to Disneyland Hong Kong must be made online at least seven days in advance, along with a health statement.
Dozens of staff members across the park had signs saying, “Please maintain an adequate social distance.”
Cast members such as Mickey and Minnie Mouse are now making cameos around the park, but due to social distancing measures, reunion and welcome events have been suspended.
An employee of Hong Kong Disneyland.
However, despite the theme parks reopening, a rapid recovery is unlikely in the short term, with economies contracting and unemployment at record levels.
The global amusement park sector is expected to shrink 2.7% to $ 71.6 billion in 2020, compared to $ 73.5 billion the year before, according to Research and Markets.
In February, Disney said it expected to lose up to $ 175 million if its parks in Hong Kong and Shanghai were closed for two months, which they did.
To add to the challenges, Hong Kong Disneyland was already struggling before the pandemic. In early 2020, the park announced losses of more than $ 13 million for fiscal year 2019, as social unrest in the city deterred Hong Kong visitors.
Loyal theme park visitors, or season pass holders, have often provided theme parks with a recurring source of income in recent years, but that relationship may be under strain amid tighter wallets and concerns of security.
Until the Covid-19 tests become ubiquitous and a vaccine is found, the drop in visitors to theme parks is expected to last two years, according to a report by Wells Fargo Securities.
An employee of Hong Kong Disneyland, after the park reopened.