The Happiest Place on Earth is open for business again—in Hong Kong, at least.
Disneyland is finally set to greet visitors this Thursday following a five-months long closure due to the coronavirus outbreak in the city.
“Hong Kong Disneyland Park will officially reopen on Jun 18, 2020 with reduced capacity, enhanced health and safety procedures and a new reservation system for all guests. All guests entering the park will be required to undergo temperature screening and wear face masks,” the park said in a press release published Monday.
But kids might be disappointed—”character experiences” requiring close interaction and close-up photos will be temporarily suspended, meaning that hugs for Mickey and Minnie are off limits.
In order to cap the number of visitors to the park each day, guests must make an advanced booking.
Disney fans with “Magic Access” memberships can start reserving tickets today, while reservations for other visitors will begin at noon tomorrow.
The news follows the reopening of Ocean Park last Saturday, which saw a packed weekend of visitors taking advantage of a special offer. (Kids can enter free, and adults can enjoy a discounted ticket price, until the end of July.)
Some have questioned the rationale of re-opening theme parks, yet extending social restrictions banning gatherings larger than eight—effectively making protests a no-go. The ban remains in place until June 18.
At a press conference last Tuesday, Chief Executive Carrie Lam did not directly respond to a question about whether the decision was based on political considerations. She said that theme parks will re-open with restrictions on the number of visitors, and that policies will also be in place at restaurants, attractions and theatres in the parks.
The government expects that the reopening of the theme parks would help with boost the city’s virus-battered economic outlook.
“We want to reboot the economy in the second half of this year through new initiatives in tourism, external trade and trade insurance services,” said the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau.
The city’s economy slumped significantly by 8.9% year-on-year in the first quarter, and unemployment rose to a ten-year high of 5.4% in the period of February to April.