Disneyland Paris has been closed for four months but now the European theme park is cautiously reopening to the public, with new measures to try to keep Covid-19 in check.
The move follows other Disney theme park openings in the United States but comes as Disneyland Hong Kong prepares to close its doors just weeks after reopening due to concerns over a fresh spike in coronavirus cases in the territory.
Vistors to the Paris park should expect to wear a mask, and to be greeted by mask-wearing staff, alongside a slew of other measures.
Cast members, the term used for Disney employees, have received additional training on the new measures, says Disneyland.
The park visitor capacity has also been reduced, so guests must buy tickets in advance. Reduced capacity will also be enforced in restaurants, lines for rides and all other locations across the park. Buffet restaurants have been transformed into all-you-can-eat table service.
The parks and hotels have been deep cleaned, and cleaning and disinfecting measures throughout the day will be ramped up, Disneyland says. Hand cleanliness is also encouraged – there are also over 2,000 hand sanitizer stations installed across the resort.
Each ride has been adapted to allow social distancing, and so have theaters and cast member/guest interactions.
Hugs are a definite no-no, but Disney says there are new “selfie spots” and other ways to have “memorable photo opportunities.” There’ll be no parade or fireworks for the meantime.
The first hotel to reopen will be Disney’s Newport Bay Club. The other hotels will have a staggered reopening over the course of the summer. And when you’re inside your accommodation, social distancing of one meter will be enforced, with only family per elevator at a time.
In a statement, the park said its reopening is in line with guidance from French government, health authorities and union representatives.
“All of us at Disneyland Paris are excited to be on the path to reopening over the next few weeks,” said Natacha Rafalski, president of Disneyland Paris
Rafalski praised the “resilience” of staff and “the positive momentum” of recent reopenings in the European tourism industry.
The reopening on July 15 comes as Hong Kong Disneyland announces it will temporarily close its gates following a rise of 52 new coronavirus cases in the city.
“As required by the government and health authorities in line with prevention efforts taking place across Hong Kong, Hong Kong Disneyland park will temporarily close from July 15,” a Disney spokesperson said.
Disneyland California was originally supposed to be reopen this weekend, but its reopening has been put on hold.
Meanwhile, Walt Disney World in Florida began a phased reopening on Saturday, despite the high level of cases in the state.
CNN Travel was on the scene, with reporter Julie Tremaine concluding that the Florida Disneyland experience “is worth it if you want it to be.”