The interview started with the topic of Shanghai Disney which reopened on Sunday, May 10 after being closed for almost four months. According to Chapek, the reopening has been going very smoothly so far with guests behaving appropriately and following guidelines set forth by the park.
Currently Shanghai Disney is open at 30% capacity due to government restrictions on attendance. Guests must purchase tickets and reserve dates online in order to visit the park. As of Monday, the entire week was almost sold out with only a few vacant slots remaining. According to Chapek, Disney hopes to increase attendance numbers by 5,000 people each week if all goes as planned.
When asked by CNBC’s Julia Boorstin about when Disney expects to open parks in Tokyo, Hong Kong and the US, Chapek declined to comment, only noting that Disney’s decision will largely be dependent on guidance from state and local governments, health officials and local hospitals. One interesting note is that Disneytown, Shanghai’s version of Disney Springs was open for one month before the park reopened. Whether this is any indication of when Disney World will reopen is unknown.
The big question on everyone’s mind regarding reopening the parks has been masks and if they will be required. For many people, Chapek’s answer may have been disappointing as he did confirm that masks will likely be required by all guests and Cast Members. Chapek did admit that this might be one of the most difficult parts of reopening parks in the US and Europe as Western countries are not accustomed to wearing masks like their Asian counterparts.
Chapek repeatedly mentioned that behavior of the guests and how well they follow social distancing and other rules is extremely important in the reopening of the parks. So far the reopening of Shanghai has been an encouraging and positive step forward. According to Chapek, Disney will be conservative, prudent and disciplined in regards to making any decisions to reopen the Disney Parks.