Imagine you decided to take the family to Disneyland, and while the little ones are trying on Mickey Mouse ears, the gates to the Magic Kingdom suddenly swung shut, trapping you and every other visitor to the park inside until you could provide the park with a negative COVID-19 test.
Well, visitors to China’s Disneyland don’t have to imagine the insane scenario: They’re living it.
At 11:39 local time on Monday, the Disney Resort in Shanghai announced that it was immediately shutting the main theme park and surrounding areas — including its shopping street.
In an “important notice” posted on the park’s website, the company stated, “In order to follow the requirement of pandemic prevention and control, Shanghai Disney Resort, including Shanghai Disneyland, Disneytown and Wishing Star Park will be closed starting Monday, October 31, 2022, with immediate effect.”
“We will notify guests as soon as we have a confirmed date to resume operations,” the park promised.
On its official WeChat account, the Shanghai government stated that no one was allowed to enter or exit the park until further notice in compliance with China’s strict COVID-19 “zero-tolerance” protocols, according to Reuters. Guests inside the park at the time of the lockdown must wait for their COVID test results before being allowed to leave.
The government is also requiring that all those who visited the park after October 27 test for COVID-19 three times in three days.
On Saturday, the resort announced that it was operating with a reduced workforce as the COVID measures dictate, and a Shanghai Disney Resort spokesperson said trapped guests were still receiving “limited offerings.”
Online, users reported on social media that the park was operating rides for the visitors stuck inside. Though unverified, videos on China’s popular Weibo platform showed people racing to the park’s gates following the announcement on Monday, only to find they were already locked.
Some of the videos quickly made their way to Twitter.
Breaking；Closure of Shanghai Disneyland ，DisneyTown and Wishing Star Lake Park was officially announced today noon（31st Oct）#Halloween #Halloween2022 #ShanghaiDisneyland #SHDL #上海ディズニーランド #ディズニーランド #上海ディズニーリゾート #Disney #Disneypark #Disneyland pic.twitter.com/H7y5QEPs0W
— DONGDONG (@gourmetdyy) October 31, 2022
According to Asian Tech Press, the park “said that 60,000 visitors are lining up for viral tests.”
Shanghai Disneyland has been closed this afternoon following a suspected COVID-19 outbreak. It is said that 60,000 visitors are lining up for viral tests. pic.twitter.com/0PVtDr8u9M
— ATP_Asian Tech Press (@AsianTechPress) October 31, 2021
This isn’t the first time that COVID has forced Shanghai Disney Resort to close its doors.
Earlier this year, the park was shut down for more than three months, Reuters reports. And in November of last year, authorities trapped more than 30,000 visitors inside the park for two days and ordered them all to be tested as part of a contact tracing exercise.
On October 30, as the park once again locked down, Shanghai reported just 10 locally transmitted cases of the virus. According to authorities, all involved people without symptoms.
Guests caught up in the latest shutdown will receive a refund or an exchange.
“Guests with tickets to visit Shanghai Disneyland on and/or from October 31, 2022 may choose to visit the park on any other day within the next six months from the park reopening day,” the theme park stated on its website. “If you cannot visit the park in the next six months, you can obtain a refund.”
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